TV reunions are Opie-ate of the masses

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Original series stars Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts and Jim Nabors reunite for "The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry" (7 p.m., CBS). Griffith will narrate and introduce clips from the popular series set in small-town America that ran on Monday nights from 1960 to 1968.

"Andy Griffith" was still the No. 1-rated show when it ended production. Not even "Seinfeld" or "Friends" can say that. Griffith's genial sheriff character originally appeared in an episode of "The Danny Thomas Show." "Andy Griffith" would generate its own spin-offs, including "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," and "Mayberry, R.F.D.," starring Ken Berry. This is not the first reunion of the "Andy Griffith Show" cast. The TV movie "Return to Mayberry" aired in April 1986 and became the highest-rated television event of the 1985-86 season.

Each of these men defied enemy fire and extraordinary odds to rescue their fellow soldiers or turn the tide of battle. Almost all of them seem hesitant to discuss their exploits, and many explain that there are plenty of other equally valiant soldiers who either did not survive their mission or performed their extraordinary actions while nobody was watching. Actor and Vietnam veteran Brian Dennehy narrates this frequently moving presentation.

Filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos' father was killed in Vietnam when she was just a baby. "Pretty" traces her efforts to get to know this young soldier, and to speak for the more than 20,000 other Americans who lost a parent in that war.

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Madonna appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Triumph the Insult Dog, Sen. John Kerry and Toby Keith on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).