There's a good reason why Helen Crump has such an ugly sounding name

The writers were just as surprised as Sheriff Andy that Crump became his love interest.

"Andy Discovers America" was purportedly the favorite Andy Griffith Show episode of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower. While we could not confirm that, it makes sense. The episode does center around Opie learning American history.

Then again, Ike might have just been a romantic softie at heart. After all, this is the episode that introduced Sheriff Andy's future bride, Helen Crump, as played by Aneta Corsaut.

Up to this point, we had seen the single father date women named Ellie, Mary and Peggy. There was a Karen in there, too. Mary (No. 2) and Karen (No. 4) were two of the most popular names for American girls at the time. Helen, meanwhile, had dropped from being the No. 10 name in the 1930s to No. 136 in 1960. 

But, really, we should be focusing on the last name — Crump. It was meant to sound like a wad of mud hitting pavement, a hybrid of "clump" and "grump," perhaps.

Indeed, the surname "Crump" was given to the character as an intended joke. When we first hear of her, as Opie complains about his new teacher at the kitchen table, she is referred to as "Old Lady Crump." The name needed to sound like a spinster. That way, when Andy finally met her face-to-face midway through the episode, the surprise of her being an attractive young woman pays off. That wouldn't have worked as a joke had her name been "Mary Simpson," no offense to any Helen Crumps out there.

That's not us speaking. Take it from the writer himself.

"The character's comical name suggests that the writer of the episode, John Whedon, thought of her as little more than a schoolmarm," Gustavo Pérez Firmat wrote in his book A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at America's Hometown.

In fact, Helen Crump was intended to be a one-off character, planned to only appear in this single episode. "That is why they picked an unpleasant sounding name," trivia hounds have noted. Obviously, she ended up sticking around much longer than that. She was, in fact, Andy's only love interest to span multiple seasons, as the two ended up marrying in the premiere episode of the spin-off Mayberry R.F.D.

What convinced the writers to have Helen Crump stick around after this intended one-off episode? Chemistry. Not the school subject. Romantic chemistry.

Andy Griffith simply clicked with Corsaut. Had they known, the writers would have come up with a more poetic name.

Oh, one more note about the writer, John Whedon. That last name might sound familiar. Yes, he is the grandfather of Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and writer-director of Marvel's The Avengers and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. John's son, Tom, wrote for Captain Kangaroo and The Electric Company.

