Aaron Ruben, who produced (and sometimes wrote and directed) The Andy Griffith Show for its first five seasons, died at 95 in Beverly Hills on this date in 2010. Ruben wrote radio shows for Dinah Shore, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Milton Berle, and Fred Allen, before breaking into television. Among the hit shows he helped shape were Caesar’s Hour (Sid Caesar), The Phil Silver Show, The Sam Levenson Show, Matlock, Gomer Pyle, and Sanford and Son. During his years of retirement, he served as a court advocate for abused and abandoned children. In 1999, Ruben was named volunteer of the year by the Los Angeles Child Advocate’s Office and established the Aaron Ruben Scholarship Fund.
“The Griffith show is like the grown-ups’ Oz. It’s the land of, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a town with no drugs, no crime, no gangs, no violence, [a place where] people greet each other, people are kind to each other.’ . . . That’s why grown-ups love that show.” —Aaron Ruben