|Full Name||Otis Campbell|
|Occupation||Furniture factory worker, later Ice cream man|
|First Episode||The Manhunt|
|Last Episode||Otis the Deputy|
|Spin-off Appearances||Return to Mayberry|
|Family||mother-in-law (mentioned once)|
|Portrayed by||Hal Smith|
Otis Campbell was the "town drunk" in Mayberry in the American TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. Otis was played by Hal Smith and made frequent appearances on the show from 1960 to 1967, and stopped appearing in the show toward the end of the series due to concerns by the show's sponsors over the portrayal of excessive drinking. Otis works as a glue dipper in a furniture factory Monday through Friday, and drinks all weekend. After a binge, Otis will usually lock himself in the town jail until he is sober. He has a key to the front door of the courthouse and the cell keys are hung on a nail near the cells (presumably, to accommodate Otis). We first see Otis in The Manhunt while in jail. He briefly mentions he has to attend church choir practice.
Drunken Day to Day Activities[edit | edit source]
The lack of crime in Mayberry, and the laid-back attitude of the Sheriff's department, easily accommodates Otis's drinking habit. Otis often lets himself in jail on the same day that a dignitary or a superior of Sheriff Andy Taylor is arriving at the courthouse, much to the chagrin of the sheriff or Deputy Barney Fife.
In the episode The Case of the Punch in the Nose It is revealed that Otis was first arrested for drunkenness on September 23, 1941, at 2:00 PM, but was released as it was "his first offense." A common joke on the show was to have Otis see something bizarre or unexpected while he was inebriated that was actually present, but which he would assume to be a drunken hallucination.
Once, Sheriff Taylor locked a dynamite-laden goat in a padded jail cell to prevent an explosion. Predictably, Otis stumbled in after a night of drinking, and let himself into the same cell, only to find the mattress nailed to the wall (curiously, along with the blanket). Otis attempted to climb into the bed anyway, and naturally fell on the floor. Believing the peculiarity to be a result of his intoxication, he exclaimed, "First time I ever fell off a bed onto the wall." If Barney deemed a situation urgent enough, he would sometimes deputize Otis.
Otis often became agitated with Barney's dictatorial style, and a verbal shouting match would ensue. On the Danny Thomas Show episode that was the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, Andy had deputized another town drunk, Will Hoople, so that Will could arrest himself every time he got drunk. It could be assumed that Andy had probably given Otis this same "authority," since Otis regularly "arrested" himself, and so he could be called upon to help when needed. In one episode, it is revealed that Otis has a brother named Ralph, who is the town drunk of another town. Otis is usually found "smashed, buzzed, tiddly, gassed, off the wagon and back on the sauce, or just plain drunk," by Barney Fife.
In the episode 'Otis the Artist', Andy's new deputy Warren Ferguson tries to change Otis's hobby from drinking to mosaics. Otis finds that he does his best work when he's drunk, which is contrary to what Warren had hoped would happen.
Otis' Romantic Life[edit | edit source]
In the episode Ellie for Council, viewers are introduced to Otis's wife, Rita Campbell. In that episode, Otis is jailed for assault — the only time for an offense other than drunkenness. During a fight with Rita, Otis tries to hit her with a leg of lamb, misses and hits his mother-in-law in the mouth.
Regardless, they seem to have a strong, loving marriage.
Otis gets sober[edit | edit source]
In the 1986 television movie Return to Mayberry, it is revealed that Otis is now completely sober and employed as the town's ice-cream man.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
Otis Campbell's actor, Hal Smith, according to Andy Griffith (Larry King Live, 2003), never had even one alcoholic drink in his entire life.
Otis is scared of thunder and lightning.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- The Manhunt
- Ellie for Council
- Alcohol and Old Lace
- Andy Saves Barney's Morale
- Andy and the Gentleman Crook
- A Plaque for Mayberry
- The Inspector
- Quiet Sam
- Bringing Up Opie
- Crime-Free Mayberry
- Sheriff Barney
- The Keeper of the Flame - mentioned
- Bailey's Bad Boy
- Aunt Bee the Warden
- Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee
- Andy on Trial - mentioned
- Cousin Virgil
- Deputy Otis
- Lawman Barney - mentioned
- Barney and the Governor
- High Noon in Mayberry
- The Loaded Goat
- Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
- The Haunted House
- Citizen's Arrest
- Aunt Bee the Crusader
- Prisoner of Love
- Hot Rod Otis
- The Fun Girls - mentioned
- The Return of Malcolm Merriweather - mentioned
- Goodbye, Sheriff Taylor
- Otis Sues the County
- The Rehabilitation of Otis
- The Case of the Punch in the Nose - mentioned
- The Arrest of the Fun Girls
- Opie's Job - mentioned
- A Warning from Warren - mentioned
- Otis the Artist
- Otis the Deputy
- Opie's Most Unforgettable Character - mentioned