In 1997, two years after the end of the series, Andy Griffith reprised the role of Matlock on a two part episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993). This would mark his final appearance in the role, and the only time the Matlock character was seen on CBS. In the episode, it is explained that Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) advised Ben in 1969 to invest his life savings, five thousand dollars, in the 8-track tape industry. When Ben lost all of his money, he began buying cheap suits off the rack, and eating hot dogs, because they were all he could afford. By the time he had money again, it was a habit.
Although Charlene (Linda Purl) and Leanne (Brynn Thayer) were supposed to be sisters, no mention is ever made of their connection during the series.
Kene Holiday was fired after the third season, due to his ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol.
Daniel Roebuck played three different roles on this show, before finally getting cast as Cliff Lewis in season seven.
Nancy Stafford chose to leave the series after season six. She had just gotten married, filming was moving to North Carolina, and she did not wish to relocate.
Linda Purl left the show near the end of the first season, after disputes about her character and castmates.
During the third season, Kene Holiday missed a total of seven episodes, because he was in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. By the time he was three months sober, he had been fired from the show.
Nancy Stafford, Kari Lizer, Daniel Roebuck, and Brynn Thayer all had guest appearances on the show before taking the roles of Michelle, Cassie, Cliff, and Leanne, respectively.
Clarence Gilyard, Jr. appeared in almost every episode of the NBC edition of the show, after he joined the cast, before production moved to North Carolina for the series seventh year. He was about to co-star in Walker, Texas Ranger (1993), which made Gilyard's scheduling more difficult.
Clarence Gilyard, Jr. and Daniel Roebuck were series regulars together for all of season seven, and a few episodes of season eight (when Gilyard left), but due to one or both not making an appearance in a given episode, they were only in two together.
Long before Nancy Stafford, Clarence Gilyard Jr. and Daniel Roebuck joined the cast, respectively, the 3 were all lifelong fans of Andy Griffith's, by watching The Andy Griffith Show (1960), as children. Stafford replaced Linda Purl in season two, Gilyard replaced Kene Holiday in season four and Roebuck was replaced Gilyard, himself, in season seven.
After an 18 year absence from starring in The Andy Griffith Show (1960), Andy Griffith took the role, because he liked the script.
Matlock was like a surrogate father to Michelle and Conrad, as does Andy Griffith to Nancy Stafford and Clarence Gilyard Jr., in real-life. In separate interviews, Stafford said Griffith helped her career boost, whilst Gilyard said that when he was auditioning for Conrad; he'd forget the script and be Opie for a day and Griffith had taught him how to spread humour.
In a number of episodes whenever Matlock has to introduce a piece of additional evidence it's usually "Defence Exhibit G".
Besides Don Knotts, other former cast members of the The Andy Griffith Show (1960) to appear were Aneta Corsaut, Jack Dodson, Betty Lynn, and Arlene Golonka.
Beginning with Nancy Stafford's second season in 1988, she missed several episodes, due to her busy scheduling. She left the show in 1992.
In a couple of flashback episodes that looked at Ben's early career, Andy Griffith played Ben's father.
Andy Griffith was only fifty-nine years old when he first played Ben Matlock, despite numerous stereotypes that this show was targeted toward the elderly demographic.
At the end of every case, the person who was on the stand being questioned by Matlock was the actual killer, and Matlock had exposed him, despite making clear that his one goal was to prove reasonable doubt in the case of his client's guilt or to prove his client's innocence.
His fee is one hundred thousand dollars, but told a client once, that a pro bono case once in a while, is good for the soul. He also told the relative of a client, who noted how expensive he was, that when he wins, he's usually considered a bargain.
Of the 100 guys who auditioned for Conrad McMasters, it was Andy Griffith's call to handpick Clarence Gilyard Jr., who won the role.
Along with Miami Vice (1984), this is another NBC show to feature music or singers play their music.
Andy Griffith was the first choice for the lead role of the show, after Brandon Tartikoff saw him in the TV movie: Fatal Vision (1984).
