Elinor Donahue was only credited in three episodes of The Andy Griffith Show

They gave a shout out to her wardrobe provider… but not the actress herself.

Read to Me

Did you ever wonder why Ellie just disappeared from Mayberry? Elinor Donahue worked in a dozen episodes in the first season of The Andy Griffith Show but was no mere bystander — she was Sheriff Andy's love interest! There were even some episodes with her name in the title, like "Ellie for Council" and "Ellie Saves a Female."

A funny thing about those two particular episodes — Donahue received no mention in the credits.

That's right, she was playing the title character and went uncredited. In fact, Donahue, a notable sitcom star who had recently wrapped a long run on Father Knows Best, was credited in only three of her 12 episodes. That might have played some part in her decision to leave the show.

Listen closely to the announcer, Colin Male, in the jaunty open credits of "Ellie Comes to Town," her introduction to Mayberry. Over the whistling theme, as Andy and Opie head to the fishing hole, Male announces, "Also starring Elinor Donahue and Don Knotts!"

This same verbal credit can be heard in the openings of "The Horse Trader" and "The Guitar Player Returns," her final episode. That's it. She is not mentioned elsewhere.

Oddly, her wardrobe provider does get a nod in the closing credits of her episodes. Take a look:

"Miss Donahue's Fashions - Mr. BURT of Encino," the screen declares. According to Mayberry lore, Donahue was out dining with her mother and young child when "Mr. Burt" approached the actress and offered to dress her. Elinor dug the designs and brought him to the Desilu production. His establishment was officially called Mr. Burt's Encino Dress Box.

Take a gander at this credit list from the end of "Ellie for Council," too:

Seven performers get a "featuring" credit… but not Donahue.

Donahue would not land another recurring sitcom role until 1964's Many Happy Returns, which cast her alongside Mark Goddard. Yep, Major Don West did comedy, too.

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driggi 8 days ago
Elinor Donahue was also in Chris Elliot show as his mother.
AgingDisgracefully 8 days ago
I ow-rage - with shake-my-fist, why-I-oughta, fury!
t 8 days ago
Helen crump was perfect - she reminded me of every schoolteacher I had until 6th grade, meaning she did the character correctly. She was way above Andy's pay grade in the LOOKS dept. too. She was a blue eyed dark haired beauty. I see a a lot of jealousy amongst the women who post here. If Helen had been a fatso, the women here would say --perfect casting, she's a real woman. PHOOEY TO THAT!! P.S. Andy had her play a judge on at least one episode of Matlock... which is a real piece of SHEET SHOW.
SheriHeffner 8 days ago
I believe that. I have read in numerous articles Andy Griffith was a very hard person to get along with. If he didn't like you that was it. I read he gave his cast H E double hockey sticks anyway. When I was young I used to like him, but after all the negative things and his affairs with other women, plus the woman that played Helen; I dislike him even more. I always have liked Eleanor, ever since she was on Father Knows Best. And she was friends with former child actress Margaret O Brien when they were children. I think I have seen everything Eleanor has done, a television program named Mulligan's Stew, she and her husband had three children and they adopted their nieces and nephew including a little five year old Vietnamese war orphan. Then she was on a television show called Beans Baxter, then she was on Dr Quinn Medicine Woman.
WilliamUchtman 8 days ago
I would blame this more on a hectic TV studio schedule. They likely had multiple openings on hand and were often in a rush to complete the editing process.

