A packed house saw the premier of Andy Griffith’s new movie, “Play the Game,” at the Downtown Cinema Sunday afternoon.
The film, which stars Griffith as a widowed grandfather in a retirement home who tries to learn to be a ladies’ man from his grandson, opens in theaters nationwide on Friday.
Marc Fienberg, the director of the film, wanted Mount Airy to be the statewide debut of the film as it is Griffith’s hometown.
“I think the town should be honored. It’s a real tribute to Mount Airy that they saw fit to premier it here,” said Steve Petlitz.
Those attending the movie were not sure what to expect when they paid the $5 admission to get in on Sunday afternoon, but they were all smiles when exiting the theater at the end.
“I thought it was wonderful,” said Charles Vaughn, who gives tours for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. “A part of the chamber tour has a lot to do with Andy so I’ve come to know more and more about him. I’m glad to see this side of him.”
The movie delighted audience members of all ages, even those not old enough to have grown up watching “The Andy Griffith Show.”
“It was great. It was probably one of the best I’ve seen lately,” said Teresa Dickens, who was there with her son. “Even my son enjoyed it. I heard him laughing during parts of it. I definitely want to see it again.”
Attendees were surprised to see Griffith in a role so different than that of Sheriff Andy Taylor.
“It was very good. It was much different than Sheriff Taylor,” said Petlitz. “He is an actor, and he’s very good.”
While many hoped Griffith himself would make a surprise visit to the cinema, they did not leave completely disappointed. Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on TAGS, insisted on seeing the movie on Sunday and was at the premier.
Proceeds from the show will go to the Surry Arts Council to assist with landscaping at the new Andy Griffith Museum.
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.