Clint Howard Said He Doesn’t Actually Remember Being On ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
The Andy Griffith Show was one of the most popular sitcoms of its time, airing from 1960 to 1968. Set in Mayberry, North Carolina, the show followed the main character, Andy Taylor, who was the sheriff of this small, quiet town and his various family members, who Andy lives with. If you were a fan of the show, you may remember that Andy had a son named Opie. And for a total of five episodes, a tiny little cowboy known on the show as Leon would show up in various scenes, often with Opie by his side, offering different characters a bite of his sandwich, but never uttering a single word.
Well in real life, this little cowboy was Ron Howard (Opie’s) little brother, Clint Howard. One day, little Clint showed up to set with he and Ron’s dad, Rance, dressed in a cowboy outfit. Director Bob Sweeney and other crew members couldn’t handle how cute he was, so they included him in those five episodes.
In an interview with A.V. Club, Clint was asked about his very first role on the big screen appearing in The Andy Griffith Show and whether he remembered it. Clint replied:
“I don’t remember. What I remember are the conversations and the talks with Mom and Dad about all this, but I do not remember when I started in the entertainment business. I really tell people that I’m getting ready to have 60 years in the business. December of 1961 was my first day of employment and that was The Andy Griffith Show. Then, soon after, I worked on Courtship Of Eddie’s Father, which, by the way, here’s an anecdote: Liza Minnelli was the party choreographer.”
“Well, boy, I was a cute kid. First and foremost, I can see why I continued to work because the camera obviously liked me. And also, the director, Bob Jones, who invented that first bit, he was a regular director on The Andy Griffith Show, he was the one that spotted me one day and said, “He’s too cute.” Because I would come to the set with Mom. Dad was working on something of his own. Mom would have to come down and watch Ron, and at the time, not wanting to hire a babysitter, Mom just brought me along, and I would wear my little cowboy outfit. Bob Sweeney saw me one day and said, “We’ve got to use him. There’s a bit we can do.” And it was that bit in the square dance, and then there was me, and I was leaning up against the door jam checking out the ladies and smiling—had a big smile on my face—and the bit worked really good.”
He sure was a cute kid! I think that little cowboy stole the hearts of viewers across the nation. Clint went on to enjoy many decades in show business, acting in a variety of different roles. I encourage you to read a great interview with he and A.V. Club discussing his many, many acting credits which can be found here.
Gosh, talking about The Andy Griffith Show just brings me right on back to the good old days!