Andy Griffith Letter to John D. Messick
Staff Person: Arthur Carlson
Mt. Airy, North Carolina native Andy Griffith attained worldwide fame for his portrayal of two of television’s most iconic characters, Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ben Matlock. Before his nearly six decade film and television career, Griffith performed stage plays. His first starring Broadway role occurred with “No Time for Sergeants,” which premiered at the Alvin Theater October 20, 1955. In it, Griffith portrayed country bumpkin Will Stockdale as the audience followed his series of misadventures in the US Air Force. “No Time for Sergeants” also featured actor Don Knotts, who later appeared on the “Andy Griffith Show” as Deputy Barney Fife.
A lover of performances and music, East Carolina College President John D. Messick appealed to his fellow native Tar Heel for tickets to a performance of “No Time for Sergeants.” Featured in the John D. Messick Collection (UA 02.05) of East Carolina University Archives, Griffith’s response and signature are available for researchers interested in learning more about East Carolina’s fifth President.