— Griffith's Ritz cracker commercials. Nearly every actor who can do commercials does them, even though, too often, these mini-performances trivialize substantial work they may have done in other spheres. Not so with Griffith and Ritz, for which he served as a spokesman in the 1970s. So memorable were those ads that, 20 years later, he would speak of fans still approaching him and echoing the tagline: "Gooood crackuh." No wonder. The ads captured what people knew, or thought they know, about Griffith, and loved: the Andy Taylor in him. Griffith did grand work, maybe did it too well to have been granted the full complement of roles that he deserved, and that his Andy Taylor image may have denied him. But when he told the world, "Everything tastes great when it sits on a Ritz," there could be no dispute. In those few words he was exhibiting good-heartedness, a love of life, and appreciation for life's small delights. And viewers got it. "Mmmm-mmmmm! Gooood crackuh!" Good guy.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier