Writer-Producer Harvey Bullock Dies
Andy Griffith, Flintstones, Much More
Los Angeles, CA – Harvey Bullock, prolific comedy writer and producer of film and television has died at the age of 84.
Bullock, affected by a series of age-related illnesses, died Sunday morning, April 24, in Laguna Beach, California, with his family by his side.
Born on June 4, 1921, in Oxford, North Carolina, Bullock made an indelible mark on American film and television comedy.
With feature films like Girl Happy, With Six You Get Eggroll and Who’s Minding the Mint, and dozens of classic television series like The Andy Griffith Show, The Flintstones and Hogan’s Heroes, Bullock helped shape an important era in American popular culture.
“Harvey was a good friend and a wonderful man. He had a fabulous sense of humor, and all those qualities went into his writing,” said his longtime friend Griffith
Bullock’s years of prolific work began with notable contributions to shows like The Robert Q Lewis Show, The Today Show and The Walter Winchell Show. In 1949, while working at his first paid job as a comedy writer for CBS radio’s Breakfast with Burrows, hosted by Abe Burrows, Bullock met Ray Allen, who would later become his writing partner for much of his career. Together, Bullock and Allen helped craft some of the era’s most popular series, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Danny Thomas Show, I Spy and Gomer Pyle, USMC.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and five days after graduating from Duke University with a B.A. in English, Bullock joined the U.S. Naval Reserves. It was during his training at Notre Dame Midshipmen School that he began writing comedy skits.
He served overseas as a naval officer for three years with a special operations unit called “Beach Jumpers.” Bullock’s job was to write and transmit phony radio messages for the Nazis to intercept.
After the war he was assigned as a welfare/recreation officer in Hawaii, where his talents were again skillfully adapted to the circumstances: his job responsibilities included improving and overseeing beer pubs, pool halls and hobby shops and traveling with the WAVES bowling team.
Bullock met his future wife while writing humorous commentary for Dave Garroway on NBC’s Today. Betty Jane Folker was the show’s fashion segment producer, and when the couple wed in 1954, Garroway proclaimed them “Today’s Lovers” to the national audience.
After arriving in Los Angeles in the late ’50s, Bullock landed a writing job for the television series The Real McCoys. Word of his talents spread, and in 1961 he was hired by Aaron Ruben, producer of The Andy Griffith Show.
During Bullock’s five-year tenure on the show, he was responsible for crafting some of the show’s classic episodes including “Opie the Birdman,” “The Pickle Story,” “The Loaded Goat” and “The Cow Thief.” Bullock cherished working on the show, and was grateful to its many fans.
“I always looked forward to meetings with Harvey,” said Ruben. “Any conversation you had with him was always engaging and frosted with humor. He had that wonderful gift.”
In addition to The Flintstones, Bullock and Allen contributed their talents to television animation on series like The Jetsons, Top Cat and My World and Welcome to It. In 1969 they became executive producers on the popular 1970s primetime comedy Love American Style, and went on to create, executive produce and write the classic Wait ’til Your Father Gets Home.
Bullock and Allen received an Emmy nomination in 1976 for Papa and Me, a children’s program, and a Random House Award in 1956 for the Gertrude Berg sketch on the TV special Salute to Baseball.
Away from show business, Bullock’s hobbies ranged from creating walking canes with training wheels to converting an old gas pump into a flag-waving machine that played the tune “Star Spangled Banner.” After watching the devastation wrought by hurricane Andrew, he built birdhouses to auction and benefit the victims.
Bullock is survived by his wife, Betty; children Kerry Scarvie, Diana Bullock, Courtney Bullock and Andy Bullock; and grandchildren Sean Bullock, Samantha Scarvie and Andrew Scarvie.
Bullock’s family is holding a private ceremony on Saturday, April 29, that will feature a marching band to celebrate his life. The family requests that donations be made to the Duke University Marching Band.
Gifts should be made to “Duke University.” The check memo line or cover note should indicate the following: “Memorial gift in honor of Harvey Bullock for Marching Band Special Projects Fund.” Office of Gift Planning, Duke University, 2127 Campus Drive, Box 90606, Durham, NC 27708
For further information contact Courtney Bullock, (818) 633-8637 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
The Archive of American Television interviewed Harvey Bullock on October 6, 2005. The interview is available to be screened at the Archive's office at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood.