A Hollywood producer has stumbled across the hamlet of Mayberry and wants it to star in his moving picture, "Picnic Meets Our Town." He leaves to show the camera crews the way, and the whole town goes crazy. Floyd will only cut hair to look like a silver screen heartthrob's, Mayor Pike wants to cut down the "eyesore" tree in the square, and Deputy Fife adopts a flashy new uniform. That was The Andy Griffith Show's 13th episode, early 1961.
It happens anew in 2007. Here, in this small town, a filmcrew has arrived. It is not the first time this has happened. That doesn't mean people aren't acting ridiculous. A population that usually uses its cars to travel two blocks to the post office is now walking everywhere in hopes of stumbling in front of a lens. The city has made all members of the high school choir "ambassadors" and sends them everyday to serenade the cast. No, I am not jesting.
As part of the package, a personal friend briefly met Julia Roberts today. He was walking down one side of the street and she appeared on the other, ready to retire from a day of shooting.
"Hi!" he waved.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"Just a humble citizen whose name you will never know," he replied, ending the conversation.
Ms. Roberts, if you, your publicist, or your security chief ever reads this, you have my personal assurance that, no, the young man is not actually deranged. My word.