He may have portrayed Mayberry’s town drunk on the iconic sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. But did you know that Hal Smith, the actor who portrays Otis Campbell on the popular sitcom, has a resume that includes playing one of the world’s most recognizable characters?
That’s right. For a period of time, Hal Smith was one of television’s most popular “go-to” Santa Claus’s. In fact, Smith portrayed Santa Claus so many times during his career, that he ended up playing the role over a dozen times in a variety of television shows and specials over a dozen times.
Smith even stepped out onto the soundstage as the “big man” himself, Santa Claus on another iconic television series, The Brady Bunch.
He Certainly Wasn’t Santa On ‘The Andy Griffith Show!’
Hal Smith is certainly well known as Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show as the town drunk. You know the guy, the one who was often “sleeping it off” in the Mayberry jail cell.
Otis Campbell became such a regular “guest” at The Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry police station that he even knows where the keys to the Mayberry jail are located. It’s assumed the Mayberry Sherriff Andy Taylor leaves these there for Otis so he can let himself in and out.
Of course, fans of The Andy Griffith Show recognize Otis almost immediately. But, while Hal Smith played the always inebriated Otis so well, once he put on Santa Claus’s big red coat, Otis disappeared and father Christmans emerged!
In the Brady Bunch’s first season, Hal Smith donned the red coat, the matching hat, and a big white beard to portray St. Nick as he took some time out of his duties at the North Pole to visit with Cindy Brady in The Brady Bunch’s Christmas special, The Voice of Christmas.
Hal Smith Lends His Voice To A Variety Of Holiday Specails
An interesting tidbit about a character we think we know so well from the popular sitcom, for sure! In fact, aside from his turn as Otis Campbell, Hal Smith’s most regular recurring role on television is certainly that of Santa Claus.
Hal Smith’s turn at playing the big man is so convincing that sometimes, all the longtime actor needed to do was lend his voice to the role!
Over the years, Smith lent his voice to a variety of specials portraying St. Nick.
Some of these specials in which Hal portrayed Santa Claus include the animated series Casper in Casper’s First Christmas. As well as in the Yogi Bear special, Yogi’s First Christmas.
Some of Hal Smith’s other appearances as Kris Kringle include an appearance in The Apartment as well as The Miracle of the White Reindeer.