Parley Edward Baer (August 5, 1914 – November 22, 2002) was an American actor in radio and later in television and film. Despite dozens of appearances in television series and theatrical films, he remains best known as the original "Chester" in the radio version of  .
Salt Lake City, Utah, Baer had a circus background, but began his radio career at Utah station KSL. He studied drama at the University of Utah. 
Early in his career, Baer was a circus ringmaster and publicist. He left those roles for military service in
World War II. In the 1950s, he had a job training wild animals at Jungleland USA in Thousand Oaks, California. Still later, he served as a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo. 
Baer was a member of the
United States Army Air Force during World War II, serving in the Pacific Theatre and earning seven service stars. 
Baer in the 1930s served on radio as director of special events for KSL.
His first network show was  , which was soon followed by appearances on The Whistler (notably narrating "Wild Jack Rhett" and as the title patriot in an adaptation of Escape Stephen Vincent Benet's "A Tooth for Paul Revere"), , Suspense (as various local sheriffs), Tales of the Texas Rangers , Dragnet The , CBS Radio Workshop , Lux Radio Theater , and The Six Shooter , to name a few.
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
In 1952, he began playing Chester, the trusty jailhouse assistant to
Marshal Matt Dillon on , eventually ad-libbing the character's full name, "Chester Wesley Proudfoot" (later changed to "Chester Goode" in the televised version of the series, which featured Gunsmoke Dennis Weaver in the role of Chester). Baer's portrayal of Chester was generally considered his finest and most memorable role, and as he often said, the one he found most fulfilling. Baer also worked as a voice actor on several other radio shows produced by Norman MacDonnell, performing as Pete the Marshal on the situation comedy , as Doc Clemens on The Harold Peary Show Rogers of the Gazette, and as additional characters on and Fort Laramie The Adventures of .
Other recurring roles included Eb the farm hand on
(the radio predecessor to television's Granby's Green Acres ), Gramps on Green Acres The Truitts, and Rene the manservant on the radio version of . His later radio work included playing Reginald Duffield and Uncle Joe Finneman on the The Count of Monte Cristo Focus on the Family series in the 1980s and 1990s.
Adventures in Odyssey
Radio playwright and director
Norman Corwin cast Baer as Simon Legree in the 1969 KCET television reading of his 1938 radio play .
The Plot to Overthrow Christmas
Films and television
As an on-camera performer, Baer was recognizable by his distinctive voice, his paunchy appearance, and his balding head. Often he portrayed fussy, bossy, and/or obstinate officials or neighbors. Extended television roles included blustering, by-the-book Mayor Stoner on
, the neighbor Darby on The Andy Griffith Show , frequent guest appearances on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as insurance man and city commissioner Arthur J. Henson, and in the late 1990s, Miles Dugan on The Addams Family . He also appeared as a telephone executive on The Young and the Restless
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Baer guest-starred in the 1950s on
NBC's and The Dennis Day Show , on It's a Great Life CBS's , on Hey, Jeannie! ABC's with The Law and Mr. Jones James Whitmore, on the syndicated crime drama with Johnny Midnight Edmond O'Brien, and on the NBC children's western series, with Fury Peter Graves and Bobby Diamond. He made six guest appearances on during the last five seasons of the Perry Mason CBS legal drama, including the role of Edward Farraday in the 1962 episode, "The Case of the Captain's Coins," and Willard Hupp in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang."
He also appeared on the ABC sitcom
, on the ABC/ Harrigan and Son Warner Bros. crime drama, , on NBC's crime drama The Roaring 20s starring Dan Raven Skip Homeier, and on the NBC family drama, . Baer was cast twice on National Velvet Walter Brennan's sitcom, . He also guest-starred on the CBS sitcoms The Real McCoys , with Dennis the Menace Jay North, and , starring Angel Annie Fargé. In the latter, he carried the lead as Dr. Mathews in the single episode "The Dentist", with Maudie Prickett as his dental secretary.
