WHO IS JOHNNY COONS?
The man you see there on the right is Mr. Johnny Coons. He was also known as "Uncle Johnny Coons" and he was the star of a1950's noon-time, half-hour show in the Chicago area on WNBQ-channel 5.
The confusion about Johnny being Tom Jacobs was something that occured because Johnny's name appears in the credits of The Andy Griffith Show on an episode in which Tom Jacobs also appears but Tom is not credited. Jim Clark, the Presiding Goober of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC) gives his take on what may have happened.
I believe Johnny Coons was completely cut from the final/broadcast version of "Goober Takes a Car Apart." He was supposed to be "Man 2," which is a character that is still in the revised scripts for the episode at least as late as November 13, 1964. He was supposed to say one line: "Just gettin' back from Mt. Pilot, Andy?"
Tom Jacobs - Brother of Danny Thomas and frequent "extra" on the set of TAGS
Somewhere along the way, apparently after Coons was cast for the part, his role was eliminated, as was the role of "Man 1," who was supposed to say a couple of lines as Andy gets out of his car and prepares to walk into the courthouse to see Gilly's car inside. Stanley Farrar, a familiar face in Mayberry, was supposed to play Man 1.
I have never spotted Stanley Farrar in the small crowd of people outside the courthouse or anywhere else in the episode and I don't see anybody who looks like Johnny Coons. My guess is that both Man 1 and Man 2 were completely eliminated and that the shorter version of the scene provided the opening for the role of "Man," which gave Danny Thomas' older brother Tom his one chance for a line and a credit on TAGS when he said: "How did they do it, Sheriff?"
Anyway, that's my take on it. I submit this theory to the boys at the lab for further analysis.
P.S. "What boys at what lab?"
For years, because the name Johnny Coons was in the credits and because Tom Jacobs spoke the line "How'd they do it, Sheriff?" fans of TAGS thought Uncle Johnny was Tom's name. There were "Johnny Coons" alearts sent out on the internets Who's Been Messin' Up the Bulletin Board? Chapters e-mail mailing list anytime someone spotted "Johnny." In the July 31, 2000 issue of The Bullet, Jim Clark revealed that Johnny Coons was actually Tom Jacobs.
A new mystery was born and is now answered. Who is Johnny Coons? Now the world knows.
Other Johnny Coons related web sites: