‘The Andy Griffith Show’: What Was the Name of the Opening Theme Song?

There’s a trick, call it a brain hack, that says if you say or even just think the word salivate, your mouth will begin to water. Most people have a similar relationship to the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show. In your mind think — or hum out loud — the first three notes of the song.

Did you end up finishing the song? Freaky, right. And sorry, but that’s going to be in there all day now. But besides being the earworm of earworms, there’s a lot you probably don’t know about the song.

The tune is called “The Fishin’ Hole,” for one. Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer wrote it — that’s Hagen doing the whistling. But did you know the song has lyrics? The original version included them, but it was never used on the show.

Andy Griffith actually recorded a version of the song with the lyrics included.

There’s even an homage to Griffith’s dad in the opening of the show. When Opie throws the rock into the pond and turns back, Griffith gives him a nod. He said that was a nod, literally, to his dad who had a very specific nod of approval.

Andy Griffith Wasn’t Sold On Show at First

When producer Sheldon Leonard first pitched the idea for The Andy Griffith show to Griffith, he expected the comedian to jump at the opportunity. Or maybe he’d scream with excitement. Instead, Griffith didn’t respond at all, according to MeTV. He sat and listened politely, nodding along but never giving any indication if this was something he actually wanted to do.

In fact, it took Leonard three meetings to get Griffith to agree to be on the show. It’s a brilliant bit of contract negotiation. The second two meetings Leonard took Griffith to some of the more expensive hotels in New York in the hopes of impressing him. But still, he just sat and nodded, giving little indication if he wanted to do the show or not.

But finally, near the end of the third meeting, Andy Griffith let fly a fusillade of questions. How would the show be financed? Would he retrain creative control? Who would oversee the direction of the production? Once Leonard had proven himself and proven the concept to Griffith did the North Carolina comic sign-on.

Once the ink was dry, Leonard had to know why it took Griffith so long to sign on. He would have his own show with his name in the title.

“I just wanted to know who I was dealing with,” he said.