‘The Andy Griffith Show’: This Star Briefly Held the Role of Ward Cleaver

by Taylor Cunningham
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If you’re an avid The Andy Griffith Show fan, you may remember wondering where you’ve seen one particular guest star in an episode titled The Horse Trader. And we have the answer for you, he had a stint as Ward Cleaver.

In The Horse Trader, Sherrif Taylor steers away from his honorable ways in order to sell a worthless cannon to a traveling antique dealer named Ralph Mason. While hoping to score some cash, he creates a convoluted story about the hunk of junk claiming that it was used during the Civil War and was touched by Teddy Roosevelt.

In the end, Andy comes to his senses and admits to Mr. Mason that the cannon isn’t worth a dime. And Opie learns a lesson about honesty.

But while watching the touching moment where Andy comes clean, you may have been distracted by the actor playing Ralph Mason because his face was so familiar.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Went by Two Names

The actor’s name was Max Showalter—or Casey Adams for The Andy Griffith Show. And if you’re a fan of classic TV, you’ve probably seen his face countless times. But you may have been confused because he was billed under two different names.

When the actor first got his start on film, he went by his given name, Max Showalter. But early in his career, he decided that Showalter didn’t have enough pizazz. So, he gave himself the stage name Casey Adams. And while going by Casey, he appeared on a few hit television series, including Leave it to Beaver.

During the pilot episode in 1957, he played Ward Cleaver. He also starred as the famous patriarch for two episodes of Studio 57 in 1957 and 1958. But unfortunately for him, he later lost the part to Hugh Beaumont.

He continued to work under the stage name for a few more years and appeared in guest roles on shows like Stagecoach and The Twilight Zone. Then in the 1960s he dropped the self-given title and went back to his real name, which we think was a good idea. Max Showalter is a pretty memorable name.

Once the actor accepted his true identity, he continued to earn guest roles on hits such as Bewitched and The Love Boat. But his very last acting credit was probably his most famous role of all. In 1984, The Andy Griffith Show actor played the part of Grandpa Fred in 16 Candles.

The Andy Griffith Show had dozens of guest stars during its 8-year run. And many of them had interesting backstories. Take for example Mayberry’s town doctor, George Nader.

Nader was a Golden Globe-winning star who once gave classic advice to teens in The Boston Globe’s etiquette column titled Dear Kitte.

While serving as a guest columnist, an angsty high school student asked him how to get noticed by her peers. And Nader gave her the same age-old advice that parents around the world always tell their kids, “be yourself.”

“In teens, when almost everyone is pushing conformity, it is easy to fall prey to the herd instinct,” he wrote. “Don’t forget that one thing that separates man from animals is his awareness that he is an individual and has the capacity to act like one.”

Outsider.com