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Elia Kazan’s film A Face in the Crowd (1957) has recently gained some attention as explained in (for example) The Wrap's Andy Griffith’s charismatic but hollow TV personality uses his camera-friendliness to rise to the corridors of power. Sound familiar?; also reprinted here, also discussed in the NYTimes' ‘Demagogues’ Presents Political Kings and Kingmakers. The full movie seems to be currently available on-line.

I'd never known about this film, or any work of Andy Griffith pre-Mayberry. Watching this performance really makes me wonder what roles he might have played or where his career might have gone if it weren't for the popular and successful persona that evolved out of the Andy Taylor character. Of course I don't mean to exclude the possibility the character evolved out of Andy Griffith himself.

I'd like to know if there is any scholarly, or journalistic speculation on the types of dramatic roles that Andy Griffith might have played if the fictitious town of Mayberry or the Andy Taylor character had never existed. I'm not asking if you think such speculation is worthwhile, only if it exists, with hopefully a link or reference so I could read further.

Any recounted items, such as a dramatic role turned down or career advice from directors or others just for example would be particularly welcome.

Original poster for the film A Face in the Crowd

above: "Original poster for the film A Face in the Crowd". From here.

Andy Griffith as “Lonesome” Rhodes, in A Face in the Crowd

above: Andy Griffith as “Lonesome” Rhodes, in A Face in the Crowd, from here.

from IMDB "A Face In The Crowd" Andy Griffith 1957 Warner Bros. from IMDB A Face in the Crowd" Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal 1957 Warner Brothers

above x2: from IMDB photos


currently the full film can be viewed here, and the trailer here.

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  • Scholarly speculation still sounds like speculation to me.
    – John
    May 21, 2017 at 5:33
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    @John that's probably related to the presence of the word "speculation" within the phrase. A biography may contain speculation on this, and it may be partially supported by facts - the offer of a dramatic role turned down, advice given by managers or directors recounted later just for example. So I've included the "Scholarly/jouranistic" qualifier in an attempt to differentiate what I'm asking for. I'll add some additional wording accordingly; let's see if we can get some quality answers.
    – uhoh
    May 21, 2017 at 6:07
  • "I'm not asking if you think such speculation is worthwhile, only if it exists, with hopefully some links or references so I could read further." This sounds like a recommendation and/or a list question, both of which are off-topic.
    – BCdotWEB
    May 21, 2017 at 8:42
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    @BCdotWEB It sounds more like a polite way to ask people not to write their individual opinions here. Can you recommend a better way to word the question? Thanks! I don't think an answer which contains a published opinion makes the question off-topic at all. I've explicitly excluded answers which are primarily opinion-based, and asked only for citable sources. Now "sources" is too many? I've changed the phrase from plural to singular form, though I don't think two would necessarily be considered a list.
    – uhoh
    May 21, 2017 at 8:50

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