By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick
Gordo native Kenneth Junkin has spent almost four decades playing the part of a dissolute town drunk.
The 73-year-old dons a seersucker sport coat, a crushed straw fedora and totes a brown jug as Otis Campbell, an infamous character of “The Andy Griffith Show,” at fairs, churches and now in a feature film premiering at The Bama Theater this Saturday, June 25.
“Mayberry Man” tells the story of a hot-shot Hollywood actor who changes his heart after being required to attend a small town’s weeklong Mayberry-themed festival.
Executive Producer Dixie Griffith, daughter of actor Andy Griffith, will attend the premiere to meet fans. The evening will include a Q&A session with the film’s actors and tribute artists, door prizes and a special announcement.
“This showing here in Tuscaloosa was so big about it, (the producers) are going to (make) the official announcement that this is going to turn into a series, and they’re going to tell local folks how they can be in this as an extra or a speaking part,” Junkin explained.
Half of the proceeds will benefit Eagles’ Wings of Tuscaloosa, a Coker nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities.
Junkin joined many more Mayberry Tribute Artists playing fictional versions of themselves playing the series’s iconic characters in the 2021 film, which has already been screened in Los Angeles and across the country.
“The Andy Griffith Show” ran for eight seasons and had 249 episodes. To people like him, it is a cherished part of their childhood memories and their daily lives.
“I remember when it came on on October 3rd 1960 at 8:30 pm Central Time. I remember Don Knotts just got me. I was glued to the TV,” he said.
The show is just as fresh to him today as it was then. He said he has seen every episode at least 200 times.
Younger audiences could benefit from watching the series and the movie today because, as Junkin said, “you can watch it with your preacher or your four-year-old.”
“I have so many people tell me that no matter what their day or week has been, they love it because while they’re watching it everything is OK. It calms them down, it makes them forget about their troubles,” he explained.
Junkin said has received requests for pre-sale tickets from more than 300 people, and has even mailed some as far away as Missouri.
“Its gonna be a special day at the Bama, and a very rare event for Tuscaloosa and West Alabama,” he said.
For more information on the premiere, visit The Bama Theater’s website.