"The Mayberry Deputy", "Abe Lincoln", and "Ebenezer Scrooge" are just a few of the aliases of David Browning from Bristol, Virginia. As an impersonator and improvisation master, Browning uses costuming, gestures, facial expressions, and audience participation to bring out the flavor of the characters and to provide an atmosphere of good, clean fun.
"The Mayberry Deputy" is the most noted of his characters and started in 1988 when a friend of Browning hired the Dillards, known to watchers of "The Andy Griffith Show" as the "Darling boys", to play bluegrass music in Bristol, Tennessee. Browning, who started out in community theatre, put together a "Barney Fife" type act based on a sense of recall (since Browning has seen all the Mayberry shows at one time or another) which made that first performance a hit. At that time, he discovered that he could make a statement as David Browning that was not funny at all but the same statement made in uniform as "The Mayberry Deputy" had audiences falling out of their seats.
Soon after, Browning was asked by "The Andy Griffith Show" Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC) to perform at a Mayberry Reunion held at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. TAGSRWC founder, Jim Clark, saw Browning's act and began mentioning his name across the country. Browning has been embraced as "The Mayberry Deputy" by small and large groups in 35 states with continued referrals and request every where he goes.
Browning traveled to Nashville to appear in Confederate Railroad's video, "Elvis & Andy." He feels that video is as good to an actor as a book is to an author. Browning has also appeared with many of the original stars of "The Andy Griffith Show." Another connection to country music is Browning appearance at the "60 Million Sales Party" thrown for musics all-time sales leader, Garth Brooks.
After a performance at the North Carolina Sheriff's Association meeting in Pinehurst, Browning was heard to say, "I really felt like I was in a room full of friends with all those 'high Sheriff's'."
Browning thinks people enjoy the "Fife" character because it reminds them of a time gone by. "The character is funny and it's clean entertainment. In the world we live in today, people are searching for their own Mayberry," he says. "I value this character for what it gives to people today. Laughter and memories." As a minister with the Baptist Ministerial Association told Browning, "You are ministering to people with your corny jokes and clean humor."