Former I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden made a guest appearance on The Andy Griffith Show just once in the show’s eight-year run.
Eden played an itinerant manicurist in the episode aptly titled, “The Manicurist.” Her one-time role on the show left star Andy Griffith and the show’s producers to deal with a recurring issue they had with female characters.
Griffith said ‘his peculiar nature’ didn’t know how to write for women
The actor admitted to The Andy Griffith Show author Richard Kelly of the problem writing for women characters.
“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, confirmed the actor’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. “He is that way in real life.”
Eden appeared on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ as ‘The Manicurist’
Born in Arizona in 1931, Eden appeared in the sixteenth episode of the second season. She told JournalNow in 2015 that, although it was just one episode she was in, she still gets asked about her role as Ellen Brown the pretty, hand-holding, in-search-of-a-friendly-town fingernail beautician.
“If you had told me then that people would remember it now, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. “It was another guest appearance. And at that time, guest appearances were written very well… And of course with Andy, he had set a very high bar — good people, good actors, good writers — and that is such a pleasure to work with.”
Griffith said the writers didn’t know how to explain Eden’s character on the show
In his conversation with the Television Academy Foundation, Griffith revealed that he, the show’s writers, and its creator Sheldon Leonard couldn’t agree on a reason for Ellen Brown’s visit to Mayberry.
“The script didn’t turn out good,” Griffith said. “It was called ‘The Manicurist.’ The problem was we couldn’t figure out why this beautiful blonde girl would want to settle in Mayberry. Sheldon jumped up and said, ‘I got it! I got it! She’s got a sick baby in the car and that’s as far as she could get.’ I said, ‘Come on, Sheldon!’”
According to the star, the writing team couldn’t agree on a concept, saying “it laid there for weeks.”
Finally, show producer and writer Aaron Ruben “got the idea, he got it right away. And he started talking like [Eden’s] character, ‘I work for Pierre and Pierre wants to get married, and I’m not sure about it, and I saw a sign that said Mayberry’s the friendliest town,’ so that’s how that show started.”
Eden will be glad to hear Griffith recalled that “it turned out to be a very good show.”
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