Bernard Fox wanted Malcolm Merriweather to replace Barney Fife

The actor who played Andy's English valet once shared his dream of what happened after Malcolm left Mayberry.

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Malcolm Merriweather, an English "gentleman's gentleman" on a tour of America, strolled into Mayberry on exactly three occasions.

In his first appearance, in "Andy's English Valet," Malcolm signs on to be Sheriff Andy's valet and do all his errands and chores, because Malcolm doesn't have enough money to cover a small fine.

Then, in "The Return of Malcolm Merriweather," he arrives in time to find Aunt Bee feeling overburdened by housework and fills in to give her some relief. He does such a good job that Aunt Bee gets scared he will replace her!

Finally, in "Malcolm at the Crossroads," Malcolm arrives again with plans to make his residency in Mayberry permanent. Andy decides to replace Ernest T. Bass by posting Malcolm as a crossing guard.

This leads Ernest to challenge Malcolm to a fistfight, which Andy, of course, cools down before it occurs. The end result is Ernest T. bearhugging Malcolm and declaring him his best buddy.

This sixth-season episode of The Andy Griffith Show would become the final appearance of both Malcolm Merriweather and Ernest T. Bass, which is unfortunate for fans of the Englishman because he'd only just announced that he'd moved to town for good!

Years later, in 1998, the actor who played Malcolm Merriweather Bernard Fox told The Johnson City Press that his character was always something of an enigma, a hard man to pin down.

"Obviously, he didn't have enough cash to pay his fine, so how he was getting around America, I've no idea," Fox said.

When asked what happened to Malcolm after he left Mayberry, Fox said he imagined that the valet completed his American tour and then, contrary to his declaration in "Malcolm at the Crossroads," returned home to England.

"I'm positive he went back to England to become a gentleman's gentleman again," Fox said. "That's a nice idea."

We think Mayberry fans would prefer another idea Fox had for his character.

He imagined a future where after Barney Fife leaves Mayberry… and Malcolm Merriweather returns to become Andy's new deputy! Now that's a job we definitely never pictured Malcolm stepping into.

"I do think he would want to go back to Mayberry," Fox said.

"Yes, and now that Don Knotts is out of it, I think he would probably go back and apply for the job of assistant sheriff," Fox said.

Could you picture a world where Malcolm became Mayberry's next deputy? It's even funnier than when Aunt Bee was feeling weird about the valet replacing her.

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MichaelEasterwood 1 month ago
The character was good for a couple of episodes,but as a deputy,just no
bdettlingmetv 2 months ago
Chuckled at: " 'Obviously, he didn't have enough cash to pay his fine, so how he was getting around America, I've no idea,' Fox said."

