Ernest T. Bass actor Howard Morris predicted Ron Howard would be a director

Morris observed little Ronny’s curiosity on the Mayberry set and knew the young star was destined for great things behind the camera.

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Howard Morris was one of the funniest character actors on TV for decades. Best known for playing trouble-making hillbilly Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, Morris also voiced many animals in The Flintstones as well as futuristic rockstar Jet Screamer in The Jetsons. He started his career in live sketches on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows alongside Carl Reiner. 

While his talents in front of the camera are obvious, Morris had a completely different and equally successful side to his career. He jumped behind the camera in the 1960s and began directing episodes of the decade’s most popular sitcoms.

Morris’ directorial debut was the Dick Van Dyke Show episode “The Ballad of Betty Lou,” reuniting him with fellow Sid Caesar protégé Carl Reiner.

Morris soon graduated to helming episodes of Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes and, of course, The Andy Griffith Show

It was on the Mayberry set that Morris met a young man he predicted would also make the transition from acting to directing. That kid was none other than Ron Howard!

Howard (Ron Howard, that is) recently told The Hollywood Reporter about how being on-set sparked his curiosity for filmmaking and how Howard Morris could see a bright future behind the camera for the young star. 

“I was curious about the camera, I loved listening to the writers talk about rewrites, and I began to see that almost all of our directors had been actors first, among them the great comedy star Howard Morris, who was also an excellent director,” Ron Howard remembered. “When I was about 10, he said, ‘I see you looking around, asking questions. I’ll bet you wind up being a director.’”

Morris could not have been more right, although with Howard’s $4.3 billion in box offices receipts to date and two Oscars, “wind up being a director” reads like quite an understatement.

We wonder if Howard Morris ever played the lotto with that kind of foresight. Although many would say he had already won — playing one of Mayberry’s most memorable characters, not to mention his long career both behind and in front of the camera on some of TV’s greatest shows.

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MaryMm 23 months ago
I loved Ernest T. Bass! I wish he had been on all of them. Always had me laughing. Liked him as George the tv repairman on there too. Also Shorty on the Beverly Hillbillies. He was a great actor and did great voices as well.
JHP 23 months ago
I think Opie needs a whooopin' - only kidding

(something ange should have given BARN)
tootsieg 23 months ago
Howard Morris’s talent had no limits and he was everywhere.
TheSentinel tootsieg 23 months ago
Including on Garfield & Friends in the 1980s.
Adanor 23 months ago
You can actually see that for yourself. In the episode where the "Andy Griffith Show" was going to be produced in Hollywood and Andy, Ronny, and Aunt Bee "go" to Hollywood to see that show being filmed, and Gavin MacLeod (in a toupee) plays Andy. And so they're on the set, "watching" the show being filmed and Opie casually walks up to a camera, climbs up, and looks through the viewer. And it's pretty obvious that that is not the first time he's done this.
Runeshaper 23 months ago
Howard Morris was not only very talented, he was right! LOL
JHP 23 months ago
Mr Howard Morris - to you

If I was an octopus it would be 8 thumbs up:)

Scary brilliant
Kd55 23 months ago
Sad to see a Mayberry favorite-Maggie Peterson passed away at 81. R.I.P. Maggie. Ya sang real good.
Deleted 23 months ago
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JHP 23 months ago
he is busy doing some sort of doc/film about a super wonderful guy - Jose Andres (the world kitchen guy:)
Andybandit 23 months ago
Yes, Ron Howard is a great director. Howard Morris was right. I didn't know Howard voiced the Animals on the Flintstones.
MrsPhilHarris Andybandit 23 months ago
Neither did I.
Michael 23 months ago
When Isee "Howard Morris", I think of the guy arguing with Mel Brooks through "Life Stinks".

For some reason the movie is forgotten, but I like it.
LoveMETV22 Michael 23 months ago
Not completely forgotten. Free to watch on YouTube, Pluto TV and tubi TV.
daDoctah Michael 23 months ago
Not one of Brooks' better ones. I do remember Morris as Professor Littleoldman in "High Anxiety".
JHP Michael 23 months ago
I think of the DVD ep with the painting:) that Rob bought at an auction
Inkwell765 JHP 23 months ago
"You know it's too bad you smutched it up!"
JHP Inkwell765 23 months ago
remember that line too:)

he was so darn funny on that ep
JHP 23 months ago
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WordsmithWorks 23 months ago
"Your Show of Shows" sure was a motherlode of talent.
Pacificsun 23 months ago
Another cute story.

IMO, I've never watched two better child-actors than Jerry Mathers and Ron Howard.

I can never figure out how they immersed themselves into those characters, and understood enough, to exhibit the most natural of emotions! It's kind of like they were geniuses at what they did. I'm so appreciative that as adults, they stayed connected to their fans!
Zip Pacificsun 23 months ago
Yes, quite talented at such a young age. Melissa Gilbert was another one.
LoveMETV22 Zip 23 months ago
To keep it in classic sense, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Jackie Cooper, Judy Garland and Shirley Temple were talented as child actors.
LoveMETV22 LoveMETV22 23 months ago
Wasn't comparing just adding a few
Zip 23 months ago
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MadMadMadWorld 23 months ago
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