Waltons actor Mayf Nutter compared his varied career to eating bananas and french fries

Yes, Mayf is his real name. And he was both Festus' cousin and Kenny Rogers' bandmate.

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat. Yes, Mayf Nutter is his real name. Born Mayfred Nutter Adamson, the country music legend was named after his great-grandmother May and great-grandfather Fred.

"I think they was gonna call me May, if I was a girl," Nutter joked to The Chicago Tribune in 1974. "But a litter of pups arrived [before me] and got all the good names." He was a good sport. Nutter kept a manilla envelope of newspaper clippings that misspelled his name.

Nutter came from West Virginia, where he first appeared on the radio at the age of six. According to his entry in the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame from 202, Nutter played guitar for Del Shannon's band and was a member of the New Christy Minstrels, the folk troupe that also counted young Kenny Rogers as a member in the late 1960s. Nutter cut some records of his own, including the lighthearted 1967 LP Goin' Skinny Dippin'. But y'all MeTV fans will know Mayf best from his television acting.

He made his screen debut in 1967. It was a guest spot on Gunsmoke, but a rather significant one — Nutter played Heathcliff "Henry" Haggen, cousin of Festus, in "Hard-Luck Henry." Over the next few years, he popped up on more Westerns, Bonanza and The High Chaparral. It was in 1974 that he booked a gig that would give him a recurring role.

Nutter first appeared on The Waltons in "The Book" as Bobby Bigelow, leader of Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang, a popular country act that jammed around Jefferson County and Walton Mountain. You might recall that the group gave Jason a shot to play guitar, paying the kid $3.50 a night.

Bobby Bigelow would return a couple of more times, in "The Song" and "The Breakdown." 

A decade later, Nutter would land another recurring role as Parker Winslow on Knots Landing. It was a goofy storyline. Val Ewing (Joan Van Ark) moves to Tennessee and believes she is a waitress named Velma and almost married a country feller named Parker.

So what did Mayf enjoy more — the acting… or the country singing and touring?

"Well, that choice is like being asked, if you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose… bananas or french fries?" Nutter said. It was uncertain as to which was which — are the bananas the acting or the music?

"If I can make [the audience] forget about their car payments for an hour," Nutter explained, "I think that's what entertainment is all about."

With The Waltons, that's missing accomplished. We hardly once think about our car payments.

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Hitmanhalley 29 months ago
My first exposure to Mayf Nutter was when I was a youngster in the 1960s and the West Virginia native appeared on Buck Owens’ pre-“Hee Haw” syndicated TV show, “Buck Owens’ Ranch.” (I read he made like 56 appearances on Buck’s program.) I remember he was a good musician and a very funny man!
MarkHill Hitmanhalley 26 months ago
Thats true he used to do a lot of shows in Calif, i have seen him many times hes a very funny man and a good guitar player and a swell guy as well.
justjeff 30 months ago
I NEVER thought I'd see the name "Mayf Nutter" in a MeTV article. The ONLY thing I knew about him was a 45 rpm record I came across (Starday 45-910, circa the early 1970s) which had him performing the SHORTEST recorded song I am aware of on a 45 rpm record... "The Other Side"... which ran a whopping 42 seconds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoUPn8loLLo

It's obviously a novelty B-side filler, and the bulk of the track is dialogue between Nutter and his producer or engineer asking him to do "one more take"... that being slated as "Take 70"!

It's interesting to know he played in Del Shannon's band and was a member of the New Christy Minstrels. He turned 80 on October 19th of last year.
justjeff justjeff 30 months ago
...just found these "then and now" pictures of him...
daDoctah justjeff 30 months ago
Yeah, that's some kind of name, all right. Right up there with Guich Koock (of "Carter Country" and "She's the Sheriff").
Moody 30 months ago
Sorry but I never heard of him. I remember Festus' cousin but didn't know the actors name. 🤔
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RedjacArbez 29 months ago
no it was 202 years after Jesus....
29 months ago
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RedjacArbez 29 months ago
I was making a joke...It went over your head.
29 months ago
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LoveMETV22 30 months ago
I liked his character as Bobby Bigelow on the series. It seems his character highlighted Jason's musical abilities. The story made me think of 2 other episodes.
1. " The Song"- The episode Erin Moran appeared in although the title was mentioned, Erin Moran's appearance wasn't.
2. " The Gift"- Ron Howard as Jason's close friend who was dying of leukemia, Howard's Dad in the episode was a traveling musician similar to B. Bigelow. A lot of musical references in the episode, and an excellent emotional storyline. Rance Howard was also in the episode briefly not as RH"S Dad but a Doctor. A good episode in the series.
LoveMETV22 30 months ago
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LoveMETV22 stephaniestavr5 30 months ago
Or recorder if you wish. Do you remember what type of wood the recorder was made of?
Michael LoveMETV22 30 months ago
I liked Red Turner's band better, Seth's father played by Ken Swofford and his mother played by Pat Quinn. But when tye parents return, Merle Haggard plays the father.

That happened. When a character returned it seems like they couldn't always get the same actor. When AJ Covington first appears, in The Literary Man, he's played by David Huddleston. When he comes back as part of a movie crew (and a less interesting guy) a different actor takes the role.

Not really a surprise, the actors may not be available a second time.
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