Maggie Peterson originally auditioned for the part of Ellie Walker

We'll never know if the Darling girl would've made a better Ellie.

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Charlene Darling sings ’’There Is a Time’’ on The Andy Griffith Show
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As Charlene Darling, Maggie Peterson frequently stole scenes on The Andy Griffith Show in episodes like "Mountain Wedding" and "The Darling Baby."

At various points it’s clear that Charlene has a crush on "that pretty man" Sheriff Andy Taylor, and the romantic chemistry between the actors is explored with a heap of humor.

But when Peterson first auditioned for The Andy Griffith Show, there was no Charlene Darling character yet. Instead, she was auditioning to play Ellie Walker, the first love interest for Sheriff Andy introduced in the series’ first season.

Ellie Walker was played by Elinor Donahue, and the character was famously short-lived on the show because of the lack of chemistry between Donahue and Griffith.

Some critics thought the couple didn’t work onscreen because of the age gap between Griffith, who was 34 when the show premiered, and Donahue, who was 23.

Peterson — though she charmed Andy Griffith Show fans as Charlene — would’ve presented an even larger age gap, four years younger than Donahue when she auditioned for the part at the age of 19.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Peterson didn’t get cast.

For Peterson, landing the part of Charlene Darling three years later delivered her onscreen debut.

Newspapers teased her first episode, describing her as a "moon-eyed mountain girl who makes a play for Andy."

By this time in the show, Ellie Walker was long gone.

Audiences were more accustomed to thinking of Andy as a permanent bachelor, shuffling through episodic experiences with funny gals like Charlene Darling, but never claiming a new wife.

Whether this was a superior formula or not was put to the ultimate test when Aneta Corsault came on the show and established that if you cast the right girl, viewers were ready to see Sheriff Andy settle down.

We’ll never know if Peterson could’ve made the role of Ellie Walker last longer than Donahue did, but through Peterson’s performances as Charlene, we do get a glimpse of what could’ve been any time she bats her wide eyes at Andy.

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eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
Who played MR.SCHWAMP on
The Andy Griffith Show?
How come Mr Schwmp never
Talked on TAGS?
How come Moose Barry Greenberg never talked on
Happy Days?
* Though true identity unknown perhaps the non-speaking Mr. Schwamp actor was part of the show's production staff filling in as an extra. BTW he was also a customer seated at a table in the Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. "Welsh Rarebit" episode.
eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
Does anyone know what character actress Jan Shutan
Played on The Andy Griffith Show?
* She was Gloria on 1 episode in 1965.
eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
Does anyone remember The
Andy Griffith Show episode
with Andy's old girlfriend
Alice Harper played by Joanna McNeil?Alice Harper Helen Crump Howard Sprague and
Andy Taylor rent a cabin in the
woods and Andy and Alice get
lost in the woods and later
Helen Crump gets lost in the woods.
eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
I would like to dedicate the song Mrs Brown You've Got
A Lovely Daughter by Hermans Hermits to actress Ann Marshall who
Played Angela Brown the daughter of Mrs Brown (Pamela Britton) on My Favorite Martian.
buck98 23 months ago
I never miss a show I love them all
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore singing Down In The Valley
With Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show in 1962.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Ellie Walker Elinor Donahue singing Away In A Manger with
Andy Taylor and mean old
Ben Weaver Will Wright singing
Outside the jail window.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Andy Taylor tricks Rafe Hollister into taking his shot
On The Andy Griffith Show episode The County Nurse
With Mary Simpson 1 Julie
Adams having no luck with
Rafe Hollister taking his shot.
Mary Simpson 2 was played by
Sue Ane Langdon in the TAGS
Episode Three's A Crowd.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
The above Video is ELLIEs
THEME Song from The Andy Griffith Show a beautiful instrumental song.
Elinor Donahue did a great job
playing Ellie Walker on TAGS.
It's too bad that there wasn't a
Peggys Theme for TAGS for
Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore.
TheOtherCharlene999 24 months ago
Am I the only one that like Ellie as Andy's Girlfriend??? I thought she was perfect. Helen had an "air" about her, she was Snippy and beyond Jealous. I really didn't care for Peggy as his Girlfriend either... There was something about her, that always made me feel like she would RATHER be out Drinking in some bar somewhere. Ellie may have been a little younger, but there was a "warm ess" to her personality that I didn't get with Helen. The other girl I liked for Andy was Thelma Lou's cousin Karen (the shooter) - she also seemed genuine, and down to Earth.
Andy Taylor dated Mary Simpson Sue Ane Langdon
For One Episode ONLY.
I liked Ellie Walker Elinor Donahue and Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore and Alice Harper
Joanna McNeil and Helen Crump was okay.
I also liked Ellie Walker .
Ellie Walker singing Away In A Manger was the highlight of the Christmas episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
Uh, "Karen" seemed a bit...masculine for Andy. I adored Elinor Donahue, but do you know who seemed a perfect match for Andy? The luminous, warm, charismatic and completely believable Jan Shutan. The producers & writers had the Hope Diamond on the hands & let her slip thru their fingers. What a shame!
Nala92129 24 months ago
Maggie as Ellie? No way! As for "Helen Crump," she was a real downer! When Griffith brought her aboard, the gentle humor, charm and sweetness of the show vaporized!
RedSamRackham Nala92129 19 months ago
* I remember a high school history teacher who was a real life Helen Crump!
RichLorn 24 months ago
"Some critics thought the couple didn’t work onscreen because of the age gap between Griffith, who was 34 when the show premiered, and Donahue, who was 23."
I read the real reason for Donahue leaving was because she was never given mention in the screen credits that she was due.
ncadams27 24 months ago
My understanding of the show’s concept was that Andy Griffith would play a small town character who could always outsmart the city slickers who saw him as country bumpkin (e.g., Danny Thomas in the pilot). But I feel Don Knotts changed the dynamics when he saw the pilot and suggested he be added as a deputy. Andy soon became the straight man to Barney and some of the other town characters. It wasn’t until Barney was gone that the show began to again focus on a female lead for Andy.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Charlene Darling (Maggie Peterson)
Singing the song There Is A Time
Was a sung by a
Very talented actress.
Zip 24 months ago
Never really cared for Ellie. And I am glad that Maggie got the part of Charlene instead. She was perfect for it and did an awesome job.

