No Time for Sergeants

No Time For Sergeants

1964 - United States

This weekly half-hour comedy series was derived from the smash hit Broadway success and Hollywood movie version, both of which had shot Andy Griffith to screen fame. It's star, Sammy Jackson, who played a simpleminded but resourceful hillbilly, Will Stockdale, who is enlisted into the US Airforce, was completely unknown when he was chosen for the coveted lead role. Like Stockdale, Sammy was a hillbilly born in a small cotton-textile and tobacco town in North Carolina. As a kid his dream was to be a movie star, so one day he simply quit his job in a cotton mill and packed his bags for California. "I landed a shipping clerk job to start with," recalled Sammy in a 1965 interview. "Not at all what I was looking for but I did a little acting on the side, playing bit parts in a series called Colt 45 and Maverick. I also landed a one-line part in the movie version of "No Time for Sergeants". I didn't know then I'd be playing the star part in a TV series a few years later." 

But between those years things didn't go well for Sammy, so he returned home depressed and disillusioned. He formed a small band and worked as a radio disc-jockey and in a weekly TV show. "One day I read in a paper that Warner Bros. Were toying with the idea of doing a television series based on "No Time for Sergeants". I wrote a letter to the top man - the head of the studio. I begged Jack Warner to take a look at me in the Maverick programme in which I played the tiny part of a hillbilly. I added that if he saw me in this he need not look for another actor. I was pretty sure of myself. Well, sure enough, ten days later I received instructions from the studio to return to Hollywood to be tested for the part in "Sergeants. I couldn't believe it." 

Unfortunately for Jackson TV fame was short lived: No Time for Sergeants only ran for one season (1964-1965) before being cancelled. However, the star went on to enjoy a successful broadcasting career on US radio. In 1980 he was voted the CMA Country personality of the year. An LA Times critic noted in 1981 that Sammy "has quietly and efficiently established a reputation as one of the finest radio personalities in the country." He went to Las Vegas in the late 1980s to work for KUDA. Sammy died of heart failure on April 24th, 1995. He was 58.

Published on January 14th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

All In The Family

British critics have called 'All In The Family' "a reworked, far less provocative version" of the show it was based on, BBC's 'Till Death Us Do Part'...

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Gideon's Way

1960s detective series about a policeman with an enormous capacity for work and a strong self-discipline.

Also released in 1964

Barney Miller

American sitcom set in a New York City Police Department police station on East 6th St in Greenwich Village.

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Benson TV series

This spin-off of the Susan Harris-created farce Soap sent the Tate family's insolent African-American butler Benson to the mansion of Jessica Tate's bumbling cousin, Governor James Gatling. In other words, Benson went from one dysfunctional family to another.

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Sonny & Cher

Planned as a six-episode summer replacement in 1971, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour did so well that CBS brought it back immediately as a weekly variety series.

Also tagged Us Comedy


Any no-gooder underestimating the tweed-suited detective would do so at their own cost because Cluff's slow methodology belied a skilfully perceptive insight into human nature and behaviour, particularly in the criminal mind.

Also released in 1964

Amos n Andy

Amos N' Andy had the distinction of being one of the longest running (since 1929) and most popular US radio shows of all time before it came to TV screens in June of 1951. It also aired in the UK on the BBC between 1954 and 1957, making it the first US sitcom shown on British television.

Also tagged Us Sitcom


The show that was dubbed an "aquatic Lassie" - Flipper comes to the rescue in a series of nautical adventures.

Also released in 1964

The Brady Bunch

Architect Mike Brady marries beautiful young Carol, who has three girls to care for. Likewise, Mike's previous wife's death has left him to raise his three boys all alone. In no time this amalgam becomes the ideal average American middle class family.

Also tagged Us Sitcom