1 9 7 0 – 1 9 7 1 (USA)
12 x 30 minute episodes
Andy Griffith starred as headmaster Andy Thompson who ran a small co-ed private school in the San Fernando Valley called The Concord.
Jerry Van Dyke played Jerry Brownell – the athletics director and coach who never wins a game – and Parker Fennelly was the school custodian and maintenance man.
Broadway actress Claudette Nevins played the headmaster’s wife, Margaret, who was also an English teacher at the school.
The CBS series premiered in September 1970 and quietly died. The show was seen as too “preachy”, trying to combine comedy and drama, with shows about suicide, sex education and drugs. It was cancelled after only four months.
On a Saturday in October 1970, with one more episode of Headmaster to complete in the original batch of 13, Griffith, who had been stewing most of the night, called his producer, Aaron Ruben.
“I asked him if we should struggle through another show or eat the script,” Griffith recalled. “He suggested eating it. Then we called Freddie Silverman (CBS programming vice president) in New York and asked him if the network wanted us to try to bend the old show into a new shape or to start a whole new one. We had the answer – new show – in two days, and were ready to shoot the first episode in ten”.
The theme tune, Only a Man, was sung by a then-little-known vocalist named Linda Ronstadt.
Jerry Van Dyke