The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 10: Ellie For Council: December 12, 1960. 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
The episode opens with a picnic- we have Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, Barney and- Barney’s new love interest Helda Mae. When Andy covers his face with a newspaper Miss Ellie sees a story about the Mayberry council election and floats out the idea that maybe she will run. Andy is very opposed to this. Andy exposes himself immediately as a male chauvinist. Politics and running the town are for the menfolk- not something women should bother themselves with. Ellie is furious and leaves. While Andy realizes he has made a mistake- he keeps repeating his mistake throughout the episode by constantly opposing Ellie’s running for council plans and putting down women in general. When Ellie decides to run for council- she needs 100 signatures- and who is the first to sign? Barney of course. Ellie gets her 100 signatures and announces she is running which divides the town- a battle of the sexes. Not only are the men in town upset that Ellie may run- their biggest fear is she may actually win. Andy comes to his senses near the end of the episode when he hears Opie echoing his anti-women views and announces to a big rally for Ellie- that Ellie has the right to run. The results of the election are never revealed but in later season 1 episodes is part of the town council.
This episode while of course a sitcom- confronts a problem of the time women in politics and leadership positions. I will put in the stats for 1960 below- there were very few women in positions of political power in 1960. As far as Mayberry goes- Ellie although younger than the other adults we have met so far seems to be one of the few grounded adults in town. She also seems quicker on her feet than the bubbling at this point in the series- Andy. Of course her time on the show will be short.
- Barney’s girlfriend- Hilda Mae- will only appear in one more episode and will be mentioned in one other. If you remember a few episodes ago- we had Barney asking Miss Rosemary out- of course that went nowhere-she is never mentioned after that episode. Also in that episode Barney seems extremely shy and unsure of himself- in this episode with Helda Mae he seems anything but insecure.
- In 1960 when this episode aired- there were 2 women in the US Senate and 17 in the US House- 19 out of 535. Today 24 of the 100 US Senators are women and there are 142 women out of the 435 in the US House of Representatives. There were no women governors in 1960- there are 9 in 2021.
- Otis Campbell re-appears in this episode- he was arrested for hitting his mother-in-law with a leg of lamb. This is the only time he will be arrested and in jail for a reason other than drunkenness. In this episode he seems quite sober and well groomed compared to the Otis we will get to know in future episodes. Also Otis’s wife Rita makes her first appearance. She will only appear in a total of three episodes in the entire series.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Elinor Donahue- Ellie Walker
Dorothy Neumann- Rita Campbell
Frank Ferguson- Sam Lindsey
Mary Treen- Clara Lindsey
Director- Bob Sweeney
Jack Elison and Charles Stewart