Bernard Fox wanted Malcolm Merriweather to replace Barney Fife
The actor who played Andy's English valet once shared his dream of what happened after Malcolm left Mayberry.
Malcolm Merriweather, an English "gentleman's gentleman" on a tour of America, strolled into Mayberry on exactly three occasions.
In his first appearance, in "Andy's English Valet," Malcolm signs on to be Sheriff Andy's valet and do all his errands and chores, because Malcolm doesn't have enough money to cover a small fine.
Then, in "The Return of Malcolm Merriweather," he arrives in time to find Aunt Bee feeling overburdened by housework and fills in to give her some relief. He does such a good job that Aunt Bee gets scared he will replace her!
Finally, in "Malcolm at the Crossroads," Malcolm arrives again with plans to make his residency in Mayberry permanent. Andy decides to replace Ernest T. Bass by posting Malcolm as a crossing guard.
This leads Ernest to challenge Malcolm to a fistfight, which Andy, of course, cools down before it occurs. The end result is Ernest T. bearhugging Malcolm and declaring him his best buddy.
This sixth-season episode of The Andy Griffith Show would become the final appearance of both Malcolm Merriweather and Ernest T. Bass, which is unfortunate for fans of the Englishman because he'd only just announced that he'd moved to town for good!
Years later, in 1998, the actor who played Malcolm Merriweather Bernard Fox told The Johnson City Press that his character was always something of an enigma, a hard man to pin down.
"Obviously, he didn't have enough cash to pay his fine, so how he was getting around America, I've no idea," Fox said.
When asked what happened to Malcolm after he left Mayberry, Fox said he imagined that the valet completed his American tour and then, contrary to his declaration in "Malcolm at the Crossroads," returned home to England.
"I'm positive he went back to England to become a gentleman's gentleman again," Fox said. "That's a nice idea."
We think Mayberry fans would prefer another idea Fox had for his character.
He imagined a future where after Barney Fife leaves Mayberry… and Malcolm Merriweather returns to become Andy's new deputy! Now that's a job we definitely never pictured Malcolm stepping into.
"I do think he would want to go back to Mayberry," Fox said.
"Yes, and now that Don Knotts is out of it, I think he would probably go back and apply for the job of assistant sheriff," Fox said.
Could you picture a world where Malcolm became Mayberry's next deputy? It's even funnier than when Aunt Bee was feeling weird about the valet replacing her.