UPDATED: Andy Griffith gave the greatest performance of his career the first time he ever stepped in front of a film camera. In fact his portrayal of country bumpkin-turned rabidly ambitious and menacing media force in Elia Kazan’s 1957 masterpiece A Face In The Crowd is not only one of the great screen performances of that decade, but just about any other decade too. It’s almost criminal more people have not seen this film, a flop in its time but a hugely influential movie in the intervening years. Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant Oscar-winning satire Network is often cited as being way ahead of its time in predicting the future power of the media. If that’s the case then A Face In The Crowd, which represented the re-teaming of Kazan and his On The Waterfront screenwriter Budd Schulberg, was about 20 years ahead of Network.
Related: R.I.P. Andy Griffith
Griffith, who died today at the age of 86, was simply brilliant playing this country nobody who in his ability to relate to the regular folks turns into a huge media star, but a fake one with an ice-cold inner being who uses his newfound celebrity status as an unbridled grab for power behind the mike. “The whole country’s just like my flock of sheep….I’m not just an entertainer. I’m an influence, a wielder of opinion, a force…a force!,” said Lonsome Rhoades. “Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, … Read More »
UPDATE: TV Land just announced that it has scheduled marathon programming blocks of The Andy Griffith Show from 8 AM-1 PM tomorrow and from 11 AM-8 PM on Saturday and Sunday. The show has been a staple on the network for years and even dedicated a statue to Griffith in Raleigh, North Carolina.
PREVIOUS, 8:59 AM: Turner Classic Movies will show four Andy Griffith films on July 18 as a tribute to the actor, who died Tuesday at age 86. The network will remember his life and career with the Elia Kazan-directed A Face In The Crowd (1957) at 8 PM ET, followed by No Time For Sargeants (1958) at 10:15, Hearts Of The West (1975) at 12:30, and Onionhead (1958) at 2:15.
Related: EXCLUSIVE: Ron Howard On Andy Griffith
George Lindsey, the Alabama native who played Goober on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD and Hee Haw, died early this morning in Nashville after a brief illness. He was 83. Goober was the cousin of the character Gomer Pyle played by Jim Nabors. Griffith issued a statement: “George Lindsey was my friend … Our last conversation was a few days ago … I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say `I love you.’ That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. `I love you’.” Best known as Goober, Lindsey had a long TV career that included roles in Gunsmoke, MASH, The Wonderful World of Disney, CHIPs, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Real McCoys, The Rifleman, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Twilight Zone. Movie roles included Cannonball Run II, Take This Job and Shove It and voicing characters in Disney animated features The Aristocats, The Rescuers and Robin Hood.