For the past eight years, in a variety of situations, I’ve been performing as a character we named “Almost Andy.” For decades people have been remarking on how much I looked like Andy Griffith. On my 80th birthday I took a course on comedy from a wonderful comic and instructor Rog Bates. At the first class all of the students joined with Rog and agreed that I should base my humor somehow on Andy Griffith. I couldn’t accept the role of playing a second rate Andy and so I developed a character called Almost Andy. All of his humor was based on adventures encountered because he looked like an older Andy Griffith in his role of Matlock. For eight years now I have had some wonderful times wearing my seersucker jacket.
Just a week after graduating from the Rog Bates class I had the honor of participating in the Mayberry Days Festival at Mt. Airy and riding in their big parade and then doing a little comedy with many former Mayberry Characters and some great impersonators and the host David Browning, who plays a fantastic Barney and the audience was very kind to me. I’ve been back to Mt. Airy several times and done a bit in a movie, a marvelous play in Benson North Carolina two seasons with Scott Epperson who died suddenly before we could begin work on the third year. We received some wonderful press coverage from throughout North Carolina. My last function as Almost Andy just three weeks before the Real Andy died was in Raleigh where the soon to be governor of North Carolina mistook me for the real deal. The newspaper banner on the front page the following morning read “Pat McCrory has a Mayberry Moment.”
Recently, I donned my Mayberry jacket and Almost Andy appeared in Henderson, NC at their huge car show. I had the honor of working with other Purple Heart Veterans and we were distributing poppies and raising funds in honor of our fallen warriors. (What a great bunch of dedicated guys they are.) I managed to sit on my portable stool and greet hundreds of visitors. It was a very generous group visiting the outing and I want to thank every one of them. Gosh life is great sometimes when we get to let that little kid inside us out.