The Mayberry farmer was a Perry Mason medical examiner and Star Trek pioneer

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 4, 2022, 2:13PM   

There are some faces that pop up in everything, faces that make you point at the screen and spout, "That guy!" Jon Lormer is one of those faces. He was in everything

You think we're being facetious, but Lorner has hundreds of TV credits to his name, spanning from 1950 to 1984, when he landed his final guest role on Highway to Heaven. Michael Landon must have liked the man, because he was on Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza, too. Then again, that could just be a coincidence. Because, as we said, he was in everything.

What's even more amazing is that he didn't start his screen career until he was middle-aged. Which is why he was so often typecast as a doctor, professor or judge — right off the bat. He played Judge Clayborne, Judge Markham (on two different shows!), Judge Vickerman, Judge Chester, Judge Wallace Barnes, Judge Adam Ricker, Judge Cates and often just "Judge."

Western lovers will spot him across the Wild West, on Have Gun - Will TravelWanted: Dead or AliveTrackdownMaverickRawhideThe Big ValleyThe Wild Wild West, and Gunsmoke, just to name a handful.

But most classic TV fans will likely recognize him from one of two distant places — Mayberry and outer space. 

Lormer thrice appeared on both The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek. Let's start in Mayberry, where he was some familiar farmers. In "Bailey's Bad Boy," the episode with young Bill Bixby, Lormer played farmer Fletch Dilbeck. In "The Cow Thief," he was farmer Tate Fletcher. Fletch, Fletcher… so similar. Later, in "Opie's Fortune," he played the fellow who lost a purse filled with $50.

On Star Trek, he was micro-typecast in the oddest way — he played two characters killed by despotic, society-controlling computers, in both "The Return of the Archons" and "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky."

But he holds an even cooler distinction for Trekkers. Lormer had a key part in "The Cage," the failed original pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series. He was Dr. Theodore Haskins, one of the scientists from the American Continent Institute who meet an unfortunate fate at the hands of the Talosians.

Speaking of doctors, look for Lormer in a dozen Perry Mason cases. He pops up in seasons two through seven as a medical examiner, often billed as "Autopsy Surgeon" or simply "Doctor."

So, have you ever taken note of this supporting actor? Did you ever connect the dots?