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Griffith's hometown has own TV plot line

July 17, 2006 at 10:47 PM   |   Comments

MOUNT AIRY, N.C., July 17 (UPI) -- The North Carolina city of Mount Airy is best known for being Andy Griffith's hometown, but a recent incident gave it a plot worthy of his famed TV show.

CBSNews.com reported that a decision by Tom Hellebrand, the owner of Mount Airy's Mayberry Kountry Kitchen, to honor actor Don Knotts' character from "The Andy Griffith Show" with a statue resulted in a legal battle over its creation.

After gaining approval from CBS to erect the honorary statue and being halfway complete with construction, Hellebrand was told to stop all work on the memorial.

While CBS claimed Griffith and Knotts' wife were the cause for the delays, Hellebrand, the former crime scene investigator, was concerned over his decision to spend $10,000 on a half-finished statue.

"This whole thing is like an 'Andy Griffith' episode," he said. "It starts out good. It gets really bad in the middle of the show, but at the end, it gets happy and there's a happy ending."

The happy ending occurred when CBS officials recently decided to reimburse Hellebrand for his funds lost on the statue, the Web site said.

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