Friday, November 20, 2020

The Andy Griffith Show (1962)

With a bona fide hit on their hands, having debuted at #7 in the Nielsen ratings in its first season, producers Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Ruben decided not to tinker with the formula that shot their new comedy series into the top 10, recycling familiar plot lines during 1962 as the program finished its second season and started its third. We have two stories about Andy not believing his son Opie and then having to learn the hard way that his mistrust is misplaced in the Season 2 episode "The Keeper of the Flame" (January 8. 1962) and the Season 3 opener "Mister McBeevee" (October 1, 1962). The last episode of 1962, "One-Punch Opie" (December 31, 1962) seems headed in the same direction when Andy catches Opie holding a pile of apples after another boy has just broken a street lamp with one and then run off. Andy's first inclination is to assume that Opie is the one who broke the street lamp, since he is the only one standing there and the lamp has clearly been broken by an apple, but when Andy asks him if he did it and Opie says he did not, Andy asks him who did. Opie, as in previous episodes, refuses to "rat out" the bad actor, but Andy seems to have finally learned his lesson from past episodes and does not therefore blame Opie but instead tells him to round up the other boys for a talk at the jailhouse. While this episode appears to show Andy's personal growth in taking his son's word, it also recycles Barney's trait of thinking he is an expert on everything, an opinion he seems unable to change despite being proven wrong repeatedly. The episode begins with Barney chastising Andy for allowing Opie to go fishing before finishing his chores at the jailhouse, as if childless Barney is more knowledgeable about child-rearing than an actual father, and when the boys later show up at the jailhouse for Andy's talk, Barney insists on following up with his own lecture about the dangers of criminal mischief leading to a life of crime, which not surprisingly ends with him locking himself in a jail cell, an error he seemingly cannot help repeating over and over. When Opie later confronts the apple thrower, a new boy in town who acts like a bully, and gets him to back down, thereby breaking the bully's influence over Opie's friends, Barney tries to take part of the credit by claiming that his lecture at the jailhouse also played a role in the boys' change of allegiance. 

Barney's behavior here exactly repeats his performance in "A Medal for Opie" (February 12, 1962) in which Barney attempts to coach Opie in sprinting technique when he learns that Opie will be competing in the annual Sherriff's Boys Track and Field Day. When Opie comes in dead last in the sprint and sulks that the other boys took his medal, Andy has a heart-to-heart talk with him, explaining that he needs to learn to lose graciously because life is going to have many let-downs and that he is disappointed in him for behaving so poorly. Opie finally relents and tells his father that he doesn't want to be a disappointment to him. But Barney tries to take credit for Opie's change of heart by claiming that his pretending to be upset that he didn't get the raise he requested convinced Opie that he was behaving foolishly. True to Barney's character, when Andy shows Barney the official letter rejecting his raise request, Barney reacts the same way he did when he was only pretending minutes earlier, showing that Opie has far more maturity than Barney does.

Barney's inflated sense of self also repeatedly makes him an easy mark for experienced criminals, another lesson he seems to never learn. In "Jailbreak" (February 5, 1962) he is convinced that he can get hardened bank robber Clarence "Doc" Malloy to confess who his accomplice is by pretending to be a convict himself, forgetting that a framed newspaper article with his picture hangs on the jailhouse wall, which tips off Malloy about Barney's true identity and allows him to dupe Barney into letting him out of his cell and then taking his gun to escape. He is likewise fooled into letting pickpocket Sheldon Davis go free in "Guest of Honor" (February 26, 1962) after the latter is randomly chosen Mayberry Guest of Honor and then uses his position to fleece local businesses. In "Aunt Bee, the Warden" (March 12, 1962) he attempts to rehabilitate the Gordon moonshine gang by giving them children's craft kits to learn a skill, failing to anticipate that the convict with the metal-working kit would use it to make a key to unlock his cell. He confides in jewel thief C.J. Hasler in "Andy and Barney in the Big City" (March 26, 1962) who tells Barney he is a newspaper reporter after Barney tells him he suspects that the hotel detective is a jewel thief. Under the ruse of checking to see if the alleged thief has robbed the room of a wealthy woman with a jewel box full of trinkets, Hasler gets Barney to help him enter the room where he empties the jewel box when Barney is preoccupied. Only Andy's good luck of having seen Hasler's photo in a book of mug shots at police headquarters allows him to foil Hasler's attempted getaway. But perhaps Barney's worst mistake is being tricked by actual reporter Jean Boswell, sent by her CEO to dig up dirt on Andy as revenge for dragging him to Mayberry to pay a speeding ticket that he tried to blow off, in "Andy on Trial" (April 23, 1962). By flattering his ego, Boswell gets Barney to dish about all the times Andy has bent the law in going easy on the citizens of Mayberry, which leads to an official hearing by the State's Attorney office resulting in Andy's suspension. When Barney is called as chief witness against Andy at the trial, he finally realizes he has been duped and staunchly defends Andy's methods, saying that despite his tendencies to be too strict, Andy has taught him you sometimes have to govern by the heart rather than by the book. Fortunately, Andy is restored to his position, but Barney's lesson to himself doesn't last long because he later brags to Thelma Lou that he made the state's attorney look like a fool. Nor does he seem any smarter in "Convicts-at-Large" (December 10, 1962) when the leader of three escaped female convicts grabs his gun and takes him hostage after he and Floyd are lured into a cabin when they run out of gas on their way back from a fishing trip. Don Knotts' masterful portrayal of Barney's foibles was why he deservedly won 5 Emmy Awards, but by 1962 The Andy Griffith Show skirted awfully close to overusing their top asset in having Barney's antics dominate nearly half the episodes.

Fortunately, the program had other characters to occasionally give Barney a break as the center of attention. During the 1962 episodes we get a couple of deeper dives into the character of lovable lush Otis Campbell in the aforementioned "Aunt Bee, the Warden" and more specifically "Deputy Otis" (May 7, 1962). In a December 29, 1962 TV Guide feature story on Hal Smith, the actor revealed that originally his character was meant for a single appearance, but producer Aaron Ruben was so impressed by Smith's comic drunk routine that he indicated there could be more work for him on the series, and indeed there was. In "Bailey's Bad Boy" (January 15, 1962) Otis is upset when he shows up at the jailhouse for his usual Saturday night stay only to find rich young speeder Ronald Bailey occupying his cell. After Bailey is moved to another cell, Otis still can't get to sleep and has Barney sing him a lullaby. In "Aunt Bee, the Warden," Otis finds his cell occupied again, this time by the Gordon Gang. Deciding that they can't put him in the same cell with some of the gang who think he turned them in and might harm him, Andy decides to send Otis to his house where Aunt Bee puts him to hard labor much more demanding than the coddled life he has enjoyed at the jailhouse. Here we see yet more evidence of Otis as the docile drunk because even though he complains bitterly about his workload, he is easily cowed into doing as he is told. After the Gordon Gang escapes due to Barney's failed rehabilitation effort, Andy decides to send them to his house and Aunt Bee's firm discipline, only they refuse to get out of the squad car, having already heard about "Bloody Mary" as she has come to be known. However, we learn even more about Otis' character in "Deputy Otis" in which he is anxious about a visit from his brother and sister-in-law because he has been using jailhouse stationery to write letters to them, giving them the impression that he works for Andy. Rather than sternly forcing Otis to face reality, Andy allows him to become a temporary deputy if he will agree to go sober during the time of his brother's visit. As it turns out, Otis' brother is the same kind of drunk Otis is, but after seeing Otis in such a reputable position, he promises to go sober himself. Though Andy tells Barney that it is unlikely Otis will continue his life of sobriety, getting his brother to dry out is a positive result of letting Otis pretend to be a deputy.

