TVLand unveiled a bronze statue in Raleigh, NC, on October 28 to commemorate the endurance of Mayberry values from “The Andy Griffith Show,” and East Tennessee’s Gary Wedemeyer was on hand to take notes.
We went to Pullen Park about 6am on Tuesday. There were already several folks milling about, so we picked a spot about 15′ from the stage. It was a beautiful white gazebo with TV Land logos all over and a podium and a big object cover by a light blue drape. I wonder what THAT could be?? There were TV Land cameras all over the place.
The President of TV Land came out at 8:15 and told the crowd that at 8:25 we would go “live” on CBS, NBC, ABC and several other networks. And sure enough at 8:25 Andy arrived in a squad car driven by my buddy Ricky Carnes from Georgia. (Ricky was SOOO thrilled. He said he got to talk to Andy for about 15 minutes and Andy even signed the dashboard of his squadcar).
Andy along with the President of TV Land grabbed the blue drape and unveiled this beautiful bronze statue. It is a little larger than life-size and features Andy and Opie with their fishing poles, holding hands, walking to the fishing hole. The likenesses are fantastic!! There is a plaque on the bottom that sums it all up really well. It reads: “The Andy Griffith Show. A simpler time – a sweeter place – a lesson – a laugh – a father and a son.”
Andy then spoke briefly about how honored he was that the show is still as well received as it is. He said that the statue represented the first scene
filmed on the show. He said “Ronnie was 6 years old and I was 34. Now, Ronnie is 49 and I am 77 and we still share the same love for each other now as we did then.” It was a really touching moment. Every time he went near the statue he rubbed Opie’s head.
A lot of photos were taken and a few interviews were given. Then Andy waived to the crowd and then he was gone.
It was great to see him again. He looked in very good health and was in great spirits. I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend.
The dedication ceremony is supposed to air on TV Land sometime this Sunday. They are running a TAGS marathon and it is supposed to be a part of that.
To find out more about Gary, visit the Mayberry Emporium Gift Store
Live in Tennessee? Love “The Andy Griffith Show?” Click to subscribe to TennesseeTAGS