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Just Who Exactly Visited Mayberry Between 1960 and 1968

I’ll start by stating matter of factly that The Andy Griffith Show is my go to answer when someone asks me what’s my all time favorite TV Show. But of course I do have plenty of others. Columbo, Seinfeld, Have Gun Will Travel, Sanford and Son, The Twilight Zone and on and on.

But let’s get back to Mayberry.

TV shows proved a great training ground for up and coming actors during the 1950’s and 60’s or a place for aging veterans to make an appearance. While the famed Mayberry didn’t have as many guest bits like westerns and cop shows of the era, there were still a few surprises in store for those that want to go back in time and have a look at just co-starred alongside Andy, Barney and Opie.

Numerous “faces” you’ll be sure to recognize and maybe you’ll even know a few of their names. Even a couple of future Oscar winners pass through the fabled town. Shockingly the one and only James T. Kirk hits the friendly sidewalks in front of Floyd’s Barber Shop in an accidental clash of location shots while filming one of the greatest of all Star Trek episodes, The City On the Edge of Forever alongside Joan Collins.

Among the many fine character players that turned up in an episode or two you’ll spot western regulars Dub Taylor, Arthur Hunnicutt, Edgar Buchanan, R. G. Armstrong and one of my favorite “heavies” of the period, Leo Gordon, in an episode smartly titled, High Noon In Mayberry.

Even Angel Eyes himself, Lee Van Cleef, turned up as a bully picking on another guest star, Jerry Van Dyke.

Semi-regulars who had plenty of film titles under their belt included Denver Pyle, Will Wright and Frank Ferguson. Fans of Universal Monsters will know Ferguson as the owner of MacDougall’s House of Horrors in the now classic Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein released in 1948.

Beauties that hit town include Barbara Eden, Julie Adams, Joyce Jameson and those unforgettable eyes of Susan Oliver that have Andy and Barney eating out of her hand.

Nearing an Oscar for Cool Hand Luke, George Kennedy, made an appearance during his rise to leading man status.

Other character players both of the past and on the rise that paid a visit include Michael J. Pollard, John Dehner, James Best, William Schallert and even one time Number 1 son of Charlie Chan, Keye Luke, made an appearance.

James Westerfield, Jay Novello, Ellen Corby, Hugh Marlowe, Willis Bouchey and a member of the famed John Ford stock company, John Qualen, dropped by town for an early episode.

Hey, that’s Harry Dean Stanton making an appearance in an episode that saw Andy looking for series regular Jack Dodson on an island vacation gone bad.

Old timers like Buddy Ebsen who himself was about to score his own hit, The Beverly Hillbillies, Lillian Bronson and those who were to become well known faces in the years ahead like Rob Reiner, Don Rickles and a personal favorite of mine, Mr. Pat Hingle, stopped by to see Andy and company.

I did say two Oscar winners didn’t I. Would you believe the one and only Jack Nicholson made an appearance as the series wound down?

There were others over the course of the 200 plus episodes and I’d encourage one and all to go and have a look at not just The Andy Griffith show but so many others of the late 1950’s into the early 70’s to rediscover so many fine actors that not only played supporting roles in movies but delivered some fine work via the small screen.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the fan favorite Floyd the Barber played by Howard McNear who appeared in 80 Mayberry episodes and numerous films opposite the likes of Elvis mixed with plenty of Television work. He also did some great vocals guesting on The Flintstones. “Say that’s kind of catchy. A dog is a man’s best friend. I like that.”

18 Comments »

  1. Like the Pythons say, “And now for something completely different,”. Very cool Mike, I do like your reviews quite a lot, but stuff like this is also really neat too. Some of the guest stars like Lee Van Cleef and Jack Nicholson were a real surprise to me as the show didn’t seem like something they would normally appear in. The show was never the same after Don Knotts left, and I always felt like Andy Griffith caved to studio pressure to keep it going, even though by like season 4 it was already losing steam.

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t remember Andy Griffith ever making much of an impact in Britain and am not aware of this shown being screened here. But it was often the case with tv shows that they gave young actors a leg-up in the business. Always interesting to check out some stars’ imdb status and see how often they left out various guest appearances on television as if their rise to move fame was more straightforward and they never had to slum it on the small-screen just to pay the bills.

    • So many of my favorites of the 70’s did plenty of TV work on their rise. Guys like Bronson and Coburn have scores of small screen credits prior to their box office pull and always fun to go and revisit these or discover for the first time.

      • I was always surprised it took Bronson so long to make the movie breakthrough given he had plenty of TV time. He had been the lead in Man with a Camera 1958-1960, then a solid supporting role in Empire 1962-1963 and again in The Travels of Jamie McPheeters and between The Sandpiper and The Dirty Dozen was still making guest appearances in FBI, The Fugitive, Rawhide and The Big Valley. I don’t know how they paid guest stars and if you got more if you were a budding film star or whether it was roughly the same whoever you were.

  3. Sorry to say I’ve never seen this series, but love hearing about all the performers who appeared in it. Television really was a boon for Hollywood supporting actors .

  4. Did you know that the 1976 low budget actioner “Vigilante Force” was the last production filmed on the Mayberry backlot? If you watched the TV series regularly, you can recognize some things in the movie.

  5. Glad to know someone else remembers the marvelous character actor work of Pat Hingle.(1924 – 2009). For me he was never finer than as Detective Josephson opposite Clint Eastwood’s ‘Ben Shockley’ in THE GAUNTLET (1977).

    • He was a credit to so many features of the 70’s even though he dates back to the 1950’s and On the Waterfront I believe in a bit. He was great in Gauntlet and Sudden Impact as well among so many others.

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