The fictional town of Mayberry in “The Andy Griffith Show” was full of colorful characters that fans grew to love. One of these was PFC Dudley A. “Dud” Wash. He was a soldier and the husband of Charlene Darling.
The actor who brought Dud to life was Hoke Howell. He appeared on the beloved sitcom during 1963, according to IMDb.
Now, almost 60 years after his father appeared in “The Andy Griffith Show,” Howell’s son is honoring the famous show with his film “Mayberry Man.”
According to My Burbank, the actor’s son is Stark Howell. He found inspiration for the film, which was released in September 2021, in the annual Mayberry Days Festival. This event is held in Mount Airy, North Carolina, which is the hometown of Andy Griffith. It is a celebration of the sitcom that was first held in 1990.
Stark Howell has attended the festival. And because his father appeared in “The Andy Griffith Show,” Stark has been welcomed as a celebrity. He has appeared in a parade during the event, signed autographs, and shared stories about his father with fans.
“(Mayberry Days) was just very surreal. I thought, if I can finish a script with a decent story, I’d love to get the fans involved in it and throw it out there on a crowdfunding platform. (We’ll) see if we get some money, and make it outside of the Hollywood influence. So that’s what I did,” Howell explained.
He soon finished the script. The plot he created follows an arrogant actor named Chris Stone. He is pulled over for speeding in a small town and must face the consequences. For his punishment, it is decided that he must go to Mayberry Fest – a fictional Mayberry Days. That experience changes him for the better.
With the script done, the next challenge for Stark Howell was getting the funds to make the movie. Here’s where some famous names came to his aid. Many of them had personal connections to “The Andy Griffith Show.”
One of them was Clint Howard. He, of course, played Leon in the sitcom. And, of course, his brother, Ron Howard, played Opie Taylor. Clint has appeared in promotional videos for the project. Andy Griffith’s daughter, Dixie Griffith, became an executive producer. Also, Karen Knotts, the daughter of Don Knotts, has supported the film. With the support in place, “Mayberry Man” could become a reality. Howell also directed the film.
“It was a little bit of pressure. I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I’m as big a fan as I am a legacy of the show because I grew up watching the show. It’s in my wheelhouse. So I knew what the audience would want because I knew what I would want as the audience. I know every episode. It’s kind of weird because in one sense, my dad was on (the show), but in another sense, I was just a fan like anybody else,” Stark Howell also said.
“Mayberry Man” has been well received by critics.
In addition to his role in “The Andy Griffith Show,” Hoke Howell also appeared on other classic television shows. These included “Bonanza,” “Green Acres, “Gunsmoke,” “Lost in Space,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched,” and “Happy Days.”