Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

So Long, Ange

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith died earlier today, and it’s a little sad. Everyone knows him, of course, for the two iconic teevee roles he created, those of Sheriff Andy Taylor (1960-68), and the seersucker-clad, avuncular defense attorney Ben Matlock (1986-95).

Those roles brought him fame and considerable financial success, but he was a fine actor outside those likeable characters, as well. His first major film role, in 1957, was as Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd, about a manipulative, alcoholic drifter who becomes a media sensation, a demagogue caught up in a spiral of self-aggrandizement, fame and insecurity. It’s an ugly, if compelling, character.

For pure evil, though, it’s hard to beat Griffith’s portrayal of John Wallace in the 1983 television adaptation of Margaret Anne Barnes’ Murder in Coweta County. The Wallace case is notable for two primary reasons. First, because Wallace was one of the wealthiest men ever sent to the death chamber, and second, because he was reportedly the first white man in Georgia sent there on the testimony of African Americans. It was a landmark case.

It’s an interesting story for me, as well, because I’m related to some folks named Potts from that same part of Georgia, and the family genealogist believes we’re some sort of distant cousin to Coweta County Sheriff Lamar Potts (1901-1971), the man who sent John Wallace to death row. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I wouldn’t mind a bit if it were.

Anyway, so long, Ange. We’ll miss you.


2 Responses

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  1. Woodrowfan said, on July 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

    He also used to do “folksy” interpretations of famous stories and plays, such as “Romeo and Juliet.” I’ve heard a few on one of XM’s comedy channel.

  2. Rob Baker said, on July 8, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Some of my fondest memories are sitting around with my Dad watching The Andy Griffith Show

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