A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at Americas Hometown

Hardcover | October 1, 2014

byGustavo Pérez Firmat

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Half a century after viewers first watched a father and son walking to the local fishing hole, whistling a simple, yet unforgettable, tune, The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Tens of millions of viewers have seen the show either in its original run, its ongoing reruns, on DVD, or on the internet. Websites devoted to the show abound, hundreds of fan clubs bring enthusiasts together, and a plethora of books and Mayberry-themed merchandise have celebrated all things Mayberry. A small cottage industry has even developed around the teachings of the show's episodes. But why does a sitcom from the 1960s set in the rural South still evoke such devotion in people today?

In A Cuban in Mayberry, acclaimed author Gustavo Pérez Firmat revisits America's hometown to discover the source of its enduring appeal. He approaches the show from a unique perspective—that of an exile who has never experienced the rootedness that Andy and his fellow Mayberrians take for granted, as folks who have never strayed from home or lived among strangers. As Pérez Firmat weaves his personal recollections of exile from Cuba with an analysis of the show, he makes a convincing case that the intimacy between person and place depicted in TAGS is the secret of its lasting relevance, even as he reveals the surprising ways in which the series also reflects the racial, generational, and political turbulence of the 1960s.

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Half a century after viewers first watched a father and son walking to the local fishing hole, whistling a simple, yet unforgettable, tune, The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Tens of millions of viewers have seen the show either in its original run, its ongoing reruns, ...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:194 pages, 9.28 × 6.3 × 0.85 inPublished:October 1, 2014Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292739052

ISBN - 13:9780292739055

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: To the Fishing HolePart 1: The Place1. A World unto Itself2. Against Change3. Stopping the Story4. Great Pages in History5. From R.F.D. to R.I.P.Interlude: The Road to MayberryPart 2: The People1. Sheriff without a Gun (Andy)2. Imagination (Mr. McBeevee)3. Life Imitates Fife (Barney)4. A Face in the Crowd (Mr. Schwump)5. Growing Up, Growing Old (Opie and Floyd)6. Old Geezers (Judd and Asa)7. Mayberry Maidens (Aunt Bee, Helen, and Thelma Lou)8. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Ernest T. Bass and the Darlings)9. Otis Regrets (Otis Campbell)10. Love in the Country (Gomer, Goober, and Howard)11. Trashy Women (Daphne and Skippy)Conclusion: Old SamEpilogue: A Cuban in MayberryAppendix: List of EpisodesNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Half a century after viewers first watched a father and son walking to the local fishing hole, whistling a simple, yet unforgettable, tune, The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Tens of millions of viewers have seen the show either in its original run, its ongoing reruns, on DVD, or on the internet. Websites devoted to the show abound, hundreds of fan clubs bring enthusiasts together, and a plethora of books and Mayberry-themed merchandise have celebrated all things Mayberry. A small cottage industry has even developed around the teachings of the show’s episodes. But why does a sitcom from the 1960s set in the rural South still evoke such devotion in people today? In A Cuban in Mayberry, acclaimed author Gustavo Pérez Firmat revisits America’s hometown to discover the source of its enduring appeal. He approaches the show from a unique perspective—that of an exile who has never experienced the rootedness that Andy and his fellow Mayberrians take for granted, as folks who have never strayed from home or lived among strangers. As Pérez Firmat weaves his personal recollections of exile from Cuba with an analysis of the show, he makes a convincing case that the intimacy between person and place depicted in TAGS is the secret of its lasting relevance, even as he reveals the surprising ways in which the series also reflects the racial, generational, and political turbulence of the 1960s.Once I took a look at the first few paragraphs, I couldn’t put the book down. By the time I finished reading it, Pérez Firmat had convinced me that Mayberry, long regarded as an icon of the rural, pastoral, and nostalgic South, is also a special location on the cultural map of Cuban America. Fans of The Andy Griffith Show—and they are legion—will be thrilled by this smart, witty, and moving book. - Jorge Olivares, Allen Family Professor of Latin American Literature, Colby College