In addition to being the town sheriff, Andy Taylor of “The Andy Griffith Show” was also a widower and a single father as well.
The show followed Taylor imparting wisdom and advice to his young son Opie. The only motherly and feminine presence besides Taylor’s various love interests was Aunt Bee.
In fact, Opie’s mother is mentioned on the show very very few times. On the pilot episode of a different show, Andy Taylor’s late-wife is mentioned. Then, in season two of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy and Opie have another quick interaction about the woman.
‘The Danny Thomas Show’ Mentions Andy Taylor’s Late-Wife
Mayberry actually premiered in the sitcom “The Danny Thomas Show” back in 1960. Prior to its own premiere, “The Andy Griffith Show” received a back-door pilot through another popular sitcom. In the episode, star Danny Thomas gets arrested by Sheriff Andy Taylor and detained in Mayberry.
In that episode, Taylor reveals to audiences that his wife had passed-on prior to the show. Audience members never learned what caused her death sometime in the past.
Around 10 minutes into the pilot episode, Griffith, playing Taylor, helps Opie deal with the loss of a pet. The death of a pet is often a child’s first introduction to death. The young boy was upset that one of the town residents killed his pet turtle, Wilford, by stepping on it. He demanded that Taylor go out and arrest her.
But in the usual fashion, Taylor imparted wisdom upon his son and convinced him to forgive the resident. He also mentioned his late wife during the exchange.
“She didn’t mean it. I s’pect it was just Wilford’s turn to go,” Griffith as Taylor said. “And we have to learn to live with our sorrows, boy. I learned that when you were just a little speck of a baby when I lost your ma, just like you lost Wilford here.”
In response, Opie deadpanned, “You did? Who stepped on Ma?”
Andy Taylor Mentions Opie’s Mother in Season 2
In The Andy Griffith Show’s season 2 episode 26, Taylor mentioned his deceased wife. The episode, titled, “Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee” is all about Clara convincing Aunt Bee that Andy will never remarry as long as they live together. To remedy that, Aunt Bee jokingly begins a search for a spouse of her own.
Andy Taylor raised Opie as a single father with a little help from Aunt Bee. Aunt Bee proved to be a stern but crucial figure in the boy’s life during the span of the show.
In the epsiode, Opie asks his father, “”Did you and Ma have that kind of love?” Andy replies, “Yes, son, we did.” While not a full mention or explanation of Opie’s mother, it is a mention of the strong love Andy had for her.
The pilot and “Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee” are two of the few times Andy Taylor’s wife is mentioned.
IMDb also reports that the season 2 episode is one of three times a bathroom is shown, as well as one of the only times Andy smokes a cigarette on the show.