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Shatner1 41 months ago
In order--1)--Ellie--2)Peggy--3)Mary-(Sue Ane Langdon)--4)Mary-(Julie Adams)--5)Karen-6)Emma Watson =7)Sam-(Floyd's dog)--8)the fly that died on Aunt Bee's pickle--9) the bear that went into the patrol car --10)Helen Crump!
Jim1949 41 months ago
So happy MeTV came along. With all the so called vulgar comedies on tv now. We watch it sometimes from Gunsmoke to Hogans Heroes. Bed time is about 10:30. Lol
STARFIGHTER77 41 months ago
That's MS. HELEN CRUMP...( some have inferred " with NO Rump ! ) ANITA COURSANT...Later played roles a JUDGE .
CdnRaider STARFIGHTER77 23 months ago
That's ANETA CORSAUT, pal - not the name you wrote, BOTH incorrectly spelled. The term "Ms." and the entire "Women's Liberation Movement" (from whence it came) was still many years away from being a part of American vernacular, so THAT, like your spelling, is also WRONG - she was "MISS HELEN CRUMP". Your use of the expression "some have inferred" isn't true, is it - it's what YOU think, no one else has ever said it to you - why are you afraid to OWN your thoughts? Finally, yes - Aneta played a judge a few times - but she also played MANY different characters over the course of her career.
42 months ago
The writers got the idea for a pretty teacher with an ugly name from an old Little Rascals episode, in which the Our Gang kids feared a new teacher named Miss Crabtree, who turned out to be a pretty, kindhearted young blonde beauty.
CdnRaider Pilaf 42 months ago
Do you think maybe the WRITER OF THE EPISODE knows MORE about how Helen was named than you do, whoever the hell you are?
KD2478 42 months ago
Crump is not an uncommon name in North Carolina. My half sister lives in Sanford, NC and her married name is Crump.
kimmer 42 months ago
Just a name...but what a lovely actress who portrayed her.
Dario kimmer 42 months ago
According to Wikipedia, after Tags ended in 1968, she became heavily stereotyped as "Helen Crump" and got very few parts on film and television, especially the latter. She also got tired of being known as the actress who played "Helen Crump," and, for being in show business for years.
kimmer Dario 42 months ago
Thats Hollywood....
Dario kimmer 42 months ago
Yup! 🙂
kimmer Dario 42 months ago
Thanks for the added the sharing of knowledge...Happy New Year!
Dario kimmer 42 months ago
Thanks! You, too! 😀
Wiseguy 42 months ago
They had a choice between Crump and Trump but they knew the character wasn't THAT stupid so they chose Crump.
MadMadMadWorld Wiseguy 42 months ago
Wiseguy, not only are you not your name (wise), but you purposely ruined the comments with your ugly face. Don't bother posting here again, as we don't want to see that political nonsense from you. Take it somewhere else. And let the MeTV door hit your backside so hard it will cause you pain forever.
Wiseguy 42 months ago
CdnRaider MadMadMadWorld 23 months ago
Wow, you're a highly-strung, angry little Republican, aren't you? I don't understand your comment about Wiseguy's FACE... I'm sure it doesn't resemble the letter E at all. (let me explain that, I used a few polysyllabic words... Wiseguy's profile picture is not a "face" of any kind). Please don't presume to speak for anyone other than yourself (you said "WE don't want to see..."), and for God's sake - LIGHTEN UP, Wiseguy was clearly being facetious. (look it up). As your command of the English language is lacking, a LOT, Wise and Guy without a space between them is a (very) different word with no relationship to the quantity, or depth of intelligence - so your feeble attempt to take a shot at Wiseguy failed miserably. You must have a friendly Democrat in the family - have them explain it to at Thanksgiving Dinner this year! Life's too short to be so angry, my friend - especially in your Country, where every man, woman, child, dog & cat have at least one gun at their fingertips 24/7.
Melfins 42 months ago
I like the fun girls. Andy should've married Daphne while Barney cheated on Thelma Lou with Skippy and Juanita.
kimmer Melfins 42 months ago
Lol...for as long as I live...When I hear that name Juanita...ill see him singing in the phone to her. So funny
janh 42 months ago
for those who didn't like Helen, she was only playing a part, any actress would have had to read the same script for each show
LittleMissNoName janh 42 months ago
It's just the character on the show I didn't like. In real life, she might of been a really nice person.
Wiseguy LittleMissNoName 42 months ago
Always "should have," "could have," "would have, "might have," etc.
NEVER "should of," "could of," "would of," "might of," etc.
janh 42 months ago
When Aneta Corseaut came on the show, the gentle humor and warmth left. She was absolutely humorless, stiff, perpetually angry & jealous, petty & unlikable. Jan Shuman would have been a much better choice.
CdnRaider LittleMissNoName 23 months ago
Andy Griffith said just that about her, LittleMiss - I saw an interview with him on Dick Cavett, or Merv Griffin (jeez, way to date myself, eh?!) way back when, he spoke very highly and fondly of her!
Kay 42 months ago
I may the only one, but I never really liked Helen. She seemed to be so jealous and ornery when it came to Andy. Much like an older Ellie!
LittleMissNoName Kay 42 months ago
You're not alone.
Krn Kay 42 months ago
Yeah I didn’t really care for her either. LOVED the fun girls though 🙂
Art1957 42 months ago
When Helen Crump got angry, And I mean really angry like she did in a few episodes she was down right frightening! If I had been Andy and I witnessed that side of her I would have packed my bags and ran all the way to Mt. Pilot, lol
MikeHartsook Art1957 42 months ago
ASperos 42 months ago
I think Peggy would have better for Andy.
MaryMitch ASperos 42 months ago
I liked Peggy too. I don't know if this was an issue, but the actress had a lot of drug problems.
Krn MaryMitch 42 months ago
I looked her up and wow what a shame! And I had no idea she is the mother of Tatum O’Neal.
Deese ASperos 41 months ago
me too. She was sweeter and prettier. And she could cook
RoberttheWallace 42 months ago
Anita was a nice addition to the show, even if at times she seemed to be obnoxious; I really liked Jan Shutan as an Excellent wife for Andy--she was so Very sweet, however as a relative of Aunt Bee and her going back to her fiancée, that was not to be. All in all, in believe the choice of Helen was sensible since she stayed in the preponderance of episodes!
Gordo 42 months ago
Only one thing kept her there and it was ANDY and his wanting HELEN for REAL and why didn't you mention that!!
Crumpismymaidenname 42 months ago
Also check your facts. Crump is a very popular last name in North Carolina.

Yes, and Miss Diane Crump was the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby (Fathom, 1970).
AgingDisgracefully 42 months ago
Fair enough. Now explain Gomer and Goober.
leander AgingDisgracefully 42 months ago
Crump is indeed a real last name; there was a Crump in my office. Gomer is Biblical but has the added virtue of sounding funny. Goober just sounds funny.
goober is also a name for peanut and it sounds funny
Goober Peas

Sittin' by the roadside on a summer's day
Talkin' with my comrades to pass the time away
Lying in the shade underneath the trees
Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating goober peas
Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas
Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating goober peas
Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas

-The Kingston Trio (Performers)
James 42 months ago
Maybe it was Eisenhower's favorite because he was a fan of the Blob.
JackjrMe 42 months ago
The Andy Griffith Show is one of my favorite shows. I watch every weekday on MeTV twice a day. I try to learn all I can about the show because I love trivia information about it.
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