The Andy Griffith Show: Season 2/ Episode 16: The Manicurist: January 22, 1962. 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
For the third episode in a row- a guest star- first there was Everett Sloan- last episode a young Bill Bixby- and in this one- a 31 year old Barbara Eden- who was still three years away from her most famous role- in I Dream Of Jeannie.
The episode opens with the guys- Andy, Barney- Mayor Pike-Art Crowley and Sam at Floyd’s shooting the bull-talking about travel-and everyone being in a hurry. They do mention going to the moon – this was again a few years ahead of I Dream Of Jeannie- which of course features a couple astronauts. Off the bus from Nashville walks Ellen Brown- played by Barbara Eden. All the sudden the attention at Floyd’s shifts to her. They mention to Barney that being a bachelor -would he be able to handle a girl like her. In dialog which certainly wouldn’t make the cut on today’s network television- Barney talks about how he’d be rough with her- and would rough her up.
Ellen walks into Floyd’s and all the sudden these guys who were admiring her from afar- get all shy and nervous- and end up leaving. Andy is the only one left- along with a nervous Floyd. Ellen is a fast talker who talks in circles and is somewhat hard to follow- but the bottom line seems to be- she had a breakup with her boyfriend in the city- and got on the bus and was determined to stop in the first friendly small town she came across- and here she is in Mayberry.
She asks Floyd if she can set up in his shop- she is a manicurist. Floyd isn’t all that certain about that even when Ellen tells him she works on commission. She talks herself into a space at Floyd’s by just talking, talking and talking and not letting Floyd say ‘NO.’ When she leaves to check in at the hotel- Andy calms Floyd down by telling him not to worry she won’t last 24 hours.
When the regular guys come into Floyd’s -she is set up to do her work but all the guys are acting shy and awkward. They start to make idle small talk -but their attention is on her. She can’t get anyone to volunteer for a manicure. She heads to a back room and Andy comes in and puts his foot in his mouth. Not knowing she is back there he talks loud to the boys about how he told them she wouldn’t last 24 hours etc…. then Ellen walks out her feeling hurt as she dresses down Andy- and how this isn’t such a friendly town after all.
As Ellen is saying her farewell to a now sad Floyd who has gotten used to her presence- Andy comes in- in his effort to make up he wants a manicure. Ellen at first is still not happy with Andy but Andy keeps talking -and she starts to smile. Barney walks by and can’t believe his eyes- when he comes in Andy lassos him into getting a manicure- and before you know it there is a line of guys inside Floyd’s waiting for a manicure. There is trouble brewing though- a group of older ladies outside are looking in- none to happy about all the attention the guys are giving Ellen.
The next morning Floyd is at the jail talking to Andy- telling him all the appointments for a manicure were cancelled- due to jealous wives. Then in comes Ellen- Floyd doesn’t want to tell her the news so he leaves- leaving it to Andy. Andy starts talking [Ellen had come in to tell Floyd she had made up with her boyfriend Pierre and he was coming to get her on the bus] – Andy tells Ellen that the women are jealous that she might steal their husbands etc- and it would help if Ellen was married. Ellen takes this as a marriage proposal- and tells Andy a day earlier she might have accepted- but that the reason she came in was to tell Floyd she was leaving that she had made up with Pierre and they were going to get married. As she says goodbye she gives Andy a kiss- and when Barney walks in- she kisses him too. Barney then walks outside and they watch Ellen walk down the street.
In the final segment- Mayor Pike and Andy are walking down the street talking about Ellen and the benefits of having a manicurist etc. When they get to Floyd’s they see the manicurist sign up- excitedly they go in- and find that the manicurist is none other than- Emma Watson.
This episode would mark the final appearances of two characters- Mayor Pike- the actor who played Mayor Pike- Dick Elliott passed away two months before the episode aired- at the age of 75- the first regular on Andy Griffith to pass away. It was also the final episode for Emma Watson- played by actress Cheerio Meredith. She would be mentioned in a couple future episodes but this was her last time on the show.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Howard McNear- Floyd Lawson
Barbara Eden- Ellen Brown
Ronny Howard- Opie Taylor
Cheerio Meredith- Emma Watson
Sherwood Keith- Sam
Frank Warren- Art Crowley
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart.