Andy Griffith is dead at the age of 86. Here's a good obit for him.
For virtually all us baby boomers, he was America's Sheriff, thanks to his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. At a time in which real Southern "lawmen" like Bull Connor of Birmingham were making headlines for the brutal suppression of the Civil Rights movement, Sheriff Andy gave us an image of what everyone wished law enforcement was like.
(However, I once came up with a weird idea for a Hicksploitation movie in which a couple of hippie hitchhikers in North Carolina were stopped by a Southern cop and hauled into jail -- the Mayberry jail as it turned out -- where they met sinister, sadistic versions of Andy and Deputy Barney Fife. In this imaginary film Floyd the Barber was a torture specialist, but Otis the Town Drunk would heroically help the poor hippie boys escape ... Great idea, but I don't think Griffith would have gone for it. )
(And I won't even bring up the vile, obscene song called "Barney Fife," sung to the tune of "Sam Hall," that my brother and I wrote back in the '80s when we were thinking of starting a punk bluegrass band ...)
But in all seriousness, I'm saddened by the loss of Andy Griffith. Though the Mayberry character will be what he's most remembered for, his greatest contribution as an actor was his portrayal of "Lonesome Rhodes" a guitar-strumming drunken drifter who rises to become a political demagogue in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957). And in that role he showed he was a pretty good singer too (see video below)
Goodbye, Andy. I hope Heaven is a lot like Mayberry.
Elvis Presley died 40 years ago yesterday. 40 goddamn years! What more is left to be said about Elvis? I'm just going to post a b...
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican June 22, 2007 ThaMuseMeant fled Santa Fe for the Pacific Northwest a few ye...
Russ Gordon Russ Gordon has announced the line up for his 28th annual Summer Concert Series in Los Alamos, free Friday night concerts i...
There's a weird tradition in country music of novelty songs about Native Americans. It goes back at least as far Bob Wills' "...