Yesterday brought the news of Andy Griffith's death at 86. Unfortunately, the type of television exemplified by The Andy Griffiith Show died long before its star did. Long gone are the days when the networks aired prime time series that parents could safely allow their children to watch, much less a prime time in which such shows actually dominated the competition. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a network even making a show like The Andy Griffith Show today. After all, The Andy Griffith Show was wholesome and innocent and completely devoid of vulgarity or sexual immorality or even any topical references to current events, much less propaganda for favored Hollywood causes. There hasn't been a show like that on prime time network television in many years. And those responsible for what prime time network television has become deserve much worse than a visit to Sheriff Andy Taylor's jail, better known to fans of the series as "The Rock."
UPDATE: Here is the view of a friend: "Sheriff Andy Taylor set a cultural norm for decent behavior. Which is, as it turns out, pretty rare. Greatest show ever."
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.