Set in the fictional town of Mayberry, The Andy Griffith Show was beloved for its small-town, slow-paced, nostalgic feel. Considering how many people have turned in to enjoy the show — both when it first aired in 1960 and in reruns ever since — that simple, old-fashioned approach was a good choice for the series’ producers.
Progress wasn’t the goal in Mayberry, comfortable familiarity was. But even in famously innocent Mayberry, one actress managed to push those boundaries anyway, just a little.
The innocent world of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Sheriff Andy Taylor was not only the face of law and order in the town, but he was also one of the town’s most eligible bachelors. As a widower and the doting father of young Opie, he was naturally the object of a lot of attention from the single women of the community.
There were plenty of colorful characters in Andy’s life, such as his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife. According to IcePop, Barney seemed to be almost as much of a danger to himself as to lawbreakers.
In fact, Andy only trusted him with a single bullet for his gun, which Barney kept in his left pocket. Sometimes, even the responsibility for that one bullet was revoked by Andy, who took it back if he thought everyone would be safer that way.
Just a few of the other people who filled out the scenes on the show were Andy’s loving Aunt Bee, Otis, the town drunk, and Floyd the barber. And along with these entertaining characters, there were a few special women who caught the sheriff’s eye along the way.
Andy had a few love interests
Anyone who is familiar with small-town life recognizes the way Mayberry was interested in Sheriff Taylor finding the right girl to settle down with. He managed to date a few women, despite the fact that the small population of the town didn’t offer many singles to choose from.
Nonetheless, Andy found a few fresh faces to admire before finally settling down with Helen Crump.
Before Miss Crump came along in the third season, Andy dated a few women, but those romances didn’t last long. The first season introduced Ellie Walker, played by Elinor Donahue. The actress asked to be written off the show, due to personal issues.
After Ellie moved on, Andy dated another woman before taking up with Helen. Although she’s not remembered by many, according to MeTV, this woman was a groundbreaker in one small way.
A Mayberry woman in pants?
A little while after Ellie moved on, beautiful, blonde Peggy, played by actress Joanna Moore, moved in. She drove a Thunderbird, came from a wealthy family, and she captured Andy’s heart — for four episodes, at least. But MeTV reports that during her brief time on his arm, Peggy managed to break one norm on the show.
For the famously old-fashioned series, Peggy was just a little bit modern. She moved the culture of Mayberry a tiny bit forward by being the first woman to appear on screen wearing pants. This may seem like a small thing, but wearing pants made it possible for Peggy to relax at a picnic with Andy. The look also let her break away from the prim style of every other woman in Mayberry.
Although Peggy may not have lasted long in Andy’s life, she did manage to strike a small blow for progress during her time there. And in a town that was as committed to days gone by as Mayberry was, that’s no small achievement.
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