Andy likewise agrees to cover up for barber Floyd Lawson in "Floyd, the Gay Deceiver" (November 26, 1962), an episode structured very much like "Deputy Otis." In Floyd's case, he has misled a woman he met through a lonely hearts magazine pen-pal program into believing that he is a wealthy business owner. When she writes that she will be visiting Mayberry soon, Floyd at first threatens to leave town, but Andy finally agrees to let him pose as his fictional self by using the house of a wealthy Mayberry family that is away on vacation. The deception comes off awkwardly with Andy pretending to be Floyd's son until Andy discovers that the woman is herself a con artist who makes a living deceiving wealthy single men. But when he sees that Floyd is worried sick about breaking the woman's heart, Andy decides to keep her secret from Floyd to avoid spoiling his illusion. Elsewhere, Floyd comes off somewhat similar to Barney--vain and gullible, though lacking in Barney's unwarranted self-confidence. In "The Bookie Barber" (April 16, 1962) Floyd is easily hoodwinked into allowing another man rent a chair in his barbershop, failing to notice that the supposed barber has the same clients showing up almost daily because he is actually a bookie and they are his bagmen. After Andy tells Barney his suspicions about their true business, Barney tries to expose them by dressing in drag to pose as a woman who wants to place a bet on a horse race, the first of two Barney-in-drag episodes. And Floyd assumes Barney's know-it-all attitude about romance and marriage in "Andy and Opie, Bachelors" (October 22, 1962), warning Andy that his new girlfriend Peggy McMillan is setting him up for a proposal when she keeps offering to cook and tend house for him while Aunt Bee is away visiting relatives. To Andy's discredit, he actually listens to Floyd and tries rebuffing Peggy, almost spoiling their relationship until he finally has a frank talk with her and she assures him she has no ulterior motive.

And Aunt Bee gets more fleshing out in the previously covered "Aunt Bee, the Warden" in which she shows herself as a no-nonsense tamer of men, as well as "Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee" (April 2, 1962), and "The Bed Jacket" (December 10, 1962). In "Wedding Bells," Aunt Bee allows her friend Clara to persuade her that Andy will never remarry as long as she is living with him out of deference to her, so she agrees to be courted by uncouth and somewhat disgusting dry cleaner Fred Goss. Andy finally recognizes that Bee is not happy at the prospect of marrying Goss and assures her that she is not standing in his way, even offering to smoothly break off the engagement by pretending that Bee is planning to wear a dress to their next dance that has all the features that Goss, as a dry cleaner, hates. In "The Bed Jacket" we again see Bee timidly putting herself second when she can't bring herself to tell Andy what she really wants for her upcoming birthday, a frilly and perhaps frivolous bed jacket she saw in the window of the local fashion shop. Trying to maintain a front of practicality and not wanting any bother on her expense, Bee's subtle hints about the bed jacket fail to connect with Andy, who instead gets her a more practical gift of glass jars for preserves, while Mayor Stoner misreads her attempt to get him to mention the bed jacket to Andy and instead buys it for his own wife. Andy only realizes his mistake when Clara comes over to see Bee's new bed jacket on her birthday, and he is able to postpone her visit while he rushes over to Stoner's house to make a deal for what Bee really wants. Her portrait as a self-effacing servant of others is yet another realistically drawn character that makes The Andy Griffith Show one of television's truly exceptional comedies.

Season 3 saw the introduction of three new characters to Mayberry--the aforementioned Mayor Stoner, new girlfriend Peggy McMillan, and the first appearance of auto mechanic Gomer Pyle. Stoner's arrival was necessitated by the death of Dick Elliott in late 1961. While Elliott's Mayor Pike was a wishy-washy politician whose opinion mimics whoever spoke to him last, Parley Baer renders Mayor Stoner, as his name implies, a hardened, opinionated know-nothing with a mean streak and no sense of humor. We first meet him in "Andy and the New Mayor" (October 15, 1962) when he calls Andy to his office and wants to review every aspect of his work as well as make changes, such as having Andy and Barney carry guns. When he learns that Andy is allowing farmer Jess Morgan to interrupt his jail sentence for running a still in order to go home to bring in his crop, he threatens to report Andy to the governor. And when Morgan does not show up by 5:00 after his three-day leave is up, despite Andy assuring Stoner that Morgan would come back willingly, Stoner insists on going with Andy and Barney to Morgan's farm to forcibly bring him back only to find him up in a tree refusing to come down. Stoner assumes that Morgan is being recalcitrant and rushes over to the tree to try to force him down, not realizing because of the brush around the tree that there is a bear at its foot keeping Morgan pinned above. Andy gets the last word in with Stoner after the bear shreds his clothes and jumps in their patrol car, but Stoner's mood has not improved when he next appears in "The Cow Thief" (October 29, 1962), calling in a state forensics expert after he feels that Andy is not acting quickly enough to solve a series of cow thefts. Rather than letting Andy handle things his way, Stoner again feels he must demonstrate his leadership by taking over with the forensics expert Upchurch and setting up nightly patrols. As with "Andy on Trial" Barney's loyalty to Andy is tested as he seems more impressed with Upchurch's supposed advanced techniques rather than Andy's instincts. Upchurch jumps to the false conclusion, based on the tracks leading away from the cow pen, that a gang has been stealing the cows, but Andy correctly figures out that there are no cow tracks leading away from the pen, meaning that the thief had put shoes on the cow to make its tracks appear human and throw off the investigator. Of course, Stoner never admits his error or offers any compliments to Andy for his deft solving of the case. He remains antagonistic to Andy in "The Bed Jacket" when Andy and Opie appear to catch a lot of fish from the same spot where Stoner hasn't caught any, and when Andy suggests his good fortune is due to his fishing pole, Stoner tries to buy it off him and cannot understand why Andy won't sell it. When Stoner discovers that Andy needs the bed jacket Aunt Bee wants which Stoner bought for his wife, he forces Andy to trade his prize fishing pole for it, which Andy explains to Opie he was happy to do since the pleasure he will get from seeing Aunt Bee happy outweighs any pleasure he would get from using the fishing pole. But Stoner's meanness does not go unpunished because his wife gets word that he bought the bed jacket and assumes he got it for another woman, bringing Stoner to Andy's door pleading with him to tell his wife what really happened since she won't believe him. In Richard Kelly's book The Andy Griffith Show, Sheldon Leonard remarks that they did not consider Stoner a central character like Otis and Floyd and that Parley Baer was not kept on retainer so that if he was unavailable when they were shooting an episode where Andy interacts with the mayor, they would just find another actor. Baer would appear in only 7 episodes as Stoner, all in Season 3.

