Matlock Fun Facts

Los Angeles Doubled As Atlanta

The Fulton County Courthouse was actually the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Los Angeles. Matlock's stomping grounds of Atlanta were filmed in Los Angeles, because it's television. This impressive domed structure is located in the West Adams neighborhood of L.A., just blocks north of the USC campus. In 1987, after the first season of Matlock, it was added to the national register of historic places. But not because of Matlock.

Andy Griffith Filmed More Hours As Matlock

Andy Griffith was onscreen as Matlock more than he was as Andy Taylor. Though Griffith filmed more episodes in his role of Mayberry's beloved sheriff, Matlock's hour-long format meant that the actor logged more screen time as Matlock than as Taylor.

Jake And The Fatman Was Its Spin Off

William Conrad appeared on the first season of “Matlock” as a prosecuting attorney. Producers liked the character so much, they based a CBS series off him. Therefore, the world of Matlock reached to three major television networks. What other shows can boast that? Of course, Conrad portrayed Matt Dillon on the radio version of Gunsmoke. Ironically, he was deemed too fat for the role, and James Arness was cast as the U.S. Marshall.

Matlock And Monk Are In The Same Universe

“Diagnosis: Murder” was a spin-off of “Jake and the Fatman,” which was a spin-off of Matlock. Dick Van Dyke's “Diagnosis” proved so popular that it spawned a series of mystery novels. Characters from the second book, The Death Merchant, later reappeared in author Lee Goldberg's Monk novelizations. Hence, all these fictional sleuths are in the same shared universe!

Andy Griffith Almost Always Got A Standing Ovation For His Trial Scenes

In most episodes of “Matlock,” the attorney is able to finger the real assailant during cross-examination of a witness. These scenes required Griffith to spend considerable time standing—owing to Guillian-Barré Syndrome, he wore knee braces due to temporary paralysis of his lower legs—and delivering lengthy monologues. The actor also carried notes to help him recall dialogue and spent weekends rehearsing. When he finished, the crew would typically applaud the actor for nailing the complex and arduous “gotcha” speeches. According to co-star Nancy Stafford, Griffith almost always got the speech right on the first take.

Peanut Butter Was A Source Of Friction

As the star of a hit show, Griffith was entitled to certain amenities. But he reportedly didn’t have much interest in lavish trailers or special treatment. The only thing he expected the production to cater was peanut butter, which Griffith considered one of his favorite foods. The actor would reportedly get extremely upset when he went to fetch some to use as a dip for his apples and found it missing.

Alf Made A Guest Appearance

In 1987, Matlock attempted to entice viewers of other NBC shows to sample Griffith’s by concocting a plot in which Matlock defends a Hollywood producer accused of murdering a network executive. Betty White, Jason Bateman, and Malcolm Jamal-Warner made appearances, and so did the star of one of the network’s biggest hits: the alien-puppet sitcom ALF. The appearance comes at the end of the episode, with ALF remembering the producer’s abrasive demeanor on set. Whether he may have been a puppet or an actual alien in Matlock continuity is left for the audience to decide.

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