that is utter nonsense! they knew d-- n well what they were doing and paid her less this way. get real!!!
Wiseguy MaryHelen 7 days ago
And you know this how? Reading minds?
WaukeshaWillow 8 days ago
The only two I didn't like were Helen Crump, and Gobber. Helen was obnoxious, snotty, snooty. I often thought, why? As for Gobber? How could a character be that stupid. Seriously. I realize he was supposed to be the quiet essential Red Neck. But I don't think Red Necks are as stupid as Gobber was.
His name was actually Goober.
I agree with you. I hated that dumb Goober too. And especially Helen. She and Andy Griffith deserved each other.
Goober (George Lindsey) came to our yearly August Fair in the early 60's and did a Stand up Comic Routine at the Night Shows during the week. He dressed like Goober wearing that Stupid looking Cap. Nobody laughed and his act was a Disaster. Fair board must have got him at a Bargain Price to Perform but regretted it from Audience Response. He just wasn't or as one spectator commented "A Wasted Wad ...
Goober was always hungry, they always had him taking everyone’s food at any kind of dinner party. It always makes me laugh, like “come on man don’t you ever eat at home?”
Dan1998 11 days ago
When our local independent station aired TAGS in the mid-late 1970s, announcer Colin Male said "Also starring Elinor Donahue and Don Knotts" in the opening credits for all 12 episodes with her. I never saw the CBS eye after TAGS end credits until MeTV started airing it.
cperrynaples Dan1998 11 days ago
Yes, because Viacom and CBS were separate companies when TAGS was syndicated in the early '70's! It was there for the original broadcasts until 1965!
Wiseguy Dan1998 7 days ago
I wouldn't trust opening credits. Ever since the 1980s when reruns where transferred to videotape instead of the original film, syndicators have tried to make all credits generic and identical and changed them. The original openings of Star Trek's early episodes removed the different theme recording and Shatner's different narrations. Screen Gems' reruns, such as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie used the same opening since the 1970s for multiple years of reruns, obvious because the copyright date is on the opening. For example all of Dick York's color episodes (3 years worth) had the same copyright date.
ncadams27 12 days ago
I think when Don Knotts called Andy after seeing the pilot and saying “What you need is a deputy” changed the whole structure of the show. Elinor Donahue seemed a bit young, especially since she was still being seen on reruns of Father Knows Best. They could have also gotten rid of Helen Crump and had Andy marry one of the Fun Girls.
Helen Crump was so out of place for the show. Snotty, obnoxious, annoying.. They'd been better off hooking her up with Gobber. LOL.
ducatimatz ncadams27 8 days ago
FUN GIRLS: Jean Carson (Hello Doll) Joyce Jameson (Just Shutup Bernie) LOL!
ducatimatz ncadams27 8 days ago
Donahue (1937) was 11yrs younger than Griffith (1926) She was already Married (1955) and had a Child during the run of "Father Knows Best" She work a Fake Ponytail in many episodes so She would look more like a young Teenager. She was 21 yrs Old in 1958 playing a Teenager. Billy Gray ( Bud) was only 8 months younger (1938) than Donahue.
ducatimatz ducatimatz 8 days ago
Wore a Ponytail (My Bad)
Steve McQueen's Girlfriend Jane Martin (as Aneta Corseaut) in "The Blob" 1958
cperrynaples 12 days ago
Donahue doesn't hold any grudges since she did do a MeTV plug for TAGS! Hard Trivia: She did 2 Fox sitcoms in which she played Margaret Anderson-type mothers! One was a quick flop, the other a cult classic! Can you name either one?
Update: Somebody already said Get A Life, so all I need is the first one! Hint: Go back to Fox's first season in 1987!
The title was something like The Adventures of Beans Baxter.
Actually, it was the NEW Adventures of Beans Baxter, but I'm impressed! A very weird concept: The title character was a teenager working as a secret spy! The evil villian was played by Kurtwood Smith, best known now for playing Eric's angry father on That '70's Show!
Wiseguy cperrynaples 7 days ago
There is this punctuation known as a "period." It is used to end declarative sentences. Ever hear of it?
MarshaStapleton 12 days ago
I'm always reading about the lack of chemistry between Donahue and Griffith, but I thought they were quite charming together. Granted, it took a few episodes for Andy and Ellie to warm up to each other, but I thought she was a way better character than Helen Crump. I also liked Peggy MacMillan (Joanna Moore) as Andy's girlfriend. I never cared for Helen.
ELEANOR 12 days ago
She was supposed to be the "love interest" of Andy, AND they just had no on-screen chemistry. There was no "Love Potion No. 9." And nobody, not the writers, not the director, not even the producer, and not even Danny Thomas knew if the on-screen chemistry was going to happen (or not)-- until they filmed it. And then there was Opie's teacher, Miss Crump (Aneta Louise Corsaut) who was just supposed to be a one-off which is why they gave her a throwaway name. And then, surprise, surprise, she and Andy clicked. As for Ellie, It was patently obvious from the get-go that she and Andy were not clicking and so for her, it was curtains.
DonnaNMI ELEANOR 12 days ago
Helen and Andy were having an affair off screen and probably had a lot to do with her longevity on the show.
KENDALLSQUARE1 12 days ago
HERE'S WHAT I WANTED TO KNOW WHY HER NAME CAME BEFORE DON KNOTTS IN THE CREDITS.
There's no need to shout. As they would say to kids: "Use inside voices." Speak more quietly. You are amongst friends. There's no need to get angry.
{If you didn't know: typing in all capital letters, is equivalent to shouting when one is typing.}
My guess is more people in 1960 knew Donahue from FKB than Knotts from Steve Allen!
Please, if you could, enjoy the conversation without taking it upon yourself to chastise others for 'shouting'. If someone prefers to use all capitals, so what ? Pay attention to each persons opinion, not whether or not they use all capitals letters, all small letters, or even a random variety of each. What a person has to say is what really matters and makes our shared conversation interesting. Thank You.
Wiseguy KENDALLSQUARE1 7 days ago
The word "and" is important in credits, more important than the order. It usually signifies a more important actor. That's what the "and" Don Knotts signifies. Another example is Tom Bosley on Happy Days. No matter what cast members were added to the credits it always ended with "and Tom Bosley."

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welot 12 days ago
In reading about the position (presentation) of credits during that era (similar to the DVD Show) announcing a credit at the beginning was as acceptable as written credits at the end. It's about how contracts (and compensation is offered.jobztip.com
Pacificsun 12 days ago
In reading about the position (presentation) of credits during that era (similar to the DVD Show) announcing a credit at the beginning was as acceptable as written credits at the end. It's about how contracts (and compensation is offered).
MrsPhilHarris 12 days ago
I heard that there was no chemistry between her and Andy.
mememememe66 13 days ago
She was an accomplished actress ...they tried to dumb her down.
On top of that, she admitted to having personal problems during her time on the show and that probably added to her leaving.
Lantern mememememe66 11 days ago
She married CBS VP Harry Ackerman around this time.
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