Hal Smith may have played on “The Andy Griffith Show” as the town drunk. But he also had a lot of Christmas and holiday spirit. Outside of playing fan-favorite Otis, Smith appeared as Santa Claus on sitcoms like “The Brady Bunch.”
Most viewers probably wouldn’t recognize Smith with the big red coat and white beard. But Smith actually ended up playing the jolly saint on a number of occasions. Either Smith got typecast in the role or he had an affinity for the holidays. Smith ended up playing Saint Nick in both live-action and animated form.
For instance, Smith appeared as Santa Claus in “The Brady Bunch” Christmas Special “The Voice of Christmas” in Season One. In the episode, Cindy Brady visited him and told Santa what she wanted for Christmas. Claus ended up being Smith’s most recurring character.
Hal Smith’s Career Beyond ‘The Brady Bunch’
In live-action, Smith appeared as Claus in “The Apartment” and “The Miracle of the White Reindeer” for instance. Meanwhile, Smith hung out with Casper and the gang in “Casper’s First Christmas” and Yogi Bear in “Yogi’s First Christmas” in animated. Most notably he even paid Fred and Wilma Flintstone a visit in “The Flintstones” Christmas special “Christmas Flintstone.”
He later reprised the role for the special “A Flintstone Christmas” in 1977. In total, Smith appeared as Santa Claus more than a dozen times. Beyond live-action, Smith really found a career in animation as the voice of some of your childhood’s fondest characters.
For instance, Smith worked with animation studios such as Disney and Hanna-Barbera. In fact, Smith was the original voice for Owl in Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh” films. He also took over for several vocalists after they passed away. For instance, Smith started voicing Mickey Mouse’s pal Goofy after voice artist Pinto Colvig passed away. He notably starred in “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
Likewise, he played everyone’s favorite hunter Elmer Fudd. Smith took over the role after Arthur Q. Bryan died. Some of his other productions include Gyro Gearloose on “DuckTales” and appearing in “Davey and Goliath.”
But as an actor, Smith will always hold a special place in audiences’ hearts for his work on “The Andy Griffith Show” as Otis. The actor had a long and varied career and played a number of different roles. Smith ended up passing away in 1994. He died from a heart attack at 77 while listening to his favorite program on the radio. One of his final roles ended up being, you guessed it, Santa Claus.