A Long Run
Here are some surprising facts about Matlock: The TV drama series Matlock first aired on March 3rd, 1986 and ran successfully until it’s final episode on May 7th 1995. It originally was broadcast on NBC but then migrated to CBS in 1992.
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Matlock was modeled after the hit crime drama Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr. Perry Mason ran from 1957 to 1966 on CSB Television
Surprising Facts About Ben Matlock
Matlock’s lead character Ben Matlock was portrayed brilliantly by Andy Griffith. Andy played a widowed, folksy, cantankerous attorney living in a farmhouse in Atlanta, Georgia
Matlock was a graduate of Harvard Law School and was known to visit crime scenes, where he would often discover clues missed by police investigators
As revealed in season eight in an episode called The Diner, Matlock showed his love of hotdogs and being generally thrifty. He blames this behavior on Dr Mark Sloan (portrayed by Dick Van Dike) who convinced Ben to invest in 8-Track tapes, which as we all know failed miserably. As a result of this horrible investment, Matlock lost his entire saving of $5,000. This loss forced him to live on hotdogs and wear only cheap suits!
Matlock’s usual legal fee to clients was $100,000 although he occasionally took on work pro bono (no charge to clients) if he believed strongly that a suspect was wronged
“I’d rather eat a live chicken than be your layer” – Ben Matlock
Many actors appeared on Matlock as different characters over the years. Among them include Roddy McDowell, Carolyn Seymour, Nana Visitor, Brynn Thayer and Daniel Roebuck, among others.
The most famous recurring character was Les “Ace” Calhoun, portrayed by the late, great Don Knotts . Calhoun was Motlock’s next door neighbor.
Above: Don Knotts and Andy Griffith as Ben Matlock and Les “Ace” Calhoun
“I know the prosecutor in this case, and she is a very tough cookie” [takes a bite of his hot dog] – Ben Matlock
The Matlock Episodes
Matlock broadcasted a grand total of 193 episodes throughout 9 seasons on television.
It began with a TV-movie.
Twelve 2-hour and 15 2-part episodes of the program were aired
Fun Facts About Matlock:
- The original Matlock pilot show starred Dick Van Dyke, not Andy Griffith
- Behind the scenes, the cast and crew often gave Griffith a standing ovation for his courtroom dialogs. Now that’s something special!
- Andy Griffith wanted Matlock writers to make the character darker by showing the seedy side of being a defense attorney. He also asked if they could give him a “drinking problem” to show how humans can all have flaws. His request was denied by producers
- Andy Griffith absolutely refused to be pampered on the set like many stars. All he requested was that he have plenty of peanut butter on hand to dip his apple slices in. Staffers tell the story of Griffith losing his cool when that peanut butter was not available. DO NOT mess with Matlock’s peanut butter!
- The TV show Jake and the Fat Man was a spinoff of Matlock and starred William Conrad
- in 2013, 18 months after Andy Griffith’s death, an NBC affiliate decided to air a previously recorded 2-hour Matlock episode in the Prime Time slot. As a result, the show got better ratings than the current show in that time slot. Amazing!
- Andy Griffith – Ben Matlock
- Linda Purl – Charlene Matlock
- Kene Holliday – Tyler Hudson
- Kari Lizer – Cassie Phillips
- Nancy Stafford – Michelle Thomas
- Julie Sommars – Julie March
- Clarence Gilyard Jr. – Conrad McMasters
- Brynn Thayer – Leanne MacIntyre
- Daniel Roebuck – Cliff Lewis
- Carol Huston – Jerri Stone
- James McEachin – Lieutenant Frank Daniels
- Michael Durrell – District Attorney Lloyd Burgess
- David Froman – Lieutenant Bob Brooks
- Don Knotts – Les “Ace” Calhoun
- Warren Frost – Billy Lewis
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