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Floyd The Barber

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Floyd Lawson was the slow-paced, somewhat absentminded barber in the American TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

"Floyd the Barber" (as he was commonly known) was first seen in episode #12, "Stranger in Town", where he was played by actor Walter Baldwin. Baldwin established the running gag of Floyd's inability to trim sideburns evenly, which continued throughout the run of the show. Baldwin only portrayed Floyd for one episode; from 1960 on, the part was played by Howard McNear, the actor most commonly associated with the role. He had a moustache and wore thick glasses and usually a white barber jacket. He was a whimsical, laid back, but occasionally excitable fellow whose barbershop was somewhat of an institution in the fictional town of Mayberry. The men of town would gather there, not only to get their hair cut, but to play checkers, discuss current events, or generally just to "shoot the breeze".

Floyd was usually just a side character, despite his barbershop being one of the main centers of action in the town, although there were a few instances where he took center stage. On one such occasion, Floyd's female penpal with whom he had been corresponding writes to tell him she's paying him a visit. Floyd begs Andy to help him because he's been deceiving her into thinking he was a wealthy businessman. Andy reluctantly agrees to help put up the act, only to discover that the woman is a con artist herself, intent on getting her hands on Floyd's "money".

When not cutting hair, Floyd can generally be seen sitting on the bench outside his shop. In fact, in almost all of his appearances later in the series, Floyd is only seen sitting. This is due to the fact that Howard McNear suffered from a massive stroke and was left with little use of his arms and legs. Floyd was absent from the 1963 season, and from 1964-on, his appearances were less frequent and brief.

In the Nirvana song, "Floyd the Barber", Kurt Cobain depicts a scene of Freudian castration fears in which the whole town turns out to be a mass murderer.

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