In 2015, author Daniel de Visé’s book about The Andy Griffith Show was published, and he later opened up about some of the finer details of the show.
During a Q&A session the following year with Jo Maeder, de Visé covered all things Mayberry. The Andy & Don author talked about his book and went into great detail about the show and its characters. During one portion of the interview, Maeder asked the author about Sheriff Andy Taylor‘s love life. Maeder wanted to know why Andy’s relationships never seemed to last.
“Yes, I do believe the original plan was for Andy to have a love interest,” de Visé explained to Maeder. “And she arrived in the form of Elinor Donohue, a well-known actress who had starred in the successful sitcom Father Knows Best. For a brief time, Elinor’s name even appeared ahead of Don’s in the credits. And she was clearly meant to join the cast as Andy’s eventual girlfriend and/or wife.”
However, as de Visé goes on to share, The Andy Griffith Show had trouble finding a good match for Griffith. The chemistry between the actor and his co-stars just never seemed to work out.
“Unfortunately, the pairing just didn’t pan out,” the author continued. “There was no chemistry between Andy and Ellie, and she found herself getting fewer and fewer lines as the first season wore on. She finally asked out of her contract at the end of the season. There followed a procession of would-be girlfriends, and none of them worked out. Andy just didn’t look comfortable acting in romantic pairings. Then, in Season Three, Aneta Corsaut was cast as schoolteacher Helen Crump and the producers finally found the chemistry they were looking for – both on screen and off, as it turned out.”
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Author Says Andy Is the Only Mayberry Citizen ‘Who Has It All Together’
While speaking in the same interview, de Visé touched on The Andy Griffith Show main character further. Most of the characters in Mayberry were “flawed” and had “off-kilter personalities” like the author said. Yet that wasn’t the case with Sheriff Andy Taylor.
“When I think of the characters that surrounded Andy, I regard most of them as lovable, flawed individuals,” de Visé told Maeder. “They might have slightly off-kilter personalities, and they might not come from traditional nuclear families. The Andy Griffith Show characters might appear naive and oblivious to Mayberry’s place in the ‘big, wide world.’”
The author then shared that Sheriff Taylor is “the one citizen of Mayberry who has it all together.”
“He might not have the most successful romantic life, at least in the early seasons,” de Visé says of The Andy Griffith Show star. “But he is clearly an intelligent, mature, worldly, well-adjusted man.”
He said that Andy is “able to function … yet stay strong to savvy outsiders who parade through town.” And that included “all the businessmen and lawyers and politicians who roll in” and thought they could take advantage of Mayberry and Sheriff Taylor.
“Because Andy is all these things, and his neighbors are not,” de Visé says. “Andy serves as their ambassador to the outside world, protecting Barney [Deputy Fife] and Otis [the Town Drunk] and Floyd [the Barber] and [Aunt] Bee from harm, saving them from themselves.”