‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Broke a Personal Cultural Barrier in Later Season

by Joe Rutland

It feels kind of hard to believe, Outsiders, that this type of cultural barrier was broken in an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

What is this barrier you ask? Let’s turn our attention to an article from MeTV with the details.

The episode in question was “Stranger in Town” from 1960, the first season of this sitcom on CBS.

Viewers receive a shot of Floyd’s Barbershop where Mayberry’s trusty barber, Floyd Lawson, would trim all the guys’ hair.

But there was something noticeable beyond his waiting chairs. A door marked “Beauty Shop” got some attention. It looked rather strange.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Didn’t Have ‘Beauty Shop’ Around In Later Episodes

If you thought the “Beauty Shop” door was hanging around, then think again, Outsiders.

That door is long gone when later episodes hit TV. Oh, and people watching this episode will note something else different: Floyd ain’t Floyd. What? Yes, actor Howard McNear, who became beloved as the town barber, wasn’t on “The Andy Griffith Show” just yet.

Actor Walter Baldwin played Floyd in this episode. Like we said, this was in the show’s first season.

Our favorite Floyd actor would soon take over behind the chair.

Seeing that “Beauty Shop” door there and gone definitely became something fans of the show could talk about. After all, classic TV viewers always look for something that could stir their interest even six decades later.

The show, which starred Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ronny Howard, and Frances Bavier, ran for eight seasons between 1960-68.

In Years Later, Griffith Would Call McNear ‘Genius’ During Chat With Fellow Actors

McNear, sadly, suffered from health issues resulting from a stroke. He left the show for a bit and returned at the behest of Griffith.

In 1967, McNear reportedly started having trouble remembering his lines and left.

But Griffith never forgot his co-star. In a discussion among the show’s stars in 2003, “The Andy Griffith Show” lead actor said something amazing about McNear.

“Howard McNear was a genius,” Griffith said while chatting with Knotts (Deputy Barney Fife), Ron Howard, and Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle). Knotts agreed with Griffith’s suggestion.

Ron Howard added while watching “Floyd” on screen, “That halting, can’t-quite-finish-his-sentence, and then to come out with just that one little word. He would just sit in his own chair, his own barber chair, and everyone would gather around and a wonderful scene would unfold.”

After McNear left the show, no one else played Floyd. That character was his and his alone. Well, Griffith ended the show in 1968. “Mayberry R.F.D.” starring “F Troop” actor Ken Berry filled the gap left for three seasons. One year after Griffith’s show ended, McNear died.