Many Mayberry citizens turned up in television commercials, too
Andy's pals sold Ford Pintos, cured meats and Slime Worms.
Mayberry never left us. (Or should we say: We never left Mayberry?) For starters, The Andy Griffith Show has continually aired in reruns for decades. On top of that, the familiar faces from the small town continued to pop up in TV commercials for years.
One of the Darlings helped sell a lemon. A deputy hawked throat lozenges. The town sot sold cured meats.
Let's take a look at some memorable commercials from the '60s, '70s and '80s featuring supporting actors from The Andy Griffith Show. Do you remember seeing these spots?
1. Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling) for Ford Pinto
Look at that beaming smile. That's the happiest anyone ever got buying a Ford Pinto. The infamous hatchback booked the former Charlene Darling to beam brighter than a headlight in this 1975 commercial, which also touted the Ford Maverick. Peterson (after marriage, Mancuso) largely stepped away from acting after that point, moving to Las Vegas, where she became a location scout. She worked in that capacity for Tim Burton's Mars Attacks.
2. Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass) for McDonald's
Hamburglar made his debut in 1971. In 1985, the patty thief got a makeover, transitioning from the more sinister figure up top the boyish, bucktoothed fellow seen here. The first actor to give Hamburglar a voice was Larry Storch, the slapstick star of F Troop, who voiced the character from 1971–86. Howard Morris, best known as the rambunctious mountain man Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, then took over as the voice. Morris had a much bigger hand in McDonaldland. He directed many of the early commercials for McD's. He also voiced Mayor McCheese!
3. Hal Smith (Otis Campbell) for Hickory Farms
From The Brady Bunch to Hanna-Barbera, Hal Smith played Santa Claus for a generation. The Jolly Ol' Elf was a far cry from town drunk Otis Campbell. Smith also donned the red suit and white beard to play Saint Nick in a Hickory Farms, where he chews on a fat slice of "beef stick." Man, we miss the free samples in those barn-shaped mall stores.
4. Hal Smith for Tommy Burst Detective Kit
Now, this was a little closer to his Mayberry role — he at least played a character fated for jail time. Mattel sold this "detective set," which let kids live out their gangster-movie fantasies. It came complete with a machine gun, six-shooter, wallet, I.D. card and holster. Smith really makes some Dick Tracy-worthy faces in this little-boy noir.
5. Jack Dodson for Slime Worms
Mmm… Slime Worms. Don't worry — it wasn't a food. Before Nickelodeon was dumping green slime on heads, Mattel sold tons of its Slime toy in the 1970s. The toymaker introduced its green goop in 1976. It came in a garbage-can-shaped plastic bucket. The sludge proved to be so popular, Mattel launched a Slime Monster board game and other various iterations of Slime. One of those was Slime Worms, a tub of slime riddled with plastic worms. Who better to promote the stuff than Howard Sprague himself, Jack Dodson?
6. Jack Burns (Warren Ferguson) for Spec-T
Jack Burns gets a bad rap. It was an unenviable task to replace Don Knotts as the deputy in season six. Burns had the comedic chops. He started his career as in a comedy duo with George Carlin. He also developed a great rapport with Avery Schreiber, the heavily mustachioed man of 1970s television. Those two honed their routines at Second City in Chicago, and later landed their own series, The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour in 1973. The twosome showed off the sharp timing and chemistry in ads for Spec-T lozenges.
7. Allan Melvin (Various) for Liquid Plumr
You know him best as a butcher, but he was also known as a plumber. Yes, Allan Melvin's biggest role was as Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch… or Corporal Henshaw on Sgt. Bilko… or Pete Dudley on My Favorite Martian… or Sergeant Hacker on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.… or Barney Hefner on All in the Family. Phew! The sitcom ace certainly got around. He played several characters on The Andy Griffith Show, including a guy named Fred Plummer. From Plummer to Plumr. It was fate!
SEE MORE: The Andy Griffith Show cast and characters kept turning up in commercials for years
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