In 1961, Baer guest-starred on
Marilyn Maxwell's short-lived ABC drama series, . On April 13, 1962, he appeared, along with Bus Stop Frank Ferguson and Royal Dano in ABC's crime drama in the episode "Journey into Mourning". He was cast as hotel owner Mr. Kringelein in the 1962 film, Target: The Corruptors , opposite Gypsy Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell.
In 1963, Baer appeared with
Charles Aidman and Karl Swenson in the three-part episode "Security Risk", a story of international blackmail and intrigue, on the CBS anthology series, , hosted by GE True Jack Webb. 
In 1964, Baer was cast as a
sheriff in an episode of Mickey Rooney's short-lived sitcom, and as a scientist in an Mickey Outer Limits episode, "Behold, Eck!" He was seen in four episodes of and eight episodes of Hogan's Heroes in various roles as advertising clients of McMann and Tate.
Baer was cast as
Horace Greeley, who came to Colorado in 1859 in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, in the 1965 episode "The Great Turkey War" of the syndicated series, . Death Valley Days Michael Constantine played Pollock. In the story line, a fledgling Denver copes with vandalism and the theft of turkeys, and Greeley is determined to report the truth about the emerging settlement. 
In 1967, Baer appeared as General Whitfield on the
episode, "Fly Me to the Moon".
I Dream of Jeannie
Baer made two appearances on
. In the 1966 episode, "Jury at the Shady Rest", he was Bailiff Tucker. Then, in the 1969 episode, "The Glen Tinker Caper", he was Judge Madison.
Later guest appearances included
, Three for the Road (as a cooking competition judge), Three's Company , The San Pedro Beach Bums , The A-Team , Star Trek: Voyager , The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air , The Dukes of Hazzard , Night Court , Newhart , Little House on the Prairie , The Golden Girls , and Hazel . He also played the role of the minister who married J. R. and Sue Ellen Ewing for their second marriage on Mad About You . He also made guest appearances on Dallas .
Baer's film roles included parts in several
live-action Disney features, including (again as a mayor), Follow Me, Boys! , and The Ugly Dachshund Those Calloways. He also appeared in and Two on a Guillotine (as the Dave Senate majority leader). Baer had a featured role in the 1958 war drama , portraying a German officer and friend of The Young Lions Marlon Brando.
In perhaps his greatest theatrical performance, Baer was especially proud of his brief appearance in a little-known film,
, a powerful story about White Dog racism. Baer plays a character seen at first as a kindly grandfather, only to reveal himself as a hateful bigot who has trained the title character to attack black skin. Baer remarked, "Often racism, like true evil, presents itself with a smile and a handshake".
Some 10 years earlier, Baer played a closet racist in a well-known Christmas episode of
Bewitched. The episode " Sisters at Heart" aired on ABC on December 24, 1970, in which he played the role of Mr. Brockway, the owner of a toy-manufacturing firm.  
Ernie Keebler in the cookie commercials before he suffered a  stroke in 1997 which affected both speech and movement. He recovered sufficiently to make a handful of appearances at old-time radio conventions in his later years. In the 1980's he dressed in old-time garb as "Mr. S", one of the company founders, in commercials for S&W Fine Foods.
In 1946, Baer met and married circus aerialist and bareback rider Ernestine Clarke. They were together for 54 years until her death on August 5, 2000, in
Tarzana, California.  
Baer was a long-term member of St. Nicholas
Episcopal Church in Encino, California, where he served in many capacities, including head usher.
In 1969, Baer gave the eulogy at the funeral of
castmate The Andy Griffith Show Howard McNear. McNear had portrayed Mayberry's Floyd the Barber and Baer had played Mayor Roy Stoner. McNear also portrayed Doc Adams in the radio version of Gunsmoke, often interacting with Baer's character, Chester Proudfoot.
On November 11, 2002, following another
stroke, Baer was taken to the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. Eleven days later, at the age of 88, he died there. 
(1950) as Off-Screen Narrator (voice, uncredited) The Kid from Texas
(1950) as Boozer, the Bartender Comanche Territory
(1950) as Detective Gottschalk Union Station
(1951) as Steve (uncredited) The Company She Keeps
(1951) as Bakery Truck Driver (uncredited) Three Guys Named Mike
(1951) as Major Jim Evans Air Cadet
(1951) as Police Detective O'Halloran (uncredited) The Fat Man
(1951) as Dr. Ullman (uncredited) The Frogmen
(1951) as Toy Store Salesman (uncredited) People Will Talk
(1952) as Dr. Henry (uncredited) Elopement
(1952) as Dr. Henry (uncredited) Red Skies of Montana
(1952, TV Series) The Dennis Day Show
(1952) as Headwaiter (uncredited) Deadline - U.S.A.
(1952) as Emil Tauchnitz Fearless Fagan
(1952) as Refrigerator Deliveryman (uncredited) Something for the Birds
(1952, TV Series) as Father on Phone / District Attorney Dragnet
(1953) as Headquarters Communist in Chair (uncredited) Pickup on South Street
(1953) as 2nd Detective (uncredited) Vicki
(1954) as Riverboat Captain (uncredited) The Gambler from Natchez
(1954, TV Series) as Detective Sharkey The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
(1954, TV Series) as Mr. Banner The Loretta Young Show
(1955, TV Series) as Lyle Father Knows Best
(1955, TV Series) as Wester The Bob Cummings Show
(1952-1955, TV Series) as Mr Maynard / Mr Chambers / Bennett Our Miss Brooks
(1956, TV Series) as Police Detective Gryar Alfred Hitchcock Presents
(1956) as Sgt. Gerbert (uncredited) D-Day the Sixth of June
(1956) as Dr. Gates Away All Boats
(1956, TV Series) December Bride
(1957) as George Randolph Drango
(1955-1957, TV Series) as Mr. Perry / Mr. Reilly I Love Lucy
(1956-1957, TV Series) as Enos Finney / Mr. Fitch / Fitch Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre
(1958, TV Series) as Sam Goodwin Official Detective
(1958) as Sergeant Brandt The Young Lions
(1959) as Harry Dakins The FBI Story
(1959, TV Series) as Gaunt Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse
(1956-1959, TV Series) as Frank Lloyd / Clem Doud / Mayor Homer Bellam / Dan Morriss Zane Grey Theater
(1960) as Harvey Bannon Cash McCall
(1960) as Col. Archie Hollingsworth Wake Me When It's Over
(1960) as Grangeford Man The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(1956-1960, TV Series) as Mr. Denton, Postal Inspector / Mr. Kendall / Mr. Haynes Make Room for Daddy
(1958-1960, TV Series) as Mr. Venable / Mr. Saunders The Real McCoys
(1961) as Charles 'Charlie' Bosworth A Fever in the Blood
(1959-1961, TV Series) as Neff Packer / Walter Mathers The Rifleman
(1959-1962, TV Series) as Mr. Pindyck / Capt. Blast Dennis the Menace
(1962, TV Series) as Lt. Hockberg The Dick Powell Theatre
(1954-1962, TV Series) as Harvey Seymour / Mayor Douglas / Haveman General Electric Theater
(1962, TV Series) as Dr. Whittaker Bachelor Father
(1962) as Mr. Boosmans The Spiral Road
(1959-1962, TV Series) as Reston - Townsman / Sam Thurber / John Ellsworth Have Gun - Will Travel
(1962, TV Series) as Fred McAllen Laramie
(1962) as Mr. Kringelein Gypsy
(1962-1963, TV Series) as Mayor Roy Stoner The Andy Griffith Show
