Mayberry's ''new doctor'' once shared advice on how to be a popular teen
The actor George Nader recommended tuning out "worthless opinions" in a teen etiquette column.
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"I don't believe I've ever heard of a doctor who wasn't married," Barney Fife says, astounded to learn Mayberry's "New Doctor" is a bachelor.
In this first season episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Barney and Aunt Bee convince Andy that this new bachelor doctor is going to sweep Ellie off her feet and out of Andy's arms.
Playing the new doctor was George Nader, and you may not realize what a perfect fit he was for the role — if you managed to miss out on his short-lived NBC series The Man and the Challenge.
The Man and the Challenge starred Nader as a physician and former Marine, who's hired by the U.S. government to conduct experiments testing the limits of human endurance. The brave doctor — who, of course, was also a bachelor — frequently insisted on being his own test subject, developing a reputation among those tuned in as someone who can bear much more than the average man.
Which only figures, he could also handle much more than the average teen, right?
A year before "the new doctor" came to Mayberry, Nader was tapped to provide guest advice for a teen etiquette column called Dear Kitte, a syndicated newspaper feature put together by Kitte Turmell.
The columnist introduced him as the bachelor star of The Man and the Challenge, noting that he "thinks a lot about the importance of being an individual, not a robot."
The angsty teen who wrote in as "Miss X" asked, "Hardly anybody that I meet casually or in a group notices or remembers me. I feel like a most uninteresting person. How can I get to be a somebody?"
Nader responded, "Miss X won't be nobody when she discovers the importance of being an individual. This may take some exploring, but it doesn't require travel. The most fabulous frontier is the mind, and it can be the most exciting frontier to explore."
He stressed that Miss X was born an individual and told her, “In teens, when almost everyone is pushing conformity, it is easy to fall prey to the herd instinct. Don't forget that one thing that separates man from animals is his awareness that he is an individual and has the capacity to act like one."
"I don't mean that you should turn into a selfish, unthinking, irresponsible egotist," he went on. "But I do mean that you must not underestimate the value of your own individuality."
In Mayberry, the bachelor doctor certainly stood out as an unusual individual, and two of Mayberry's most opinionated people, Aunt Bee and Barney Fife, couldn't keep from sharing with Andy what they thought about this new addition to town. And how he posed a likely threat to Andy with Ellie.
In his column, Nader clarified that this kind of opinion-sharing takes social courage, but any teens fielding outside opinions from others shouldn't stop thinking for themselves.
"You should feel free to express your opinion when asked what you think and to do what suits you when you have a choice. This does not mean, though, that you should flout conventions or indulge in bad manners, or lead an isolated life. It means that you should develop the ability to be yourself in a group without creating disharmony."
In Mayberry, Nader absolutely created disharmony, and it was hilarious to see Andy feel "threatened." It will likely delight you to know that the bachelor doctor also had advice specifically on how to have successful "boy-girl relations."
"Neither [person] should try to impose his will on the other completely, by being the one to decide where to go, what to do. He may be a fine athlete, but must she never go anywhere or listen to anything, which does not involve sport? He should share her love of music or art or dancing some of the time."
Considering things didn't work out with Ellie, the doctor's sweet advice almost makes you wish the new doctor had swept her off her pharmacy-walking feet! Nader's character, judging by his appearance, certainly seemed like a keeper.
"In date life, it's important to find the one with whom you can be a happy individual, and who can do the same with you, so that both grow in depth and interest," Nader insisted.
At the end of his column, as if he was listening in on the rumors being started by Aunt Bee and Barney that the new doctor was after Ellie's heart, Nader concluded his guest column by telling Miss X how to be like Andy and resist those gossiping folks.
"If people in your crowd seem to be thwarting your efforts to be yourself, analyze the situation. If you know what is correct, moral, sociable, and follow the knowledge, you won’t be swayed by gossip, rumor and worthless opinions," Nader said.