There are many reasons for classic TV fans to seek out the 1958 movie No Time for Sergeants. Don Knotts made his big-screen debut, performing a sort of magician’s ring trick in an Air Force aptitude test. In the lead role, Andy Griffith portrayed Pvt. Will Stockdale for the third time, following a stint on Broadway and an abridged television adaptation on The United States Steel Hour in 1955. As Stockdale, the North Carolina comedian acts like a country bumpkin in the Air Force. It’s not how we think of Griffith today — he’s essentially playing Gomer Pyle.
Western lovers take note. No Time for Sergeants also features Nick Adams (Johnny Yuma of The Rebel) and Will Hutchins (Tom Brewster of Sugarfoot), two lead cowboys of primetime also playing against typecasting.
But keen eyes will spot an even more surprising face. About 80 minutes into the movie, Will Stockdale rides in an airplane. Hunched over, he shuffles his way into the cockpit, where the pilot and co-pilot snooze in their chairs. Take a look at the co-pilot. Remind you of another classic military comedy?
Indeed, that is Klinger himself, Jamie Farr! Though, at the time, the actor went by his given name, Jameel Farah. Either way, Farr did not receive credit for this part in No Time for Sergeants at all, despite having lines of dialogue with Andy Griffith.
In the late ’50s, Farr (well, Farah) was just starting his career. The Toledo native made his screen debut (credited!) in Blackboard Jungle (1955). Around the time of Sergeants‘ release, he also popped up on The Red Skelton Hour and The Rebel (speaking of Nick Adams again).
As for when Jameel Farah became Jamie Farr, the stage name arose around 1961. Farr turned up in a handful of early Dick Van Dyke Show episodes as a Snappy Service delivery boy. As you can see in the closing credits, he not only receives billing for the part, he is “Jamie Farr.” Here we show him in his first time on the sitcom, in “Sally and the Lab Technician.”
Did you recognize young Farr in these roles?