Mayberry Was Filled With Great Characters, from Barney To Ernest T. Bass. Let’s Not Forget Handyman Emmett Clark
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘The Andy Griffith Show‘ is one of my Top 3 all-time favorite shows, right up there with ‘M*A*S*H*’ and ‘Seinfeld’. And my all-time favorite TV character was (and is) Barney Fife.
But Mayberry was filled with great, memorable citizens! Andy, Opie and Aunt Bea were the core of the show, but who didn’t love Barney, Gomer, Goober, Ernest T. Bass, Otis the town drunk and all the others (always fun when the Darling’s came to town!).
A little later we were introduced to Howard Sprague, the town clerk and then there was the town ‘Handyman’…
Emmet and Howard and a few others continued on in ‘Mayberry RFD’, when Andy, Opie and Aunt Bea…well, left town! Now it was Sam Jones, his son Mike, and Millie Swanson that ‘anchored’ the show.
So who was this Emmett Clark and was he really a handyman?
Well, I’m not sure how ‘handy’ he actually was, but he could sure dance!
Emmett was portrayed by actor Paul Hartman. Paul was much more than an actor, as he started dancing with his sister as a boy and in 1922 teamed up with Grace Barret (they married in 1927) and had a long and successful vaudeville act. In fact, they were also star’s on Broadway for many years. It wouldn’t be altogether wrong to think of Paul Hartman in the same way one would think of Fred Astaire. He was a world class dancer.
You may remember that, as Emmett, the Mayberry Handyman, he actually did some dancing in two episodes, as a kind of nod to his great career before appearing on that show.
So whatever happened to that man from Mayberry who would try (sometimes unsuccessfully!) to fix toasters, vacuums and lamps?
Well, his wife Grace passed away from cancer in 1955, long before his ‘Mayberry’ days. Paul passed away from a heart attack in October of 1973 at the age of 69.
But he’ll live forever in Mayberry in re-runs, tinkering with those small appliances..and every once in a while, doing a little soft shoe.