At the age of 84, Mayberry regular Burt Mustin made his singing debut with Elvis and a mop

If only his classmates had been around to see it.

Speedway / M-G-M

Read to Me

In 1968, Burt Mustin flew to his hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania, for his 65th college reunion. He had a lot to brag about. He technically "retired" and moved away from the Pittsburgh area two decades earlier, but that is when his career truly took off. After being discovered in Arizona, Mustin became an in-demand character actor. He would land recurring roles on two beloved sitcoms, as Gus the fireman on Leave It to Beaver and Jud on The Andy Griffith Show. And these were just two of his roles. Before he hopped on the plane in California, he had just completed work on his 283rd television show.

If only the Pennsylvania Military College Class of 1903 could see him now. Unfortunately, Mustin was the only surviving member of his graduating class.

He was sad to discover he was the only living '03 grad, but he took it in stride. "I've made many friends with other graduates, and it's good to see them," he told the local paper, The Delaware County Daily Times.

Movies and television kept Mustin spry. "I'll never get rich," he admitted to The Pittsburgh Post Gazette upon his reunion, "but every bit of it is a bonus."

Even at his old age, Mustin continued to surprise the people in Hollywood. Even Elvis Presley.

Mustin had recently wrapped on Speedway, a 1968 Elvis flick with Nancy Sinatra. Late in the film, Elvis and Sinatra have a lover's spat in a coffee shop at closing time. Naturally, the lovebirds make up, as Elvis coos a song to his gal. Mustin is the old-timer manning the counter and cleaning up the café.

But the scene needed something else — a funny beat at the end. Someone suggested having Mustin sing. To a mop.

Nobody at the studio had any notion that Mustin could sing. Little did they know, Mustin had spent decades singing in barbershop quartets back when he was a car salesman in Pittsburgh.

"They were so happy they had found an oldtimer who could sing," Mustin told the Daily Times

Mustin joked to Elvis that he could leave the set for the mop serenade. 

"Not on your life," Elvis told Mustin. "I want to see what my competition is going to be."

Mustin easily cruised through his eight bars, nailed singing in the same key as the King. Mustin had been a baritone in barbershop competition for years. Easy peasy.

Even at the age of 84, the actor had plenty of life and work left in him. That same year he appeared in a wonderful episode of Dragnet, playing a deceptively able cat burglar in "The Senior Citizen," and turned up in one of the funniest (yes, funniest) episodes of Gunsmoke, as the title role in "Uncle Finney."

In the Seventies, he stole scenes on All in the Family, and even, at least, got a starring role on a sitcom of his own, The Funny Side. Who says life ends at "retirement"?


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vinman63 3 months ago
LITB with a preachy father and a wise old sage like Gus. The Bev all ways got into trouble.
TheDavBow3 4 months ago
🎵 All you gotta do is just, Uh, uh, uhhh....Let Yourself Go 🎵
JHP 4 months ago
wish I could have met him:)

sharp as a razor and nicer than a cold beer on hot summers day:)
t 4 months ago
Dude was OLD when he was young.
JeanInTN 4 months ago
I loved that movie and that song! Here's the full clip:
MichaelGreene 4 months ago
Burt Mustin made a second appearance on Dragnet, as an apartment manager, one of whose tenants is murdered. He comes off to Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon as an overeager police buff, but turns out to have been a highly decorated police detective in Chicago who retired as a Deputy Chief, and turns out to be a mentor to Friday and Gannon's Captan(played here by Art Balinger, who made the most appearances on the combined Dragnet series of the 1950's and the 1960's...Clark Howatt made the most appearances in the revived Dragnet series, but never appeared in the original series in the 1950's
I always thought it was interesting how the Friday's interactions with Mustin's character immediately changed after he found out about his police connection. He went from a pest to someone with valuable insight, even though the character didn't change a bit/
b 4 months ago
He had a non-speaking role in the movie, "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken" with Don Knots. He was Mr Dellagando, part of the group in the boarding house where Knots had a room. Burt just ate, smiled, gave Don a flashlight but didn't speak as far as I could remember. He still had 11 years of acting to go after that too.

