‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Hal Smith Advocated Against Drinking and Driving in Real Life

by Joe Rutland

If you are a fan of “The Andy Griffith Show,” then you’ve probably seen Otis Campbell stagger into the Mayberry jail cell.

Otis, played by actor Hal Smith, was a significant character during the show’s run on CBS. Yet what may interest you, Outsiders, is Smith was an advocate against drinking and driving.

He made an appearance with other characters from “The Andy Griffith Show” on “Nashville Now,” a talk show hosted by country music legend Ralph Emery.

In it, Emery asks Smith, who is doing his Otis impression with voice, clothes, and all wasn’t a spokesperson in real life for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

“Yes I do,” Smith said, “I always say, ‘Howdy-do, I’m Otis Campbell from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and if you’ll just let me sober up for a moment I’d like to tell you one thing, a good message for all of you. Don’t drink and drive.”

‘The Andy Griffth Show’ Actor Also Appeared in ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Movies

Smith amassed more than 300 TV and movie credits throughout his career.

But there’s little doubt that one of his most famous pieces of work was playing Otis Campbell. Smith played the Mayberry lush in 32 episodes between 1962-66. He usually would give Deputy Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts, a little trouble while going to his “bedroom.”

Apparently, Smith’s final TV credit is a fitting one. He reprised his Otis character in the 1986 TV film “Return to Mayberry.”

He also had an amazing career in voice-over work on cartoons. Smith provided the voice for Owl in three “Winnie the Pooh” films. Hal Smith died on Jan. 28, 1994, at 77 years old.

So, when you see Otis on “The Andy Griffith Show,” then just remember that Hal Smith, the man, and actor, had a solid message to share.

Daughter of Don Knotts Had High Praise For The Way Griffith Treated Her

Speaking of Don Knotts, his daughter remembered times spent around Andy Griffith.

Karen Knotts, one of two children Knotts had in his life, talked about those days with Closer Weekly back in 2018.

She said Griffith was friendly toward her, going so far as to say the sitcom’s star was like an uncle.

“He had different sides,” Karen Knotts said. “You could see that sometimes he would be intense, and other times very, very warm and endearing.”

While she was talking about Griffith, she also wanted to put a stop to some of the allegations written when it comes to her dad’s relationship with Griffith.

She said there was no resentment between the two stars.

“Andy was never jealous of my dad,” Karen Knotts said. 

Both actors did more than their roles on the sitcom, but we remember them today.