Thursday, October 21, 2010


Every so often, I come across a TV show episode that has plenty to offer Toobworld, or at the very least it provides a few puzzles to splain away.

I got one of those last weekend from 'The Andy Griffith Show' mini-marathon on TV Land. I knew "Mayberry Goes Hollywood" was going to be a big help with regards to splainin away how so many people outside the Mayberry/Mt. Pilot area knew about Sheriff Andy Taylor, his son Opie, Deputy Barney Fife and all the rest of the townfolk - the movie that was made in Mayberry back in 1961 gained the town and its citizens national recognition.

But it also provided a few facts that would later become discrepancies in future episodes.

Most of that was due to the introduction of Floyd the Barber in this, the thirteenth episode of the series. So with this post, we'll be focusing on him.....
Floyd the Barber was played by Howard McNear, but his character seems to be named Floyd Colby, whereas we know him today as Floyd Lawson from the rest of the series' run. "Colby's Tonsorial Parlor" is prominently displayed on the barbershop window during the Hollywood mania and the movie's producer, Mr. Harmon, addressed Floyd as "Mr. Colby" when he was taking his leave after their first meeting.

This is easy enough to splain away, but we have to go back over thirty years before the episode... and also head north to New York City.

Floyd Lawson always wanted to be a barber, ever since he was a little boy. As a teen, he used to practice on the neighborhood cats. (As Floyd tells Mr. Harmon, Mayberry had the baldest cats in the county.)

By the way, Mayberry is a good wholesome town. That's why neither Andy or Floyd stooped to the obvious joke that comes to mind when talking about giving a close shave to cats. And being their guest, Mr. Harmon probably thought better of mentioning it himself.

Floyd must have gone to the local barber college, probably located in Mt. Pilot. However, once he graduated, Floyd must have come to the realization that Mayberry was a one barber town. And Mr. Colby already had his practice established just down the street from the courthouse. That may have proved to be the situation in most of the towns in North Carolina, so Floyd must have set upon the idea of moving to New York City. In a town where there are eight million stories, there's almost that many heads to be clipped (minus the baldies) so the Big Apple was always going to have work for a barber.

Therefore, it's the opinion of Toobworld Central that Floyd Lawson made a complete break - he traded in Mayberry's fresh air for Times Square. (Yeah, I know that's a reference to a different rural comedy. Sue me.) He moved to New York City and set up his own barbershop on the lower East Side... about a year before the Great Depression hit. So much for making enough money to get that penthouse view on Park Avenue......

But Floyd most likely didn't stay long in New York City - after all, Andy did mention to Mr. Harmon that Floyd had been giving them uneven sideburns since most of the town was young-uns. (Hard to believe, since a lot of the townfolk were on average in their late fifties!).

And it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, as Muskie Muskrat says, that while he was in New York City, one of his haircuts lasted into the Twenty-Third Century..... Eventually, Floyd may have heard from his sister (who was married to a man named Ferguson) that Old Man Colby had passed away, and that Mayberry was in need of a new barber.

Floyd was probably feeling nostalgic for the old hometown. His parents may have passed away, but there was still his sister and his nephew Warren to think of. And if he was aware of his existence, Floyd also had a half-brother named Mitchell living over in Pitchville Flats, North Carolina (seen to the right of Somerset Frisby). But the main attraction was the chance to take up the mantle of being Mayberry's barber.

Since he was working out of the same location as Old Man Colby did, Floyd must have taken up the lease for the barbershop. But he apparently decided to leave the name of the establishment as it was - "Colby's Barbershop". Change doesn't come too quickly in Mayberry, and you wouldn't want to confuse Goober.....

But when the town went crazy over the idea of becoming a Hollywood off-shoot, Floyd altered the name to "Colby's Tonsorial Parlor". After the Hollywood hysteria died down, Floyd decided to revert back to a style more in keeping with the Mayberry ambience. And since he was going to do that anyway, he probably figured the time was right to change the name of the place to "Floyd's Barbershop" (using the same lettering design as he had in New York City) in order to establish his identity and presence in the town.

As for Mr. Harmon calling Floyd Lawson "Mr. Colby", that was an assumption on the movie producer's part: Andy only introduced the barber as "Floyd", and the name of "Colby" was on the window. Since Mayberry folk are a good-hearted people, neither Floyd nor Andy thought of correcting him to spare him the embarrassment.

One final note of interest - Mitchell of Pitchville Flats was his half-brother as far as Toobworld Central is concerned. But Floyd Lawson had another relative who looked just like him. However, instead of it being another example of his father being a tom-catter, this other TV character was more in line with the theory of relateeveety established by 'The Patty Duke Show' - identical cousins.

And they were more than identical in just looking alike. His cousin - named Andy, by the way - was also a barber. He practiced in Mayfield, home of the Cleaver family. Two barbers who looked alike, one in Mayberry, one in Mayfield.......

As it always is in television - somebody gets a good idea, somebody else runs with it.

Eventually, Floyd Lawson will be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame on the Birthday Honors List because of his theoretical connections to 'Star Trek', 'The Twilight Zone', and 'Leave It To Beaver'......

1 comment:

Jim Peyton said...

Brilliant -- simply brilliant. Which Twilight Zone was he in?