Ken Berry's wife showed up in Mayberry long before he did

Jackie Joseph made a memorable dance partner for Ernest T. Bass.

Image: The Everett Collection

Only two actors have headlined a sitcom set in Mayberry. When Andy Griffith ended his namesake Andy Griffith Show, he passed the torch to Ken Berry. A dazzling dancer from the Quad Cities, Berry proved his comedic chops in F Troop and later became the son of Mama on Mama's Family. Of course, in between those hits, he starred in Mayberry R.F.D., which remained one of the top five most-watched television shows in its first two seasons.

Though Berry got his own spin-off, he did not appear on The Andy Griffith Show until the tail end. His character, Sam Jones, made his debut in "Sam for Town Council," the 27th episode of the final season.

Heck, Berry's wife was even an established Mayberry resident years before that. Indeed, Jackie Joseph turned up as a charming love interest in a fan-favorite episode.

First, a little backstory. Jackie and Ken met working as dancers and singers in the Billy Barnes Review of 1958. The two married in 1960, the same year Jackie had her big breakthrough. She made a bigger splash in Hollywood that year, landing the lead role of Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors. Berry, meanwhile, nabbed a recurring part on The Ann Sothern Show. He later scored a job as a cast member on Ensign O'Toole. Jackie appeared in an episode of that military comedy, "Operation: Casanova," giving her a chance to share the screen with her hubby.

In 1964, Jackie wandered into Mayberry. "My Fair Ernest T. Bass" retold the tale of Pygmalion, as the local "nut" (as Barney calls him) Ernest is groomed to become a gentleman of society. Most know the fable better as My Fair Lady.

Well, if Ernest T. Bass was the Eliza Doolittle in this spoof, then Ramona Ankrum was the Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the one who became smitten with this newly mannered character. Jackie played the charming Ramona, sharing scenes with Sheriff Andy before her big moment with Ernest (Howard Morris).

Ramona and Ernest dance together at the genteel dinner party of Mrs. Wylie. (Fun fact: Howard Morris' wife at the time was named Dolores Wylie.) The lovebirds then head outside to bat their eyes at each other and chat.

It would be Jackie Joseph's lone appearance in Mayberry. Ramona was never seen again. Jackie would, however, make several appearances on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. And, she would guest star on F Troop with Ken Berry. The two would divorce in 1976.

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MeTvEr 1 month ago
Jackie Joseph had the cutest laugh. In fact, she was the "giggler" on the Dick Van Dyke show when Rob and Buddy had to find a replacement for Sally.
Diz 1 month ago
They were enjoyable together on the Tattletales game show.
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JHP 1 month ago
one of the rarest eps - it was fun to watch - there was greatness in acting - not like most of them where andy covers up for a bumbling BAR-NAY or andy puts up with aunt BEE-Atchs foibles and I dont think andy played his GEE-TAR
pidge 1 month ago
I use to see and speak with Howard Morris, at our local cleaners in Studio City/LA. Very nice man.
JHP pidge 1 month ago
lucky you - I mean that sincerely . The guy was a absolute true genius...he was thee shining star on that mis-written \ UNcontinuity laden show
DJuan 1 month ago
Don’t forget, Jackie Joseph also played on the movie Who’s Minding the Mint. And who do you think the director of that movie was? It was none other than Ernest T Bass himself Howard Morris. Small world, huh?
Pilaf 1 month ago
Jackie Joseph was wonderful as Audrey, ditto Ramona Wiley.
HopeDuchaine 1 month ago
I have always thought that Ken Berry was so handsome. He was a great entertainer.
daDoctah 1 month ago
Jackie also appeared on three episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, most memorably as an exotic dancer who recites Shakespeare as she dances. That's one more than Ken, who played the Alan Brady Show choreographer in two appearances.

And of course Jackie was the speaking voice of Melody in Josie and the Pussycats. (Cheryl Ladd was Melody's singing voice.)
HoosierKid daDoctah 1 month ago
And don't forget her appearance on Hogan's Heroes!
MadMadMadWorld daDoctah 1 month ago
She sang a Shakespeare line about The Quality of Mercy, while dancing in a wild, skimpy costume.
Lantern daDoctah 1 month ago
After Jackie Joseph and Ken Berry split, she became active in a group of spurned Hollywood wives - they actually had a name for the group, but I don't remember what it was or is (don't know if the group is still active). I remember reading about them in the 80's.
MrsPhilHarris Lantern 1 month ago
I remember seeing some of the group on a talk show. Michael Landon's wife was a member too.
MeTvEr daDoctah 1 month ago
On the Dick Van Dyke episode her character's name was Alberta Schweitzer. The same episode had Barbara Stuart, Bunny from Gomer Pyle, who was a "patriotic" dancer who fired off a cannon.
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