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A few ways to enjoy, celebrate Andy Griffith

By Frazier Moore

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 4 2012 4:54 p.m. MDT

Griffith's Ritz cracker commercials. Nearly every actor who can do commercials does them, even though, too often, these mini-performances trivialize substantial work they may have done in other spheres. Not so with Griffith and Ritz, for which he served as a spokesman in the 1970s. So memorable were those ads that, 20 years later, he would speak of fans still approaching him and echoing the tagline: "Gooood crackuh." No wonder. The ads captured what people knew, or thought they know, about Griffith, and loved: the Andy Taylor in him. Griffith did grand work, maybe did it too well to have been granted the full complement of roles that he deserved, and that his Andy Taylor image may have denied him. But when he told the world, "Everything tastes great when it sits on a Ritz," there could be no dispute. In those few words, he was exhibiting good-heartedness, a love of life and appreciation for life's small delights. And viewers got it. "Mmmm-mmmmm! Gooood crackuh!" Good guy.

Griffith the musician

LOS ANGELES (MCT) — Before he stepped in front of the camera, Andy Griffith was a high school music teacher in Goldsboro, N.C., putting to use a music degree he earned from the University of North Carolina. He was the president of the UNC Men's Glee Club, decades before Fox made the "Glee" club seem at least semicool.

As with plenty of musicians who came before — and after — Griffith initially abandoned his dreams of becoming a singer after an audition didn't go well.

But he got over that pretty quickly. Many of his TV fans probably only knew Griffith's voice when he occasionally flexed his pipes on "Matlock" and "The Andy Griffith Show." But Andy Griffith the recording star is a role he took just as serious as his acting career.

During his time on "The Andy Griffith Show," he made a country/gospel album, one of more than a dozen music albums in his life, and also reworked the show's famous theme song.

Griffith issued the bulk of his recordings in the mid- to late '90s.

— Los Angeles Times

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