10 times The Andy Griffith Show slightly changed the names of memorable Mayberry residents
The writers have confirmed you're not crazy.
For fans of The Andy Griffith Show, the small town of Mayberry feels like a second home and its residents? Practically neighbors.
That's why it can be jarring for viewers who have come to know a certain character by a particular name to suddenly hear them addressed as someone else. Because many character actors played varied roles on the show, the confusion only furthers, leaving an attentive viewer to wonder: Am I nuts, or did the writers change that character's name?
Well, we're here to confirm that you are not crazy and the writers have admitted there are some continuity issues when it comes to character names on the show. The simplest answer is that in many cases, the writers just forgot what a character was called and never verified before filming started.
Here, we've combed through The Andy Griffith Show's credits to see how many characters we could find with names that slightly changed over time, including big ones like Floyd the Barber, Clara Edwards and the Darlings. See how many you caught!
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1. Floyd Lawson
Perhaps the most famous character whose name noticeably changes is Floyd the Barber. Most folks remember Howard McNear as Floyd Lawson, the last name given the character once McNear took over the character after Walter Baldwin portrayed him as simply Floyd the Barber. But in McNear's very first appearance in "Mayberry Goes Hollywood," he is randomly called Floyd Colby. After that, he was called Floyd Lawson every time.
2. Dean, Doug and Mitch Darling
The Dillards famously portrayed the Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show, and for the most part, the band members used their own first names as their character names: Rodney Dillard was Rodney Darling, Doug was Doug Darling, Dean was Dean Darling, and Mitch was Mitch Darling. But in the band's first appearance in "The Darlings Are Coming," Doug was called Jebbin Darling and Dean was called Oether Darling, while Mitch was called Brother Darling and Mitch Brother before he became known as Mitch Darling.
3. Clara Edwards
A gossip and one of Aunt Bee's besties, Clara Edwards is actually first introduced as Bertha Edwards in "Andy and Opie, Housekeepers." Then, in "Barney's Replacement," she became Clara Johnson, which stuck for a while, until "The Church Organ" episode. That's when she became Clara Edwards, the name she'd take for the rest of the series.
4. Bobby Fleet
Bobby Fleet and His Band with a Beat has a great ring to it, which is probably why the character was featured in three episodes. However, in addition to changing the actor playing Bobby Fleet from Henry Slate in "The Guitar Player" to Herb Ellis in "The Guitar Player Returns" to Joseph Sirola in "The Mayberry Band," they also called the character Freddy Fleet on his last appearance. Freddy Fleet and His Band with a Beat sounds almost just as good, don't you think?
5. Johnny Paul Jason
Everybody loved seeing Richard Keith, who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy, suddenly appear in Mayberry as one of Opie's best friends Johnny Paul Jason. But few probably remember that the first time Keith appeared in the episode "One-Punch Opie," he was called Carter French when Andy lectured the boys. The rest of his time on the show, though, he'd go by JPJ.
6. Howie Pruitt
Another one of Opie's pals was Howie Pruitt, a good kid who only occasionally gave Helen Crump a hard time. Across all Howie's appearances, he's known as Howie Pruitt, son to Mrs. Pruitt – except for his second to last guest spot. For "Barney Fife, Realtor," Howie's dad is identified as Mr. Williams, making him Howie Williams, not Pruitt, for just one episode.
7. Sharon Porter... or is it Sharon McCall?
Apart from Opie's crush on Helen, the boy's love for a girl named Sharon Porter is one of the boy's biggest romances. She shows up in four episodes, but in the first two, "Opie Loves Helen" and "The Education of Ernest T. Bass," she's called Sharon McCall. Later in "Opie's Job" and "Look, Paw, I'm Dancing," the same girl is called Sharon Porter.
8. Emma Brand
Emma Brand has a reputation in Mayberry as a busybody and hypochondriac, but Barney Fife would tell you her biggest offense is her jaywalking. Although the character is billed as Emma Brand in every appearance but one, Barney keeps a file on Emma's pedestrian foul play called "The Emma Watson Case," and in the actor's final appearance in "The Manicurist," she is called Emma Watson, not Brand.
9. Asa Breeney
Mayberry's got a jack-of-all trades in Asa Breeney, who pops up in several odd jobs through the series run. Portrayed by Charles Thompson, the character is called Asa Breeney in four of five episodes, but in his second to last appearance as the character (the same actor would later appear as Doc Roberts), he was called by a different last name. In "Barney's Physical," Thompson is credited as Asa Bascomb.
10. The Reverend
Heading Mayberry's church is the Reverend, known as Reverend Hobart M. Tucker in the first three episodes he's in. Then, randomly, the reverend's name switched in "Opie's Newspaper" and "The Church Organ" to Reverend Martin. The writers must've thrown in the towel at that point, because for his final appearance in "The Church Benefactors," the character is simply referred to as Reverend.
See also: Here's proof that Mayberry picked the finest musicians to perform as the Darlings
Watch Andy perform "Duelin' Banjos" with the band. WATCH NOW.
It looks like there were quite a few writers on the show (that worked in pairs) and with that many writers, it's possible that they weren't paying as much attention? But Script Supervisors should be keeping a close eye on discrepancies like we have all noticed. Hazel W. Hall was in the Script and Continuity department for the Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1964 (according to IMBd). She should have piped up about these obvious changes. Hard to believe that anyone would have thought that no one would notice.