Ernest T. Bass Makes His Television Debut In ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Clip

Andy Griffith Show

One of the most beloved characters in television history is that of Ernest T. Bass. Played by Howard Morris, the “Tazmanian devil” of Mayberry only appeared in 5 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show, but is by far one of the most memorable.

Morris first appeared as Ernest T. Bass in the season three episode “Mountain Wedding.” In the episode, Bass creates chaos for Charlene Darling, the girl he is set on wooing. Unfortunately for Bass, Charlene is already married. 

“Ernest T. scampers through brush, hurls rocks through windows and pops up from behind a hedge with a shotgun trained on Andy and Barney. (The rocks were ultra-light lava, the windows candy glass.) He is set on romancing Charlene Darling, a fellow rustic and sole daughter of the Darling clan, a hillbilly family assembled by the Griffith producers to exploit the musical talents of real-life bluegrass ensemble the Dillards,” describes Daniel de Visé, brother-in-law of Don Knotts who played Barney Fife. 

Howard Morris’s performance in “Mountain Wedding” is brilliant and set the actor apart as one of the most talented and comedic actors of his time. 

Mitch Jayne, bass player for the Dillards, recalled the uncontrollable laughter that surrounded the scene involving Howard Morris in “Mountain Wedding.”

“It was so unbelievably colorful that it created an ambience more like a hog killing than anything else. . . . Neither Andy nor Don could handle it. Each time we would try a take, the two of them would slide out of their chairs onto the floor, helpless,” Jayne writes. “Of course, that would free us to laugh, and I remember Rodney [Dillard] laughed so hard he fell out of bed. Director Bob Sweeney was too weak from laughing to do anything but just wave his hands like flippers.”

The cast reaction is much like the rest of us when we see Howard Morris in action as Ernest T. Bass. Watch one of the most memorable clips of Ernest T. Bass attempting to woo Charlene Darling in the video below. 

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