People visit Mount Airy from all over the world because of “The Andy Griffith Show,” and on Tuesday afternoon the city welcomed a special guest to town, Gov. Roy Cooper. North Carolina’s chief executive didn’t come here on any official government business, but for the same reasons as other fans of the TV series starring the local native: to soak up some “Mayberry” atmosphere. “That show, not only did I grow up watching it, but as an adult, I’ve continued watching it,” Cooper, 62, said shortly after arriving with his entourage at the Andy Griffith Museum for a tour of that facility.
Tanya Jones, the executive director of the Surry Arts Council, which operates the museum, said she had received notification that Cooper tentatively planned to come to Mount Airy, on which the fictional Mayberry town in the Griffith show is based. “As I understand it, he is a big fan of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’” the Surry Arts Council official had said earlier Tuesday, and he wanted to visit the museum honoring the late actor and meet Betty Lynn. The second part of that wish also was fulfilled as Gov. Cooper entered the museum shortly after 3 p.m. and was greeted in its lobby by Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou on the program and moved to Mount Airy 13 years ago. Cooper and Lynn exchanged warm greetings, which quickly led to them reminiscing about “The Andy Griffith Show” and its lasting popularity after first hitting the airwaves about 60 years ago.