Bill Mumy, who played in two episodes of Night Gallery (1969), and on Lost in Space (1965), played Ben Matlock's nephew in one episode.
Clarence Gilyard, Jr. and Daniel Roebuck, who played Matlock's private investigators, also appeared in movies featuring Paul Gleason as an officer of the L.A.P.D. Gilyard appeared in Die Hard (1988), and Roebuck appeared in Money Talks (1997).
Billy Zane and Frances Fisher appeared on this show years before their respective roles as the fiancé and mother of Rose (Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart), the main character of Titanic (1997).
Compared to his other character on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), Matlock also drove a Ford automobile.
Before Kene Holiday was casted in the series, as a little boy, he was the only actor to have occasionally watched The Andy Griffith Show (1960), that featured Andy Griffith, and have recognized each and every character from the show, despite not being a fan of the show.
Most of Andy Griffith's friends appeared on the show: Mitchell Ryan, Dick Van Dyke, R.G. Armstrong, Jean Speegle Howard, Roddy McDowall, William Schallert, Claude Akins and of course Don Knotts.
Whenever Ben became irritated with someone, he called them a "jackass". This was one of his favorite expressions with Billy (Warren Frost), who was Cliff's dad. He got on Ben's nerves quite often.
Andy Griffith was living in Manteo, North Carolina, when cast for the show. For the first six seasons, when videotaped on NBC, until the seventh season for ABC, Griffith would fly to his house in North Carolina and back every weekend and on other breaks to be with his family, until 1992.
In one of Linda Purl's absences, in an episode, Kari Lizer's character had yearned to replace Ben's daughter, Charlene; after moving to Philadelphia; when Andy Griffith's character was opposed to this; hence, Nancy Stafford replaced Purl.
Before Kene Holliday's termination from the series, in a 2-pt. episode, Cindy Morgan's character was working for Ben, as a private investigator, and was planning to become an equal partner to him, when that didn't work out, consequently, Clarence Gilyard Jr. replaced Holliday.
On one of the episodes, the series revisited The Andy Griffith Show (1960) by recreating the knife scene with Don Knotts, from the 5th season episode entitled "Barney's Uniform."
Especially if Tyler (Kene Holliday) and Conrad (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) are alike in both ways, their personas were different as well as their own approach to their job, despite not knowing each other. Tyler was a stocktrader and carried himself with something of an aristocratic air, whilst Conrad had more of a blue collar, working man attitude.
The show concluded after nine seasons, because Andy Griffith wanted to spend more time with his family.
Jean Speegle Howard, Ron Howard's mother made a guest appearance on an episode of Season 1's "The Doctors," as a patient who, after the head physician was murdered, where one of the primary suspects was taking her case.
Throughout the series' run, Les, Conrad, Cliff, Julie and Matlock are the only main and/or recurring characters who have been representing themselves, when being set up for the murder.
Dick Van Dyke made a guest appearance on the premiere episode, Season 1's "The Judge," where he played the judge who murders his cheating lover in bed, and frames her boyfriend.
The show premiered on Tuesday, September 23, 1986, on NBC at 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PM PST, and it stayed in the same timeslot for 5 years, until Friday, which also aired at 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PST.
When Don Knotts was introduced in Season 3 of this show, there is an inside joke in (The Andy Griffith Show: Barney's First Car (1963)) on The Andy Griffith Show (1960) Knotts, who previously played Barney Fife, buys a car that turns out to be a lemon. In this episode of this series, (Matlock: The Lemon (1988)), Knotts, as Ace, buys a lemon as well, only this time he is accused of murdering the person who sold him the car.
After starring in The Andy Griffith Show (1960)'s reunion movie, Return to Mayberry (1986), Andy Griffith got the role.
When Matlock was in high school, Ben played baseball, and hit a home run in the 9th inning.
Though Matlock had won every case, he lost out 3 times, and later had the occasion to correct that.