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Did You Know That The Theme From The Andy Griffith Show Had Lyrics?

Until I saw this on Twitter after Andy Griffith’s death I was unaware that what may be the most recognizable television theme song ever, had lyrics. This L.A. Times article, tells the story, and here’s audio, with photo montage, of Andy himself singing those lyrics:

The song itself was written by written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, with lyrics by Everett Sloane. The whistling in the theme song was performed by Hagen and not, as many have believed over the years, by Griffith.

You learn something new every day.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    So did the theme to ‘I Love Lucy,’ but they only appeared in the pilot.

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  2. Rodney,

    I don’t think it was the pilot actually, it was a later episode “Lucy’s Last Birthday.” In fact, here’s the scene

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  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I think I saw an episode once or twice with the lyrics sang over the whistling.

    I also never knew about the MASH lyrics until seeing the movie long after having watched most episodes of the television show.

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  4. John Peabody says:

    Many themes have lyrics, as usual, it’s a money thing. The skinny on “Star Trek” is that Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics at the last minute for the theme, thus giving him 50% of future profits. This infuriated the composer, who never wrote another note for the series. #imageek

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  5. Robert in SF says:

    I had the Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy theme songs on casette back in 1987! I loved that cassette! It was TV Themes from that era (Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, etc.)….and I absolutely loved the Andy Griffith theme….

    Also be aware of the Mayberry Rap, that came out in 1988 as well! Spot on in the impressions and comedic themes of the show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLQF01-AXVk&feature=plcp

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  6. PJ says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I also never knew about the MASH lyrics until seeing the movie long after having watched most episodes of the television show.

    @John Peabody:

    Many themes have lyrics, as usual, it’s a money thing. The skinny on “Star Trek” is that Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics at the last minute for the theme, thus giving him 50% of future profits.

    Fun fact about the lyrics to MASH and money:

    During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1980s, Robert Altman said that his son earned more than a million US dollars for co-writing the song while he only made US $70,000 for directing the movie.

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  7. Just Me says:

    I knew MASH had lyrics because I played the song on piano and the lyrics were written on the sheet music.

    I vaguely remembered at some point hearing the lyrics for the Andy Griffith show but not sure when or where.

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  8. J-Dub says:

    If you play the theme song backwards Andy confesses to the murder of his mysteriously missing wife.

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