I am starting this in hopes people will add their real Andy Griffith autographs and the Linke "secretarial" ones for comparison.  Since the death of Andy Griffith I have noticed a growing appreciation of the man and actor.  He was much more than just "Andy Taylor" his range from comedy to drama was great.  I suspect his popularity will increase partly because of TCM showing some of his dramatic and comic performances. 

In this study if you scroll down the comments you will find links to Andy Griffith's four appearances as a "Mystery Guest" on the television game show What's My Line? in 1958, 1959,1965 and 1967.  There are captures of his signature as he signed in below also. 

With Andy Griffith autographs it is not so much the forgeries, since the value has not quite reached the level to make it worthwhile, but "secretarial" signatures that are the problem.  The "secretary" generally was Richard O. Linke a producer who worked with Griffith for many years.  It is hoped that people will submit genuine autographs from checks or other sources as well as any "fake" ones.  The more there is for comparison the better our understanding of the nuances in his signature.

For many years the "Linke" autographs were considered real much in the same way that the "Challton Heston" signatures were.  An old respected collector many years ago told me that most of the Andy Griffith autographs were suspect.  At that time it was assumed a secretary was signing.  Based on what my friend told me I never actually owned an Andy Griffith autograph until I bought checks on eBay a few years ago!  The work that Gary Wedemeyer and Frank Johnson are doing to educate people on the subject of the "Linke" autographs is very valuable.  Like most TAGS collectors they have a great passion for the subject.  I would like to thank them for their efforts.

The first is the signature of a very young Andy Griffith at age 18.  This comes from the World War II draft registration form that was signed by Andy Griffith.  I have never seen an earlier example of his signature although no doubt some exist.    The original is in the National Archives so in a way this is an Andy Griffith autograph that we all own!

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I used to think the Richard Linke signature was the real deal. . . until I had him sign a Griffith signature for me in person. He explained that all “thru the mail” autograph requests were sent to a PO Box in North Carolina. They were then boxed up and sent to him in Hawaii where he signed them and sent back to the PO Box in North Carolina where they were then sent back to the folks who requested an autograph.

Very good example Gary.  Andy Griffith was not alone in insisting on signing their own checks another one was Lou Costello.  Both of these men are very difficult to find authentic autographs outside of documents and checks.  Costello according to his secretary actually had her sign letters to his relatives.  

I'm heartbroken to consider that both my Griffith autographs maye be fake.....

Hello Denis you are not alone unfortunately there are some on eBay right now.  Sadly the Linke signed material was accepted by both PSA and JSA for quite a while and many were certified.  The good news is that there are good Griffith autographs out there and some quite reasonable.  Genuine Griffith photographs can be found but generally go for more than his checks and cut signature from the COA's from a sale he had.

If you want to see the man himself sign his name - go to about the 6:40 mark on this video:


What's My Line was a wonderful game show that i used to love watching when I was a kid.  This is very interesting.  Of course signing in chalk on a board is a bit different than paper on flat surface the autograph is certainly familiar.  I think he was much more careful in making the "t" more of a small one rather than his floating or more capital "T" that is often found.  He was doing this for television so I suspect was trying to make the letters a bit clearer than his regular signature.  The great thing about it is there is no question that was signed by him.  Thanks for finding this clip.  Sad to think of all of them gone and Dorothy Kilgallen under such tragic circumstances.  For anyone not as old as I am the panel from left to right was: Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf.  The host was ABC newsman John Daly (who became the son-in-law of Chief Justice Earl Warren).  

If you search you-tube all 3 of Andy's appearances are up there. I loved the old game shows!

I am putting the four What's My Line episodes in order by date.   If anyone knows how to capture the autographs that would be very helpful to have here. My computer skills are so limited I am lucky to find it let alone capture it.

There is some conflicting information on the airing dates so I have used the imdb.com dates.   Not to get too far off subject, but If their air date of October 31, 1965, is correct then someone mentioned in notes that Dorothy Kilgallen died of an apparent suicide or accidental overdose eight days later.   There was widespread speculation that she was murdered since she had interviewed Jack Ruby, and was a vocal critic of the Warren Commission Report.

These four episodes where he signs his name are very interesting.  Obviously there are some caveats in that I suspect he was trying to be very deliberate in making his name legible.  Also he was writing on a vertical surface in chalk, and many times larger than his normal signature.  Having said that these still show some interesting features of his autograph. 

The panel moderator for all the episodes is newsman John Daly.  The panel from left to right I have added between parenthesis.

June 22, 1958: (Arlene Francis, Jack Lemon, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf).  Begin at the 17:00 mark.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFlvpMf-dIo

May 3, 1959:  (Dorothy Kilgallen, Tony Randall, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf).  This clip begins with him.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfXHyhNU9uc

October 31, 1965:  (Arlene Franics, Steve Allen, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf).  This starts about 16:20.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6XLJUphyA

February 19, 1967: (Suzy Knickerbocker, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf).  Begins about the 16:00 mark.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D52ks7-G0PA

Here are the images of Andy's signatures from "What's My Line?"


Thanks Gary for putting those signatures in jpg. format it really helps to study them better that just watching the video clip.  I am glad you find those on youtube brings back a lot of memories.

Last one.


This is an authentic Andy signature from the early 90's. His signature got a little more "shaky" through the years but the overall structure is still the same.


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