Latinowood is pleased to have guest contributor, Adrian Tafoya
By Adrian Tafoya
North Carolina, USA – There will be many words written and exchanged about the passing of the Screen legend Andy Griffith today. From my childhood as a Latino, a Brown-faced American, I enjoyed watching him and Opie drawl with that goofy Barney Fife and Aunt Bea on The Andy Griffith Show. There was not really anything to immediately identify with them as these Southern small-town characters while I watched them on my Dad’s black-and-white TV from sunny San Bernardino, CA. But I did identify with the characters on some level.
I am that American. I knew what it was to be an American and to be proud of it. I was proud to be able to see the fictional town of Mayberry as an idyllic American township that every boy wants to grow up in, find a girl and raise a family. Andy Griffith was the keeper of that dream. This wavy-haired, drawling, and country charm was one of those characteristics that I was imbued with by just watching Mr. Griffith.
I am a Latino and to me that has always meant I was an American. I was born and raised in Southern California. I am 3rd generation Californian. My daughter is many generations removed from Irish immigrants of the Townsend clan. Here is an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the passing of Andy Griffith and what an impact he has had upon so many of our lives. Black, Brown, Irish… everyone.
As an actor, I once had the opportunity to work with Andy Griffith on an episode of Matlock. This brought me full-circle to be in the presence of one of the great legends of Hollywood. I graduated college and came to the doorstep of my dreams with the Sheriff– the dream that I had first seen as a boy on my Dad’s TV– I became Opie, in a beautiful shade of Brown. That is America to me.
If Congress would recognize this and understand that we [Latinos and all people in America] are all in this together. This is the reality of our current American landscape. This is why it is so confusing to see all the hoopla about the Dream Act. Those of us who have lived in America for a certain number of years are all Andy’s children. We all have that American Dream… and we should be colorblind.
The Andy Griffith Show ran from 1960 to 1968 and will live on forever in syndication for generations. TV Land has blocked its programming grid with marathon airings of The Andy Griffith Show. And on July 18th, TCM will broadcast movies starring Andy Griffith
Adrian Tafoya is a Writer, Producer, and Actor as well as a Stage Technician. He has held five different Show business Union cards over his 28-year career. Adrian Tafoya has staged over 500 live theatre productions in one aspect or another as a Stage Manager, Technician, Actor or Producer.