I purposely haven’t had a haircut in a while because I wanted to fulfill a boyhood dream of getting it trimmed at Floyd’s Barbershop in Mayberry.
If Sheriff and Opie Taylor, Deputy Fife, Gomer and Goober liked it there, it was good enough for me.
On “The Andy Griffith Show,” Mayberry’s Floyd the barber was played by actor Howard McNear, a popular supporting role in television history.
McNear had been in radio since the 1930s and was most notable as the voice of Doc Adams in Gunsmoke. His first appear as a barber on TV was as “Andy” in an episode of Leave it to Beaver.
Legend has it that Andy Griffith himself would sometimes have his hair cut by Russell Hiatt, a barber on Main Street in his hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. The city is now proclaimed as the inspiration for and “real” Mayberry.
Hiatt trimmed hair for 68 years until declining health prevented him from continuing at age 90. Two years later, in 2016, he died, but memories of his kindly disposition and sense of humor live on at the barber shop.
Thanks to his son Bill Hiatt, 74, the shop remains open for tourists who stop by to snap photos and relive memories of the beloved program.
“My father never claimed to be Floyd the barber,” Hiatt told me. “But visitors from all over the world loved the show so much that when they came in and saw the kind gentleman he was, well, he became their Floyd.”
The shop was once called City Barber Shop and was founded in 1929. Hiatt began cutting hair there in 1946 and added the reference to Floyd in the shop’s name around 1989.
There are 20,000 photos of visitors sitting in the now famous barber chair all over the walls. Some who’ve had their hair trimmed there include George Lindsey (Goober), John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Oprah Winfrey.
“Everything resembled the barbershop in the show,” Hiatt said. His father “didn’t like to be in the limelight. This was his niche being right here in this place.”
“Some of his customers who were aging couldn’t get out anymore. He would go on over to their house and cut their hair and never take a dime,” the barber’s son remembered. “He would go to hospitals, funeral homes, wherever he was needed to help. Some would come in who couldn’t talk plain, but everyone was equal in his eyes.”
“I do have a couple of part time barbers for hair cuts, but with this COVID thing, we haven’t been doing that for a while,” the friendly Hiatt explained. “I just can’t bare to close this down, and I’m retired. It means so much to people that they come here and feel like they are going back in time to the ’60s, when folks were friendly and more simple.”
Needless to say, thanks to the pandemic, many of our wants aren’t happening. No haircut for me. So what would Andy Taylor do? I suspect he’d do what I did–just thank the barber’s son for his hospitality, wink and walk out whistling.
Baby Boomers Classic TV Entertainment Experience History Interviews Travel Log 1960s Baby Boomers Celebrities Classic TV Entertainment Good News Happiness History Humor Interviews Jack Dennis Mayberry Perspective Roadtrips Travel
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.