MOUNT AIRY, N.C. – Andy Griffith Show fans from around the world are in town this weekend for the 30th Mayberry Days festival.
Many lined up Friday morning outside the Andy Griffith Museum to meet some of the folks associated with the show, including Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou, and Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling.
Also attending this year is Calvin Peele, who made a name writing himself into the show.
“I wrote from my notebook in green ink,” Peeler said.
In the late 1960s, Peeler, a then 13-year-old African American from Greenville, Tennessee, wrote to the producers asking why he didn’t see anyone like him.
“I recommend that there be a greater representation of African Americans on the show,” Peeler said.
That simple letter landed him a spot in one episode of Mayberry R.F.D.
He went from delivering the newspaper to making headlines in his hometown newspaper
“I was a delivery boy for the local newspaper and I just got home from delivering newspaper when the phone rang,” Peeler said. “I played a student in the classroom on one episode.”
After returning home from Hollywood, he would continue to act in high school and college.
Peeler spent his life as a professor at a California law school and today lives in North Carolina not far from the heart of Mayberry.
“It’s been a hoot so far,” Peeler said.
For more information on Mayberry Days events, click here.