"Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic, Vol. 1," by Neal Brower. John F. Blair. 507 pages. $14.95. I'm a Goober and have been since I was 8. Goobers are fans (or fanatics) of "The Andy Griffith Show," and I thought everything of significance about the show had been documented until I read Neal Brower's "Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic, Vol. 1."
Brower, a United Methodist minister and a confessed, card-carrying Goober, was a contributing columnist to the Bullet, the official newsletter of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, which is distributed to 15,000 members worldwide. Now, that's a heap of Goobers! Shazam!
What made this show among the best in TV history? An exceptional cast, to be sure, but I think "Mayberry 101" focuses those who often were overlooked in the show's success.
Brower did exhaustive interviews with many of the people who were behind the scenes, including some of the industry's finest writers. My favorite is Harvey Bullock. He has the rare ability to write incredibly funny material that also has a purpose.
It's difficult to explain the phenomenal success of "The Andy Griffith Show," especially to the uninitiated. Aaron Ruben, the show's extremely talented producer, did it best when he said: "The Andy Griffith Show" is every grownup's Oz. Imagine a town where one could live peacefully, securely, and happily with one's family and neighbors. No drugs, no gangs, no violent crimes. If this was a dream back in the sixties, think what a longed-for dream it is in today's world."
Pub Date: 12/20/98