One interesting thing about the show is that some characters are so strong you think they were in scores of episodes yet, in reality, they were in very few. Of the 249 episodes (250 if you count the Pilot which I do) filmed only Andy himself appeared in all of them. To me, it was surprising that Ron Howard came in second with 210 (plus 14 credit only plus the pilot) appearances. Frances Bavier ("Aunt Bee") appeared on 175 (including the pilot plus 4 credit only) while Don Knotts was on 143 (plus 9 credit only). Surprisingly no other character reached the 100 show mark. George Lindsey, Howard McNear and Aneta Corsaut were the only ones on at least 50 episodes. Jack Dodson, Hope Summers and Hal Smith each made over 30 appearances. Betty Lynn made 26 and Jim Nabors 23 episodes. All others were fewer than 20 episodes including "Emmett Clark" and "Ellie Walker" and "Warren Ferguson." Even "Ernest T. Bass" and "The Darlings" made fewer than ten episodes. The writing, casting and directing was so flawless that it just makes you think all of them were on most of the episodes.
It all started as an episode of Make Room For Daddy with Danny Thomas in an episode entitled "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" that aired on February 15, 1960. This show introduced the world to Mayberry, North Carolina and the widower Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie. Francis Bavier also appeared in this episode but not as "Aunt Bee" she was "Henrietta Perkins." Others that would later also show up on The Andy Griffith Show including Will Wright, Frank Cady, and Rance Howard. As I have stated I feel this is the true beginning of TAGS.
During the shows run many actors and actresses that would go on to star in movies and television shows appeared including: Barbara Eden, Buddy Ebsen, Max Baer, Jr., Edgar Buchanan, Don Rickles, Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr., Frank Cady, Alvy Moore, Sid Melton, Mary Grace Canfield, Hank Patterson, Howard Hesseman (credited as Don Sturdy), James Best, William Christopher, Jamie Farr, Gavin MacLeod, Julie Adams, Dabbs Greer, Rob Reiner, Denver Pyle, Bo Hopkins, Lee Van Cleef, Helen Kleeb, Mary Jackson, Dub Taylor, Richard Bull, Karl Swenson, Ellen Corby, Artie Johnson, Dick Haynes, Terri Garr, Elinor Donahue and Ronnie Schell, George Nader and Casey Adams (aka Max Showalter). Even Jack Nicholson made two appearances on the show!
Even Barbara Griffith the first wife of Andy Griffith appeared in one episode. Ron Howard's father and brother appeared in episodes. Actor's Howard Morris "Ernest T. Bass" and Richard Crenna both directed 8 episodes of TAGS.
Now my own list does not include the announcer Colin Male except for his appearance as a forest ranger on the show. Male in 65 of the early episodes was the announcer. I personally consider the announcer similar to a crew member, director etc. and not a member of the cast.
In all over 500 actors appeared on the show (not counting "Dolly the horse" or "Old Sam the Fish." About 475 of those had "credited" roles. There were scores of "extras" that would likely push the list up much higher. The names with ** after them have exemplars shown herein. The following is a list of cast members who were on at least five episodes:
Andy Griffith "Andy Taylor" 249 episodes**(plus the pilot)
Ron Howard "Opie Taylor" 224 **(plus the pilot)
Frances Bavier "Aunt Bee Taylor" 177** (plus the pilot)
Don Knotts "Barney Fife" 151**
George Lindsey "Goober Pyle" 87**
Howard McNear "Floyd Lawson" 80**
Aneta Corsaut "Helen Crump" 66**
Jack Dodson "Howard Sprague" 38**
Hope Summers "Clara Edwards" 32**
Hal Smith "Otis Campbell" 32**
Betty Lynn "Thelma Lou" 26**
Jim Nabors "Gomer Pyle" 23**
Paul Hartman "Emmett Clark) 16**
Mary Lansing "Martha Clark" 15
Burt Mustin "Jud Fletcher & others" 14**
Robert McQuain "Joe Waters & others" 14
Richard Keith "Johnny Paul Jason" 13**
Elinor Donahue "Ellie Walker" 12**
Jack Burns "Warren Ferguson" 11**
Dick Elliott "Mayor Pike" 11**
Joseph H. Hamilton "Mayberry Citizen" 11**
Joseph Crehan "Mayberry Citizen" 10**
Sheldon Collins "Arnold Bailey" 9**
Roy Engel "Mayberry Citizen" 8**
Allan Melvin "Various Parts" 8**
Dennis Rush "Howie Pruitt" 8
Howard Morris "Ernest T. Bass" 8**
Rhonda Jeter "Karen Burgess & others" 8
Parley Baer "Mayor Stoner" 7**
Charles P. Thompson "Old Asa" later "Doc Roberts" 7**
William Keene "Rev. Tucker" 6
Jack Prince "Rafe Hollister" 6**
Janet Stewart (Bernice and others) 6
