Did you ever notice this imposter Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show?

Howard McNear missed more than 40 episodes due to health issues, but they quietly found a substitute.

The Andy Griffith Show episode "A Date for Gomer" holds historical significance, and not just in the love life of Mr. Pyle. The episode was originally slated to air on November 25, 1963, the Monday before Thanksgiving. However, television plans were tossed out upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy the previous Friday. Network news continued to cover the death of JFK and its aftermath for days in primetime. Thus, "A Date for Gomer" was given a rain check until December 9, 1963.

When it finally aired, the episode still held some historical curiosities. Mary Grace Canfield, best known for her later role as Ralph Monroe on Green Acres, portrayed a character with her same name, Mary Grace Gossage. She was Gomer's date and Thelma Lou's cousin. 

But there is something even weirder — and far harder to sight — in the first scene.

Andy and Opie exit Floyd's Barbershop. The camera is set up in the Mayberry street and follows the father and son down the sidewalk. 

"Why Floyd always has to get that little bit of hair down the back," Andy complains while rubbing his palm along the nape of his neck. 

Peer through the window in the barbershop. Pay close attention to "Floyd." The barber is dressed just like Floyd in glasses and white coat… but it is clearly not the familiar Floyd Lawson we know and love. That is not actor Howard McNear.

A year prior, in December 1962, McNear suffered a serious stroke. His brush with death occurred after season three's "Convicts-at-Large." Lawson would not return to The Andy Griffith Show until "Andy Saves Gomer," which aired on March 16, 1964. He would return, but much worse for the wear. McNear performed sitting down, for the most part, with his left side immobilized.  That was a span of more than 40 episodes without the friendly barber.

Well, excepting this imposter, of course.

We could not find out the identity of this alternate Floyd. It was seemingly not Walter Baldwin, the actor who first played the character in "Stranger in Town." That means that at least three men played the character onscreen!

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JohnGibbons 25 months ago
Makes you wonder was Floyd even referred to in those 40 episodes?
Wiseguy 46 months ago
Come on, people, use your brains! Joseph Kearns was an established actor. Even IF he were still alive and IF he wasn't already on another series, he wouldn't have played the part of the back of another actor!
RedjacArbez Wiseguy 43 months ago
too many "if's"
STTOS 46 months ago
I can't say that I've noticed this but it's probably because it is edited out. It's sad how much of TAGS is edited out on MeTV, TVLand and even Sundance. I would add that there is also a "fake Floyd" in another episode. I believe it is the episode Goober's Contest where "Floyd" is seen from the back only driving away in his car. It is obviously not Howard NcNear. Kind of like the "fake Shemp" from the Three Stooges. :)
MikeyMello STTOS 46 months ago
Yes! I have always wondered how many others noticed that too. It’s absolutely not him and it’s so obvious.
JHP 46 months ago
anyone of old time radio

Howard McNear was a ultra frequent character on many many shows - him, John Dehner and Cannon (William Conrad)
jrmaul 46 months ago
This scene was not shown in MeTV.
DougHendricks 46 months ago
That is one of townsfolk extras that i have seen in several episodes
Rick 46 months ago
Either you edited out this scene or it wasn't actually from "A Date for Gomer." Seems like it was probably from "Opie's Ill-Gotten Gain" which aired just before and I missed half of it.
Sooner 46 months ago
It looks like the guy that played Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace.
Piglet Sooner 46 months ago
That's who I first thought it was too!
DeniseHodges Sooner 46 months ago
It's not.
frances3agape Sooner 46 months ago
My first impression was that it was Wally Cox
RedjacArbez Sooner 43 months ago
cannot be as he died a year before in 1962
justjeff 46 months ago
I would swear as well that it was Joseph Kearns... but the nagging question is - as Kearns passed away on February 17, 1962 - was this some "stock footage" filmed for 'standby' use on a day where McNear might have been unavailable for a different health or personal reason? It makes you wonder...
MaryMitch justjeff 46 months ago
I don't think it was Joseph Kearns, but just as an aside, I looked him up and he was only 55 when he died!
Ceecee 46 months ago
I want Andy Griffith back on netflix so I can watch all the episodes. I miss it
BarneysDogBlue Ceecee 43 months ago
Buy on dvd, best money ever spent
klassikars 46 months ago
The Floyd IMPOSTER..is Joseph Kearns in my estimation. Although Kearns passed February of 62... the scene could have been shot prior.
mbp klassikars 46 months ago
Joe Kearns passed Feb/62. Howard had his stroke in Dec/62. It isn't Joe Kearns
JeffSchafer klassikars 46 months ago
That's exactly who it looks like (Joseph Kearns) but he died on February 17, 1962 & Howard McNear did not have the stroke until 10 months later ("A year prior, in December 1962, McNear suffered a serious stroke.")

They would not have made the episode with Joseph Kearns since he died way before Howard McNear had his stroke. There would have been no reason to replace Howard McNear prior to December 1962.

Also, Joseph Kearns suddenly died right after the 100th episode of Dennis the Menace.
He would have continued to do this part until the show ended if he had not died.
PatrickDeBlasi 46 months ago
It looks like Joseph Kearns - Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace. However, he died a year earlier.
Opa 46 months ago
My first glance at the actor standing in as Floyd Lawson was that it was being played by actor Joseph Kearns (‘good old Mr. Wilson’) from the early Dennis the Menace series.
Manchester Opa 46 months ago
I thought the same thing! Bet is was.
jim 46 months ago
This is off the subject but watched the episode where they tried to put together the band concert.
During the band practice portion in the jail , one of the band members in the back left appeared to be the man that played "Roger Hanover" (old beau of Aunt Bea's). Just wondering ?
BigE 46 months ago
It looks like Mr. Wilson from Denis the Menes.
SalIanni 46 months ago
From looking at the photo, I think I might be able to recognize the barber. To me, it looks like Joseph Kearns, who is best known as playing Mr Wilson on "Dennis The Menace". He died in February of 1962, one year before "A Date For Gomer" was filmed, so that photo would have to be from a different episode. If I'm right, and I'm not sure if I am, this would represent one of his final TV roles ever.
Pacificsun 46 months ago
To MeTV Staff: Hi, we'd like to know how the schedule is going to change for Fall 2020. Thank you.

Heroes & Icons already announced their change!
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 46 months ago
The big change was probably putting on Gilligan's Island.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 46 months ago
LOL! Yeah, they probably forgot they took it off for awhile.
jim Pacificsun 46 months ago
I love the old comedies on Me tv but shows like The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants would be good to revisit
Pacificsun jim 46 months ago
Exactly! Wouldn't it be fun if those shows led the Sci-Fi Saturday night lineup. Yeah, they were on before, but why make people (especially kids) watch them in the middle of the night when they could be on from 6pm to 7pm before Svengoolie!
JeffSchafer jim 46 months ago
Both "Land of the Giants" (3:00 AM - 4:00 AM) & "Time Tunnel" (4:00 AM - 5:00 AM) are on Sunday mornings (PST) on MeTV.
DeniseHodges JeffSchafer 46 months ago
I'm watching Laurel & Hardy then Blondie on Movie kpxj-mo at that time. I'd like to see Welcome back Kotter & WKRP in Cincinnati return to tv myself.
DeniseHodges jim 46 months ago
I'd like to see WKRP in Cincinnati & or Welcome back Kotter return to tv, Gilligan's Island I'd hoped was 2 episodes & replaced My 3 Sons
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