Like Otis Campbell, Gomer Pyle's first appearance in "The Bank Job" (December 24, 1962) was originally intended as a one-time gig when the bank manager summons the auto mechanic to bring an acetylene torch to free Barney, who has locked himself inside the bank vault. Of course, Gomer would go on to become a regular Mayberry character who proved just as successful when he was spun off into his own program, Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C. Such was not the case for Andy's new Season 3 girlfriend Peggy McMillan, played by Joanna Moore. As we mentioned in our post on the 1961 episodes, Kelly documents in his book that finding the right female companion for Andy Griffith the actor and Andy Taylor the character was difficult in large part because of Griffith's awkwardness around women and playing romantic scenes. After Elinor Donahue asked to be let out of her contract after Season 1, Sheldon Leonard comments in Kelly's book that they felt Taylor had to have a girlfriend to avoid being taken for a homosexual. Kelly appears mistaken when he lumps Sue Ane Langdon into the same basket as Elinor Donahue in failed Andy Taylor girlfriends--Langdon appeared in only one episode as county health official Mary Simpson in "Three's a Crowd" (April 9, 1962). But a few weeks earlier another actress, Julie Adams of The Creature From the Black Lagoon fame, played county nurse Mary Simpson in "The County Nurse" (March 19, 1962) who needs Andy's help convincing an ornery farmer to get his tetanus shot. Though Andy never goes on a date with the first Mary Simpson, he is clearly attracted to her and mentions this to Barney, but seems to have a steady relationship with the second Mary Simpson which is constantly interrupted by Barney who hasn't a clue that he is an intruder. Peggy McMillan was obviously meant for bigger things because Moore received cover photos on two Sunday newspaper TV supplements in the fall of 1962, a publicity coup that wouldn't have been afforded to a one-off character role. However, Andy's relationship with Peggy runs into numerous problems right from the start, beginning with "Andy's Rich Girlfriend" (October 8, 1962) when he learns to his surprise that she is from a wealthy and sophisticated background. Rather than seeing this as a chance for new experiences, Andy feels inferior and out of place when they dine at a French restaurant and he is sickened at the thought of eating escargot. Instead of facing his problem, Andy takes the immature approach of avoiding her until he accidentally runs into her one evening when both go out to the lake to ponder their problems while skimming stones, as they had done on their first date, and are able to patch things up. Next Andy falls prey to Floyd's mistaken warning about Peggy trying to snare him in "Andy and Opie, Bachelors" mentioned above. In her third appearance, "Barney Mends a Broken Heart" (November 5, 1962), Andy again childishly gets into a fight with Peggy when an old male friend of hers shows up unexpectedly on an evening when she is scheduled for a date with Andy. Rather than rolling with the changes, Andy storms off, and Barney ineptly tries to take his mind off being jilted by fixing him up with a friend of Thelma Lou's who hates the guitar and then the friend of a woman he met in Mount Pilot with a jealous and violent boyfriend. In Peggy's final appearance, "Opie's Rival" (December 3, 1962) Opie resorts to deception to create conflict between Andy and Peggy after feeling that he was being left behind. Though Opie helps patch everything up after Andy assures him that he will always be his son and have his love, the character of Peggy would not return, and Andy's attentions would shift to Opie's teacher Helen Crump late in Season 3, a match that Griffith found more compatible both on and off screen. While Andy's treatment of Peggy is not always commendable, depicting his character as less than perfect is yet another reason why The Andy Griffith Show is held in such high regard. Mayberry may have come to represent an idealized fantasy community not found anywhere on earth, but its inhabitants ring as true to life as those we encounter in our real hometowns every day.

The Actors

For the biographies of Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier, Howard McNear, Hal Smith, Betty Lynn, and Hope Summers, see the 1961 post on The Andy Griffith Show. For the biography of Parley Baer, see the 1961 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Joanna Moore

Born Dorothy Joanne Cook on November 10, 1934 in Parrott, Georgia, Moore suffered her first tragedy at age 7 when her mother and younger sister were killed in an auto accident that also severely injured her father. He died a year later, and initially Moore went to live with her grandmother. But when her grandmother became too feeble to care for her, she was adopted by a wealthy family in Americus, Georgia and changed her name to Joanna. At age 16 she married teenager Willis Moore, but soon divorced him and went on to attend Agnes Scott College near Atlanta, where she said all the female students' top priority was finding a husband. Moore moved to California in 1955 after winning a beauty contest and was noticed at a cocktail party by producer Al Zugsmith, resulting in a screen test and a contract with Universal Pictures. She made her TV debut in a 1956 episode of Lux Video Theatre and the following year had her first feature film leading role playing opposite George Nader in the crime drama Appointment With a Shadow. Meanwhile she had married fellow actor Don Oreck in February 1956 but divorced him the following year. She had steady work appearing on more TV anthology series as well as a string of mostly supporting film roles, including a small part in Touch of Evil, and another headlining spot opposite Arthur Franz in the 1958 sci-fi horror flick Monster on the Campus. It was around this time that Moore was signed to a personal contract with Alfred Hitchcock, appearing 4 times on his TV program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but Moore had the contract dissolved because she objected to Hitchcock's demands for changing her appearance. Beginning in 1959 she began to find more work in television with guest appearances on The Real McCoys, The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, and Riverboat. Around 1960 she went completely deaf due to otosclerosis but continued acting by learning to lip-read. She finally had surgery in 1962 to restore hearing in one ear. That year she also had two of her more memorable roles as prostitute Miss Precious in Walk on the Wild Side and playing a southern belle opposite Elvis Presley in Follow That Dream. She also suffered a serious gash on her leg while filming an episode of Route 66 that left a permanent scar. However, her memorable roles earlier in the year led her to be cast as nurse Peggy McMillan, Sheriff Andy Taylor's newest love interest, in the fall of 1962 beginning Season 3 of The Andy Griffith Show.

After her 4 appearances on The Andy Griffith Show, Moore played opposite Fred MacMurray in Son of Flubber and appeared in episodes of The Virginian, Perry Mason, and Hawaiian Eye, all in 1963. That year she also married for the third time to actor Ryan O'Neal, with whom she had daughter Tatum and son Griffin. Her marriage to O'Neal has been described as tempestuous, and the couple split in 1966 with the divorce becoming final the following year. Moore continued working regularly both during the marriage and thereafter, but the divorce had a lasting negative impact on her, driving her into a deep depression that led her to abuse alcohol and amphetamines. In Tatum O'Neal's autobiography many years later, she observed about her mother, "some women survive divorce, some don't. She turned to pills and alcohol to soothe the pain." Eventually her substance abuse problems began to affect her work and in 1970 she checked herself into the Camarillo State Hospital to deal with her amphetamine addiction. But even after being released, alcohol continued to be a problem--she was arrested multiple times for DUI and later lost three fingers on one hand during an auto accident. By 1971 she lost custody of her children, and after Tatum became an Oscar-winning actor herself at age 10, she helped support her mother when Moore's acting roles dried up in the mid-1970s. In 1975 Moore married roofing contractor Garry Reeves, but like her other marriages, it didn't last long with a divorce following in 1976, the year she made her last TV series appearances in episodes of The Blue Knight and Petrocelli. In 1977 Tatum bought her mother a condominium in Palm Springs. In 1980 Moore appeared in the TV movie Scout's Honor, and her last feature film appearance came 4 years later in an Australian movie Run Chrissie Run! In 1996, Moore, a lifelong cigarette smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Tatum bought her a house in Indian Wells, California, where she died November 22, 1997 at age 63.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 2, Episode 13, "The Farmer Takes a Wife": Alan Hale, Jr. (shown on the left, played Biff Baker on Biff Baker U.S.A., Casey Jones on Casey Jones, and The Skipper on Gilligan's Island) plays amorous farmer Big Jeff Pruitt.

