8 things you never noticed in The Andy Griffith Show episode ''The Mayberry Band''
Mayor Stoner and Mike Brady have something in common.
Parades are a part of small-town America. Everyone loves a parade. So it was inevitable that the ultimate all-American sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, would get around to telling a hilarious marching band story.
"The Mayberry Band" aired in season three, bringing back some familiar names and faces. Well, the names and faces were not quite as familiar as viewers might have thought, as we shall see.
The episode delivers ample amounts of music, Barney's physical comedy, Andy's clever scheming, and charm. No wonder it is a favorite. Let's take a closer look. There are some fascinating details you likely missed.
1. Aneta Corsaut named this character "Phil Sunkel" and the real Phil Sunkel sued.
One of the touring musicians, in particular, gets a good amount of screen time (and laughs). Like Maynard G. Krebs of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the fellow is a certain breed of beatnik jazz head. This trumpet player sports a Van Dyke goatee and spouts lines like, "Don't worry about it, daddy." The name of this horn blower is Phil Sunkel. Aneta Corsaut, who portrayed schoolteacher and love interest Helen Crump on the show, named the character. She suggested the name to screenwriter Jim Fritzell in tribute to a friend of hers. Corsaut happened to know a cool jazz horn player named Phil Sunkel. Wouldn't it be a cute honor to have this television character named after him. Well, the real Phil Sunkel did not find it so amusing. Actually, according to sources, Sunkel sued The Andy Griffith Show for $20,000 for using his name without permission. The producers ended up settling with the jazz musician for $5,000. We suppose that's what you call a "Sunkel" cost.
2. Andre Kostelanetz was a real person.
Barney's enthusiastic cymbal playing provides big laughs. We learn that the deputy spent $18.50 on the instrument, shipped down from Cymbal City in Chicago. He boasts that they are "Andre Kostelanetz Marchers." Kostelanetz was a real Russian-born composer. After moving to the U.S. he led the New York Philharmonic and hosted his own Andre Kostelanetz Presents on CBS radio. However, he did not have his own brand of cymbals. That was a joke. The writers just thought "Andre Kostelanetz Marchers" sounded funny.
Image: AP Photo / Ralph Morgan
3. Andy Griffith played the trumpet in real life, not the tuba.
On The Andy Griffith Show, we often see the star playing the guitar. In "The Mayberry Band," he picks up a tuba. But the actor's first instrument was the trombone. As a child in Mt. Airy, Griffith learned to play at the Grace Moravian Church, where a musical minister named Ed Mickey tutored him. "He taught me to play my slide trombone and I sang too," Andy told People magazine in 1979. "He had me playing and singing solos all over town."
4. Mayor Stoner and Mike Brady went to the same college.
Here is a detail that probably went overlooked in standard-definition televisions. Mayor Roy Stoner (Parley Baer) meets with Sheriff Andy and the town council in his office early in the episode. Behind the mayor, you can spot a diploma for Roy Stoner from "Norton College." Jump forward eight years to 1970. In an episode of The Brady Bunch, "Call Me Irresponsible," we see architect Mike Brady at work in his office. Behind his desk hangs his diploma — from "Norton College." So, is there a real Norton College? Not in the United States. There is a secondary school in North Yorkshire, England, called Norton College. We like to think this is an imaginary Hollywood place of higher learning.
5. Burt Mustin was "Jubal" not "Jud" in this one episode.
Burt Mustin started his acting career at the age of 67. On Leave It to Beaver, he played Gus the Fireman in 14 episodes. On The Andy Griffith Show, he was Jud Fletcher. Well, not always. For this episode only, everyone in the barbershop calls him "Jubal." But writers on this series were not exactly known for their continuity, as we shall see…
6. "Freddy" Fleet was different by mistake but he drove the same car.
Way back in season one, "The Guitar Play" introduced Bobby Fleet and His Band with a Beat to Mayberry. The jazz band passed through town from time to time, and on this occasion, Andy helped local guitar ace Jim Lindsey join the group. Lindsey and Bobby returned in "The Guitar Player Returns." Two different actors portrayed Bobby Fleet in those episodes, Henry Slate and Herb Ellis, respectively. Things got more complicated with "The Mayberry Band." The Band with a Beat cruised into Mayberry again — only this time they were led by "Freddy Fleet" (now played by Joseph Sirola). Andy and Barney treat Freddy as the same character as Bobby. Series writer Everett Greenbaum, who wrote "The Mayberry Band," explained that they simply messed up his name. It was an honest mistake, as continuity was not a priority back then. However, the Fleet at least drives the same stretch 1947 Cadillac — it even has the same license plate, ending in 116.
7. This councilman later became the Mayberry mailman.
Let's go back to that council meeting. Ralph is a particularly eager member of the council who eagerly shouts out procedural nonsense like, "Hear, hear!" Norman Leavitt plays Ralph. In the spinoff series Mayberry R.F.D., Leavitt frequently appeared as Mr. Felton the mailman. (Mail was even in the show's title — "R.F.D." stands for Rural Free Delivery.) Was "Ralph" the first name of "Mr. Felton"? Probably not. Leavitt also played fellows named Wally, Gil and Cal on The Andy Griffith Show.
8. "Andy Gump" was a reference to a comic strip.
Andy tells the clarinet player, "Try Andy Gumpin' your chin more." This is not some strange self-referential line. The Gumps was a newspaper comic strip that ran from 1917 to 1959. Sidney Smith drew the strip for the Chicago Tribune. Most folks in the mid-century would have known Andy Gump as the chinless husband and father at the head of the Gump household. "Now you're Gumpin' it!" Sheriff Andy proclaims. Indeed! Compare the chins!
Image: Chicago Tribune Syndicate