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Two Chairs No Waiting 171: The Fleets Come to Mayberry Part 2

Two Chairs No WaitingHost: Allan Newsome
Running time: 0:24:23

In the last episode of the podcast we talked about the 3rd episode of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS), “The Guitar Player.”  James Best played “Jim Lindsey” and Henry Slate played  “Bobby Fleet.  Now we move on to the character Bobby Fleet’s second appearance on the series in “The Guitar Player Returns.”

“The Guitar Player Returns” is only 7 months and 28 episodes later and the 31st episode of season 1 of TAGS (Oct 17, 1960 – May 16, 1961) and when “Bobby Fleet” appears, he’s a different man.  No longer is Henry Slate playing the character but instead Fleet is played by Herb Ellis.

I mentioned the name Herb Ellis last episode and asked that you remember his name.  There has been discussion about who played the guitar on close-ups of “Jim Lindsey.”  James Best has stated at reunion events that he thought Herb Ellis was the one doing the actual playing of the guitar but he said he wasn’t certain. The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watcher’s Club member Paul Mulik asked Earle Hagen (the music director for TAGS) who was playing for Jim and he answered he was pretty sure was Barney Kessel.

Barney Kessel as a jazz guitarist from Oklahoma and is considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarist of the 20th century.  He was a member of many prominent jazz groups as well as a “first call” guitarist for studio, film, and television recording sessions.

Back to Herb Ellis.  Turns out Herb Ellis is also the name of a jazz guitarist but this is a different Herb Ellis from the one who plays “Bobby Fleet” in this episode.  That’s right, there are two “Herb Ellis'” just like there are two “Bobby Fleet’s.”   Let’s leave the guitarist, his name is Mitchell Herbert Ellis (Aug 4, 1921 – Mar 28, 2010), here and move long to the actor.

Herb Ellis the actor was born in Cleveland, OH on Jan 17, 1921 ( 91 years ago the day this podcast is released) and his birth name was Herbert Siegel.  Herb Ellis the actor is best known for work with Jack Webb.  He played Officer Frank Smith on the TV version Dragnet (1952) and many other characters on the radio version of Dragnet.  He appeared on many other series Peter Gunn and Perry Mason.

Follow me on Twitter if you use twitter. I’ve been posting Mayberry things there as another way to let folks know about The Andy Griffith Show.

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Executive Producer of Two Chairs No Waiting Episode #171: Rebecca Spears

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tim Bradshaw May 5, 2013, 11:41 am

    You just don’t hear this kind of guitar music anymore these days! Great performance by James Best, he is such a great character actor. “Act like you’ve got some smarts now” I don’t know for sure if I realized there were two different people playing Bobby Fleet, how did that one slip my me 🙂 Great podcast.

  • Keith Rogers January 11, 2015, 10:42 am

    Thanks for the clarification on the 2 Herb Ellis / Bobby Fleet confusion. Being both a guitarist & a huge Andy Griffith fan I had wondered about this. Keith

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