Season 2, Episode 14, "The Keeper of the Flame": Everett Sloane (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Tracy Show) plays moonshining farmer Jubal Foster. Flip Mark (Flip Rogers on Lassie, Brook Hooten on Guestward Ho!, and Larry Walker on Fair Exchange) plays the leader of Opie's secret club.

Season 2, Episode 15, "Bailey's Bad Boy": Bill Bixby (shown on the right, played Charles Raymond on The Joey Bishop Show, Tim O'Hara on My Favorite Martian, Tom Corbett on The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Anthony Blake on The Magician, Dr. David Banner on The Incredible Hulk, and Matt Cassidy on Goodnight, Beantown) plays spoiled rich kid Ronald Bailey. Jon Lormer (Harry Tate on Lawman, Sam Watkins on The Real McCoys, various autopsy surgeons and medical examiners in 12 episodes of Perry Mason, Simon Benjamin on The Young Marrieds, and Judge Irwin A. Chester on Peyton Place) plays produce farmer Fletch Dilbeck. 

Season 2, Episodes 16, "The Manicurist": Barbara Eden (shown on the left, starred in Flaming Star, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Ride the Wild Surf, and Harper Valley P.T.A. and played Loco Jones on How to Marry a Millionaire, Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie, Stella Johnson on Harper Valley P.T.A., Barbara McCray Gibbons on A Brand New Life, and Lee Ann De La Vega on Dallas) plays manicurist Ellen Brown. Frank Warren (Officer Simpson on Highway Patrol) plays grocer Art Crowley. Cheerio Meredith (Lovey Hackett on One Happy Family) plays Mayberry old timer Emma Watson.

Season 2, Episodes 17, "The Jinx": John Qualen (shown on the right, appeared in The Three Musketeers(1935), His Girl Friday, The Grapes of Wrath, Angels Over Broadway, Casablanca, Anatomy of a Murder, and A Patch of Blue) plays alleged jinx Henry Bennett. Clint Howard (Ron Howard's brother, played Stanley on The Baileys of Balboa, Mark Wedloe on Gentle Ben, Steve on The Cowboys, Googie on Gung Ho, and Mimmer on Space Rangers) plays a little boy at the square dance social.

Season 2, Episode 18, "Jailbreak": Ken Lynch (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Checkmate) plays Chief Inspector of State Police Horton. Allan Melvin (Cpl. Steve Henshaw on The Phil Silvers Show, Sgt. Snorkle on Beetle Bailey, Sgt. Charley Hacker on Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C., Sam Franklin on The Brady Bunch, and Barney Hefner on All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place and was the voice of Magilla Gorilla on Magilla Gorilla, Drooper on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and Thun and King Vultan on Flash Gordon) plays bank robber Clarence "Doc" Malloy. Frank Warren (see "The Manicurist" above) returns as grocer Art Crowley. Fred Sherman (Tommy the tailor on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and Burt Purdy on Cimarron City) plays dry cleaner Fred Goss.

Season 2, Episode 20, "Barney and the Choir": Olan Soule (shown on the right, played Aristotle "Tut" Jones on Captain Midnight, Ray Pinker on Dragnet (1952-59), Cal on Stagecoach West, the Hotel Carlton desk clerk on Have Gun -- Will Travel, and Fred Springer on Arnie and voiced Batman on The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Superfriends, The World's Greatest SuperFriends, and Super Friends) plays choirmaster John Masters.

Season 2, Episode 21, "Guest of Honor": Jay Novello (Juan Greco on Zorro and Mayor Mario Lugatto on McHale's Navy) plays conman Sheldon Davis. 

Season 2, Episode 22, "The Merchant of Mayberry": Sterling Holloway (shown on the left, starred in The Merry Widow, Career Woman, and A Walk in the Sun, did voice work for many Walt Disney films like Dumbo , Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and the voice of Winnie the Pooh in various titles, and played Waldo Binney on The Life of Riley and Buck Singleton on The Baileys of Balboa) plays traveling salesman Bert Miller. Will Wright (Mr. Merrivale on Dennis the Menace) plays store owner Ben Weaver. Sara Seegar (starred in The Last Curtain, Dead Men Tell No Tales, and The Music Man and played Eloise Wilson on Dennis the Menace) plays customer Katherine Palmer. Mary Lansing (later played Martha Clark on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.) plays customer Mrs. Mason.

Season 2, Episode 23, "Aunt Bee the Warden": Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays convict Bill Gordon. Mary Lansing (see "The Merchant of Mayberry" above) plays cake decorator Mary.

Season 2, Episode 24, "The County Nurse": Julie Adams (shown on the right, starred in The Creature From the Black Lagoon and played Martha Howard on The Jimmy Stewart Show, Ann Rorchek on Code Red, and Eve Simpson on Murder, She Wrote) plays county nurse Mary Simpson.

Season 2, Episode 25, "Andy and Barney in the Big City": Les Tremayne (starred in The War of the Worlds (1953), The Story of Ruth, The Slime People, and The Fortune Cookie and played Inspector Richard Queen in The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen) plays jewel thief C.J. Hasler. Allan Melvin (see "Jailbreak" above) plays hotel Detective Bardoli. Robert Carson (Mr. Maddis on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) plays Police Commissioner Hedges. Arte Johnson (a regular performer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and played Bascomb Bleacher, Jr. on Sally, Cpl. Lefkowitz on Don't Call Me Charlie, and Clive Richlin on Glitter) plays a hotel clerk. Peter Leeds (Tenner Smith on Trackdown and George Colton on Pete and Gladys) plays police Sgt. Nelson.

Season 2, Episode 26, "Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee": Fred Sherman (see "Jailbreak" above) returns as dry cleaner Fred Goss. 

Season 2, Episode 27, "Three's a Crowd": Sue Ane Langdon (shown on the right, played Kitty Marsh on Bachelor Father, Lillian Nuvo on Arnie, Rosie on Grandpa Goes to Washington, and Darlene on When the Whistle Blows) plays health official Mary Simpson.

Season 2, Episode 28, "The Bookie Barber": Herb Vigran (Judge Brooker on Gunsmoke) plays bookie Bill Medwin. Harry Swoger (Harry the bartender on The Big Valley) plays one of his bagmen. 

Season 2, Episode 29, "Andy on Trial": Roy Roberts (Capt. Simon P. Huxley on The Gale Storm Show, Admiral Rogers on McHale's Navy, John Cushing on The Beverly Hillbillies, Mr. Cheever on The Lucy Show, Frank Stephens on Bewitched, Norman Curtis on Petticoat Junction, and Mr. Botkin/Bodkin on Gunsmoke) plays publishing CEO J. Howard Jackson. Ruta Lee (shown on the left, appeared in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, and Witness for the Prosecution and played Rona on 1st and Ten: The Championship and Pauline Spencer on Coming of Age) plays his reporter Jean Boswell. Robert Brubaker (Deputy Ed Blake on U.S. Marshal and Floyd on Gunsmoke) plays State's Attorney lawyer Roger Milton. Sally Mansfield (Vena Ray on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger) plays Jackson's secretary Miss Fenwick.

Season 2, Episode 30, "Cousin Virgil": Michael J. Pollard (shown on the right, starred in The Wild Angels, Enter Laughing, Bonnie and Clyde, Little Fauss and Big Halsey, and Scrooged and played Leonard on Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills) plays Barney's inept cousin Virgil. Rance Howard (father of Ron Howard and Clint Howard, played Henry Boomhauer on Gentle Ben and Dr. McIvers on The Waltons) plays a bus driver.

