On October 23, 1953, University alumnus Andy Griffith spoke at the opening of a new addition to Venable Hall.
Griffith, for the first time, presented his monologue “What it was, was football.” This monologue would be the one to make Griffith famous.
During his monologue, Griffith portrays a country preacher who sees a football game, and in his complete naiveté is perplexed and confused by the game and its cultural phenomenon.
After being recorded, Griffith’s monologue eventually sold over 800,000 copies nationwide, and Griffith was invited to perform it on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1954.
Griffith’s story is one of great success. A 1949 theater graduate of the University, Griffith rose from being a little known actor performing in the North Carolina outdoor drama “The Lost Colony” to become one of the most beloved personalities of classic television.