Monday, October 3, 2005


This weekend marked the fiftieth anniversary for both 'The Honeymooners' and 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', and the forty-fifth anniversary for 'The Andy Griffith Show'. TV Land marked the occasion for the citizens of Mayberry by showing 48 hours worth of episodes of the show.

I love all three series, but even with 'The Honeymooners' clocking in with only 39 episodes in its "original" format, I've never seen every episode of these shows. So every time I checked in to TV Land, there was always something new for this old televisiologist.

One such episode was "Stranger In Town", the tenth of the series. It had almost a 'Twilight Zone' aura to it as everyone was freaked out by the newcomer who knew all about them. It even had a "Zonish" mixture of hysteria and paranoia near the end as the citizens of Mayberry gave in to their fears and suspicions of the stranger and tried to run him out of town... or worse!

But what really marks the episode for notice is the first appearance of Floyd Lawson, the town barber. However, the Floyd we saw in that episode was played by a different actor than the man we came to know as the tonsorial artist. Whereas Howard McNear was the Floyd we came to know and love, it was Walter Baldwin who first commanded the chair.

It's easy enough to splain away. That first Floyd Lawson was in fact Floyd Lawson Senior. And when we meet Floyd again and he's now looking like Howard McNear, that's obviously his son.

However, he wasn't named after his own father, despite the fact that they shared the same name. Instead he was named after yet another Floyd, his mother's brother. It's one of those little quirks of small-town life which are taken for granted by the other characters in the show.

Oliver Wendell Douglas would understand how disoriented that could make a feller.

Speaking of 'The Twilight Zone', there's another theory about Floyd's dad which helps to expande the TV Universe - Old Man Lawson couldn't keep his trouser snake under control.

In another small North Carolina town, (Pitchville Flats, probably on the far side of Mt. Pilot), the elder Floyd Lawson had a mistress. And she bore him a son named Mitchell, half-brother to Floyd Lawson, Jr. (as seen in the episode "Hocus Pocus and Frisby").

Tele-genetics being what they are, Floyd, Jr. and Mitchell were half-brothers, identical half-brothers, and you would find that they laughed alike, they walked alike. At times they even talked alike!

You could lose your mind when half-brothers were two of a kind!


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