Here’s A Peek Into Andy Griffith’s Backyard Wedding To A Seventies ”Flower Child”

source: AP Photo/Joan Adler / MeTV

The opening scene of “Mr. McBeevee,” the third-season premiere of The Andy Griffith Show, may appear ordinary at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, it reveals the charming details of the Taylor family’s backyard—a space rarely showcased on the show. This article explores the significance of this scene and delves into Andy Griffith’s real-life backyard wedding, highlighting the unexpected nature of his relationship with his second wife.

The backyard of the Taylor residence depicted in “Mr. McBeevee” reflects the wholesome and idyllic atmosphere of the show. Complete with a woodworking bench for Andy, a picnic table for Aunt Bee’s feasts, and Opie’s bike propped up in the center, the scene captures the essence of a loving family environment. Although the backyard was not prominently featured in the series, it held a special place in Andy Griffith’s personal life.

In the mid-Seventies, Griffith remarried and celebrated his nuptials in a simple backyard wedding at his own home. The bride, Solica Cassuto, was a Greek actor unknown to Griffith’s fans. In his book “Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show,” Ken Berry, a friend of Griffith, described the couple as an unlikely pair. Solica, more of a free spirit, contrasted with the conservative country boy image associated with Andy.

Unlike the scene in “Mr. McBeevee,” Griffith’s backyard wedding was adorned with a large harp as a centerpiece. Berry noted that Solica had a “flower child” appearance, emphasizing her unconventional nature. Despite the unexpected pairing, Griffith and Solica chose to unite their lives in this intimate setting, which held personal significance.

The couple’s first home together was the house where they wed—an establishment that once belonged to Bing Crosby. Griffith shared that they would occasionally play Crosby’s records and even humorously claimed they pretended it was Bing singing in their shower. In a 1975 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Griffith spoke highly of his new wife, praising her care for his children and her compatibility with him.

A few years after their wedding, Griffith brought his bride to his hometown of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, introducing her to his relatives and showcasing the family farm. Griffith expressed his happiness during this period and jokingly anticipated a culture shock for both his wife and relatives.

Although the marriage ended in divorce in 1981, Griffith revealed in an interview with The Star-Phoenix that the experience was a painful one. Despite his on-screen persona as a leading man with no trouble with the ladies, Griffith admitted to being shy and finding it challenging to make conversation with unfamiliar women.

In true Andy Griffith fashion, when asked what he and his wife would do during their visit to Mt. Airy, Griffith playfully suggested fishing—a nod to the iconic opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show, where Andy and Opie head to the lake with their fishing poles.

While the Taylor family’s backyard may have only made occasional appearances on the show, it held sentimental value in Andy Griffith’s real-life journey. From the serene scenes of Opie playing to the intimate backyard wedding, these glimpses into Griffith’s personal life remind us of the tender moments beyond the beloved television series.