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.
DOODLES WEAVER (1912-1983) also known as Red Marshall was a character actor who appeared in many movies and television shows. He appeared in two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show perhaps his best known episode was as the "Single Tax" sign bearing "Regis" in the 1963 episode "A Black Day For Mayberry." He was in the 1961 episode " Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter." along with Edgar Buchanan. His autograph is somewhat uncommon. This is a 1975 index card to well known collector Peter Hanson he also signs as his Spike Jones character "Professor Feitlebaum."
DOODLES WEAVER (1912-1983). Since I showed a later Doodles Weaver autograph (1975) I thought I would show this one of his earliest. This was one of those unexpected pleasant finds on the reverse of a Mantan Moreland album page. The nice thing about having both Weaver and Moreland on the same album pages it really helps date it. Weaver was an almost unknown extra starting in 1936. He appeared in Topper (1937) and few other movies in the late 30s and early 40s. In 1946 he gained fame with the Spike Jones radio show and his "Professor Feitlebaum." This autograph is likely from the 1946-1949 period since Mantan Moreland was starring in the Charlie Chan series then also. Sadly the ink blotted on his caricature of himself but it is still a great and early Doodles Weaver autograph. Weaver was the paternal uncle of actress Sigourney Weaver! He was in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds. Weaver's autograph is scarce. This from Dr. Brucato's Classic Entertainment Autographs.
DABBS GREER (1917-2007) is best known as Rev. Robert Alden on the television show Little House on Prarie. He also known for the 1999 movie The Green Mile where he portrayed the Tom Hanks character as an old man. He also appeared in a remarkable 47 episodes of Gunsmoke as storekeeper Wilbur Jonas. Greer appeared in four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.
CLINT HOWARD (1959- ) best known for his many appearances in his brother Ron Howard's movies such as Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Splash and Cocoon. He was on five episodes of TAGS as the peanut butter sandwich eating "Leon." He was the star of the Gentle Ben television show along with Dennis Weaver.
JOE CREHAN (1883-1966) was a prolific character actor who appeared in scores of movies during his long career. He is best known for playing General Grant in They Died With Their Boots on and Union Pacific. He appeared in a couple Mickey Rooney Andy Hardy movies and he had a major role in the Charlie Chan movie Dangerous Money with Sidney Toler. Crehan was one of the oldest performers to appear on The Andy Griffith Show he appeared as a Mayberry Councilman and is sometimes seen as a spectator in a crowd in 10 episodes. Crehan is very scare this is a light green album page signed in pencil in 1938.
This same person that I think is Crehan is seen behind Barney in the episode "Citizen's Arrest."