The 50th anniversary of Andy Griffith’s ‘Angel in My Pocket’ and still no official remaster in sight

Image for post
Image for post
As the No. 3 Nielsen-rated, seventh season of “The Andy Griffith Show” prepares to get underway at Desilu Studios on 846 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, the series’ namesake 39-year-old star poses contemplatively on the back of a wooden chair in an outtake from his June 4–10, 1966, cover shoot for TV Guide. Photography by Ken Whitmore
Image for post
Image for post
“Honey, you know you’re not being very understanding.” “I’m understanding. I understand that they’re the most narrow-minded people on the face of the Earth!” “You’re not doing yourself a bit of good getting all upset like this. Come on, sweetheart. Come to bed.” The 69th of 79 lobby cards issued for the rare 1969 comedy-drama “Angel in My Pocket,” starring Andy Griffith and Lee Meriwether. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / Femmes, Fatales & Fantasies, Inc.
Image for post
Image for post
“You see, there are no ghosts in here, now let’s go to bed:” Reverend Samuel Whitehead [Andy Griffith] is roused from bed by his children Todd Starke, Buddy Foster, and Amber Smale to investigate the creepy, definitely foggy cemetery behind the Church of the Redeemer in 1969’s “Angel in My Pocket,” produced by Edward Montagne, Griffith, and longtime manager Richard Linke. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / Collectors Universe
Image for post
Image for post
“If everybody was saved there wouldn’t be anything for a preacher to do.” Samuel D. Whitehead [Andy Griffith] has plenty of small town bickering to combat as the new preacher of the Church of the Redeemer in Wood Falls, Kansas, in this press photo from director Alan Rafkin’s obscure 1969 comedy-drama “Angel in My Pocket.” Image Credit: Universal Pictures / Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans Picture Library
Image for post
Image for post
Wonderful sermon, preacher, except when you…presenting a still from the little seen 1969 comedy-drama “Angel in My Pocket,” written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum and directed by Alan Rafkin, all veterans of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Left to right are Lee Meriwether, Andy Griffith, Ruth McDevitt [Don Knotts’ over-protective mother in “The Shakiest Gun in the West”], Margaret Hamilton [i.e. the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”], and Maggie Peterson Mancuso [besotted with Sheriff Andy Taylor as mountain songbird Charlene Darling Wash on five gut-busting episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show”] in the yellow floral pattern dress. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / AF Archive
Image for post
Image for post
Todd Starke, Lee Meriwether, Kay Medford, Andy Griffith, Amber Smale, Jerry Van Dyke, and Buddy Foster convene inside the Church of the Redeemer in director Alan Rafkin’s rural comedy satire “Angel in My Pocket,” distributed on February 7, 1969, to indifferent box office receipts. Did you know? “Banjo-Playing Deputy” was the final black and white episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” in May 1965 and incidentally Van Dyke’s sole guest spot on Griffith’s landmark production. Immediately following “Angel in My Pocket,” Griffith requested that Van Dyke join the cast of “Headmaster” as his good pal / athletic coach Jerry Brownell. “Headmaster” was a 30-minute CBS dramedy that focused on social issues of the day during its abbreviated 14-episode run. Meriwether teamed up with Griffith two years later to again portray his spouse in “The New Andy Griffith Show,” a failed replacement for the preachy “Headmaster.” Even though Knotts, George Lindsey, and Paul Hartman improbably guest starred on the debut episode as their beloved TAGS characters, the 10-episode sitcom remains extremely hard to find. “Headmaster” shares a similar forgotten fate. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / IMDB
Image for post
Image for post
Newly ordained minister Samuel Whitehead [Andy Griffith] receives a warm welcome home after a hard day’s work at his temporary job in a brickyard from sons Sammy [Buddy Foster, older brother of Oscar-winning Jodie Foster who portrayed Ken Berry’s son Mike in “The Andy Griffith Show” successor “Mayberry R.F.D.”] and Dink [Todd Starke, best known as one of Doris Day’s two kids on the first three seasons of CBS’s sitcom “The Doris Day Show”] and pregnant wife Mary Elizabeth [Lee Meriwether, aka Catwoman in the 1966 theatrical feature “Batman”] in director Alan Rafkin’s “Angel in My Pocket,” dropped on February 7, 1969. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / eBay
Image for post
Image for post
The bold tagline of the official 1969 movie poster for “Angel in My Pocket” reads, “He’s an ex-Marine turned preacher…in a wacky and wonderful entertainment for the whole family!” Image Credit: Universal Pictures / Femmes, Fatales & Fantasies, Inc.

Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store