Season 2, Episode 31, "Deputy Otis": Stanley Adams (Lt. Morse on Not for Hire and Gurrah on The Lawless Years) plays Otis' brother Ralph Campbell. Amzie Strickland (Julia Mobey on Carter Country) plays Ralph's wife Verlene. Dorothy Neumann (Miss Mittleman on Hank) plays Otis' wife Rita.

Season 3, Episode 1, "Mr. McBeevee": Karl Swenson (shown on the left, played Lars Hanson on Little House on the Prairie) plays lineman Mr. McBeevee.

Season 3, Episode 2, "Andy's Rich Girlfriend": Warner Jones (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Blue Angels) plays a second waiter at the French restaurant. 

Season 3, Episode 3, "Andy and the New Mayor": Roy Engel (shown on the right, played Doc Martin on Bonanza, the police chief on My Favorite Martian, and President Ulysses S. Grant on The Wild, Wild West) plays farmer Jess Morgan. Helen Kleeb (Miss Claridge on Harrigan and Son, Miss Tandy on Room 222, and Mamie Baldwin on The Waltons) plays his wife.

Season 3, Episode 5, "The Cow Thief": Malcolm Atterbury (shown on the left, starred in I Was a Teenage Werewolf, The Birds, and The Learning Tree and played John Bixby on Wagon Train and Grandfather Aldon on Apple's Way) plays recently released thief Luke Jensen. Jon Lormer (see "Bailey's Bad Boy" above) plays farmer Tate Fletcher. Ralph Bell (radio actor who was married to actresses Pert Kelton and Patricia Roe) plays state forensics expert William Upchurch.

Season 3, Episode 6, "Barney Mends a Broken Heart": Josie Lloyd (shown on the right, played Nurse Roth on Dr. Kildare) plays Thelma Lou's friend Lydia Crossthwaite. Joyce Jameson (appeared in The Apartment, Tales of Terror, and The Comedy of Terrors) plays Barney's Mount Pilot date Skippy. Jean Carson (Rosemary on The Betty Hutton Show) plays Skippy's friend Daphne.

Season 3, Episode 7, "Lawman Barney": Orville Sherman (see "Aunt Bee the Warden" above) plays illegal produce peddler Matt. Alan Melvin (see "Jailbreak" above) plays his partner Neal. Norman Leavitt (Ralph on Trackdown) plays filling station owner Wally.

Season 3, Episode 8, "The Mayberry Band": Joseph Sirola (shown on the left, played Peter Nino on The Brighter Day, Jonathan Kaye on Hawaii Five-O, Dominick on The Magician, Tony Montefusco on The Montefuscos, and Sal Wolf on Wolf) plays rock 'n' roll band leader Freddy Fleet. Burt Mustin (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Leave It to Beaver) plays barbershop customer Jubal. Norman Leavitt (see "Lawman Barney" above) plays councilman Ralph.

Season 3, Episode 9, "Floyd, the Gay Deceiver": Doris Dowling (shown on the right, starred in The Lost Weekend, The Blue Dahlia, Bitter Rice, and Othello and played Irene Adams on My Living Doll) plays Floyd's pen pal Madelyn Grayson. 

Season 3, Episode 11, "Convicts-at-Large": Reta Shaw (shown on the left, played Flora McCauley on The Ann Sothern Show, Thelma on The Tab Hunter Show, Mrs. Stanfield on Oh, Those Bells, and Martha Grant on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) plays prison-break leader Big Maude Tyler. Jean Carson (see "Barney Mends a Broken Heart" above) plays escaped convict Jalene Naomi Connors. Jane Dulo (Liz Murray on Hey, Jeannie!, WAC Pvt. Mildred Lukens on The Phil Silvers Show, Molly Turner on McHale's Navy, Agent 99's mother on Get Smart, Nurse Murphy on Medical Center, and Grandma Mildred Kanisky on Gimme a Break!) plays escaped convict Sally. Willis Bouchey (Mayor Terwilliger on The Great Gildersleeve, Springer on Pete and Gladys, and the judge 23 times on Perry Mason) plays returning cabin owner Charlie O'Malley.

Season 3, Episode 12, "The Bed Jacket": Mary Lansing (see "The Merchant of Mayberry" above) plays fashion store owner Mrs. Lukens. Dabbs Greer (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Gunsmoke) plays a hardware store clerk. 

Season 3, Episode 13, "The Bank Job": Charles Thompson (Tommy Magnuson on Peyton Place) plays bank security guard Asa Breeney. Jim Nabors (shown on the right, played Hank Smith on Valentine's Day, Gomer Pyle on Gomer Pyle: USMC, and Fum on The Lost Saucer) plays auto mechanic Gomer Pyle. Mary Lansing (see "The Merchant of Mayberry" above) plays beauty parlor customer Mrs. Rodenbach. Clint Howard (see "The Jinx" above) plays sandwich-eating little boy Leon.

Season 3, Episode 14, "One-Punch Opie": Richard Keith (Little Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and later played Johnny Paul Jason on The Andy Griffith Show) plays Opie's friend Carter French. Kim Tyler (Kyle Nash on Please Don't Eat the Daisies) plays Opie's friend Billy Gray. Clint Howard (see "The Jinx" above) returns as sandwich-eating little boy Leon.


Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Jack Benny Program (1962)

In our previous posts on The Jack Benny Program, we've noted how Benny has been credited with influencing modern comedy and helping create the sit-com format. One academic who has written extensively on Benny's earlier days in radio is Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, who describes in her article "How Jack Benny and Harry Conn Stumbled Onto the Formula for Situation Comedy" in a 2017 edition of Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, that Benny and Conn were forced to come up with something to fill radio air time after Benny was hired to host The Canada Dry Program but felt he had run through his entire vaudeville stand-up repertoire after only two episodes. Benny then hired Conn, an experienced vaudeville joke writer for Mae West and many others, and the two began expanding the non-musical portion of the program to include sketches outside the studio, such as one set in the soda fountain located in the radio building lobby, with the sketch including other cast members as characters in the comedy routine. And thus the formula was born, though, of course, it was expanded, adapted, and otherwise shaped over the next several years that also included changing sponsors, networks, and cast members. Benny recruited his wife, billed as Mary Livingstone, to fill in one evening when the script ran short, and the audience response was so positive that she became a permanent cast member. Announcer Don Wilson joined the radio program in 1934, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was added as Benny's valet in 1937, and tenor vocalist Dennis Day replaced Kenny Baker in 1939. Orchestra leader Phil Harris was also a regular on the radio program beginning in 1936 but did not make the transition to the TV version of the program as did the other characters. 

