‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Who Played the Mystery Character ‘Mister Schwamp’?

by Matthew Wilson

For years, fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” wondered who played the character Mister Schwamp on the classic TV series. The character often appeared in the background of multiple episodes and even one of the Mayberry spinoffs.

Fans soon embraced the mystery of the character, questioning for years who he might be. Over the decades, actors and crew from the show never discussed the actor nor the character. Everyone loves a good enigma, and it didn’t take long for dedicated fans to try to puzzle out who the actor was. After-all, Mr. Schwamp appeared in 26 episodes of the show.

Despite the burning curiosity, the answer to who played Mr. Schwamp is rather murky. Back in 2012, a post on an Andy Griffith fan page account on Facebook claimed that the actor behind the character Patch S. Wimmers. However, the post turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.

On IMDB, the database once listed the show’s production manager Frank E. Myers as playing the role. He was also the brother of the show’s executive producer Danny Thomas.

Fans of the show remember Mr. Schwamp as a character that showed up from time to time and would sit by the barbershop with a slump demeanor. He filled in as a background character, one of Mayberry’s many citizens. Perhaps to give the show a bit of continuity, Mr. Schwamp appeared as the character several times throughout the show’s run.

He appeared for the first time in Season Four “My Fair Ernest. T. Bass” during the show’s black and white era. In that episode, he appeared during a tea party, standing out due to his jolly expression and also toupee. Mr. Schwamp made frequent appearances throughout “The Andy Griffith Show” run. He appeared at restaurants, sitting on public benches, and also at dances.

The character never had a single line of dialogue on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

‘The Andy Griffith’ Character Appeared in a Spinoff

Mr. Schwamp also made the jump from “The Andy Griffith Show” to “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C” as well. That series followed the adventures of Gomer Pyle in the military.

What the character was doing so far from Mayberry is anybody’s guess. Mr. Schwamp appeared in a restaurant during the episode “Gomer, the Welsh Rarebit Fiend.”

In this case, he appeared in the foreground of the scene while Pyle is in the background at the diner. He also shows up in “One of Our Shells is Missing” in the Army Surplus Store as well. The character remains a mysterious element to the Mayberry universe.

It’s fun to imagine what Mr. Schwamp’s life was like, in between all of those background shots. At the very least, the character managed to make an impression without ever uttering a line of dialogue or being the focus of an episode. Sometimes, the mystery is better.