Gomer Pyle

Gomer Pyle was the simple-minded gas station attendant and later auto mechanic in the American TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, played by Jim Nabors. Nabors continued the character in his own starring vehicle, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. from 1964-69.

Gomer Pyle was a good-natured, bucolic simpleton, characterized by his childlike naivety and his exaggerated hick accent. He originally lived in the fictional town of Mayberry and worked at Wally’s Filling Station (which also served as the town’s service station) where he took up residence in the back room. Wide-eyed and slack jawed, Gomer provided much of the comic relief during his two-year stint on The Andy Griffith Show. He was often awestruck by the simplest of things, resulting in the exclamation of his catchphrase, “Shazam!” He was also known to regularly spout other memorable expressions, such as “Gol-ly”, and “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”.

Originally employed as little more than an attendant, Gomer knew very little about the workings of cars (in “The Great Filling Station Robbery”, he thought a carburetor was a hood ornament). He later became quite a skilled mechanic with a full knowledge of automobiles, perhaps due to training from his boss, Wally, or his cousin Goober Pyle (who also worked at the filling station). Gomer was usually seen sporting a ball cap with an upturned bill and his service station uniform with an ever-present handkerchief dangling from his back pocket.

Gomer was often deputized by Deputy Barney Fife when additional assistance was needed to keep law and order in Mayberry. Though always complacent, his ineptitude usually made Gomer more of a hindrance than a help in the line of duty. However, his shortcomings were generally outweighed by his sweet temperament in the eyes of his friends, especially Sheriff Andy Taylor.

Gomer eventually left Mayberry to join the United States Marine Corps, as seen on the spin-off series, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., where his innocence and ineptitude served as the backbone for the show’s humor, and made Gomer comic foil to the hard-nosed drill instructor, Sgt. Vince Carter.

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Ernest T. Bass

Ernest T. Bass was an ignorant and obstreperous mountain man with a penchant for rock throwing, who was known to wreak havoc on the otherwise quiet town of Mayberry. He lived in the mountains neighboring Mayberry, and his appearance in town almost always meant trouble for Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife. A wild, belligerent hillbilly, he had a scruffy appearance, a maniacal laugh, and often spoke in rhyme. When threatened with the law, Ernest T. would generally run off, yelling over his shoulder his famous catchphrase, “You ain’t seen the last of Ernest T. Bass!” Another catchphrase came from his greeting to Andy and Barney, “Howdy do to you and you. It’s me, it’s me, it’s Ernest T.!”
His behavior was often summed up succinctly by Barney Fife: “He’s a nut!”
Early on, Ernest T.’s most notable trait is breaking windows with rocks, and he prides himself on being “the best rock thrower in the county.” He is notoriously importunate with the women he desires, and regularly uses this tactic to get their attention. He also tries to impress people by informing them that he is saving up for a gold tooth.

In his first appearance (“Mountain Wedding”), Ernest T. has his mind set on marrying Briscoe Darling’s daughter Charlene Darling, despite the fact that she is already married to Dud Wash. He breaks the Darlings’ window in the middle of the night, and then attempts to serenade Charlene by performing a sort of spoken-word song called “Old Aunt Mariah,” accompanied by drumming a gas can, which he “tuned” by tightening and loosening the cap. The family then decides to conduct a faked wedding, to which Ernest T. reacts by devising a nefarious plan to steal the bride, only to discover that it was Barney in disguise.

Despite only appearing in five episodes during the series’ entire run, Ernest T. Bass is one of The Andy Griffith Show’s best remembered characters, and remains a fan favorite.

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Opie Taylor


Opie’s relationship with his “Pa”, Andy, provided plot material for many episodes. In one episode (“Opie the Birdman”, September 30, 1963), Andy teaches Opie the value of responsibility and parenthood after Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his slingshot and leaves her three nestlings orphaned. Naming the birds “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”, Opie nurtures them until they are ready to be released into the wild.

Andy would sometimes misjudge Opie, suspecting him of being selfish and oblivious to the needs of the less fortunate. Andy would then discover to his chagrin that Opie had been self-sacrificing and generous. For example, in one episode, Opie forfeits a grocery store delivery job to allow a boy with an ill father to replace him. In another episode, Opie uses his savings to buy a friend a winter coat after his father lambastes him for contributing only three cents to a charity.

When not visiting his father at the courthouse, Opie would sometimes get into jams. Some of his juvenile misdeeds include: trespassing in a neighbor’s barn, selling Miracle Salve to the citizens of Mayberry; accidentally destroying Aunt Bee’s prize rose; concealing an abandoned baby in his clubhouse; tricking Goober Pyle into thinking a shaggy dog can speak, and starting his own tell-all community newspaper.

