Sheriff Andy's ''cousin'' Gloria played a notable Star Trek role
The episode was even written by Shari Lewis the puppeteer!
By the fifth season of The Andy Griffith Show, things were pretty serious between Sheriff Andy and Helen Crump. They were two seasons into their courtship.
That's when the episode "Guest in the House" revealed exactly how strong Helen's feelings for Andy had become, when a very attractive woman comes to stay at Andy's house. Helen's jealousy shows she feels threatened by this unexpected intrusion.
Andy calls this woman Gloria his "cousin," not because they're related by blood but because her family and his family have always been close. So when her engagement is broken off and she needs a place to go, Andy welcomes his cousin Gloria. It's all pretty harmless.
For Helen, though, it crosses a line when Andy starts inviting Gloria along on their dates. Comedy ensues when Goober gets pulled into the party as Gloria's last-minute companion.
This moment in The Andy Griffith Show history where Helen gets consumed by jealousy is significant because how Andy reacted to Helen at every turn foreshadowed his eventual commitment to his future bride. This could have easily been the moment when Andy decided Helen wasn't right for him. Instead, he's sensitive and responsive, and fans understand that they're in it together.
So of course, cousin Gloria does not in the end come between Andy and Helen, despite the lovely beauty of the actress who played her, Jan Shutan. Fans of Sixties TV likely remember from a more iconic role she played four years later on Star Trek: The Original Series.
That Captain Kirk is a ladies man is not exactly a little-known fact in Star Trek lore. There is an entire illustrated book cataloging his love interests and countless lists on the internet that attempt to rank his romantic conquests.
But by the third season of Star Trek, at least one of the writers was bored with talking about Kirk's love life. Shari Lewis — who went on to famously create the beloved children's puppet show Lamb Chop's Play Along — pushed for the show to center an episode on Chief Engineer Scotty falling in love. Yes, Shari Lewis wrote an episode of Star Trek with her husband.
For the episode "The Lights of Zetar," Shutan plays Scotty's first love interest, a character named Lieutenant Mira Romaine who arrives on the Enterprise for her very first deep-space assignment. Unfortunately, her mind quickly falls under the control of aliens who give her scary premonitions, including foreseeing Scotty's death.
It was an intense episode, and it proved we cared just as much about Scotty finding love as Kirk meeting his next girl. Lewis' instincts were right! It was the only episode she co-wrote for the show, but it marked an important shift in the Star Trek universe, giving Kirk a minute to cool his jets while others seek out new flames in the far corners of deep space.
In fact, Lewis was hoping to not only write the episode but to guest star as Mira. Unfortunately for her, a different casting decision was made. Among the heartthrobs who stepped aboard the Enterprise, Jan Shutan still sticks out because the love story she featured in was so compelling.
The episode casts Scott in a hero role, as he helps Mira recover from the alien beings intruding in her mind and controlling her body — now that's a real intrusion we know that Helen Crump never had to deal with in Mayberry!
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Of course, the real reason producers do this is less to reward one of their actors (though that’s something they do like to do), but because any series needs a variety of situations to avoid becoming stale, with every episode little more than a minor variation on all the episodes that preceded it.
In this, Jimmy Dothan was long overdue. The show did this for him only one other time, in “A Wolf in the Fold,” when Scotty is accused of murdering a dancing girl and the real culprit turns out to be the life-Force of Jack the Ripper.
“Star Trek” didn’t do this often; Chekhov was given a bit of a dramatic promotion in “The Way to Eden,” and Nurse Chapel” in “What are Little Girls Made Of?”, but that’s about it, and Scotty’s two “FGAFS” episodes allowed him a lot more opportunity than Walter Koenig or Majel Barrett got.
Definitely attempted to provide James Doohan a chance to shine for a change, since the series typically focused on the three main leads.
Jan Shutan is turning 88 this year, so she would have been 37 when she appeared in this episode. Overall, would have liked to have seen more of her character, unfortunate that the series was near the end of its run.