From Manteo to Mayberry with Andy Griffith and author John Railey

By on December 8, 2022


Stream On by Peter Hummers

2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Andy Griffith, TV and film icon, and longtime Outer Banks resident. He lived on unincorporated Roanoke Island, but his mailing address was Manteo. That’s according to John Railey’s new book, “Andy Griffith’s Manteo: His Real Mayberry,” and it’s probably the least interesting fact there. One of the most is that (as I’ve been maintaining for years) Manteo, not Andy’s original hometown, was the model for Mayberry, the wonderful fictional town of Andy’s landmark TV series, The Andy Griffith Show.

It’s a fascinating read, put together largely through interviews with people who knew and/or worked with Andy from the Outer Banks to Hollywood.

“Andy loved Manteo and told me about it all the time. He wanted to leave [Los Angeles] the minute we wrapped the show for the season and be there as much as he could, to take his shoes off and leave them off for weeks at a time.” (Ron Howard, “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show, in a 2021 interview with Railey)


/Amazon /Prime Video /Streaming /Trailer /1960-1968 /TVG

In my opinion this is the “Citizen Kane” of sitcoms, a spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show that eclipsed its parent series and most subsequent shows since. It was one of only three shows to end its run at number one in the Nielsen ratings, along with I Love Lucy and Seinfeld.

It was set in a rural North Carolina town full of quirky and endearing personalities. (Already sounding familiar.) Its enduring popularity, extending to today, was baked into the original pie, as it were. Andy, in a Today Show interview, said, “Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the ’60s, it had a feeling of the ’30s. It was, when we were doing it, of a time gone by.” While a very funny comedy, it could also grab your throat with drama and pathos. It was an infallible blueprint for living together in community.

And its star, raised up in the North Carolina foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, came to Manteo in 1947 to act in The Lost Colony, Paul Greene’s historical outdoor drama that’s put on annually since 1937 on Roanoke Island (where the original events transpired in the 1590’s). Andy was a theology and then music major at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

‘THE PAGEANT,’ season 5, episode 11

It’s time for the annual Founders Day play in Mayberry, and Aunt Bee’s friend Clara has the lead part as Lady Mayberry. (Aunt Bee, played by the wonderful Frances Bavier, is Sheriff Andy Taylor’s aunt and housekeeper.) Two weeks before opening, Clara is called out of town and can’t play the part. Aunt Bee hints that she can do it and is encouraged to do so since she was once in a child’s play titled “The Little Princess.” Bee is terrible, but in her excitement, can’t see it.

The real-life “Founder’s Day” play that Andy Griffith essentially got his show-business start in, The Lost Colony, is staged by more than 100 actors, technicians, singers, dancers, designers and volunteers every year, and appears on the résumés of many Hollywood A-listers including Leon Rippy (Deadwood), Chris Elliott (Dilbert, King of the Hill etc.) and Broadway director Terrence Mann (30 Rock). Ted Tally spent a summer in the production long before winning top Academy Award honors for his screenplay of Silence of the Lambs. His niece appeared in the 2008 production. Lynn Redgrave played the supporting role of Queen Elizabeth I for seven performances in 2006.

“[Andy’s] memories of working in [The Lost Colony] were the anchor to which he kept returning.” (Railey, Introduction)

‘STRANGER IN TOWN,’ season 1, episode 12

When a stranger gets off the bus from New York City, the folks in Mayberry are naturally curious. When he strolls into Floyd’s (Howard McNear, Topper, I Love Lucy etc.) barbershop—calling everyone by name and knowing things that no stranger should know—their suspicions escalate, especially since nobody knows who he is. A loner, he had met someone from Mayberry who regaled him with stories of the town, especially how friendly everyone was. It takes Sheriff Andy to point that out to the citizens of Mayberry, after which they welcome the stranger into the community whole-heartedly.

Railey writes, again in the Introduction to his book, “The Islanders accepted [Andy Griffith] and gave him the sense of belonging that he had long sought, damaged by being called ‘white trash’ by a fourth-grade female classmate in his home town. … ‘Once you have s___ on your shoes, you can’t shake it off,’ he said in an unpublished 1982 interview … ‘You cannot get it off. But when I came here [to the island], I was in the same boat everyone else was … Everybody started from scratch here.’”

‘ANDY FORECLOSES,’ season 1, episode 28

Sheriff Andy, faced with the unpleasant task of serving an eviction notice on a family who has fallen on hard times, tries to come up with a way for the tenants to keep their home. Determined not to have the Scobeys evicted, Andy, his deputy Barney (the legendary Don Knotts), and Aunt Bee do their best to try to raise the money.

Outer Banks historian David Stick wrote that he had been interested in creating a community foundation as a method by which individuals and businesses could join together in establishing an endowment fund, with annual earnings used to address needs in the Outer Banks area. Andy Griffith, reflecting on his beloved adopted community, told him, “Sometime, I’d like to find some way to pay them back,” and they ran the idea past businessmen Eddie Greene and George Crocker, which resulted in the Outer Banks Community Foundation in 1982.

Currently, The Andy Griffith Show enjoys its own channel on  Pluto TV—channel 1345, where Sheriff Andy, his son Opie, Barney and Ant Bee and their idyllic town of Mayberry can be visited 24/7. (Pluto TV can be accessed on the Web at, and on its own app for Roku, Amazon FireStick, iOS and Android.) And if you’d like to read about it, the community-driven MAYBERRY WIKI is an invaluable resource. And last but not least, John Railey’s great book, “Andy Griffith’s Manteo: His Real Mayberry,” can be bought on Amazon.

(Pete Hummers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking and affiliate sites. This adds nothing to Amazon’s prices.)

Click here for more Stream On: What to watch on TV columns by Pete Hummers.


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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  • Bookseller

    Or you can buy it locally at any of the Outer Banks SEVEN independent bookstores!

    Thursday, Dec 8 @ 12:30 pm
  • trocar

    Another excellent book by John!

    Friday, Dec 9 @ 9:03 am
  • Super Dave

    The Lost Colony provides a number of cottages for the actors residence for the summer play season.
    I was fortunate to rent a waterfront cottage during the off season. It was 3 bedroom with a fireplace to provide heating the home.
    I set out some gill nets for fish using my 21′ canoe.
    It wasn’t long that I padded over to my neighbor next door dock they had and dogs were playing in the yard.
    A gentleman and I spoke and he revealed that he was the housekeeper/groundskeeper while Andy Griffith was away. Andy had a soft spot in his heart for The Lost Colony and it’s associates.
    I have done internet history about Andy’s journey in North Carolina. Amazing man with the amazing smile!
    I have travelled doing historical restorations starting with Sherwood Forest PLantation belonging to ex-President John Tyler on route 5 here in Virginia. I recently returned back to Va & made trips back to the OBX (best place on Earth) and it appears that where I lived and Andy’s home at that time has vanished. I watched a YouTube video of a documentation of a flight from Hatteras to Manteo Airport. When the plane approached Roanoke Island shores, it was at the edge of the area I lived at but no signs of life. Here is the link to watch that video.
    Can anyone share any info if Andy’s home still stands or has the land been cleared for the sake of improvements/waterfront real estate?

    Saturday, Dec 10 @ 11:44 am
  • olin hardy

    Andy put Manteo on the map for sure!

    Wednesday, Dec 14 @ 7:03 am