“The Andy Griffith Show” featured a future star on “M*A*S*H” playing two different characters in two of the CBS sitcom’s episodes.
William Christopher, who’s best known as Father Francis Mulcahy from his time on the CBS war-centric sitcom, was one of those actors taking roles to keep busy.
But we’re talking about “The Andy Griffith Show” here. In his first appearance on the show in 1965, he’s part of the episode called “Aunt Bee on TV.” In this episode, Aunt Bee [Frances Bavier] goes on a TV game show and leaves a big winner. Christopher plays Mr. Heathcote of the Internal Revenue Service, coming to check on those prizes Bee picked up on the game show.
Christopher also appears in “A New Doctor in Town” from 1966. In the episode, he plays Dr. Thomas Peterson, who is new in Mayberry but he’s finding it tough to be accepted. Why? No one apparently wants to be his first patient.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Guest Star Starts Role As Father Mulcahy In 1972
By 1966, though, he’d picked a regular gig as Private Lester Hummel on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” That show, ironically, was a spinoff of “The Andy Griffith Show” and produced by the same company. William Christopher played Hummel from 1965-68.
Then in 1972, he began playing Father Mulcahy for 11 seasons on “M*A*S*H.” Christopher would reprise his role on the spinoff “AfterMASH” from 1983-85.
While he did appear on “The Andy Griffith Show,” other TV shows where he had guest-starring roles include “The Patty Duke Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Death Valley Days,” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” Among his feature film work included “The Fortune Cookie,” “The Shakiest Gun in the West,” and “With Six You Get Eggroll.” What’s interesting about that last film is that he worked with Jamie Farr, who would also become part of the “M*A*S*H” cast as Cpl. Max Klinger in 1972.
Christopher, who was born in Evanston, Ill., on Oct. 20, 1932, died in Pasadena, Calif., on Dec. 31, 2016, at 84 years old.
Author Says Andy Taylor Appears As One Citizen ‘Who Has It All Together’
Obviously, Griffith’s character Andy Taylor goes through some ups and downs in his professional and personal life on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Yet he’s one character who works his hardest to stay on an even keel. Daniel de Vise’, author of “Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show,” talks about Griffith’s character in a 2016 interview with Jo Maeder.
De Vise’ says Taylor is “the one citizen of Mayberry who has it all together.”
“He might not have the most successful romantic life, at least in the early seasons,” De Vise’ says. “But he is clearly an intelligent, mature, worldly, well-adjusted man.”
De Vise’ adds that Taylor is “able to function … yet stay strong to savvy outsiders who parade through town.”