10 things you never knew about the Fun Girls of The Andy Griffith Show
Joyce Jameson and Jean Carson were nothing like their (many) Mayberry characters.
Some of the most memorable Mayberry characters hardly appeared on The Andy Griffith Show. Ernest T. Bass (Howard Morris) pops up in a mere five episodes. The same goes for Leon (Clint Howard), the tiny, silent sandwich-chomping cowboy. Brisco Darling (Denver Pyle) managed to one-up them — literally — with six episodes. The Fun Girls whirled into the lives of Andy and Barney just three times.
Was there a more aptly named duo in classic television? With the names Skippy and Daphne, these two bouncy Mount Pilot blondes were ready for a party. In "Barney Mends a Broken Heart," the Fun Girls' first appearance, Daphne even suggests to Andy that they visit a "gigolo club in Yancey." Gasp! Picture Aunt Bee clutching her pearls!
As Daphne, Jean Carson coined one of the sitcom's many catchphrases with her raspy come-on, "Hi, Doll!" As Skippy, Joyce Jameson beamed a 150-watt smile.
Despite the few appearances of the Fun Girls, the show producers must have loved the actresses — they returned as different characters. Did you ever notice that? Here are some more things you might not have known about Carson and Jameson!
1. Jean Carson played a different Mayberry character a month later.
The Fun Girls first appeared in the season-three tale "Barney Mends a Broken Heart." It originally aired in November 1962. A month later, just five episodes later, Carson turned up in Mayberry again — as an entirely different character. The Andy Griffith Show was never concerned with continuity. In "Convicts at Large," Carson plays the tough escaped convict Jalene Naomi Connors, who runs alongside "Big Maude."
2. They both played even more characters on Gomer Pyle.
That thing we just said about continuity? Well, here's more proof. In the spin-off Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which regularly featured crossover characters from The Andy Griffith Show, Jameson and Carson portrayed even more women of the Mayberry universe. Jameson was Sgt. Carter's casino companion in "Vacation in Las Vegas" — and makes a rare brunette appearance in "The Return of Monroe" as Natalie. Carson, meanwhile, as interacted with Sgt. Carter as the diner waitress Shirley in "Love Letters to the Sarge."
3. Jean Carson auditioned for the voice of Betty Rubble.
Carson's lusty, raspy voice proved to be her career trademark. No wonder she was considered for one of the most iconic animation gigs in history. Carson read for the role of Betty Rubble on The Flintstones, losing out to Bea Benaderet.
4. Joyce Jameson did voice Hanna-Barbera characters.
While never working on The Flintstones, Jameson did indeed rack up several credits for the Hanna-Barbera studio. The skilled comedian, once a foil for the likes of Steve Allen, brought Scooby-Doo characters to life in The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The Ri¢hie Ri¢h/Scooby-Doo Show.
Image: The Everett Collection
5. Joyce Jameson was nothing like her characters.
Throughout her career, Jameson was typecast as a ditzy blonde. In truth, the UCLA graduate was sharp as a tack and well-read. "In effect, there are two Joyce Jamesons — the real one and the character whom my agent and I call The Dummy," the actress once lamented. In a 1958 interview with The Pittsburgh Press in 1958, she explained, "Everyone expects to cast me as the dumb or victimized blonde. After they interview me, I can just hear them say, 'Hey! She's intelligent, but what do you do with it?'"
Image: The Everett Collection
6. Jean Carson and Jack Dodson studied at the same university.
Carson was far more intelligent than her on-screen characters, as well. Like Don Knotts, she was born and raised in West Virginia. Later, studied drama at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh — the same alma mater of Jack Dodson, a.k.a. Howard Sprague of Mayberry. The Carnegie Drama program also fed talents such as Ted Danson, René Auberjonois, Steven Bochco, Barbara Feldon, Frank Gorshin, Jack Klugman and many more to television.
7. Rod Serling wrote a Twilight Zone episode for Jean Carson.
According to The Definitive Andy Griffith Show Reference by Dale Robinson and David Fernandes, a classic episode of The Twilight Zone was "written specifically for Carson by Rod Serling." The twisty "A Most Unusually Camera" cast Carson again as a bad girl, one of a pair of thieves.
8. Joyce Jameson made horror films with Vincent Price, too.
One place fans can find Jameson in a somewhat different context is Tales of Terror, the 1962 Edgar Allen Poe adaptation from the mind of Roger Corman. She reteamed with the director — as well as costars Vincent Price and Peter Lorre — a year later for The Comedy of Terrors.
Image: The Everett Collection
9. Jean Carson's son was a double for the Fonz.
In her autobiography More Than Just a Fun Girl From Mt. Pilot: The Jean Carson Story, the actress mentions that one of her sons, Tracy Parlan, worked as Henry Winkler's double on Happy Days.
10. Jameson was married to Billy Barnes — and worked with another Mayberry regular.
Composer-actor Billy Barnes is best known for his Billy Barnes Revues, a showcase of song and dance and mirth that tickled fans in L.A. and on Broadway throughout the Fifties and Sixties. The 1959 iteration of The Billy Barnes Revue is of particular interest to Mayberry fanatics. The cabaret —captured on an album with a 1959 cast recording released by Decca — showcased the talents of both Ken Berry and Joyce Jameson. Barnes was married to Jameson. Berry's wife, Jackie Joseph, who danced with Ernest T. Bass in Mayberry, was also part of the revue. Jameson, Berry and Joseph would continue to work together in The Billy Barnes People, which premiered in 1961. Berry, of course, would land his own Andy Griffith spin-off, Mayberry R.F.D. Oddly, Jameson never appeared on that show.
SEE MORE: Ken Berry's wife showed up in Mayberry long before he did
Jackie Joseph made a memorable dance partner for Ernest T. Bass. READ MORE