- Last Updated on 08:13 AM 07/11/12
- BY Doug Ford
As a reporter, I’m sometimes typecast as someone always with a notepad and camera ready to record news or sports, and that’s not a bad role to have, in my opinion.
As Hollywood actors and icons, the late Andy Griffith and the late Ernest Borgnine will forever be known as the humble and fatherly Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry and the gregarious Naval officer Lt. Commander Quinton McHale.
Everyone has their favorite Andy Griffith episode, and so do I, particularly the ones where Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife are involved in manhunts for escaped criminals.
Despite putdowns from uppity federal agents and other law enforcement types, they always got their man, though not in the usual method.
My other favorites include the haunted house episode (the Rimshaw place), and the one where Weaver’s Department Store turned out to be the victim of a shoplifter, a little old lady who packed items inside her coat.
Everyone loved the Darlings and Ernest T. Bass in addition to the usual cast members, Otis, Floyd, Gomer, Goober, and of course Aunt Bee and Opie.
There was always a moral compass to “The Andy Griffith Show,” not unlike “McHale’s Navy,” where the good guys always came out on top.
“McHale’s Navy,” although not seen nearly enough in reruns, was no less iconic as far as television comedies go, and much like “The Andy Griffith Show,” it too depended on a strong cast of characters.
Borgnine as Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale, was the gregarious leader of a band of misfit sailors who were always trying to stay one step ahead of the notorious Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn), otherwise known as “Lead Bottom.”
Binghamton and his clueless aide, Lt. Elroy Carpenter, never got the goods on McHale and his crew, including Ensign Parker (Tim Conway, Happy Haines (Gavin McLeod), “Tinker” Bell, Virgil, the always-scheming Gruber and Japanese P.O.W. “Fuji.”
“McHale, you and your pirates have had it,” Binghamton would exclaim, only to see McHale and his cohorts wiggle their way out of another jam.
The producers of “McHale’s Navy” would always inject a bit of “realism” in the show, usually in the form of a hunt for a Japanese sub, with the PT 73 always sinking its prey.
Ironically, both Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine went against type in playing film characters totally opposite of those they portrayed on television, but they will forever be know as “Andy,” or “Ang,” and “Quint.”
To make a long story short, the entertainment icons of my generation are leaving us at an alarming rate.
Some of them relished their television personas, and others resisting being typecast for fear of not being considered for different roles.
To my knowledge, neither Griffith nor Borgnine had any problems with being typecast, and both expanded their acting repertoire beyond that seen on television.
They will be missed.