Given the show's origins in seemingly always in need of additional material to fill air time, it is not surprising that this deficit also became a regular part of the formula in recycling scripts from previous seasons as the show went on for over 20 years on radio and 15 seasons on television. Initially, the TV program aired only every other week until Season 11 in 1960 when it switched to a weekly formula, but even then it produced only 26-27 episodes per season instead of the then-customary 39. And still these 26-27 episodes often borrowed heavily from previous seasons. For the Season 12 episodes that aired in 1962, "Jack Gets a Passport" (January 21, 1962), "How Jack Met Rochester" (January 28, 1962), "Police Station Show" (February 4, 1962), "Ghost Town Western" (February 11, 1962), and "Modern Prison Sketch" (April 15, 1962) all borrow from previous seasons' episodes. But with the "Police Station Show" episode, recycled from "Jack's Maxwell Is Stolen" (November 18, 1956), the writers reworked a few elements of the show to make it funnier. In the earlier version, Benny comes out and does a standard monologue with several jokes about his cheapness before getting an urgent call from Rochester that his Maxwell automobile has been stolen. In the revised 1962 version the episode begins at rehearsal, not the actual aired version of the show, and Jack is late, so Fred the director has his new stand-in, played by Charles Cantor, begin the show. When Benny eventually shows up, he can't believe the smaller, mealy-mouthed Cantor is supposed to represent him, and when he begins doing his monologue, Cantor returns to give him advice on how to do Benny more accurately. Though the 1962 version does omit a humorous musical number by the Sportsmen Quartet in which they are still in the process of getting dressed while singing their number because they did not anticipate Benny leaving the show abruptly to go down to the Beverly Hills Police Station to report his stolen car, the scene featuring the police dispatchers at the police station is upgraded from having one of them entertaining the patrol car officers by playing Elvis Presley records to having dispatcher Corey be a top-notch Irish tenor who croons "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen." Given that the rest of the police station sketch is almost identical in both versions, Benny was perhaps counting on his audience not remembering an episode that aired 6 years earlier, particularly in an era without youtube or DVDs, but even so, reworking a previous episode and passing it off as new is yet another example of how the program exploded the artificial facade that typical television tries to maintain.

In fact, repetition is one of the key components of the Benny comic formula, along with humiliation. Not only are Benny's character flaws of cheapness, vanity, and horrible violin playing worked into every episode, but the same joke or sight gag is repeated multiple times throughout each episode. In "Ghost Town Western" Benny's character The Cactus Kid has a six gun that shoots crooked, which has him shooting the wrong man earlier in the sketch but ultimately saves him in the end. In "Jack Is a Violin Teacher" (April 8, 1962) Jack's imaginary wife Mabel reads off a list of clients for whom she cleans houses on each day of the week when the mother of one of Jack's pupils tries to hire her. When Mabel later complains that she never gets to go out, Benny recites the same list for her, saying she gets to go see Mrs. Johnson on Monday, etc. After Mabel leaves him and his violin students abandon him as well, Benny shows up at the home of Mrs. Johnson on a Monday dressed in Mabel's cleaning outfit. And in the "Phil Silvers Show" episode (October 9, 1962) the young Silvers shows up at Benny's doorstep looking to break into show business with a note pinned to his jacket from Benny's Aunt Sude asking him to help out the son of her best friend. During the remainder of the episode, whenever Benny gets fed up with Silvers' laziness and is about to throw him out, Silvers produces another handwritten note from Aunt Sude causing him to reconsider on her behalf. 

This formula of repetition and humiliation is the blueprint used many years later by Larry David on Seinfeld and even more so on Curb Your Enthusiasm on which David plays an unflattering version of himself much like Benny's character on The Jack Benny Program. Reviewer Philip Weiss made the connection between David and Benny in his 2002 column in The Observer "Who's Master Now?", noting not only the theme of humiliation but the use of real-world celebrities in dishing out the main character's penance. The repetition component is also a key part of David's humor in an episode such as "Krayzee-Eyez Killa" in which the primary plot revolves around Larry striking up a friendship with the titular rapper who also happens to be his wife's friend Wanda Sykes' fiance, but the subplot revolves around a hideous plaid jacket that Larry needs to retrieve to do some retakes for a movie he is making with Martin Scorsese. After Larry's wife Cheryl donates the jacket to a charity, not realizing it is part of Larry's movie wardrobe, Larry spends the rest of the episode trying to find another copy but being thwarted at every turn. He returns to the clothing store where the original was purchased to find they have one more jacket left but then offends the store clerk by insisting on refolding a sweater the wrong way so that the clerk refuses to sell him the jacket. He then finds that Krazee-Eyez Killa has a copy and even gets him to give it to Larry, but when Killa finds that Larry told Wanda that Killa has been cheating on her and calls off the engagement, Killa goes to Larry's house and demands he give the jacket back upon threat of physical violence. When Larry shows up the next day for the movie retake and confesses that he did not bring the jacket back because Cheryl donated it, the wardrobe supervisor reveals she has a backup copy, meaning that all his efforts to secure a replacement were unnecessary (it should be noted that Benny tangles with a wardrobe supervisor in the 1962 episode "Jack Is a Violin Teacher"). The episode also has Larry beginning the plot by stomping on bubblewrap, which comes back to haunt him later, and repeatedly choking on a pubic hair stuck in his throat at the most inopportune times, a motif that actually spans multiple episodes. Weiss notes that Jerry Seinfeld himself cited The Jack Benny Program as an influence on his sit-com, and it is clear that David has continued to mine Benny's comic formula for his own series. Carol Burnett, who stars in the 1962 episode "Jack Plays Tarzan" (November 13, 1962), obviously borrowed heavily from the Benny formula for her long-running variety series, and Steve Martin cites Benny as an influence in his segment "Steve's Comedic Inspirations." Benny's influence continues to be pervasive throughout comedy and television nearly 50 years after his death, all because very early on he learned the value of being able to laugh at himself.

But he also persuaded many of his celebrity guests to join in on the self-mockery, having Raymond Burr attempt stand-up comedy in "Air Force Sketch" (October 16, 1962), having Rock Hudson play a timid harmonica player and Hugh Downs play an overzealous version of himself in "Rock Hudson Show" (February 18, 1962), an episode in which Benny does a hilarious impersonation of Jack Paar, and having Jack Soo play a hip-talking talent agent before doing an absurd impersonation of Ed Sullivan in "Jack Meets a Japanese Agent" (November 27, 1962). Even Bob Hope comes off much funnier playing himself in another recycled episode "The Bob Hope Show" (December 4, 1962) than he does in his own movies and TV appearances. Benny and his writers had a knack for threading the needle between the truly humorous and the painfully cornball. Few comedians then or now have been able to match him.

As mentioned in the 1960 post for this series, there is a disorganized collection of various episodes from the show's 15 years issued by low-budget outfits like Alpha Video, Passport Video, and Echo Bridge in addition to a 3-disc "Lost Episodes" set released by Shout! Factory. The show is also currently airing on cable channel Antenna TV. From calendar year 1962, there are a total of 19 episodes available on,, or broadcast on Antenna TV.

The Actors

For the biographies for Jack Benny, Eddie Anderson, Don Wilson, Dennis Day, and Frank Nelson, see the 1960 post for The Jack Benny Program. For the biography of Mel Blanc, see the 1960 post for The Flintstones.

