‘The Andy Griffith Show’: This Character Once Crossed Over to Lucille Ball’s Sitcom

by Matthew Wilson

Both “The Andy Griffith Show” and “I Love Lucy” are classics in their own right. But they once had a crossover sort moment of. An “Andy Griffith” character once appear in one of Lucille Ball‘s follow-up sitcoms to the beloved hit.

Following her time on “I Love Lucy,” Ball decided to return to the world of sitcoms. She had just finished up time on Broadway in a disastrous play called “Wildcat.” And the actor looked to return to something familiar. After all, sitcoms had made Ball into a household commodity by that point in her career. “The Lucy Show” followed the exploits and adventures of Lucy Carmichael.

During one episode “Lucy Gets Caught Up in the Draft,” the character accidentally gets herself drafted into the military. Through a series of mix-ups, Ball winds up in the Marines. She has to serve until the proper paperwork can be sorted out. During the episode, Gomer Pyle of “The Andy Griffith Show” and its spinoff “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” makes a brief cameo.

The sergeant felt relieved to get rid of Ball and her kooky behavior. But her replacement turns out to be Pyle, played by Jim Nabors. Gomer Pyle was known for being equally bumbling and difficult to deal with.

Lucille Ball Produced ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

This fun and hilarious cameo occurred in part because Ball was responsible for Gomer Pyle being created in the first place. Through her production company, Desilu Productions, Ball produced several staples of classic television including “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

They would also rent out their space to other production companies and studios as well. As a producer, Ball continued to change the way that audiences experienced television. “The Andy Griffith Show,” of course, followed a small-town sheriff and the wacky cast of characters in Mayberry. Gomer Pyle was one of several characters on the show. But he proved to be a breakout hit, instantly popular with audiences.

He soon got his own show that took him far away from Mayberry. In “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” Pyle joined the Marines to serve his country. But his character didn’t change much from the bumbling but well-meaning man that he was in Mayberry. That show ended up running for five seasons from 1964 to 1969.

Meanwhile, Lucille Ball’s latest venture into sitcoms wasn’t as successful as her previous efforts. But “The Lucy Show” still ran for six seasons, from 1962 to 1968.