hobiwon 4 months ago
Bert Mustin also sang on Mitch Miller's show.
Corey 4 months ago
Burt Mustin was also on The Brady Bunch as the author of a Jesse James biography in Bobby's Hero.
Lillyrose 4 months ago
Burt Mustin was great as the sweet and helpful Gus on "Leave it to Beaver". He was also on an episode of "The Brady Bunch."
"
Kenner 4 months ago
“Gus and the net...Gus and the net”
LoveMETV22 Kenner 4 months ago
Lol! Remember that episode.
sputnik_57 4 months ago
He looked about the same in Detective Story (1951) as he did 20 years later.
LoveMETV22 4 months ago
Pretty cool he had an opportunity to work with Elvis.
Andybandit 4 months ago
Interesting story. I always see him on the TAGS.
denny 4 months ago
Looks like he played 5 different characters on Andy Griffith, mostly remembered as Jud, but I remember Jubal as well.
GTL4HIRE denny 4 months ago
Would you name the five characters he played on The Andy Griffith Show? I remember Jud and Uncle Finney. The Jubal I remember was the one that Aunt Bea and her friends try stop the county from evicting him off of his land. I think Jubal was just one of the milk and egg men on the show. However, this Jubal was busted for running a still as a side business and Aunt Bea along with her friends were left disappointed. My memory is not as good as it once was, maybe you can help me remember on this one. Thanks
denny GTL4HIRE 4 months ago
Per imdb Jud Fletcher, old geezer, Mr Crowley, Sam Benson, Jubal.

The Jubal (not sure if same character) with the barn that burnt down because of his still and not Opie, keeper of the flame, was played by Everette Sloane. Who I just read wrote the unused lyrics to The Fishin Hole, the TAGS theme song/music. He committed suicide in 1965 for fear of going blind of glaucoma at age 55.

The one you are thinking of is Aunt Bee the Crusader, he was Mr Frisby, played by Charles Lane.
Pkmama GTL4HIRE 4 months ago
The guy who was gonna be evicted was someone else but I can see why you thought that because the eviction character looked similar
madvincent GTL4HIRE 4 months ago
Uncle Finney was gunsmoke
Peter_Falk_Fan 4 months ago
I'll always think of him as Gus the fireman from "Leave it to Beaver". I also liked when he was with Art Carney on an excellent Christmas episode of "The Twilight Zone".
WordsmithWorks 4 months ago
I checked Mustin's IMDB listing and found his first credited role was in 1951 when he was 67 or 68 years old. He died in 1977 at the age of 92 and he was working until the end. He had FOUR separate credits in 1976. He had a total of 198 credits in a 25-year career that began AFTER "retirement." Talk about your golden years. Mustin was definitely the go-to character actor for "old man" roles. Most impressive.
Yes, on Phyliis he married Cloris Leachman's grandmother-in-law!
Lantern cperrynaples 4 months ago
I well remember that funny episode - Phyllis was supposed to drive "Mother Dexter" to her wedding but forgot, and she was driving all over San Francisco looking for her.
harlow1313 4 months ago
Because of his gyrating hips, censors insisted that Burt only be filmed from the waste up.
cperrynaples harlow1313 4 months ago
Blame Ed Sullivan...LOL!
justjeff harlow1313 4 months ago
WASTE? LOL!
harlow1313 justjeff 4 months ago
That is a sad error. Waist. Thanks.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
True story: PMC became Widener University, of which I'm a proud alumnus! Fun Fact: After his death, the theater was renamed for him!
Moody cperrynaples 4 months ago
Another proud alumnus of note is Billy "White Shoes" Johnson who played in the NFL in the 70s with the Houston Oilers & a few other teams. He is also in the College Football Hall of Fame. I served with his cousin in the Air Force in the early 70s.
cperrynaples Moody 4 months ago
I remember Billy Johnson, he was a few years before me! My first year was 1977, when our team won Division III! We even got to be on ABC!
Moody cperrynaples 4 months ago
Remember that goofy endzone dance Johnson used to do? That was back when the NFL let the players have fun!
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