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Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor and Ron Howard together Opie Taylor|CBS via Getty Images

Every episode of The Andy Griffith Show opened with its transmittable theme song, “The Fishin’ Hole.” Its an easy melody, topped through music composer Earle Hagen’s whistle, do it among the most famous TV show themes of every time.

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But in recent years, the tune has become the topic of a significant lawsuit. Here’s exactly how The Andy Griffith show theme finished up in the middle of a legal battle.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ premiered in 1960

The Andy Griffith Show aired for eight seasons on CBS, indigenous 1960 come 1968. That starred Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, Mayberry’s widowed sheriff. Don Knotts play Barnie Fife, Andy’s blundering deputy sheriff and also cousin. And also a young Ron Howard took on the duty of Andy’s son, Opie.

The Andy Griffith show won six Emmys end its eight-season run. Knotts alone earned five Emmys for best Supporting Actor.


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Earle Hagen written ‘The Fishin Hole’

Music producer Earle Hagen and also Herbert Spencer were hired to compose the music and theme track for The Andy Griffith Show. The duo split before anything was produced. Yet when Hagen created “The Fishin’ Hole,” Spencer also earned a credit on the song.

When talking to the tv Academy Foundation, Hagen defined how easily he come up through the template song, whistling that himself. “One morning, I obtained up, after beating ours brains the end for a pair of months, and also I thought, that thing must be simple enough come whistle,” Hagen revealed. “And it took me around 10 minutes to write it.”


“One morning I obtained up after ~ beating ours brains out for a pair of months, and also I thought ‘That thing should be basic enough to whistle.’ and it took me around 10 minutes to compose it.” – Earle Hagen, composer that The Andy Griffith display theme song. Pic.twitter.com/VcP944YNCA

— Eric Alper (

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“The Fishin’ Hole” shows up at the start of every episode, as Andy and Opie walk earlier from a fishing trip. “It’s end up being one the those identification pieces of material,” Hagen added. “If you’re in your living room, and also somebody is in the various other room, and also they hear of the Griffith theme, come on they say, ‘Hey Griffith’s coming on let’s go watch it.’”

Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer’s heirs sue CBS over the template song

Hagen created the music for 249 out of 268 illustration of The Andy Griffith Show. He died at period 88 in 2008. And Spencer, who was credited for “The Fishin’ Hole” based on his partnership with Hagen, passed away in 1992.

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Nearly 50 year after the show ended, CBS was sue by Hagen and Spencer’s heirs for using the theme track on DVD’s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a 2019 lawsuit, the Hagen family Trust and The Diana R. Spencer Trust declared that the network exploited the theme without a patent to sell it ~ above DVDs. They said that CBS is relying top top a “1978 agreement in between Viacom and also Mayberry Enterprises worrying rights come the series and the the agreement doesn’t incorporate home video or other contemporary media.”

As the now, it no look choose the 2 parties have concerned an agreement, together there have actually been no reports that the lawsuit being settled.