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Opie Grows Up

Ron Howard's Revenge

Think nice can't trump vice? The "Angels & Demons" director may take us to the dark side in his films, but his heart's still in Mayberry.

Ron Howard learned early on, when he was just a kid actor on "The Andy Griffith Show," about the inseparable nature of art and life. After a read-through of each episode's script, cast and crew would gather on the back lot of Desilu Studios to talk about what worked and what didn't. Griffith would be there, with all his fatherly wisdom, along with costar Don Knotts. Little Ronny, just six when he became Griffith's TV son, Opie Taylor, his red hair capping that fresh face of innocence, would listen to them discuss the characters, and how humor should never come at the expense of others. "Andy Griffith was a big factor in shaping my sense of the way an adult male, and particularly one in authority, handles himself," Howard says. Years later the father of four would find himself standing in the kitchen of his home in Westchester County, New York, lecturing his teenagers as only a devoted dad and passionate movie lover could: "If they were doing something I didn't think made sense," Howard says, "I would say, 'What if you saw a character doing what you're doing in a movie? Would you agree with that character? Would you like that character?' " … Back to Article

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