The Mayberry R.F.D. TV show was a 30 minute comedy series on CBS that was also a spin-off of the series, "The Andy Griffith Show". Widowed farmer Sam Jones and his young son Mike took over from Andy and Opie Taylor as the father and son "center" of Mayberry. Sam was elected to the town council and hired "Aunt Bee" to run his household and help raise his son. The plotline centered on Sam's relationships with the citizens of Mayberry, his friends, and his son.
Mayberry R.F.D. CastKen Berry ............... Sam Jones
George Lindsey .......... Goober Pyle
Jack Dodson ............. Howard Sprague
Paul Hartman ............ Emmett Clark
Buddy Foster ............ Mike Jones
Arlene Golonka .......... Millie Swanson
Frances Bavier .......... Aunt Bee Taylor (1968-1970)
Alice Ghostley .......... Alice (1970-1971)
Mayberry R.F.D. Trivia
The two series really kind of "melded" together. Ken Berry (as Sam Jones) was introduced during the final four episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Buddy Foster (as son, Mike Jones) appeared in the final three. They slowly transform into main characters on par with Andy, Opie, Barney, Aunt Bee, and the others. Then, on the first episode of Mayberry R.F.D., Andy and his long time girlfriend Helen Crump got married and moved to the nearby town of Raleigh, North Carolina. They do make a few more appearances after that to aid in the transformation. Don Knotss (as Barney Fife and Andy's best man) and Ronny Howard (as Opie Taylor) also both appeared in the first episode. Aunt Bee went to work for Sam as a housekeeper and son raiser just like she had done for Andy.
Ken Berry's show business career took a pretty interesting track. He was in the Army when he was asked to join "Special Services" which is the "entertainment" division. He also auditioned and got on Arlene Francis', "Talent Patrol" TV show! Then as one of several winners of the "All-Army Talent Contest", he was invited to appear on, "Toast of the Town", which was the original title of what would become the TV classic variety series, "The Ed Sullivan Show"! That was a huge break for Ken as it gave him an opportunity to perform for a huge national audience! In 1955, Ken's term of service in the Army was up. His Sergeant at the time recommended that he move to California, the entertainment capital of the world, and try for stardom! Almost unbelieveably, his Sergeant would someday take his own advice. Yes, Sergeant Leonard Nimoy would someday become known as "Mr. Spock" on the original Star Trek series! Anyway, Ken got a job at the "Cabaret Theater" for a whopping $11.00 per week! Then from 1958 to 1964, he performed with the "Billy Barnes Revue" where Lucille Ball ("I Love Lucy") "discovered" him and gave him a job at Desilu Studios for $50.00 per week. Ken finally got his really big break in 1964 when he was filming a guest-starring role on the series, "Wendy and Me". The director overwhelmingly recommended him to Warner Brothers studios and that eventually led to his getting the leading role on "F Troop". In addition to many other guest-starring and other TV roles, Ken would also star on the Carol Burnett Show spin-off series, "Mama's Family".
The "R.F.D." in the title means "Rural Free Delivery". That refers to the postal delivery system developed during the great depression that brought mail delivery to small, rural areas. Mayberry was located in the state of North Caroline.
Ironically, actress Arlene Golonka played "Millie Hutchins" on the Andy Griffith show and was the girlfriend of Howard Sprague. Then, on Mayberry R.F.D., she played Sam Jones' sweetheart. With the Howard Sprague character also on the show, doesn't that seem like TV land "cheating"?
While Andy Griffith didn't remain as a regular cast member, he was still heavily involved with Mayberry R.F.D. as the executive producer of the series.
When Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) left after the second season, she retired to Siler City, North Carolina. A few times on the show, they even mentioned that Aunt Bee had moved to Siler City!
A 6-year-old Jodie Foster made her television debut on November 18, 1968 in the episode titled, "The Church Play". They also misspelled her name (Jody rather than Jodie) in the credits. She would appear again on November 12, 1970 episode titled, "All For Charity" and they'd even get her name right that time!
Mayberry R.F.D. was still the 15th most popular show on TV when CBS canceled it in what became known as the "rural purge". CBS decided (via Fred Silverman) that they had too many shows that only old people and people living in rural areas liked. So Fred in his infinite wisdom decided to cancel them all even though they were still doing very well in the ratings! The other series that "bit the dust" were, "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Green Acres", "Hee Haw", and "Petticoat Junction".
Fifteen years after Mayberry R.F.D. ended, a reunion movie titled, "Return to Mayberry" aired on NBC. The old, cherished characters that appeared as they were fifteen years into the future included Andy Taylor, Barney Fife, Opie Taylor, Helen Crump, Gomer Pyle, Goober Pyle, Thelma Lou, Ernest T. Bass, Otis Campbell, and Charlene Darling. Unfortunately, Sam Jones, Aunt Bee, Mike Jones, and Millie Swanson did not appear.
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
TV Reunion MovieReturn to Mayberry (4/13/1986)
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