Barbara Eden's lone visit to Mayberry is hardly the only interesting thing about ''The Manicurist''
Two familiar Andy Griffith Show characters said goodbye — another secretly appeared.
Dick Elliott portrayed a mayor so often onscreen, the actor probably received write-in votes in real elections. Born in 1886, the rotund, reedy-voiced performer had the perfect traits for playing small-town big wigs. He first played a fictional mayor in The Worst Woman in Paris? in 1933.
The Boston native was quickly typecast. You can find him as a mayor in Helldorado (1935), Silly Billies (1936), The Town Went Wild (1944), That Texas Jamboree (1946), High School Hero (1946), The Son of Rusty (1947), Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1952), The Lone Ranger (1953), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1957) and Death Valley Days (1959). We've always suspected that the Mayor of Halloween Town in The Nightmare Before Christmas was modeled on his persona. But Elliott will be best remembered as Mayor Pike, the man in charge of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.
Sporting an old-fashioned bow tie and leading with a blustery style, Mayor Pike is seen in just under a dozen early episodes of Andy. His final appearance came in season two, "The Manicurist." That episode aired mere weeks after his death, around Christmastime of '61.
The Andy Griffith Show replaced him with Parley Baer (Mayor Stoner) with no explanation.
"The Manicurist" would also provide our final glimpse of another charming Mayberry resident, the elderly Emma, played by Cheerio Meredith. In season one, she is known as Emma Brand. Here, for no good reason other than a lack of continuity, she is named Emma Watson. In the end of the episode, she becomes the matronly manicurist in town, after the seductive Ellen Brown departs. Meredith passed away on Christmas Day in 1964.
Which brings us to Barbara Eden. Her role as the titular manicurist would be her only appearance in Mayberry. A few years later, of course, she became part of television legend herself as Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie. At the time, she was coming off a lead role the now-forgotten How to Marry a Millionaire.
Wait, there's one more fascinating tidbit about "The Manicurist," and that would be one of her male customers — well "Male" customer, literally. The Mayberry man you see getting his nails done here is none other than Colin Male, the announcer heard in the opening credits.
Yes, his is the voice you hear saying "The Andy Griffith Show!" at the start of every episode. He has a small speaking role as a game warden in the 1964 episode "Andy and Helen Have Their Day," but this is the first time we see his face in Mayberry!