When the characters of The Andy Griffith Show reunited for Return to Mayberry, something was amiss. Sherrif Taylor and Helen’s classic TV baby seemed to have never been born.
While fans of the original show would only know Andy’s son Opie, had core viewers would know that the lawman actually had two children. After marrying Helen in the 1968 Andy Griffith Show spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D, the couple went on to have a son named Samuel together.
Neither Andy nor Helen were lead stars in R.F.D. In fact, Andy only appeared five times during the show’s three-year run. And Helen only graced the screen once. But one of those appearances was during an episode titled Andy’s Baby, where the two returned to their hometown for their newborn’s christening.
When Return to Mayberry aired in 1986, little Samuel would have been 17. And considering the fact that the show centered around Andy helping Opie transition to being a father himself, we’d think that Opie’s little brother would have been along for the ride.
But instead, the reunion movie pretended as though Samuel never existed at all. The youngest Taylor never even got a single mention.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’s’ Aunt Bee Also Didn’t Make a Return to Mayberry
Another notable Andy Griffith Show character that didn’t make a return to Mayberry in the late 1980s was Aunt Bee. But in her case, the producers didn’t deny her existence.
When the legendary characters came back to the screen, Aunt Bee’s actress Frances Bavier had long since ended her film career and was living out her golden years in North Carolina.
Bavier never explained why she opted out of the made-for-TV flick. The actress had been committed to the part for 11 years while playing her on The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle: USMC, and Mayberry R.F.D.
But some people have speculated that health problems stood in Bavier’s way of reuniting with the cast. The Emmy-winning actress suffered from heart problems during the final years of her life. And Bavier passed away just two years after the premiere of Return to Mayberry.
But because Aunt Bee was such a beloved member of the town, the producers couldn’t write her out of the script. So instead, they had another classic TV icon give her a voice-over.
That voice belonged to Janet Waldo. The famous actress lent her vocals to some of the animated world’s most legendary characters such as Judy Jetson and Josie from Josie and the Pussycats.
And interestingly, Return to Mayberry wasn’t the only time that Waldo worked with Andy Griffith. In 1962, the actress actually appeared on camera for the episode titled A Wife for Andy.