(1963, TV Series) as Bryant / Dinny Rawhide
(1963, TV Series) as Dr. James Connors Dr. Kildare
(1962-1963, TV Series) as George Talley / John Maitland / Clyde Montgomery Wagon Train
(1964, TV Series) as Charlie Cornwall 77 Sunset Strip
(1964, TV Series) as Charlie Cornwall The Jack Benny Program
(1964) as Samuel Wackerbath The Brass Bottle
(1964) as Col. Williams Bedtime Story
(1964, TV Series) as Dr. Bernard Stone The Outer Limits
(1964, TV Series) as Leonard F. Bellack Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
(1964, TV Series) as Judge The Joey Bishop Show
(1965) as 'Buzz' Sheridan Two on a Guillotine
(1965) as Doane Shattuck Those Calloways
(1965, TV Series) as Mr. Rowland Hazel
(1965) as Jules Griswald Bus Riley's Back in Town
(1965) as Police Captain Fluffy
(1965) as Banker (scenes deleted) The Money Trap
(1965) as Dr. Newman (uncredited) Marriage on the Rocks
(1965, TV Series) as Mr. Babcock My Favorite Martian
(1963-1965, TV Series) as Horace Greeley / Sager / Dr. Simon / Crowder Death Valley Days
(TV Series) (1953-1965, TV Series) as Herb Darby / Attorney Hopkins The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
(1965, TV Series) as Colonel Watkins F Troop
(1965, TV Series) as Colonel Pavlov Popoff Burke's Law
(1965-1966, TV Series) as Mr. Rapp / Otto Olsen The Farmer's Daughter
(1966) as Mel Chadwick The Ugly Dachshund
(1961-1966, TV Series) as Harry Crawford / Frank Armstead / Jack Cunningham Bonanza
(1965-1966, TV Series) as Mayor Arthur J. Henson The Addams Family
(1961-1966, TV Series) as Frank Cummings / Ian Jarvis / Willard Hupp / David Bickel / Edward Farraday / Seward Quentin Perry Mason
(1966) as Mayor Follow Me, Boys!
(1964-1967, TV Series) as Al Cooney / Lee Burroughs The Fugitive
(1967) as Chief Executioner The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
(1966-1967, TV Series) as Morgan / Derwin The Phyllis Diller Show
(1967, TV Series) as Alcott Willingham Laredo
(1967) as The Owl (voice, uncredited) The Gnome-Mobile
(1967, TV Series) as General Whiston I Dream of Jeannie
(1966-1967, TV Series) as Judson Travers / Mr. Corbett Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
(1962-1967, TV Series) as Dr. Davis / Colonel Dietrich / Judge / Mr. Evans The Lucy Show
(1968, TV Series) as Austin Redmond / Austin Richmond Lassie
(1968) as Willford Day of the Evil Gun
(1968) as Hook Counterpoint
(1968, TV Series) as Magistrate Judd for the Defense
(1968) as Dr. Dudley Caldwell Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?
(1968, TV Series) as Everett Brandt / Commander Stevens Ironside
(1969, TV Series) as Doctor The Name of the Game
(1969, TV Series) as Senator Obek Land of the Giants
(1969) as Bell Young Billy Young
(1969, TV Series) as Mr. Thornby The Doris Day Show
(1965-1969, TV Series) as Julius Schlager / Doctor Pohlmann / Colonel Burmeister / Professor Altman Hogan's Heroes
(1970, TV Series) as Archie Mannix
(1965-1970, TV Series) as Mr. Bellingham / Judge Madison / Judge Turner / Bailiff Vince Tucker / Henry Phillips Petticoat Junction
(1965-1970, TV Series) as Newman / Vernon Daniels / Jake Jason The F.B.I.
