The news today (3 July 2012) has the report that Andy Griffith has died.
He was a part of my childhood. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and The Andy Griffith Show reflected my world. Yes, it was a simiplified view of the South, but the premise that country people had a fundamental goodness that carries them through is one that I’ve grown to appreciate. The same theme runs in Matlock, a show about an old lawyer whose country wisdom wins the case every time. And then there was Salvage 1, a show that didn’t succeed, but should have. It again was about a little guy–in this case, the owner of a salvage yard–that makes it big.
But one profound work doesn’t have the recognition that Griffith’s comedy has received. He was the star (with Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau) of the film, A Face in the Crowd, an exploration of the effects of fame and greed on the human soul. It’s a film that everyone should watch before voting or paying any attention to celebrities.
Today, I have to say goodbye to a fellow Tar Heel. Genius comes into this world and then leaves it, and the mark that it leaves behind betters us all.
Cross-posted on English 301: Reading and Writing.