The final appearances of your favorite TV characters are not always where you expect
Gilligan, Andy Taylor and Lucas McCain turned up for the last time in unlikely places.
You would think that once a television show ends, that is the last you will see of the characters. Of course, in our nostalgia-driven pop culture, that is not always the case.
Actors have reprised their beloved characters for reunion specials, movie cameos and commercials. Norm and Cliff from Cheers popped up in an AT&T ad in 2017. Heck, we've even featured Mama Harper in recent MeTV promos.
Classic characters like Columbo and Perry Mason continued to appear in TV movies for decades. However, we wanted to spotlight some final character appearances — by their original performers — in unlikely places.
Some iconic television characters made their final appearances in country music talk shows, cartoons, spoof films, video games and political skits. Let's take a look.
1. Lucas McCain
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991)
Kenny Rogers turned the titular character of his biggest hit, "The Gambler," into a TV movie franchise. This sequel stuffed its saddle bag with nostalgic cameos. Brady "The Gambler" Hawkes crosses paths with Caine from Kung Fu (David Carradine), Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Bat Masterson (Gene Berry). The mostly unlikely encounter, perhaps, is with the Rifleman himself. McCain says, "Well, I guess I'd better be headed back to North Fork."
Image: Kenny Rogers Productions / Viacom
2. Sheriff Andy Taylor and The Fonz
"Ron Howard's Call to Action" (2008)
Believe it or not, these two hall of famers were both seen for the last time together, in a web video during the 2008 election on Funny or Die. Howard, of course, reprised his characters Opie and Richie. That being said, we would not be shocked to see Henry Winkler slip into a leather jacket again.
3. Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern
Mary and Rhoda (2000)
The two BFFs teamed up again in a charming TV movie. After years apart, they bump into each other in New York City.
4. The Skipper
In the episode "Somewhere Over the Rerun," the furry alien floods the backyard and daydreams of visiting Gilligan's Isle. Mary Ann, Gilligan, the Professor and the Skipper all turn up. (It is said that the Howells are now living on the other side of the island.) The castaways have become bored of life after a quarter century in the tropics. This would be the last time Alan Hale, Jr., portrayed the Skipper, though the rest would return to their roles…
This forgotten Bronson Pinchot sitcom at least can claim the last Gilligan appearance, in the episode "Mommy 'n' Meego." Pinchot's character reaches Gilligan, Mary Ann and the Professor on a radio.
Image: Warner Bros. Television
6. Barney Fife, Goober Pyle, Thelma Lou and Otis Campbell
Nashville Now (1991)
This country-style take on The Tonight Show ran for a decade on the Nashville Network. In 1991, an entire episode was devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, as the cast was in town for a reunion. The show even managed to wrangle Charlene Darlings and Rafe Hollister for musical performances. Here we see Goober, Thelma Lou and Otis arriving onstage in Barney's squad car.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff (2015)
While Leonard Nimoy's final live-action screen appearance as Spock was the blockbuster Star Trek Into Darkness, his final performance as the Vulcan was actually voice work for a tap-and-collect mobile game. The Family Guy game launched a Star Trek story arc in March 2015, days after Nimoy's death.
Image: Fox Digital Entertainment
8. Barnaby Jones
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
After Ebsen's long run on the 1970s detective series Barnaby Jones, there was purportedly talk of creating a crossover in which Barnaby would meet the Clampetts. That never came to fruition, but the two Ebsen franchises would meet in 1993, when Ebsen's Barnaby made a cameo in the big-screen reboot of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Image: 20th Century Fox
A Very Brady Sequel (1996)
Speaking of TV spoof movies of the 1990s — Jeannie turns up briefly in this sequel to the hit Brady comedy.
Image: Paramount Pictures
10. Colonel Klink
The Simpsons (1993)
Homer meets his guardian angel in "The Last Temptation of Homer," and the the helpful spirit takes the form of the Hogan's Heroes character. Homer asks him, "Did you know Hogan had tunnels all over your camp?" Yep, Werner Klemperer did indeed voice Klink here for the final time. It would be the last credited performance of his career.
Image: 20th Television
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