Dud Wash from The Andy Griffith Show popped up in three Ron Howard films

Ever notice this Mayberry fellow in ancient Egypt and alongside Tom Cruise?

The network squeezed Gilligan into Mayberry. In the spring of 1964, CBS was prepping its new fantastical sitcom, Gilligan's Island, which was set to premiere in a few months. The series, of course, starred Bob Denver, who was no stranger to the network. Up until the prior year, Denver had played the lovable beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. But perhaps the suits were worried that audiences had forgotten Denver?

Whatever the reason, Denver appeared in "Divorce, Mountain Style," an episode of The Andy Griffith Show that once again centered around those hilarious hillbillies the Darlings. Denver played Dud Wash, the husband of Charlene Darling. That likely came a shock to viewers, because another actor portrayed Dud in earlier episodes.

Dud had been a part of the previous stories "The Darlings Are Coming" and "Mountain Wedding." Hoke Howell, a Southern boy born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina, was perfectly cast as Dud Wash in those episodes. With his long face and drawl, he fit right in among the fiddling Darlings. 

Bob Denver may have replaced Howell on the sitcom, but the original Dud must have made an impression on little Opie. Ron Howard repeatedly cast Howell in small roles in his films for decades.

We all know that "Ronny" Howard grew up to become a Academy Award-winning director. But before he was helming Oscar-bait like A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, he honed his craft on B-movies, comedies and action flicks.

In 1977, Howard premiered his directorial debut, the madcap car chase Grand Theft Auto. Howard, in a role not too far off from Richie Cunningham or American Graffiti, starred in the low-budget hit, too. His character, Sam Freeman, was a young lover on the run in a Rolls Royce, racing to Las Vegas to get hitched. 

Early in the movie, his car plows through a preacher's sermon in a park. That fiery preacher at the pulpit? Hoke Howell.

Over the next few years, Howard mostly directed TV movies, including the teenage rock-and-roll tale Cotton Candy and Through the Magic Pyramid, a juvenile time-travel adventure. The latter movie, written by his dad Rance Howard and later retitled The Time Crystal, followed a young football player as he zips back to ancient Egypt.

Howell in Grand Theft Auto, The Time Crystal, and Far and Away

A gallery of familiar TV faces populated the 1981 movie-of-the-week. Vic Tayback (Alice) and Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch) were in there. As you have by now guessed, so was Hoke Howell. He turns up in a darkened prison cell.

Finally, in 1992, Howard put Howell in his more prestigious fare. The Tom Cruise epic Far and Away follows an Irish immigrant to the Oklahoma land rush. In the third act, Cruise's character is working on a railroad crew in the Ozarks. His boss? Hoke Howell!

Howell passed away in 1997, ending his long run of collaborating with Howard. Did you ever notice him in these movies?

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JohnnyWalker 6 months ago
They should of had Allan Melvin play Dud Wash. He played every other character on the show.
JohnnyWalker 6 months ago
I wish the article explained why the original was replaced by Bob Denver...or did I miss it?
Nala92129 22 months ago
Bob Denver was a terribly unconvincing Dud Wash. He couldn't even manage a decent Southern accent! Hoke Howell was perfection! That vacant expression, the sweetness when he showed Charlene the love letters & her hair ribbons he saved...one of my favorite Andy Griffith Show actors/characters of all time.
EricFuller 38 months ago
Hoke Howell looked like Huntz Hall from the Bowery Boys.
47 months ago
Bob Denver was a terribly unconvincing Dud Wash. He couldn't even manage a decent Southern accent! Why was Hoke Howell, the perfect Dud Wash, replaced?
SalIanni 53 months ago
How ironic is it that Gilligan replaced a Howell? Lovey would never stand for that!
texasluva 53 months ago
Not exactly a well known actor by the masses. Would never be on The do you know me, American Express commercial. Who? At least we know whom he was now along with one movie where Jim Brown threatens to cut his head off with a airplane propeller (just saw the photo of that for the first time ever). The movie escapes me. If you were to flash his name I would have never placed it here nor there.
Kind of a Dud but not a total Wash
HerbF 53 months ago
Hoke Howell might have been friends with Ron's Father, Rance - who was also an actor...
harlow1313 53 months ago
I love the vacantness he achieved in his facial expression when playing Dud Wash (which is a great name).

He is also memorable as "Crapout," in the great biker film, "The Sidehackers." I recommend the MST3K treated version of the film.

And now I will tell a sidesplitting Crapout joke. "Number nine!"
cperrynaples harlow1313 53 months ago
Was he a fan of the Beatles' White Album...LOL!!
Barry22 harlow1313 53 months ago
That was on this morning on IFC.
CaptainZoom cperrynaples 10 months ago
Explain, please. Don't quite get it.
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