Forrest Lewis (Cy Hudgins; Mayberry Citizen) 6**
Joy Ellison (Effie Muggins and others) 6
Cheerio Meredith "Emma Brand" 6**
Norman Leavitt ("Wally" and others) 6**
Maggie Peterson Mancuso "Charlene Darling" 6**
Denver Pyle "Briscoe Darling" 6**
Doug Dillard (Darling brother) 6**
Rodney Dillard (Darling brother) 6**
Mitch Jayne (Darling brother) 6**
Dean Webb (Darling brother) 6**
Olan Soule (Choirmaster John Masters/hotel clerk) 5
Jason Johnson (Mr. Weaver & others) 5
Frank Ferguson (Mr. Foley, Sam Lindsey, Wilbur Pine) 5
Amzie Strickland (Myra Tucker & others) 5
Sherwood Keith (Sam) 5
Warren Parker (County Fair Judge) 5
George Cisar [NOT the baseball player with the same name] (Cyrus Tankersley) 5
Frank Warren (Art Crowley the grocer) 5
Ruth Thom (Ella Carson) 5
Maudie Prickett (Aunt Nora and Mrs. Larch) 5**
Clint Howard (Leon) 5
Sam Edwards (Tom Bedlow & others) 5**
These figures change as I find other episodes they are in. To make these autographs a bit easier for people to find I am going to make a list of the autographs in the reply section below. That way if you are looking for a particular person you can scroll down to find them below in this discussion. The autographs below are people who were on at least two episodes of the show. There is another discussion for those that appeared on only one show and another for "extras."
Jack Dodson "Howard Sprague"
Hope Summers "Clara"
Sheldon Collins "Arnold"
Allan Melvin. Many roles.
James Best. "Jim Lindsey"
Joseph H. Hamilton. "Jase," "Choney," and "Chester Jones"
Mary Treen. "Rose" and "Clara Lindsey."
Jonathan Hole "Orville Monroe" in three episodes.
Richard Keith (aka Keith Thibodeaux)
Doodles Weaver (aka Red Marshall)
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Jack Dodson first appeared on TAGS not as Howard Sprague but as Ed Jenkins the insurance man in the 1966 episode "Lost and Found." That same year he came back as Mayberry's County Clerk Howard Sprague. Including his first episode as "Ed Jenkins" he appeared on 38 episodes making him #8 of the "Big 12" that appeared in at least 20 episodes. Dodson would later appear in many shows including Ron Howard's Happy Days. These are examples of some of his signatures"
Hope Summers was the daughter of a U. S. Congressman and like Frances Bavier had extensive theatrical experience. She is certainly best known as "Clara" the best friend and often rival of "Aunt Bee." She first appears as "Mrs. Johnson" her character is certainly always meant to be the same person. My background story on her is this her first husband, Mr. Johnson, either died or ran away, and she either remarried to a Mr. Edwards or took her maiden name back. This allows me to watch TAGS without obsessing on her name change. It is somewhat disconcerting seeing her performance as a member of the devil worshiping coven in Rosemary's Baby. She and the first Floyd the Barber Walter Baldwin both stand and shout "Hail Satan!" Roy Barcroft another TAGS alumni had a bit part in the same movie. Here are a couple of her autographs I have and a studio portrait of a younger Hope Summers.
SHELDON COLLINS (1955- ) one of the youngest of The Andy Griffith Show. He appeared as Arnold Bailey on nine episodes and twice more on Mayberry R. F. D. This is a Star Trek collectors card from "A Piece of the Action" episode in 1968. He also appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Dream of Jeannie among others. The signature above is his real name Sheldon Golumb and below as Sheldon Collins.
Allan Melvin appeared in eight episodes of TAGS in six of those he was a bully or rival to Barney. He played also hotel detective and recruiting sergeant. He was later a regular on Gomer Pyle U. S. M. C. This autograph is a 3x5 photograph that Melvin apparently sent out for through the mail requests. The original owner dated this one on the back 1994.
Thank you Barry I had not heard that is such sad news. He was "Jim Lindsey" on two episodes of TAGS, and is perhaps better known for his work on The Dukes of Hazard. I bought the two autographs of his directly from his website last year am so glad I did now. He was very reasonable with his prices I think one was $15 the other $20. I just found where died he was 88 I did not realize he was that old. Very sad day another link to TAGS gone. His two episodes were "The Guitar Player" in 1960 and "The Guitar Player Returns" in 1961.
Great picture Gary it was wonderful you were able to meet him. Sad to think of so many good old stars going.