Helen Crump

Helen Crump

Helen Crump was a fictional dramatic character on the American television program The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968). Helen made her debut in the third season episode "Andy Discovers America" (1962). Helen was a schoolteacher and became main character Sheriff Andy Taylor's friend and, eventually, his wife. Helen also appeared in TAGS spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D. (1968 – 1971), and in the TAGS reunion telemovie, Return to Mayberry (1986). Helen was portrayed by Aneta Corsaut.

Background and overview

Helen Crump hails from Kansas and attended college in Kansas City. She majored in journalism. While working on her thesis on organized crime, she went undercover as a gangster's moll. She was arrested for carrying a gun, dealing cards in an illegal card game and consorting with a known hoodlum. She was acquitted, but the arrest comes back to haunt her.

Helen takes up residence in Mayberry and is employed as an elementary schoolteacher. Her uncle, Edward, and her young niece, Cynthia, visit her in Mayberry. Unlike other Mayberry women, Helen has no special skills in the kitchen. She enjoys picnicking, and, in one episode, directs the high school's senior play--an episode that truly marked the alienation of this show's core audience, as Andy hit his apex of turning from the Christian, constitutional ideals that the black-and-white episodes were known for and now was standing side-by-side with this woman and her feminist, unconstitutional ideologies.

Crump is not known as the voice of reason in Mayberry and instead, if anything, "the voice", as she continually uses volume as a desperate substitute for substance and attacks repeatedly those who don't share her bigotry. In the aforementioned episode in question, she stages an offensive, non-traditional play, leading students into further corruption in the process, and then attacks the principal--in front of her students--when he refutes her.

She is by far the most unpopular of all of Andy's girlfriends on the show. Her feminist double standards offend greatly her audience, and she is in no way ladylike. In another episode, Aunt Bea regrettably tends to side with Helen's propaganda, as she brings a cousin to town and later yells at Andy for spending too much time with her, though Andy simply was trying to help her, a broken-hearted-at-the-time individual. Crump also protests Andy's alleged unfairness, though she herself brought a "female guest" to Andy's home who turned out to be a man and openly flirted with him in front of Andy numerous times, even spending time with him after canceling a date with Andy and then having the audacity to become angry with Andy for his getting mad at this insane double standard. (The last two-and-a-half paragraphs of editing are my work. I'm done for now.)

First appearance

In the third season episode, "Andy Discovers America" (1962), Opie and his classmates take a dislike to their new teacher Helen Crump. The boys complain about her history assignments. After Andy gives Opie some advice about his own experience with school, (which Opie misconstrues into thinking he doesn't have to do his history schoolwork), Helen appears at the courthouse to give Andy a piece of her mind on his interference in her domain. Andy is dumbfounded but finds a way to get the boys excited about their history assignments. Helen is astonished but pleased with the change in Opie and his pals. When she learns Andy played a part in the turnabout, she thanks him and the two become friends.

Helen's relationship with Andy Taylor

Andy and Helen have many pleasant social outings: they attend dances, picnic at Myers Lake, and double date with others (usually Barney Fife and Thelma Lou). Their relationship however, is not one of complete sweetness and light. The two have frequent disagreements, sudden jealousies, misunderstandings, and lover's quarrels. In "Helen, the Authoress", for example, Helen has written a book and uses her evenings to rewrite the manuscript before its publication by a Richmond firm. When she cancels a dinner date with Andy to work on her book, Andy becomes impatient and tells her that he doesn't have to sit home alone. Helen is indignant, of course, and brushes him off. Andy then calls Mavis Neff (a woman reputed to be "rather forward"), and arranges a date with her. When Mavis gets too close, Andy realizes his mistake and apologizes to Helen.

Post-TAGS appearances

In the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D., Andy and Helen marry. Other characters from The Andy Griffith Show make guest appearances in the episode. The episode gave CBS the highest ratings for a new TV series debut for the decade.

The couple move to Raleigh, North Carolina, but return to Mayberry at a later date on Mayberry R.F.D. to christen their newborn son, Andrew Samuel Taylor.

In 1986, Andy and Helen made appearances in the reunion telemovie Return to Mayberry. In the telemovie, Andy has recently retired from the United States Postal Inspection Service and returns to Mayberry to see Opie and his wife become first-time parents. Opie's half-brother wasn't mentioned at all.

Miscellanea

  • Helen Crump was intended to be a TAGS one-shot but producers liked Corsaut's performance and her chemistry with Andy Griffith. Helen then became a recurring character on the show, making a total of 66 TAGS appearances.

See also

Helen the Authoress (1967 The Andy Griffith Show episode)

References

  • Primary sources
    • The Andy Griffith Show:The Complete Series. Paramount, 2007.
  • Secondary sources
    • Beck, Ken and Clark, Jim. The Andy Griffith Show Book. St. Martin's Griffin, 2000.

External links

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