‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Played Five Different Roles on ‘Gunsmoke,’ in Both Radio and TV

by Joe Rutland
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“The Andy Griffith Show” brought together talented people for its cast. One of them happened to appear on a popular radio and TV show.

Howard McNear, who played Floyd the Barber on the CBS sitcom, played five different characters in the long-running Western series “Gunsmoke.”

For starters, McNear had a regular gig as Doc Adams on the radio version of “Gunsmoke” between 1952-61, according to IMDb. But that wasn’t all for the Western hit show and McNear’s involvement.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Made Impact On TV By Playing Different Roles

He played four different roles when the radio show started on TV in 1955. McNear played Mr. Bradley in “The Pest Hole” from 1956, Pete in “Box O’ Rocks” from 1959, and Joe in “The Tragedian” from 1960. He played Howard in three “Gunsmoke” episodes: “Root Down” in 1962, “Anybody Can Kill a Marshal” in 1963, and “Aunt Thede” in 1964.

“The Andy Griffith Show” provided McNear with a platform to showcase his comedic talents. His quick-witted comebacks and sharp timing made Floyd a fan favorite. But his character changed because his personal life also changed after suffering a stroke. It affected his physical abilities, so scenes with Floyd were done with him sitting inside the barbershop or outside it.

But the role became too much for McNear and he started having trouble remembering his lines. McNear left the series for good in 1967, but his Floyd character remains one of “The Andy Griffith Show” favorites.

Less than two years later, McNear died on Jan. 3, 1969, at 63 years old. He died from complications of pneumonia after a stroke.

While he was not a top-billed star on “The Andy Griffith Show,” McNear’s contributions not only to that show but “Gunsmoke” as well are remembered.

Griffith Had A Few Choice Words For Knotts After Appearing In Another Sitcom

Let’s spend a couple of minutes on a situation between Andy and good-old Barney. Well, it actually was between Griffith and Don Knotts.

Knotts played Mr. Furley on “Three’s Company” after his time on “The Andy Griffith Show” and making a number of movies. Griffith was no fan of Knotts’ work on that show.

“I thought Don, for instance, was awful on ‘Three’s Company’,” Griffith said in an interview for the Archive of American Television. “I told him when he came into ‘Matlock.’ I said, ‘Don, bring it down, bring it down. You were on ‘Three’s Company’ too long.’ Because he was performing the same way with those big, huge takes and everything.”

So, one might say that Andy put Don in his place. They also appeared together, as Griffith said, on “Matlock” where Griffith played defense attorney Ben Matlock.

Outsider.com