Charlie Cantor

Born September 4, 1898 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor broke into radio at age 23 on WHN in New York and went on to have an extremely prolific career as a voice actor. At his peak, he was appearing on up to 40 different shows a week. Though he specialized in comic roles, he also found work playing straight characters and even villains. Appearing on everything from The Shadow and Dick Tracy to The Life of Riley and The Baby Snooks Show, Cantor's most famous roles were as Socrates Mulligan in the Allen's Alley segments of The Fred Allen Show beginning in 1940 and continuing until the series ended in 1949. He played bar patron Clifton Finnegan on Duffy's Tavern beginning in 1941 and appeared in the feature film based on the radio show in his movie debut in 1945. In 1942 he took over the role of Solomon Levy on Abie's Irish Rose but was soon replaced himself by Alan Reed, who would go on to become the voice of Fred Flinstone. Cantor's connection with Jack Benny began when he appeared on three episodes of his radio program as ardent Benny fan Logan Jerkfinkle in 1940. The Continuity Acceptance Department at NBC, however, felt that the word "jerk" was cheap, as reported in the May 8, 1940 edition of Variety, and though the character was scheduled to appear on the show's season finale on June 16, he never actually appeared on the program again. Meanwhile, Cantor continued with his radio work on other programs and made his television debut on a February 25, 1951 episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour. In 1952 he appeared in his second feature film, Stop, You're Killing Me, and in 1954 he made the first of 16 appearances on The Jack Benny Program TV series as a lingerie salesman.

Cantor played a variety of characters on the show, sometimes as himself, as when he played Jack's stand-in when Benny was late for rehearsal on "Police Station Show" (February 4, 1962). Though Cantor's appearances on the program were somewhat sporadic in the 1950s, the bulk of his work came during the show's final years of 1962-65. Meanwhile, he found work on a variety of other TV programs beginning in 1955 on shows such as Where's Raymond?, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Bachelor Father. His only recurring role was playing the character Gimpy on the legal comedy Harrigan and Son, which ran for only a single season of 34 episodes. Cantor appeared as Gimpy in 5 of them. He had guest roles on a number of other shows in the 1960s including The Joey Bishop Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Red Skelton Hour. His last credit came in a late 1965 episode of O.K. Crackerby! and passed away just after his 68th birthday on September 11, 1966.

Dale White

Dale Porter White was born January 13, 1932 in Otto, Wyoming. He grew up in Caspar, Wyoming, where he attended and graduated in 1950 from Natrona High School, also serving as Student Body Secretary and President of the Thespian Club. A lifelong devout Mormon, White attended Brigham Young University and Utah State University before moving to California to study at the Pasadena Playhouse. Though his ambition was to become a director, White was recruited by the producers of The Jack Benny Program to play Don Wilson's son Harlow, a role he appeared in 17 times between 1955 and 1964. He would never again act on television.

After the program ended, White taught acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and formed his own film company, White Productions, which mostly produced films for corporations and The Church of Latter Day Saints. In 1976 he wrote and directed his first feature-length film Runnin' Free. He also owned two live theaters, the Claremont Playhouse and the Sierra Madre Playhouse. But in 1990 he and his wife moved to Bountiful, Utah to be closer to family. There he and his son Frank bought a motorcycle shop in Centreville, and the two traveled the country to attend motorcycle races that Frank competed in. He died in Pella, Iowa on February 16, 2006 at the age of 74.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 12, Episode 12, "Jack Does Opera": Roberta Peters (shown on the left, world renowned opera soprano awarded the American National Medal of the Arts, appeared in Tonight We Sing and City Hall, and made a record 65 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show) plays herself. Herb Vigran (Judge Brooker on Gunsmoke) plays a press photographer. John Harmon (hotel clerk Eddie Halstead on The Rifleman) plays his assistant.

Season 12, Episode 16, "Police Station Show": Hayden Rorke (starred in Father's Little Dividend, When Worlds Collide, and Pillow Talk and played Steve on Mr. Adams and Eve, Col. Farnsworth on No Time for Sergeants, Dr. Alfred Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie, and Bishop on Dr. Kildare) plays police Sgt. Van Der Meer. Ross Elliott (Lee Baldwin on General Hospital and Sheriff Mark Abbott on The Virginian) plays Jack's director Fred. Joan Benny (Jack Benny's adopted daughter) plays the police station receptionist. Bob Hoy (Joe Butler on The High Chaparral and Cliff on Our House) plays a policeman. Michael Emmet (Cpl. Davis on Boots and Saddles) plays a member of Jack's orchestra.

Season 12, Episode 17, "Ghost Town Western Sketch": Giselle MacKenzie (shown on the right, popular singer, played Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless) plays herself and saloon girl Tess MacKenzie. Will Wright (Ben Weaver on The Andy Griffith Show and Mr. Merrivale on Dennis the Menace) plays a ghost town cafe owner. Irene Tedrow (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dennis the Menace) plays his wife. Gerald Mohr (narrator on 19 episodes of The Lone Ranger, Christopher Storm on Foreign Intrigue, voice of Mr. Fantastic and Reed Richards on Fantastic 4) plays notorious gunman Tombstone Harry. James Flavin (Lt. Donovan on Man With a Camera and Robert Howard on The Roaring 20's) plays bartender Joe. Benny Rubin (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Tracy Show) plays a drunk.

Season 12, Episode 18, "Rock Hudson Show": Rock Hudson (starred in Magnificent Obsession, Giant, Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, and Ice Station Zebra and played Stewart McMillan on McMillan & Wife, Brian Devlin on The Devlin Connection, and Daniel Reece on Dynasty) plays himself. Hugh Downs (shown on the left, announcer on the Jack Paar Tonight Show and long-time news host on Over Easy, 20/20, Live From Lincoln Center, and Today) plays himself. 

Season 12, Episode 19, "Julie London Show": Julie London (shown on the right, popular singer, starred in Nabonga, The Fat Man, and The George Raft Story and played nurse Dixie McCall on Emergency!) plays herself. Toni Marcus (violinist, composer, and teacher, composed the soundtrack for Summerspell, and performed the violin solo heard in the film An Officer and a Gentleman) plays herself as a 12-year-old autograph seeker. 

Season 12, Episode 20, "Alexander Hamilton Story": Jean Willes (shown on the left, appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ocean's 11, and Gypsy) plays mimeograph secretary Mamie and Elizabeth Hamilton. Ross Elliott (see "Police Station Show" above) returns as Jack's director Fred. Nancy Kulp (Pamela Livingstone on The Bob Cummings Show, Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies, Mrs. Gruber on The Brian Keith Show, and Mrs. Hopkins on Sanford and Son) plays script supervisor Jeannette. Gail Bonney (Goodwife Martin on Space Patrol and Madeline Schweitzer on December Bride) plays Elizabeth Hamilton's mother. Lester Matthews (Sir Dennis Nayland Smith on The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu and Fleming Pendleton on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays the Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr duel referee. 

Season 12, Episode 23, "Jack Goes Back Into Pictures": Billy Wilder (shown on the far right, Oscar-winning director who directed Ninotchka, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment) plays himself. John Harmon (see "Jack Does Opera" above) plays a mailman.

Season 12, Episode 24, "Jack Is a Violin Teacher": Elvia Allman (Aunt Vera on I Married Joan, Jane on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Cora Dithers on Blondie, Mrs. Montague on The Bob Cummings Show, Elverna Bradshaw on The Beverly Hillbillies, and Selma Plout on Petticoat Junction) plays violin teacher Jack's wife Mabel. Barbara Pepper (Doris Ziffel on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction) plays wardrobe supervisor Maggie. Mary Treen (appeared in Babbitt, A Night at the Ritz, Love Begins at Twenty, and It's a Wonderful Life and played Emily Dodger on Willy and Hilda on The Joey Bishop Show) plays violin student's mother Mrs. Jameson. Herb Vigran (see "Jack Does Opera" above) plays violin student's father Mr. Tinmin. 

