On The Andy Griffith Show, it may be noted that the character of Sheriff Andy Taylor has no problems getting a girlfriend.
It’s keeping said love interest that was an ongoing issue for Griffith’s character on the 1960s family comedy.
The actor took much of the blame on himself, saying it was in part because of the way he was with women. Here’s what he had to say and the turning point when Andy Taylor met a girlfriend who stayed longer than a few episodes.
The female characters who went through Mayberry
From the comedy’s first season, its writers began introducing characters to provide the star with a romantic interest.
The first of several was Father Knows Best star Elinor Donahue, who played pharmacist Ellie Walker and was presented to Mayberry residents as “the new lady druggist.” Although she had signed on to a three-year contract, Donahue asked to be released from it after 11 episodes, citing personal issues.
Following Walker arrived “Mary the county nurse,” played by two actors: Julie Adams in the episode titled “The County Nurse” and Sue Ane Langdon in “Three’s a Crowd,” both airing in the show’s second season.
Finally another nurse, Peggy McMillan played by Joanna Moore, captured Andy Taylor’s interest and seemed likely to stay but maxed out at four episodes in the third season.
Andy Taylor actor Griffith blamed himself
As a contributor to the show’s scripts, the actor lay the problem for Andy Taylor’s lack of a love interest squarely at his own feet, as he told Richard Kelly, the author of The Andy Griffith Show book in 1981.
“We never knew how to write for women,” he said. “We never did know, and because of my peculiar nature, and my personal relationship with women, and the difficulty that I’ve always had with them – it became even more difficult for us to write for women.”
Griffith’s manager and one of the show’s producers, Dick Linke, agreed with the future Matlock actor on what he felt was the star’s lack of chemistry with women.
“Andy, you have to realize, is not really a ladies’ man. He doesn’t know how to go chasing the ladies. If you’ll notice, he rarely kissed anybody in the series, and only rarely did he hold Helen Crump. He never did a real kiss,” Linke said, adding that this was simply how Griffith was: “He is that way in real life.”
The one and only girlfriend that stuck with Andy Taylor
Finally, teacher Helen Crump, portrayed by actor Aneta Corsaut, came along in the third season and was deemed by all to be a keeper.
“Helen Crump solved the show’s problem with women,” Kelly wrote. “She was attractive, intelligent, warm-hearted, sensitive, and always very proper. Unlike Ellie, she was never aggressive and threatening to Andy Taylor’s masculine superiority. And unlike Joanna Moore (Nurse Peggy), she was not a sexual creature who needed to be dealt with in romantic terms. She was Andy’s “girl,” but she could have been his sister.”
After five seasons of courtship, Helen Crump and Andy Taylor did finally get married, except the ceremony didn’t occur on The Andy Griffith Show. It happened on Season 1, episode 1 of its spin-off show, Mayberry R.F.D.