The first thing to be said is that Andy Griffith secured the co-ownership of the program, even if the concept of the show wasn’t his own. Until starring in The Andy Griffith Show, the actor only pursued roles in movies, with only two appearances in TV shows.
This is cool, because this way he could come up with his own ideas, which actually improved the series. It was Andy that said Howard McNear should return to the show just like he was before, just like it was Andy that said that a main antagonist/nemesis for his character wouldn’t do any good.
Andy Griffith remained the only authentic Southern presence in the series, with the other cast members being born in the big cities (such as New York, Chicago and so on).
Another great idea came also from him. While not very successful as an actor, Andy Griffith was great as a stand-up comedy actor, which led him to believe that his character could be portrayed along these lines. However, when he saw that Don Knott’s Deputy Barney Fife was a fan favorite, he decided to change the way the show ran and make him the main funny character.
Another interesting bit of trivia information would concern the opening credits, in which Andy and Opie are walking along a path. When Opie throws the rock, Andy can be seen nodding distinctively. Years later, after the show ended, Andy Griffith realized that he was actually channeling his father’s gestures during that scene.
Another interesting fact concerns his relationship with Ron Howard, who portrayed Opie and who later on became an acclaimed actor and director. Of course, everybody must know that Andy Griffith didn’t get too well off-screen with co-star Frances Bavier. However, there was a special relationship between him and Ron Howard.
When Andy Griffith passed away in 2012, Ron Howard went on to say that Andy was more than his father on screen. As he said, Andy had a great influence on him because of his joy of creating, because of the way he saw acting: it wasn’t for money or fame or anything in between, but it was for the audience.