Mayberry's original mayor deserves more respect
The character was based on a real businessman in Andy Griffith's hometown!
On the first-ever Mayberry Days, an annual celebration of all things Andy Griffith that takes place in the TV legend's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, everything had to be just right. The local barbershop got renamed Floyd's, shopkeepers posted photos of Andy and Barney in their windows, and the city chipped in $1,400 to overhaul a vintage 1962 Ford Galaxie to create a replica of the Mayberry squad car.
The cherry on top? The town mayor agreed to host the opening ceremony dressed as his "Mayberry counterpart," Mayor Roy Stoner.
Mayor Stoner was hilariously portrayed by actor Parley Baer, and for many fans of The Andy Griffith Show, he remains the most memorable mayor from the show.
But Mayberry actually had multiple mayors in the series run, and Mayor Stoner wasn't even the first. That distinction goes to Mayor Pike, one of Mayberry's overlooked and earliest colorful characters, portrayed by the amazing character actor Dick Elliott.
Mayor Pike appears right from the start of The Andy Griffith Show, featuring in 11 episodes from 1960 to 1962. Fondly referred to as "our fat little mayor," Mayor Pike had a high funny voice that piped up in agreement with whatever the popular opinion seemed to be.
He typically wore a string bow tie with a black coat, dressed very neatly but hardly ever able to make up his own mind about anything.
Elliott perfected the comedy of this character who played a big part in favorite episodes like "Mayberry Goes Hollywood," "Crime-Free Mayberry," and "The Manicurist," his final appearance.
According to the book The Definitive Andy Griffith Show Reference, the character was inspired by someone Andy knew in the real world.
"Mayor Pike's character was based on a resident of Andy Griffith's hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina. The gentleman's name was Floyd Pike, and he was a well-respected businessman."
Of course, once Mayor Pike left Mayberry, Mayor Stoner came in, and Baer, another legendary character actor, capably filled Elliott's shoes after arriving in town and rattling laidback Andy as a strict administrator. It makes sense that Mayor Stoner would be memorable, even though he appeared in only seven episodes between 1962 and 1963.
But considering how Mayor Pike is rooted in a real character from Griffith's hometown, which inspired Mayberry, perhaps one of these Mayberry Days, the mayor might consider nodding to Mayor Pike by donning a string bow tie instead of Mayor Stoner's striped tie? We'd love to see it.