A Brit probably wouldn't know, but the itinerant, "hobo" sub-culture was alive and well back then, and in fact continues to this day. I gave a ride to a young man and his dog a few years ago, and he even described his community as "hobos". The movement has modernized with Facebook groups and Twitter feeds of gatherings, tips on 'safe' places, etc. Nice guy, hope he made it out to Colorado for his 'summer home'.
JohnGibbons 2 months ago
The second appearance is one of my favorite episodes. The fake drunk scene is a belly laugher.
Big3Fan 2 months ago
I don't think anyone could have replaced Barney. The Warren character was terrible, and as much as I enjoyed the Malcolm episodes I can't picture him as deputy. My choice would have been Jerry Van Dyke. I don't know if he was considered, but he had committed to doing MY MOTHER the CAR after his lone TAGS appearance.
Warren was very good,as you say,nobody could replace Don
RandallStrouse 2 months ago
Paging Dr. Bombay, Dr. Bombay, Emergency Emergency Come Right Away
Timothy 2 months ago
Malcolm was wonderful on all the shows mentioned that he was on...all the way to The Mummy. However Nadya is soooo right..Helen Crump was the WORST girl Andy ever had. Every other girl he has was light years ahead of Helen....always bitchy and jealous
Bucky65 2 months ago
Check out Arte Johnson as the hotel clerk in the episode when Andy a Barney go to the big city for a convention and they catch the jewel thief
JohnHardesty 2 months ago
Malcolm Merriweather should stick to playing the English fop because there’s no Keystone cops in Mayberry.
collin8 2 months ago
Did you ever notice in the black day for mayberry at the beginning of the episode in the courthouse when Opie walks in front of the "T Men" towards Barney that it's not the same 2 men? Watch it they are wearing hats but they're different.
JohnGibbons collin8 2 months ago
Yes one of the actors became ill and couldn’t finish so they re-shot the scene with Rance Howard.
Nadya92129 2 months ago
Earnest T. Bass would have been a great replacement for Barney Fife. The producers should have 86'd cold, bitchy, jealous, humorless Helen Crump! She really brought down the show.
Big3Fan Nadya92129 2 months ago
I totally agree! They should have dumped Crump.
retired2019 2 months ago
I liked him as Malcolm but loved him as Dr. Bombay.
OlgaBagley 2 months ago
Bernard Fox suggested that He replace Don Knotts that would of never work only because He had a British accent & He be awful hard to understand
Yeah, that English is a real tricky language isn't it.
LittleMissNoName 2 months ago
Would of been better than who they ended up with (Warren).
Anyone is better then that annoying Warren am I right huh huh huh huh
Wiseguy LittleMissNoName 2 months ago
Always would have, could have, should have, must have.
Never would of, could of, should of, must of.
If you think you hear someone saying "would of," they are actually saying the contraction "would've."
Pilaf LittleMissNoName 2 months ago
Jack Burns was too "Boston" for Mayberry. I felt bad for him. The miscasting was not his fault. The writers made him as annoying as humanly possible. Barney got on my last nerve more than once, but why the writers thought that the "huh, huh, huh" of "Warren's" was endearing is a great mystery.
SteveMarshall Wiseguy 2 months ago
Good point! I'm always surprised when I see "...could/should/would of..." online, when obviously they mean "could/should/would HAVE".
DethBiz 2 months ago
I think they should have brought in Ralph Furley to replace Barney Fife.
cperrynaples 2 months ago
Things didn't work out so bad for Fox! He was on Hogan's Heroes and he was Dr. Bombay on Bewitched! He was also in James Cameron's Titanic which is proably why he was interviewed years later!
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He was also in the first "Mummy" movie. If I remember right he said in an later interview that he took only a straight salary for "Titanic". Later he said he remembered to ask for a percentage of the box office for "Mummy"
Wiseguy cperrynaples 2 months ago
Bernard Fox once said he preferred the Hogan's Heroes role more than the Bewitched role, which is understandable since Col. Crittendon (should be Group Captain, not colonel) had a bigger role on the Hogan episodes he appeared in, but I prefer him on Bewitched, on which he appeared more times, because I knew if I saw him on Hogan he would screw everything up.
cperrynaples Wiseguy 2 months ago
Well, Bombay wasn't exactly a brain surgeon...LOL! And by the way MichaelSkaggs, Svenghoulie will tell you that there were Mummy movies before Brendon Frasier was even born! That character even met Abbott & Costello! BTW, was that the one with the moving candle?
That has been mentioned
Andybandit 2 months ago
I don't remember that Malcolm Mayweather. No one can replace Barney Fife
Patrick 2 months ago
The story isn't exactly accurate--Andy gets Ernest T. Bass to like Malcolm by telling him that, like him, Malcolm is Irish. That's when Ernest T. decides Malcolm is his best buddy. Then in the epilogue Ernest T. asks Malcolm which part of Ireland he's from and Malcolm tells him he isn't Irish, he's from West Yorkshire, England. Then Ernest T. is back to wanting to fight him again.
OlgaBagley Patrick 2 months ago
Because Andy didn’t Want Ernest T to Beat him up so he told him a little white lie
Wiseguy OlgaBagley 2 months ago
The issue isn't why Andy told him what he did but that MeTV didn't relate the plot correctly.
Stoney 2 months ago
Malcolm might have been an OK replacement. The culture clash would have provided plenty of story material, but it might have also taken the show in a different direction.
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