(1970, TV Series) as Mr. Tyler The Bill Cosby Show
(1962-1970, TV Series) as Henderson / Judge Jeremiah Pitt / Pat Magill / The Senator The Virginian
(1965-1971, TV Series) as Lt. Governor / Mister Peterson / Mr. Treffinger / Mr. Webster Green Acres
(1971) as Mr. Claggart Skin Game
(1971, TV Series) as Koger Mod Squad
(1959-1971, TV Series) as Mayor Hancock Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
(1971, TV Series) as Dr. Cunningham Here's Lucy
(1966-1972, TV Series) as Walter Franklin / Mr. Burkeholder / Mr. Brockway / Desk Sergeant / Mr. Nickerson / Bigelow / Dr. Matthew Kramer / James Dennis Robinson Bewitched
(1971-1973, TV Series) as Farraday / Dr. Fred Elter Medical Center
(1973, TV Series) as Dr. Gormley Kung Fu
Sixteen (1973) as The Reverend
(1976, TV Series) as Jack Leopold The Streets of San Francisco
(1976) as Septimus, Circus Owner The Amazing Dobermans
(1977, TV Series) as Doc Wilson The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
(1978-1979, TV Series) as Grandpa / Captain Jack McGuire Charlie's Angels
(1979, TV Series) as Raymond The Incredible Hulk
(1980, TV Series) as Mayor B.J. and the Bear
(1976-1980, TV Series) as Mr. Williams / J.W. Diamond Little House on the Prairie
(1980, TV Series) as Mr. Armor WKRP in Cincinnati
(1981, TV Series) as Old Man Knots Landing
(1981) as Dr. Bristol Carbon Copy
(1982, TV Series) as Constantine Wainwright Hart to Hart
(1979-1982, TV Series) as Ray Elders / Carlton Stiefel / Haggerty / Sheriff Burkhardt Lou Grant
(1982) as Wilber Hull White Dog
(1982, TV Series) as Banker Father Murphy
(1982, TV Series) as Minister Brown Dallas
(1983, TV Series) as Judge Anthony Barzini Archie Bunker's Place
(1983) as Judge Doctor Detroit
(1983, TV Series) as Bert Landers Three's Company
(1984, TV Series) as Max Klein The A-Team
(1984) as Alonzo Dillard Chattanooga Choo Choo
(1981-1984, TV Series) as Doc Appleby The Dukes of Hazzard
(1985) as Sam Green Pray for Death
(1986, TV Series) as Tourist Husband Simon & Simon
(1984-1987, TV Series) as Buck Newhart
(1987, TV Series) as Chester T. Rainey The Golden Girls
(1988, TV Series) as Judge Sims Night Court
(1988) as Grandpa Anderson License to Drive
Time Trackers (1989) as Lucius
(1989, TV Series) as Counterman Growing Pains
(1990) as George Bealeman Almost an Angel
(1991, TV Series) as Al Brown Beverly Hills, 90210
(1991-1992, TV Series) as Judge Shiner / Dr. Rogers Quantum Leap
Space Case (1992) as Bitby
(1993, TV Series) as The Husband Mad About You
(1993, TV Series) as Woodrow The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
(1993) as Senate Majority Leader Dave
King B: A Life in the Movies (1993) as Walter Dent
(1993-1996, TV Series) as Miles Dugan The Young and the Restless
(1990-1994, TV Series) as Supreme Court Judge Parker L.A. Law
(1994) as Civilian Advisor Roswell
(1994) as Wesley Renegade
(1995) as Mr. Hollis Last of the Dogmen
(1995, TV Series) as Frank Coach
(1996, TV Series) as Old Man #1 Star Trek: Voyager Man and Cat (2001) as Cat (final film role)
^ a b c d e
Harrigan, Tom (November 24, 2002). "Character actor Parley Baer". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 21 . Retrieved 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
^ a b
Oliver, Myrna (November 24, 2002). "Parley Baer, 88; 64-Year Career Spanned Radio, TV, Movies". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2015.
"Parley Baer Goes Into Lion's Den". The Daily Mail. December 8, 1962. p. 29 . Retrieved 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
". Classic Television Archive GE True" . Retrieved 2013.
"The Great Turkey War". Internet Movie Data Base. October 7, 1965 . Retrieved 2015.
^ Pilato (2001), p. 216.
^ Metz (2007), p. 64.
"Ernestine Clarke". The Telegraph. August 26, 2000 . Retrieved 2015 – via Telegraph.co.uk.