I do think Elinor's funniest role is as Chris Peterson's mom in Get A Life.
ELEANOR 24 months ago
From the very minute that Ellie Walker stood behind the counter in the pharmacy and you surmised that she was supposed to be Andy's love interest, you just knew that there was NO CHEMISTRY! It was almost painful to watch. And thankfully, Ellie was written out.
LoveMETV22 ELEANOR 24 months ago
I had a favorite(s) for love interests for Andy Griffith on the show and Ellie wasn't one of them. However surmising or chemistry aside. Elinor Donahue has said in interviews herself that she asked to be let out of her contract to deal with personal issues, and the producers obliged her request. She had a 3 year contract on the series. So had she not left her presence on the show would have been longer than her 12 episodes.
RedSamRackham LoveMETV22 24 months ago
* Yet it was great to see Ellie make a comeback after Father Knows Best! ☺
eddiecantorfan LoveMETV22 23 months ago
Did you like Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore
Do you remember Andy's former girlfriend Alice
Harper played by Joanna McNeil
eddiecantorfan LoveMETV22 23 months ago
Sue Ane Langdon played
Mary Simpson the county
nurse in the episode Three's A Crowd where
Barney played the bongos.
Unfortunately Sue Ane Langdon only appeared in
One episode only.
Mary Simpson Sue Ane Langdon is the ONLY
GIRLFRIEND of Andy Taylor
Who had NO TEMPER at all
Peggy McMillan Joanna Moore was another good girlfriend for Andy Taylor.
LoveMETV22 eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
I thought Peggy McCay who played Sharon DeSpain in the "Class Reunion" episode was a good match for Andy. Oh well that's just how the series evolved.
I noticed that Goobers girlfriend Flora Mallerby played by Alberta Nelson
Only Appeared in 2episodes of TAGS and on
the spinoff show Gomer Pyle USMC Lou Ann Poovie
played by Elizabeth MacRae played Gomer Pyles girlfriend for 16 episodes .Gomer Pyle Jim Nabors also dated Colonel
Harpers daughter Jane Harper and Pyle dated Jane
Gray both played by Suzanne Benoit.
Pyle went on a date with
Eileen (Maggie Peterson)
In Bunny's first episode.
Pyle dated DIXIE who was
Played by Jeanne Burner
And Dixie was a loudmouth and a female version of
Sgt Vince Carter.
eddiecantorfan LoveMETV22 23 months ago
Peggy McCay played On the
Soap Opera Days Of Our Lives.On Days Of Our Lives I enjoyed watching PATCH and KAYLA dancing to the
song Lady In Red by Chris
DeBurgh .
ShawnAdam 24 months ago
Never really liked Elinor Donahue in The Andy Griffith show. To me, she will always be Jim Anderson's "Princess" on Father Knows Best, another show METV should add to the schedule.
Deleted 24 months ago
This comment has been removed.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
On another episode of The Andy Griffith Show Peggy McMillan (Joanna Moore) did
An excellent job singing the song Down In The Valley.
GWeldon1776 24 months ago
Never liked Elinor Donahue as Ellie Walker, not for the age difference but just never cared for her either in Father Knows Best in the 50's. I think Maggie Peterson would have been a better match.
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