‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Went From Playing a Famous Western Cowboy to a Hobo on the Show

by Keeli Parkey
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There were many memorable characters in the quaint, fictional town of Mayberry on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Many of these characters made several appearances in the classic television series. Others only appeared a few times or only once. One of the unique characters who only made one appearance in the show was a “hobo.”

This character on “The Andy Griffith Show” was played by actor Douglas Fowley. According to MeTV, Fowley’s career and life were interesting. And surprisingly, an injury he suffered during his service in World War II served him well during his acting career.

During World War II, Fowley served in the United States Navy. While serving on an aircraft carrier, there was an explosion. This explosion caused the future actor to lose his teeth.

Douglas Fowley Used His False Teeth to His Acting Advantage

Turns out, when he worked as an actor, Fowley put the fact that he had false teeth to use. For example, by removing them he could play characters much older than his actual age. He talked about this during a 1994 interview with Western Clippings.

“I had a false upper plate, having lost my upper teeth prematurely in mid-life,” Fowley said. “I started playing old character roles by removing my false upper plate, adding a beard, voice and gait to match my interpretation.”

It wasn’t long after World War II came to an end in 1945 that the future “The Andy Griffith Show” guest star put his false teeth to use.

This came in the 1949 film, “Battleground.” In this movie, Fowley played the character of Private “Kipp” Kippton. This character’s memorable trait was that his false teeth kept falling out.

Interestingly, one character that Douglas Fowley is most closely identified with was a dentist. That character was the famous Doc Holliday. What many people don’t know is that Holliday was a trained dentist. He practiced in Griffin, Georgia.

Fowley played Doc Holliday in the television series, “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.” According to IMDb, this series aired from 1955 through 1961.

Douglas Fowley Appeared in ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Episode Titled ‘Opie and His Merry Men’

Flash forward two years to 1963. It was during that year that actor Douglas Fowley was cast as the “hobo” in the “Opie and His Merry Men” episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

This was the 12th episode of the show’s fourth season. It aired for the first time on Dec. 30, 1963. The plot of this episode is: “After watching a movie about Robin Hood, Opie and his pals befriend a hobo who encourages them to steal from those who have and give to him.”

In this episode, Fowley’s character was referred to by Mayberry Deputy Barney Fife as “Weary Willie.”

In addition to his work in “The Andy Griffith Show,” Fowley appeared in many other television series. These included “Bonanza,” “The Lucy Show,” “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” “Mayberry, R.F.D.,” and “Gunsmoke.”

Outsider.com