Season 12, Episode 25, "Modern Prison Sketch": Mickey Rooney (shown on the far left, starred in Captains Courageous, Boys Town, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Words and Music, Babyface Nelson, and Breakfast at Tiffany's as well as numerous Andy Hardy movies and played Mickey Mulligan on The Mickey Rooney Show, Mickey Grady on Mickey, Oliver Nugent on One of the Boys, Henry Dailey on The New Adventures of the Black Stallion, and Talbut on Kleo the Misfit Unicorn) plays himself and convict Killer Looney. Iris Adrian (appeared in Too Many Blondes, Career Girl, The Paleface, and G.I. Jane and played Dottie on The Ted Knight Show) plays a lunch counter waitress.  Ross Elliott (see "Police Station Show" above) returns as Jack's director Fred.  Alan Carney (played Mike Strager in a series of RKO comedies in the 1940s, appeared in The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and Herbie Rides Again, and played Herbie on The Jean Carroll Show) plays counterfeiter Inky Green. Richard Reeves (Mr. Murphy on Date With the Angels) plays convict Muggsy McGurk. Larry J. Blake (played the unnamed jailer on Yancy Derringer and Tom Parnell on Saints and Sinners) plays new convict Stranger.

Season 13, Episode 3, "Phil Silvers Show": Phil Silvers (shown on the right, starred in You're in the Army Now, Top Banana, Lucky Me, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Boatniks, and The Strongest Man in the World and played Msgt. Ernest G. Bilko on The Phil Silvers Show, Harry Grafton on The New Phil Silvers Show, and Shifty Shafer on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays himself. Joe Flynn (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays Jack's barber. Gail Bonney (see "Alexander Hamilton Story" above) plays Jack's Aunt Sude.

Season 13, Episode 4, "Air Force Sketch": Raymond Burr (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on Perry Mason) plays himself. Roland Winters (played Charlie Chan in 6 feature films, appeared in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, Follow the Sun, Cash McCall, and Blue Hawaii, and played J.R. Boone, Sr. in Meet Millie and Leonard J. Costello on My Brother the Angel) plays Air Force Gen. Sneed. Warren Vanders (Chuck Davis on Empire, Ben Crowley on Daniel Boone, and Brant on How the West Was Won) plays an Air Force pilot.

Season 13, Episode 5, "Lawrence Welk Show": Lawrence Welk (shown on the right, world renowned orchestra leader and host of The Lawrence Welk Show) plays himself. Madge Blake (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Real McCoys) plays Pasadena Jack Benny Fan Club President Nara. Jesslyn Fax (appeared in Rear Window, The Music Man, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Love God? and played Angela Devon on Our Miss Brooks and Wilma Fritter on Many Happy Returns) plays her Vice President.

Season 13, Episode 6, "The Story of My Gang Comedy": Darla Hood (played Darla in 49 Our Gang shorts and appeared in Neighborhood House, Born to Sing, and The Bat, and was a regular on The Ken Murray Show) plays herself. Frances Mercer (starred in Crime Ring, Smashing the Rackets, The Mad Miss Manton, and There's Always Tomorrow and played Nurse Ann Talbot on Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal) plays Alfalfa's mother Mrs. Falfa. James Flavin (see "Ghost Town Western Sketch" above) plays a policeman. Benny Rubin (see "Ghost Town Western Sketch" above) plays a barber. 

Season 13, Episode 7, "Jack Plays Tarzan": Carol Burnett (shown on the left, regular cast member on The Garry Moore Show, host of The Carol Burnett Show and Carol and Company, and played Celia Howard on Stanley, Eunice Higgins on Mama's Family, Verla Grubbs on All My Children, and Theresa Stemple on Mad About You) plays herself. Peter Lupus (Willy Armitage on Mission: Impossible) plays Tarzan. Richard Peel (Mr. Withers on Family Affair) plays Jane's father.

Season 13, Episode 9, "Jack Meets a Japanese Agent": Romi Yamada (Japanese popular singer) plays herself. Jack Soo (starred in Flower Drum Song, Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?, and The Green Berets and played Rockwell Sin on Valentine's Day and Det. Sgt. Nick Yemana  on Barney Miller) plays her agent. Mel Blanc (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Flintstones) plays a microphone boom man. The Rocky Fellers (Filipino-born quintet and Scepter Records recording artists who had a hit with "Killer Joe" in 1963) play themselves.

Season 13, Episode 10, "Bob Hope Show": Bob Hope (shown on the right, legendary comedian who starred in Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar, My Favorite Blonde, My Favorite Brunette, The Paleface, and Bachelor in Paradise) plays himself. Jesse White (appeared in Harvey, Bedtime for Bonzo, The Bad Seed, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Reluctant Astronaut and played Mickey Calhoun on Private Secretary, Jesse Leeds on Make Room for Daddy, and Oscar Pudney on The Ann Sothern Show) plays talent agent Weber. Iris Adrian (see "Modern Prison Sketch" above) plays his secretary. Duke Johnson (juggler who appeared in Swing Fever, Texas Carnival, and Spartacus) plays a juggler. 

Season 13, Episode 11, "Jack Referees a Wrestling Match": Ruth Berle (shown third from left, wife of Milton Berle) plays herself. Anne Douglas (shown fourth from left, wife of Kirk Douglas) plays herself. Eden Hartford (shown second from left, wife of Groucho Marks) plays herself. Evelyn Patrick (shown on the far left, wife of Phil Silvers) plays herself. Maudie Prickett (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Hazel) plays Jack's secretary Miss Gordon. Roy Rowan (announcer on The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, Falcon Crest, and Dallas) plays a photographer. Billy Varga (professional wrestler who won the light heavyweight title in 1941) plays himself. Gene LeBell (professional wrestler and national judo champion) plays himself.

Season 13, Episode 12, "Jack and the Crying Cab Driver": Louis Nye (shown on the right, starred in Sex Kittens Go to College, The Facts of Life, The Stripper, and Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? and played Dr. Delbert Gray on The Ann Sothern Show, Sonny Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies, Harry Karp on Needles and Pins, and Jeff Greene's father on Curb Your Enthusiasm) plays a crying cab driver. Mel Blanc (see "Jack Meets a Japanese Agent" above) plays a Mexican named Sy. Bill Mumy (Will Robinson on Lost in Space, Weaver on Sunshine, and Lennier on Babylon 5) plays a young boy obsessed with weighing himself. Alice Backes (Vickie on Bachelor Father) plays his mother. Hank Brandt (Leonard Waggedorn on Julia, Morgan Hess on Dynasty, and Dr. Aaron Kranzler on Santa Barbara) plays young lover Bill. 

Season 13, Episode 13, "The Story of the New Talent Show": Mel Blanc (see "Jack Meets a Japanese Agent" above) plays animal impressionist Mr. Finque. Bernie Kopell (shown on the left, played Siegfried on Get Smart, Jerry Bauman on That Girl, Louie Palucci on The Doris Day Show, Charlie Miller on Needles and Pins, Alan-a-Dale on When Things Were Rotten, Dr. Adam Bricker on The Love Boat, and voiced Baron von Butcher, Creto, and Wang Fu on Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp) plays marksman Alberto Rinadli. Madge Blake (see "Lawrence Welk Show" above) plays Tillie, President of the Jack Benny Fan Club, Pasadena Chapter. Jesslyn Fax (see "Lawrence Welk Show" above) plays her Vice President Emma.