Howard Morris was best known for his role as the nutty Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s. As his sitcom character showed, Morris was never afraid to commit to his character. Morris played a wide range of characters, from the cooky hillbilly to more minor roles behind screens. However, no matter which show he appeared in, Morris’ performances were vital parts of American television and helped lay the groundwork for popular sitcoms and sketch shows today.
Howard Morris on Female Comedians of the 60s
During an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Howard Morris discussed two very important women: Lucille Ball and Imogene Coca.
When remembering his time on an episode of The Lucy Show, a follow-up sitcom to I Love Lucy, Howard Morris said working with the star actress was “wonderful.” Though Morris didn’t recall too many details about the episode, he did remember doing “an odd kind of Polynesian dance” with Ball. The former actor also reported that Ball was an active part of the production process.
Morris also discussed Ball’s comedic style. With a genuine grin, he called her style, “Raucous. With full-felt—from the pit of your stomach to the top of your head. Funny lady who knew where the fun was and where the jokes were.”
Similarly, Howard Morris felt that Ball’s sense of comedy stacked up to another female icon of the time, Imogene Coca. Coca hosted the sketch show, Your Show of Shows alongside Sid Caesar. Morris frequently guest-starred on the show and worked closely with both comedians. He even appeared in a television reunion with them years later.
Morris Was the Voice of Many
Although Howard Morris’ more memorable roles were those that he played on screen, the comic also voiced countless characters for animated series throughout the years.
According to Wide Open Country, Morris frequently voiced characters in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, like the futuristic series The Jetsons and the prehistoric The Flintstones. While working on The Jetsons, Morris voiced nearly a dozen characters, the most notable being Montague Jetson, the grandfather of George Jetson. Even more astonishing, on The Flintstones, Morris voiced over 100 characters, ranging from punny doctors to wise-cracking dinosaurs and animals.
After Morris’ death in 2005, the world of comedy lost a legendary comic, actor and even director. Morris showed viewers his many talents, all of which were truly entertaining. Today, comedy buffs still cherish his style and legacy in the industry. As a man of good-natured humor, fans of The Andy Griffith Show and classic American sitcoms will always remember the goofy Ernest T. Bass. His characters and performances still make viewers laugh from the pit of their stomachs to the tops of their heads.