When I was in middle school I got hooked on Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason series of novels. Then I found reruns on Ted Turner's superstation. I couldn't get enough of it. The books were so riveting. The characters so quirky and alive. Raymond Burr just fit the role perfectly.
A few years down the road I found a new TV attorney - Ben Matlock. Andy Griffith was perfect playing the ol' country boy lawyer who was educated at Harvard. My dad and I wouldn't miss an episode. The song, the seersucker suits and the "aw shucks" mannerisms were too much.
My girls were too young to have ever seen the original Andy Griffith Show so they had no idea who my wife and I were talking about at the dinner table the night he died. As my wife pulled up an old episode on YouTube I could hear my girls laughing hysterically. Timeless comedy, indeed.
For an excellent look back at Andy Griffith, check out this piece that ran on NPR.