Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Sheriff and the Lieutenant

The soft-spoken but all-knowing sheriff of Mayberry and the boisterous, anti-authority lieutenant commander of PT-73 passed away within about a week of each other. And these two opposing views of authority more or less defined the decade these TV characters inhabited.

As Sheriff Taylor, Andy Griffith played the gentle, fatherly leader … the voice of reason when the whole town was a little nuts. Of course, that rationality came at a price. He was also the most boring person in town. It’s hard to imagine him doing anything offbeat. (“Why Helen Crump, I’m surprised at you! Those handcuffs are for law enforcement!”)

I’m sure there are some really good comparisons I could make with Ernest Borgnine’s Lieutenant Commander McHale, but I haven’t seen the show on TV Land, so I don’t remember it too well. I know he was anything but soft-spoken, and he referred to his commanding officer as Leadbottom.

Anyway, we lost both of these wildly different characters this month. Luckily, though we no longer have Hugh Beaumont, the father on “Leave It To Beaver” … we can look to his doppelgänger, Mitt Romney.

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