Elinor Donahue was only credited in three episodes of The Andy Griffith Show
They gave a shout out to her wardrobe provider… but not the actress herself.
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Did you ever wonder why Ellie just disappeared from Mayberry? Elinor Donahue worked in a dozen episodes in the first season of The Andy Griffith Show but was no mere bystander — she was Sheriff Andy's love interest! There were even some episodes with her name in the title, like "Ellie for Council" and "Ellie Saves a Female."
A funny thing about those two particular episodes — Donahue received no mention in the credits.
That's right, she was playing the title character and went uncredited. In fact, Donahue, a notable sitcom star who had recently wrapped a long run on Father Knows Best, was credited in only three of her 12 episodes. That might have played some part in her decision to leave the show.
Listen closely to the announcer, Colin Male, in the jaunty open credits of "Ellie Comes to Town," her introduction to Mayberry. Over the whistling theme, as Andy and Opie head to the fishing hole, Male announces, "Also starring Elinor Donahue and Don Knotts!"
This same verbal credit can be heard in the openings of "The Horse Trader" and "The Guitar Player Returns," her final episode. That's it. She is not mentioned elsewhere.
Oddly, her wardrobe provider does get a nod in the closing credits of her episodes. Take a look:
"Miss Donahue's Fashions - Mr. BURT of Encino," the screen declares. According to Mayberry lore, Donahue was out dining with her mother and young child when "Mr. Burt" approached the actress and offered to dress her. Elinor dug the designs and brought him to the Desilu production. His establishment was officially called Mr. Burt's Encino Dress Box.
Take a gander at this credit list from the end of "Ellie for Council," too:
Seven performers get a "featuring" credit… but not Donahue.
Donahue would not land another recurring sitcom role until 1964's Many Happy Returns, which cast her alongside Mark Goddard. Yep, Major Don West did comedy, too.