I like to say that I see Dabbs Greer once a week on my reruns and the best part is that I’m not really joking. The man has 319 credits listed on IMDB, the first once being an uncredited appearance in the 1939 movie Jesse James. His last credit is an episode of Lizzie McGuire in 2003.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the man did everything in between.
Probably best known as Reverend Alden on Little House on the Prairie, he also had recurring roles on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Picket Fences, Maybe It’s Me, Hank, and Gunsmoke. However, he often showed up on shows more than once even if he wasn’t playing the same character. Dabbs had multiple appearances on The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, Rawhide, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, The FBI, and The Loretta Young Show.
He joined Dick Van Dyke on both the Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis Murder. He stopped by Mayberry multiple times on The Andy Griffith Show. He went to both The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
He was a doctor suffering from an aortic aneurysm on Emergency!, a family man in need of help in Gomer Pyle: USMC, a drunk on Big Valley, a moonshiner on Charlie’s Angels, and a doctor up to no good on The Incredible Hulk.
Dabbs Greer had the kind of long and varied career that a lot of actors dream of. He was never really a star, so to speak, but as a character actor who was in everything, he was instantly recognizable. And he could do just about anything. Sitcoms like The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Empty Nest, Petticoat Junction, Rosanne, and Ann Jillian were no problem. Do you like private investigators? He was on Mannix, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, and The Rockford Files. He also did cop dramas like The Streets of San Francisco, Adam-12, Mod Squad, The Rookies, and Chopper One. He covered all of the westerns, including Laredo, Laramie, and The Virginian. He even went out of this world with The Invaders and The Greatest American Hero.
And if all of that isn’t enough, he played the minister who married two famous sitcom couples: Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mike and Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. Then came back twenty years later and married Bobby Brady and Tracy Wagner on The Bradys. Because Dabbs Greer was unstoppable.
I think that’s what I like best about him. That he is such a familiar, constant presence on my rerun viewing. I don’t really have any favorites where he’s concerned because I always enjoy when he pops up on my TV. Sometimes he’s a good guy, sometimes he’s a bad guy, sometimes he’s just a bit part, sometimes he’s the episode.
But he’s always there.
The ever-present Dabbs Greer.