This old man of Mayberry had been playing an ''old man'' since his 20s!

Andy Clyde literally grew into the character he played in silent films.

The Everett Collection

The Andy Griffith Show had its fair share of elders. More than most sitcoms. You could find old folks lazing outside Floyd's, gossiping with Aunt Bee, playing in the Mayberry band, seated at the Mayberry town council meetings, farming…. 

Fans likely recall the poorest man in Mayberry, Frank Myers. In "Mayberry Goes Bankrupt," the town council votes to evict the cash-strapped fellow for failing to pay his taxes. Andy Clyde played the character. He made a living portraying the elderly. His final role might be his most familiar — he was Cully Wilson, wise ol' pal of Timmy on Lassie. His bushy, grizzled mustache made him a distinctive face in classic television.

But he had been relying on that gray-hair look for decades. Four decades. He honed his "old man" character when he was a film star in his 20s, and in the 1920s.

He burst onto the Hollywood scene as a regular player for trailblazing comedy tycoon Mack Sennett. Clyde was in the stable of Sennett silent stars, a roster that at some point included Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Fatty Arbuckle, the Keystone Cops, and the Bathing Beauties. Clyde ended up marrying one of those Bathing Beauties, Elsie Maud Tarron.

He donned a gray wig and mustache to play his "old man" caricature across several Sennett comedies. His character often carried his own name — like the "Andy Clyde" seen in domestic farces In the Dog House and Alimony Aches

Audiences were used to seeing Clyde as an old man — and it was a role he continued to play until he no longer needed makeup or false hair.

In the 1940s, he landed another iconic role as California, the sidekick of Hopalong Cassidy in a series of cinematic Westerns. 

All that history, packed into a single actor, seen in just one episode of The Andy Griffith Show. It's all part of the tapestry of Mayberry, what makes the world feel so real, so lived-in. Even the minor characters had major careers.

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Ric 29 months ago
Greetings. Was Andy Clyde on a Gunsmoke episode recently? He told Matt Dillon: "Don't start a tune without me; I'm a Dancing Man!" A personal favorite!
Ric 29 months ago
Greetings. I always wondered why Mr. Griffith was Andy Taylor on the Show.
Now I know why. Regards!
Ric Taylor.
Nala92129 31 months ago
Andy Clyde was a sweet, gentle soul. I was very touched by his tribute to Stan Laurel.
vinman63 31 months ago
Andy Clyde was a co star with both Shemp Howard and Vern Dent.
Pacificsun 31 months ago
I don't know if it was the custom or a lack of qualified actors old enough to play old men roles. But I clearly know of a series in the 60's that used make up to make a younger actor look older even though the actress playing opposite was already old enough for the part. I just thought it was the weirdest to see. I guess a bad makeup job too. But there was no point for doing it.
bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
Does anybody know the name
Of the person who for a pie in
the face at the end of the comedy movie STOP LOOK AND
vinman63 bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
Paul Winchell was an American ventriloquist, comedian, actor, humanitarian, and inventor, whose career flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. per Wikipedia
bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
Andy Clyde and Burt Must in
Were great character actors.
bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
METV Viewers:
Let's take a SURVEY Question:
What is your favorite Sitcom
Of All Time ?
Also who is favorite character
Who is your favorite Mean
Person in a TV show?
Who is your favorite Mean Person in a movie?
In the movie A Christmas Carol
Who is your favorite actor to
Play the Bah Humbug Guy?
Sitcom: I love Lucy.
Sitcom character: Lucy Ricardo, Fred Sanford, Archie Bunker, Fred Mertz, Dr. Smith, Sally Rogers, Oscar Madison, Jack Tripper.
Favorite mean person: Nellie Olsen.
Favorite mean person in a movie: Of course it has to be Scrooge.
Christmas carol favorite actor to play humbug guy: Reginald Owens.

Good questions.

I think for watching the same dang sitcom over and over for as many years as I did, Frasier provided the most laughter. It was really the ensemble casting, but Kelsey Grammar led the effort. John Mahoney was irreplaceable.

Mean person on TV, I don’t think very many are enjoyable, certainly not in the vein of Archie Bunker (because I never thought All In the Family was actually meant to be a “comedy” but a social commentary Norman Lloyd slipped through the censors) unless it’s a character that provides the comedy for a straight man. So that would probably Jack Riley as Elliott Carlin on the Bob Newhart Show. After a while I couldn’t imagine him in a regular role.

In a movie, Lee Marvin, he was pretty unforgettable.

I don’t remember A Christmas Carol (too depressing).
RichLorn 31 months ago
He was my favorite Hopalong Cassidy sidekick. He was both fun and funny to watch in anything he performed in. What a character.
F5Twitster 31 months ago
"Clyde was in the stable of Sennett silent stars, a roster that at some point included Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Fatty Arbuckle, the Keystone Cops, and the Bathing Beauties."

They were the Keystone KOPS.
jeopardyhead F5Twitster 31 months ago
I knew it was too good to be true MeTV had a well researched article.
VanHalen 31 months ago
One more - A. C. also was the host for "The 3 Stooges Show" which aired at 4PM CST in the Chicago area, back in the 50's. WGN TV then. He was a janitor (?) of the Odeon theatre ? So, my homework did NOT get finished till 5PM CST ( just before supper NOT dinner ). G O D - good old days.
davidknol VanHalen 31 months ago
I never missed Uncle Andy and the Stooges either. Homework? Not until the local andnighty news came on! 😎
BeatLPaul VanHalen 31 months ago
May I please correct you: AC did NOT play Andy Starr, of the Odeon Theater on WGN-TV's "Three Stooges Show"...that was Bob Bell, the same guy that played WGN's ultra famous Bozo of "Bozo's Circus". For awhile, he did both roles M-F. Incidentally, as Andy Starr, he would play old Andy Clyde shorts in addition to the Stooges movies back then. I remember, I was in front of the TV after school!
bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
Andy Clyde also played
George McMichael the best friend of Amos McCoy(Walter
Brennan) on The Real McCoys
From 1957-1962.
justjeff 31 months ago
He had a series of shorts for Columbia pictures in the 1940s... some with Shemp Howard before Shemp rejoined the Three Stooges in 1946 after Curly's stroke..
vinman63 justjeff 31 months ago
I mentioned it in my post also.
Andybandit 31 months ago
He was a cute little old man on the Andy Griffith show.
Runeshaper 31 months ago
Andy Clyde played a GREAT old man! I'm sure that holds true even when he was younger (-:
carmelosantiago 31 months ago
Love these shows I grew up as young kid watching and still watch today brings great memories love it....
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