IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Howard Morris a.k.a. Ernest T. Bass

Howard Morris

I love character actors and one of my all-time favorites is Howard Morris, best known for his role as Ernest T. Bass on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOWS.

Mr. Morris actually played other bit parts throughout the town of Mayberry, almost unrecognizable from his Ernest T. Bass character. For me, Mr. Morris is an incredible actor.

TELEVISION | ACTING: Your Show of Shows (1954), The Flintstones (1962-1965), The Jetsons (1962-1987), The Atom Ant Show (1965-1966), Garfield and Friends (1988-1994), Twilight Zone episodes, “I Dream of Genie,” Murder, She Wrote.

MOVIES: The Nutty ProfessorStar Spangled Salesman, and Way… Way Out, Boys’ Night Out.

THEATRE: He also had appeared in several Broadway shows including the highly regarded 1960 revival of Finian’s Rainbow.

DIRECTING: Police AcademyRichie RichBionic SixGoin’ CoconutsPole PositionGalaxy HighThe SnorksThe Mighty OrbotsRose Petal PlaceThe DogfatherDragon’s LairTom and Jerry: The MovieTurbo TeenCabbage Patch Kids: First ChristmasLittle Clowns of HappytownThe Little WizardsSpace Stars and Kidd Video. Morris directed some episodes of The Andy Griffith ShowGomer PyleHogan’s HeroesThe Dick Van Dyke Show, Get SmartOne Day at a TimeBewitched, and single episodes of many other comedy shows.

MOVIE DIRECTING: Morris also directed Doris Day in her final film, With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). Other films he directed were Don’t Drink the Water (1969) and Who’s Minding the Mint? (1967).

Mel Brooks occasionally cast Morris in his films. For example, he played Brooks’ mentor psychiatrist Dr. Lilloman in the comedy High Anxiety (1977), the emperor’s court spokesman (“Here, wash this!”) in History of the World, Part I (1981), and played a bum named Sailor living in the streets in Life Stinks (1991).

In 1984, he played Dr. Zidell in Splash, a film directed by Ron Howard (the two had first worked together on The Andy Griffith Show). He worked with his old friend and trouping partner Sid Caesar as nervous Jewish tailors in the 1998 movie of Ray Bradbury‘s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.

In 1986, he reprised his famous role as Ernest T. Bass in the high-rated television movie Return to Mayberry.

For a full list of Mr. Morris’ credits, please visit:

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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