Betty Lynn's last appearance on Matlock came in this Christmas episode
Griffith pushed producers to cast her on the show. Do you know why Lynn quit?
In the first season of Matlock, Andy Griffith floated an idea by his new show’s producers. He suggested his old Mayberry friend Betty Lynn might make for a good secretary for Ben Matlock, and producers agreed that Lynn fit the role.
Once it was decided that Betty Lynn was in, Griffith himself wrote out some scenes to showcase the Thelma Lou actor from The Andy Griffith Show.
"Andy has written a few little scenes just for me, very funny," Lynn told The Alternative Press in 1986, when it was announced that she too would join Matlock.
Lynn wasn’t sure at that point how long her secretary character Sarah would last on the show. She told the Press that all she hoped was that her scenes were funny enough not to get cut from that first episode.
But Lynn’s scenes, of course, were funny enough, and she would go on to appear in four Matlock episodes before she and Griffith, unfortunately, had a falling out.
The story goes that Lynn liked being on Matlock but wanted more lines. She went to Andy to see what he could do, and instead of hearing her complaints out, Lynn said he shut them down.
"They let me go as soon as they could," Lynn said. "I was upset with him because he wouldn’t listen."
Her final appearance on Matlock came in a Christmas episode called "Santa Claus."
In "Santa Claus," Matlock winds up defending a street Santa accused of killing his heartless landlord who was trying to evict tenants during the holidays.
If you’re a fan of The Andy Griffith Show, you might recognize that the actor playing Santa in this episode is another familiar face from Mayberry.
In a sixth season episode of The Andy Griffith Show called "Wyatt Earp Rides Again," Pat Hingle, who plays Matlock’s accused Santa, appears as a promoter of a wild west show that’s come to Mayberry. It’s a memorable episode because it ends with Griffith challenged to a duel!
The duel between Lynn and Griffith was a much more serious matter than the one that Sheriff Andy diffused on The Andy Griffith Show, though.
Lynn wouldn’t speak to Griffith for 20 years after she left Matlock.
In the end, they were able to bury the hatchet, though, when Griffith called up Lynn one day out of the blue to ask for acting advice.
After all those years, he still knew she was the best person to call, and she still had that sweet forgiving nature that allowed her to pick up his call. After that, they were friends again until the end.