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 Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).



  • 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