MovieChat Forums > The Andy Griffith Show Discussion > How Did Helen Crump End up in Mayberry?

How Did Helen Crump End up in Mayberry?


Helen doesn't seem to be a very popular character around here, so no mean answers, okay? lol

I was wondering how did Helen Crump end up in Mayberry? I sort of recall that she was from Kansas. So how does a woman from Kansas decide to move a thousand miles away to a tiny town in North Carolina? How did she even hear about it?

People move for their jobs of course. If you want to be in the music business or entertainment, you generally have to go to New York or L.A. to make it big. That's just one example.

Companies transfer employees to different cities all the time too.

But what would prompt an elementary school teacher to move that far to teach in a little town which was probably not even well known outside of the county, let alone the state? I'm sure there were plenty of schools in Kansas! if Helen just preferred small town life, there are small towns in Kansas.

Was it ever addressed in any episode why Helen chose to move there? I know I've seen all the TAGS episodes. But I can't remember if there was a specific reason why Helen ended up in Mayberry. Did she just start driving and when she ran out of gas, that's where she stayed? ha

reply

Interesting question. I don't think it has ever been explained. I recall that she came from Kansas and that she studied journalism, I think. That may have encouraged her to expand her horizons and move halfway across the country to experience something new. Or maybe she was starting over after a serious relationship ended back in Kansas. But as you said, why Mayberry? Perhaps she was on a sightseeing tour that passed through Mayberry and she liked what she saw. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

reply

Oh yes, journalism. I wasn't sure if I remembered that correctly or just thought I heard it somewhere.

I found a bio for the character and it said that Helen majored in journalism. I just always think of her as a teacher.

In the episode when Barney arranges a date for her and Andy, she says that she isn't much of a cook. Barney insists that she would learn to cook when she got married and had the time. but she said that she'd still be teaching. She enjoyed it.

And in the episode "The Rumor", Barney jumped to the conclusion that Andy and Helen were engaged. She said she wasn't ready to get married because she studied for so long and wanted to teach for a while.

Now I'm thinking, "Yeah, but you studied journalism!" ha

A lot of people change fields or careers. I wonder what made Helen decide to switch to teaching in a small town instead of heading for the big city to pursue a career in journalism.

reply

[deleted]

There's a color episode (Helen's Past) where Helen is going to be fired by the local school board because Andy discovered that she had once been arrested for associating with a mob boss. If I recall correctly, she was also in possession of a hand gun.

Turns out she was doing a bit of undercover journalism in Kansas and so the criminal charges were later dropped. Maybe that nasty dose of journalism was enough to cause her to move cross country and become a small town teacher.

reply

Like why Helen ended up in Mayberry many things on TAGS are not explained. Two off the top of my head are about two of Andy's girlfriends. Like Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue). Her and Andy were seeing each other and all of a sudden with no explanation at all she is gone Same with Peggy McMillan (Joanna Moore). Just all of a sudden gone.

reply

Ah yes, I remember both Ellie and Peggy. I think that back in those days, writers/producers/directors or whomever didn't feel the need to explain the disappearance of a character. I think they thought that audiences wouldn't be interested or care - they just wanted to be entertained, so time was better spent on other things. Or did they just think audiences were too dumb to remember what happened last year??

reply

Joanna Moore/Peggy was going to return the next season, but she got pregnant so that didn't happen. The baby she was pregnant with is Tatum O'Neal.

reply

Joanna Moore/Peggy was going to return the next season, but she got pregnant so that didn't happen

Of all Andy's girlfriends Peggy was my favorite. Pretty and a great personality.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/8e/61/22/8e61223cf8d48d82427aeffe54482975--the-andy-griffith-show-nurses.jpg

reply

I agree.

A short while ago, I watched the episode where Andy first met Helen when she was Opie's history teacher. They started off on the wrong foot and she displayed quite a temper.

That intensity often manifested itself later in their relationship when she would glare at Andy with that icy stare, especially when she was jealous.

reply

She was my favorite of Andy's girlfriends, too.

reply

In "Helen's Past," Andy asks her why she left Kansas, and she simply replies, "Just an urge to travel I guess."

reply

I can’t recall where I read this pjpurple (It might have been over at the trivia section of IMDB?) but apparently the character of Helen crump was only intended to be a temporary character. They even gave her a particularly unflattering name with this in mind.

reply

For kicks, I like to imagine behind the scenes/off camera situations for TV shows. For example, why did Gilligan always ruin attempts to leave the island? He was banging a movie star, a hot Kansas farm girl, and a millionaire. He surely wasn't doing that in Honolulu. On the island he was close to his sexual prime. His competition was the fat, not-to-bright skipper, a nerd who suffered from pre-mature ejaculation, and an old, impotent man. Why would he want to leave?


As for Helen, she was no angel and the show was wrapped the morals of the 50's even tho it was a 60s/70s show.

Helen may have been hanging out with the Kansas City mob to write story, but mobsters don't hang out with choir girls and virgins. Without getting specific , she was probably more of a fun girl, then the fun girls. That little adventure obviously killed any hopes of a journalistic career, so she moved to the middle of nowhere hoping her past would never come up. When it did, she and Andy spun it to fit the morals of the show's universe. No one in town wanted to believe a leading citizen and the sheriff's squeeze was a party girl, so they went with the story they wanted to believe.

reply

Maybe the local school board recruited her because the Mayberry kids were behind in history. In her first episode, she is trying to teach Opie and his classmates history. Andy thinks they are too young to take up the subject because he didn’t learn history in grade school. Helen informs him that the Mayberry kids are behind in the subject, and how she was starting to make a little progress getting them up to speed. So maybe she was brought in to improve the curriculum to state/county/national educational standards.

But probably they made Helen a stranger because almost everyone in Mayberry knew each other from birth. They wanted Andy to have a fresh love interest with someone new and unfamiliar to him.

reply