The Andy Griffith Show: Season 2/ Episode 9: Aunt Bee’s Brief Encounter. December 4, 1961. 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
This episode centers on Aunt Bee- a ‘handyman’ drifter Henry Wheeler- played by Edgar Buchanan- best remembered as Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction- just happens to have driven by and seen that the roses in front of the house need attention. He is getting attention from Aunt Bee- when Andy stops by during the middle of the day for lunch. Andy thinks they are about to be taken- but when Wheeler tells him he is willing to do the job for a cheap price Andy seems fine with it.
Wheeler travels from town to town doing handyman jobs- at least that is his story. In the evening when Wheeler says he’s about to leave- Bee invites him to eat dinner with them- and then he ends up spending the night in the guest room. Andy seems pleased and has noticed Bee has a thing for Wheeler. After dinner Andy even went into the kitchen to do the dishes so Bee and Wheeler could have some alone time.
The next morning the plan was for Wheeler to shingle the roof- but when he starts up the ladder he starts complaining about his back. Andy ends up doing all the work- then to add insult to injury- Bee comes out with lemonade not for Andy but for Wheeler who has done nothing. Wheeler again talks of leaving that night but Bee doesn’t want him to go- and they talk about the porch needing painting- and Wheeler will do that tomorrow.
When tomorrow comes- Wheeler talks a story to Andy about how women aren’t appreciated and a woman like Bee should be out enjoying herself- on a picnic. So you guessed it- Wheeler takes Bee on a picnic and Andy does the painting.
Andy is in his office when the mailman walks in- and shortly after so does Wheeler. Up until this time Andy seems to be going along with all this- until Wheeler shakes hands with Wheeler. Wheeler bums some money for Andy- and when he leaves the mailman mentions how soft Wheeler’s hands are- odd for a handy man. When the mailman leaves Andy calls the sheriff in Mount Pilot and finds out all he needs to know about Henry Wheeler. The sheriff laughs and talks about how Goldbrick Wheeler- goes around flirting with the ladies- doing no work and after he is well fed and taken care of- splits.
That evening Andy is sitting on the porch cleaning his gun- and when Wheeler pops his head out of the house- calls him over. Andy really lays it on- about how well Wheeler and Aunt Bee are getting along and it’s only a matter of time. He ‘slips’ and calls him Uncle Henry. He also in cleaning the gun- points it at Wheeler- and says if anyone hurt Aunt Bee he doesn’t know what he’d do to them- and also asks if he would like a big wedding etc. Dinner is ready and Wheeler tells Andy he will be right in- he needs to go to his truck- which he quickly does- and splits town. Bee comes out and is hurt over Wheeler leaving without even saying goodbye. Andy is sympathetic- and doesn’t tell Bee about Wheeler’s game.
In the final segment- another handy man pulls his truck in- and Bee is eager for help- it’s a replay of the Wheeler situation- until Andy walks out- Bee was about to invite this new handyman to dinner but seeing Andy’s frown- quickly changes her tune- and says she was mistaken she needs no work done.
Edgar Buchanan plays this episode a lot like he will the character Uncle Joe Carson in Petticoat Junction- which won’t start until 1963- a big talker but lazy as all out. He plays the part well. I don’t find Aunt Bee all that interesting a character but it was time for her to have another episode centered on her. Buchanan though is the star of this episode. Andy was buffaloed though when the signs were there that Buchanan was a free loader- it wasn’t until the soft hands mention by the mailman that the light seemed to go off in Andy’s head.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Ronny Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Edgar Buchanan- Henry Wheeler
Doodles Weaver- George Bricker
George Cisar – Sheriff Mitchell
Sherwood Keith- Mr. Mitchell
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Ben Gershman and Leo Solomon