Clint Howard was so darn cute in his little cowboy outfit that they had to cast him on ''The Andy Griffith Show''

It began with a cowboy hat and a dream.

Nine times out of ten, one of the key requirements of being a kid on television is to be adorable. Luckily, the Howard brothers had this in spades. This, combined with their early performance education from their parents, who were also actors, meant that Clint and Ron Howard seemed almost destined to be on screen.

According to the Howard brothers' book, The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, Clint was actually so darn adorable that he won himself the role of Leon, Mayberry's sweetest sandwich-eater. 

Clint wrote, "My clothing landed me my first job. Dad loved anything to do with the Old West. Knowing this, Mom dressed me up as a toddler in a perfectly sized cowboy getup: hat, kerchief, snap button Western shirt, fringed buckskin jacket, and boots. With my tousled blond hair and chubby cheeks, I looked friggin' adorable."

Mrs. Howard decided that she wanted to share this wealth of cuteness, and brought her son to visit the set of The Andy Griffith Show, "One day, Mom brought me to the set in this outfit, and Bob instantly came up with a role for me. At first, I was just an extra, but then the writers developed a running bit for my 'character,' such as he was, named Leon."

Leon dons the same cowboy costume that Clint wears, and while the character had no lines, he certainly was memorable. You'd commonly see Leon in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show offering Mayberry residents a very polite bite of his sandwich.

Leon was just as adorable as the Howard brothers were, and Clint was overjoyed to play the character. Just like that, his acting career took off on The Andy Griffith Show set. Like any good sibling, he found himself following in his brother's footsteps. Clint wrote, "Just like that, I, too, was in the business. Like Ron's career, mine began organically, as a matter of circumstance. The difference for me is that Ron had provided a blueprint. My folks now knew that if I wanted to go down the same route, they could manage it."

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13 Comments

tootsieg 1 month ago
Very cute kid. I still laugh every time he locks Barney in the cell.
JHP 1 month ago
every time I see him on a Ep I want to make a jelly sandwich and that bread looks almost homemade
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
I wonder why the character didn’t continue. 🤔
ruswilinc MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
One of life's great mysteries! Right up there with why does 11:30 p.m. Perry Mason run for an hour and 5 minutes?
JHP ruswilinc 1 month ago
they want to get some sort of snake oil - big pharma ad in there so we can see them dance around like marionettees
MrsPhilHarris ruswilinc 1 month ago
That is a very good question. 🤔
I asked him about Leon this past weekend at Pensacon. He basically said that he didn't know why Leon didn't continue and that he was probably doing something else. His wife was there. She was telling us about how Clint auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker. Anyway, I had him sign my DVD copy of the movie "The Wraith". It was a pleasure talking to him.
Wow! What a great weekend!
Sway 1 month ago
Cutie as Leon, creepy as Balok
Runeshaper 1 month ago
And all it took was a cowboy outfit and a sandwich (-:
Irish 1 month ago
"Leon" was cute. I loved it when Barney would have a conversation with him. Leon had no idea what he was talking about 😂
harlow1313 Irish 1 month ago
Then Leon reckoned that Barney would probably enjoy a bite of his sandwich.
JHP Irish 1 month ago
never did Leon also
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