Sixty years later, Opie’s still got it.
Ron Howard channeled the iconic opening scene from The Andy Griffith Show in a video posted to Instagram on Sunday, showing the actor-director, now 65, skipping a stone at a swimming hole. While the clip lacks the classic whistling theme song, his skipping technique seems to have improved over the years.
Beginning at the age of five, the two-time Oscar-winner famously played Griffith’s son Opie on the beloved sitcom throughout its eight-year run from 1960-68. He went on to play his most famous grown-up role as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days from 1974-84 and appeared in numerous other television shows before establishing his career as a director with hits like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.
When Griffith died in 2012, Howard shared some memories about his TV dad with EW. “He was fantastic,” he said. “There was a fantastic equilibrium between his love of laughter and jokes and funny stories and songs and all that, and then he could turn on a dime and be the utmost professional…. If people who met him were to be surprised [to learn something about him] it would be this sort of simple commitment to excellence. This straightforward work ethic that he adhered to in a very unpretentious way with great humility and very few words.”
Although the two lost touch for many years after the show, they spoke quite a bit more in the years leading up to Griffith’s death. Howard also said he hoped fans won’t just remember him for The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, but will check out A Face in the Crowd, or get online and listen to What It Was, Was Football. “He loved people,” Howard said. “He loved their foibles, their quirks, and he celebrated that on the show, and he appreciated it about people in life.”
Recently, Howard filmed a new documentary Pavarotti about the famous tenor and revealed to EW that he’s developing an animated musical. “That’s just in the very early stages. I can’t talk about it beyond [that]; I can’t give a title to it – but I’m really excited,” the director said.
See the original Andy Griffith Show opening below: