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Trivia / Matlock

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  • California Doubling: Notably averted in the season 2 premiere "The Billionaire" set in England.
  • Career Resurrection: In addition to bringing Andy Griffith back into the spotlight, the show also restored executive producer Fred Silverman's professional reputation following a disastrous 3 year spell as president and CEO of NBC from 1978-1981, which saw him green light one too many programming failures on NBC's prime time lineup as well as almost bankrupt the network after spending a ton of money to produce a whopping 150 hours of coverage for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, only to end up cancelling said programming after Jimmy Carter pulled the U.S. team out of the event in protest of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.
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  • Channel Hop: The show ran on NBC from 1986 until 1992. It then moved to ABC where it ran from 1992 until 1995.
  • The Danza: Julie Sommars as Julie March.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Don Knotts, Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, had a recurring role as Ben's Nosy Neighbor Les Calhoun. Other "Griffith" alumni that appeared on the show included Aneta Corsaut (Helen Crump), Jack Dodson (Howard Sprague), Arlene Golonka (Millie Swanson), and Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou).
  • Name's the Same: The episode "The Abduction" gives us two mobsters with famous names. One named Robert Drake (who is also the real name of Iceman, one of the founding members of the superhero team, the X-Men) and one named Jay Cutler (the current Quarterback of the Chicago Bears).
  • Referenced by...: For younger audiences, the first contact with Matlock probably came from The Simpsons, where Matlock is particularly loved by senior residents. In a recursive reference, this elderly appeal also carries over to Better Call Saul. It also got a sly mention in Ed, Edd n Eddy, where Eddy mentioned that his dad turns surly if he doesn't get to watch Matlock. Tony DiNozzo, however, uses it as a pejorative for people who think they are crackerjack crime solvers and are really just delusional.
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  • Shoot the Money: Many episodes, especially after the Channel Hop to ABC would be shot in part in North Carolina; particularly in Manteo (where Andy Griffith lived for much of his later years).
  • You Look Familiar: Daniel Roebuck plays a one-off character in an early season before coming back as a regular cast member, Cliff Lewis. However, he lost a ton of weight between appearances over the several years that went by and it effectively allowed him to become a brand new character. Lampshaded when Ben seems to briefly notice his resemblance to the chubby man from earlier on. Ironically, Roebuck would put his weight back on and then some once he got a lot older.
    • Leo Penn, who also directed on the show, played multiple separate characters, including a priest who was seemingly a Victim of the Week in an interesting subversion where his character was Driven to Suicide but the truth was too scandalous to publicize (Catholics see suicide as the unforgivable sin), and a nosy neighbor. He was also Russ Lewis, "Russ the Rhino", an irritating freeloader with a bunch of petty issues who Ben struggled to get kicked from his residence.
    • Andy Griffith portrayed Matlock's father in a Whole Episode Flashback on two instances, who also lost his wife (so it seems; the pilot dropped the ball on that one by saying she was still alive, so it could actually be a divorce and Ben is choosing to remember things differently or his mind is going spotty with age) when Ben was a boy and was the start of Ben's love for hot dogs.


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