Here's an hour-long adaptation by Ira Levin of Mac Hyman's best-selling book No Time for Sergeants. Airing live on The U.S. Steel Hour on March 15, 1955, No Time for Sergeants starred Andy Griffith in his first television role; Griffith had previously gained attention for his monologue "What It Was, Was Football," the recording of which reached number 9 on the charts. Ira Levin expanded his hour-long script into a full musical which appeared on Broadway in October of that year, again starring Griffith as naive country boy Will Stockdale. The 1958 film version of the play teamed Griffith with Don Knotts. No Time for Sergeants was the direct inspiration for the Jim Nabors television series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Andy Griffith's film debut was in the 1957 drama A Face in the Crowd. A 1960 appearanceon Danny Thomas' Make Room for Daddy as a small-town sheriff served as a pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which introduced the world to the bucolic town of Mayberry. Griffith tried a number of television series following The Andy Griffith Show (including the short-lived Salvage 1, a show which I was very fond of) before the success of of 1986' Matlock. Griffith was a far more versatile talent than many people give him credit for.
This first version of No Time for Sergeants also features Harry Clark as Will Stockdale's nemesis Sergeant King. That same year, Clark landed the role of Msgt. Stanley Sowiki in The Phil Silvers Show (aka Sergeant Bilko); Clark appeared in 19 episodes before his early death in February 1956 at age 49.
The appeal of No Time for Sergeants, as well as the appeal of Andy Griffith, has not diminished with age.