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There are plenty of classic television shows that still have a major audience today. Few could forget The Andy Griffith Show, as it’s stood the test of time as one of the most delightfully charming and funny comedies ever created. After the show ended in 1968, Mayberry R.F.D. was created as a spin-off.
It seems the spin-off series has some crossover with The Waltons, too. Both shows used the same major set piece. Here’s what it was and what ultimately became of it.
‘Mayberry R.F.D’ was created as a spin-off of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
The Andy Griffith Show was one of the most popular comedies on TV, and while it ultimately ended in the late ’60s, creators didn’t want to allow the creative world to die completely.
According to Wide Open Country, Mayberry was the North Carolina town that Griffith’s character was the sheriff of. While the show was a huge success, many of the main cast members chose to pursue other avenues. But some of the remaining cast members whose characters lived in Mayberry were brought back for a spin-off series, Mayberry R.F.D.
The plot of Mayberry R.F.D. centers around Mayberry Town Council President Sam Jones as well as his son, Mike Jones. And it ran for several successful seasons when it replaced The Andy Griffith Show in its CBS timeslot. Unfortunately, Mayberry got the ax when networks started to purge many of the sitcoms about rural life in 1971.
The home in ‘Mayberry R.F.D.’ was then used for ‘The Waltons’
The farmhouse in Mayberry R.F.D. was a staple on the show. MeTV notes it served as the home of Sam Jones and his son, and Sam and Mike play catch on the lawn of the farmhouse in the opening credits of the show.
It seems that same farmhouse wasn’t just used for Mayberry, though. The Waltons, another ’70s classic, also utilized the house. And it’s because both shows were filmed on the Warner Bros. studio set called “The Jungle.”
“The Jungle” was originally a tropical set built for Santiago, a film created in 1956 that was made to look like it was set in Cuba. But that set was then used for plenty of other TV shows and movies that needed lush greenery — and a farmhouse was built on the north end of the lot. The two-story farmhouse was named Doonevan Flats, and it featured a wide porch, three windows above the porch, and a red barn next to it.
After Mayberry completed filming, Doonevan Flats was utilized as the home of the Walton family.
An arsonist ultimately burned down the set’s farmhouse
There’s a lot to love about Doonevan Flats, but it didn’t last forever. The Orlando Sentinel notes an arsonist set the farmhouse on fire in 1991. The source claims a flammable substance was poured over the chicken coops first, and from there, the flames spread up to the farmhouse.
In 2014, The New York Daily News reported the blaze was set by John Orr, the chief arson investigator for the Glendale Fire Department. He set around 2,000 fires and was the cause of multiple deaths. It seems he favored setting fabric and hardware stores on fire primarily, but Doonevan Flats didn’t go untouched.
The Walton family’s farmhouse was ultimately rebuilt on a different lot. And it was later used on Gilmore Girls as the Dragonfly Inn started by Lorelai Gilmore.
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