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 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.