Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: There were no black people in Mayberry.
Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat. In the entire eight season run of The Andy Griffith Show, there was only one black character who ever had a speaking line.
That’s pretty weak.
That said, the oft-repeated claim that there are no black people in Mayberry is false on the face, not even counting the aforementioned Rockne Tarkington, who played Opie’s football coach, Flip Conway, in one of the later seasons of the show.
In addition, I am not counting Mayberry RFD, which was better with regards to black characters having speaking roles.
No, just counting regular episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, there were frequent usage of black extras on the show.
From a Mayberry fan site, here are a bunch of episodes with black extras in them…
Now don’t get me wrong, that’s not very impressive, and if you wish to complain about the meager display of black residents of Mayberry, I wouldn’t blame you.
But the actual claim (and I’ve seen it made often) is that there are no black people in Mayberry, and that’s not true.
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org