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Barney Fife

Early in the series, Andy and Barney comment that they are cousins. However, several episodes muddy the lineage and suggest that Barney may not be directly related to the Taylors. On “Aunt Bee’s Invisible Boyfriend”, Barney tells Andy, “If she {Aunt Bee} were my aunt, I’d wanna investigate this fella” (no familial Taylor ties). In one porch dialogue, Barney speaks to Andy about buying his folks a septic tank for their anniversary. Andy does not refer to them as aunt and uncle (no familial Fife ties). On several occasions, Aunt Bee reminds Andy that, “he’s YOUR friend” (suggesting no blood kin to either Taylor). Yet in another installment, “Cousin Virgil”, Andy is introduced to Barney’s backward cousin Michael J. Pollard, who is obviously not related to the sheriff. While one can rule out a shared Taylor bond, the two could be related via Andy’s maternal side, or most probably via Andy’s late wife. Genetics aside, Barney and “Ange” (as he frequently addresses Andy, a derivation from Knotts’ real-life nickname for Griffith) are best friends, having grown up together in Mayberry, and Barney maintains warm relations with Andy’s son Opie and his Aunt Bee.
Thelma Lou is Barney’s main girlfriend until his 1965 departure. Barney also dates other women, in particular, an oft-mentioned but never seen Bluebird Diner waitress named Juanita.
Barney takes up residence in a few places including the Raleight YMCA and Mrs. Mendelbright’s boarding house (where she forbids him from owning either a “hot plate” cooker or too bright a light bulb). In “Sheriff Barney” we learn that Barney lives at 411 Elm Street. However it is unclear if this address refers to Barney’s own home or Mrs. Mendelbright’s boarding house address.

When not on duty, he is usually seen in a fedora and a tweed suit (the “old salt and pepper.”) Although the deputy fancies himself a singer, he has a “tin ear”. Nearly being barred from singing engagements was a dilemma for Barney, and is highlighted by several episodes, most notably, “Barney and the Choir” and “The Song Festers”.

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Floyd Lawson


Floyd Lawson is the owner of Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry. Floyd the Barber (as he was commonly known) was the slow-paced, somewhat absent-minded barber in the fictional town of Mayberry. He was first seen in episode #12, “Stranger in Town,” where he was played by actor Walter Baldwin. Baldwin established the running gag of Floyd’s inability to trim sideburns evenly, which continued throughout the run of the show. Baldwin portrayed Floyd for just one episode; from 1961 on, the part was played by Howard McNear, the actor most commonly associated with the role. In McNear’s first appearance as Floyd, the character’s last name was “Colby”; thereafter the character was always “Floyd Lawson”.

Over the first few seasons, the importance of Floyd The Barber to the show increased. Slowly, McNear changed his delivery of dialogue for Floyd from fast-paced to slower and slower as time went on. Floyd also became involved more in the plots of the various episodes as time went on.

He is played by actor Howard McNear in 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. However, in the character’s first appearance, episode 112 Stranger in Town, he is played by actor Walter Baldwin. Floyd had a wife and a son, however in one episode, he pretends to be a wealthy bachelor (Floyd the Gay Deceiver).

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Dr. Harrison Everett Breen


Dr. Harrison Everett Breen was an out of town, guest preacher at All Soul’s Church in Mayberry. He preached on slowing down days and taking it easy; asking “What’s your hurry?”. He even mentioned a “band concert”; which got Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee and others to put together a last minute concert. When the plan failed, they finally enjoyed the rest of their day relaxing on the porch at the Taylor house. Dr. Breen stopped by before leaving, and was pleased to see the gang taking his sermon seriously- relaxing and enjoying their Sunday; not realizing the true nature of their hectic day. He was portrayed by David Lewis.

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Clara Edwards

Clara Edwards Johnson is a widow with one son, (Gale) one brother that is mentioned but never seen, and a proud descendant of the town’s earliest settlers. Clara also has a nephew Ferdie, who makes one appearance with his accordian to accompany Clara and Aunt Bee in their song.

Clara began the show as Bertha Edwards in the first season, then became Clara Johnson for the next few years until the fifth season when she became Clara Edwards, who she remained until the end of the series. This could almost be explained as taking back her maiden name (Edwards) as she did refer to her late husband as Mr Johnson.

Clara is best friends with Aunt Bee and the two women compete over cooking,pickling and any eligible gentleman that comes to town. Clara has won 12 ribbons at the county fair for her pickles and her roses are the annual winners at the flower show.

Clara interest in music made her the town’s piano teacher, organist at the All Soul’s Church every sunday and writer of the song “My Home Town” (co-written by Aunt Bee) that was recorded by Keevy Hazelton.

Each year, Clara is Lady Mayberry in the town pageant.

Clara took a trip to Mexico with Bee and their mutual friend Myrtle but came home not speaking to each other.

 

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