Aunt Bee Taylor
Beatrice Taylor (commonly known as Aunt Bee) is a resident of the town of Mayberry, NC as seen on the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. The show was televised on CBE from October 3, 1960, until April 1, 1968. Aunt Bee when on to spend two seasons on the spinoff Mayberry R.F.D. (1968–1971) when The Andy Griffith Show ended its run. Though she was the aunt of Sheriff Andy Taylor, virtually everyone in Mayberry called her "Aunt Bee."
About Aunt Bee
Aunt Bee is the paternal aunt of Sheriff Andy Taylor and she is the great-aunt to Andy's son Opie Taylor. We first meet Aunt Bee when she returns to Mayberry after a five-year absence in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Ref: premiere episode of The Andy Griffith Show, "The New Housekeeper")
Andy's housekeeper Rose marries and leaves Andy and Opie without a caregiver so Aunt Bee returns to manage Andy's household and become the mother figure in Opie's life. Andy explains to Opie that he was also raised by Aunt Bee. Aunt Bee later mentions having raised other children but we never learn more about that part of her life.
Aunt Bee is well known in Mayberry for her cooking skills. She is know for her fried chicken, with all the trimmings, and for her amazing, wholesome, home-cooked meals. She frequently contributes meals to community or church events and brings picnic baskets of food to Mayberry's County jail for its lawmen and inmates.
While Aunt Bee is celebrated for her cuisine, she somehow falls short when making pickles or marmalade. Andy and Barney go so far as to refer to her pickles as "kerosene cucumbers".
Andy is fond of her pork chops and cornbread biscuits and Opie's favorite is her butterscotch pecan pie.
Aunt Bee has other relatives who she enjoys sharing stories about like trimming her brother's hair when a girl. Her sister Nora visits even came to town for a short visit as did her cousin Bradford J. Taylor, though she tries not to talk too often about him.
Bee is a teetotaler (never drinks) but one time a traveling salesman came to Mayberry peddling elixir that she really enjoyed. Andy tells Barney that Aunt Bee is heavily against alcohol due to her brother's trouble with the bottle. (It is unclear whether this brother is meant to be Andy's father, or one of Andy's uncles.) Aunt Bee took the elixir, as did several other ladies, and go, as Andy puts it, "gassed." In the end, all the ladies learned what the elixir really was and turned from their ways.
Aunt Bee plays the piano and encourages Opie to learn the same.
She's a religious lady and is known to speak of her baptism. Bee is a member of the town choir and sings in church.
During the early 1960's, Aunt Bee she was unlucky in love and often fell for men whom she needed Andy's help in order to extricate herself. As the decade progress Bee's suitors became more respectable gentlemen and included a retired congressman, a clergyman, and a distinguished professor. Bee's evolution in personality is reflected in style of her dresses. The early 60's saw her wearing house dresses, fruit- and flower-decorated hats, and ladylike white gloves for venturing outside the house. The later 60's saw Aunt Bee discard her frumpy wardrobe and steps into more stylish attire.
An even more drastic evolution of her character than the change of her taste in men and her wardrobe about-face was her liberation from her "homemaker" role in Andy's house. As the 1960's progressed, Aunt Bee left the Taylor kitchen to open her own restaurant, to host a television cooking show, to run for office, to buy a car, and to take flying lessons. Andy and Opie were sometimes left at home to prepare their own meals. In spite of her sudden spirit of independence, Bee never quite makes a complete break and continues to thrive on her enjoyment of caring for Andy and Opie. Family was always her greatest reward.
Aunt Bee watched Opie grow from age 6 to 14. When Andy marries his longtime girlfriend Helen Crump in 1969, Aunt Bee opts to give the newlyweds their own space and becomes housekeeper for farmer Sam Jones (another widowed father) and his young son Mike. She moved to the Jones farm and, given time, learns to feed the livestock and gather her own eggs. The following year Andy and Helen move to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Aunt Bee's "romances"
Beginning the year after we first met her, Aunt Bee had at least one flirtation (rarely, if ever, amounting to a true romance) per year for several years.
- Henry Wheeler, an itinerant handyman, uses Bee's romantic vulnerability to cadge himself free meals and shelter at the Taylors' (Second season: "Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter").
- Fred Goss, a chain-smoking dry cleaner, dates Bee when she believes her stay-at-home lifestyle inhibits Andy from pursuing his chances for dating and marrying (Second season: "Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee").
- Colonel Harvey, a traveling medicine man, sells Bee two bottles of his Indian elixir. Bee becomes tipsy on the brew and Colonel Harvey lands in jail (Third season: "Aunt Bee's Medicine Man").
- Briscoe Darling, a mountain man, becomes smitten with Aunt Bee and carries her off to his cabin in the hills. Andy rescues Bee but not before she makes Briscoe's life miserable (Fourth season: "Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee").
- Roger Hanover is an old, out-of-town friend of Aunt Bee's. He visits Mayberry and loiters at the Taylor house, knowing Andy distrusts him, finally threatening he'll propose marriage to Bee unless Andy pays him to leave (Fifth season: "Aunt Bee's Romance").
- Orville Hendricks is a butter-and-egg seller whom Bee pretends to be dating when, goaded by Clara, she decides Andy needs space to pursue his romance with Helen (Fifth season: "Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau").
- John Canfield, a retired Congressman, dates Aunt Bee until the two become exhausted with their whirlwind activities (Sixth season: "Aunt Bee, the Swinger").
- Reverend Leighton, a visiting pastor, is impressed with Bee and considers accepting a parish near Mayberry. Bee believes he will think less of her when he learns she wears a wig (Seventh season: "Aunt Bee's Crowning Glory").
- Hubert St. John is a visiting lecturer who becomes smitten with Aunt Bee because she resembles his deceased wife (Eighth season: "Aunt Bee and the Lecturer").
Aunt Bee and Clara Edwards
Aunt Bee's closest friend in Mayberry is widow Clara Edwards. Although Clara is a well-meaning woman, she often proves irksome when positioning herself as Bee's rival for the attentions of the single, older gentlemen passing through Mayberry. She vies with Bee in cooking contests and flower shows and replaces her in the town pageant when Bee realizes she has no talent for theatricals. Clara and Bee attended school together as girls, even playing on the same basketball team. They compose an anthem celebrating the good life in Mayberry and vacation in Mexico with their friend Myrtle. Clara is sometimes a petty and jealous woman, often ruining Bee's pleasure in one small thing or another with a dismissive sniff or an abrupt and cutting comment.
- Aunt Bee's arrival in Mayberry in the first episode of the series, "The New Housekeeper," October 3, 1960. Opie takes an instant dislike to his great-aunt but revises his thinking at episode's end when he realizes Aunt Bee needs him to teach her how to do important things, such as playing baseball and catching fish.
- In the second-season episode "The Pickle Story," Aunt Bee makes quarts of inedible pickles to enter in a contest at the county fair. Andy and Barney refer to her pickles as "kerosene cucumbers." The episode often places on "Top Ten Favorite Episodes Lists" of fans and critics.
- In "Aunt Bee, the Warden", Bee takes on the job of a prison warden, working Otis Campbell to death by giving him all kinds of chores while he still has a terrible hangover. He refers to her as "Bloody Mary."
- In "The Bed Jacket," Bee hopes Andy will buy a pretty bed jacket for her birthday. Instead, he buys her a box of canning jars. When he learns he broke Bee's heart with his mundane gift, he trades his favorite fishing rod for a bed jacket.