Clara Edwards (originally Bertha Edwards, Bertha Johnson and then Clara Johnson) is a fictional character on the American television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (1960 – 1968). Clara was portrayed by actress Hope Summers.
Summers appeared as Bertha/Clara in 32 episodes of TAGS and was one of only a few characters (the others being Andy Taylor, Aunt Bee, and Opie Taylor) who appeared in all eight seasons of the show's run. The character migrated to the show's spin-off series Mayberry R.F.D..
Clara lives in the fictional community of Mayberry, North Carolina on "The Andy Griffith Show" (TAGS) and "Mayberry RFD". Clara's best friend is her past classmate Aunt Bee. The two women have a warm, yet competitive relationship, which began on a high school basketball team. The kinship would continue with such domestic contests as jarring pickles (TAGS, "The Pickle Story, Episode#31)", and planting prize roses (TAGS, "Only a Rose", Episode #212). In "The Pickle Story", TAGS, episode#31", Clara and Bee both compete for a blue ribbon at the county fair with their entries of pickles. Clara wins the ribbon.
Clara is a descendant of the town's settlers, and a widow. (However, in Episode 14 of Season 6, she pointedly tells the guest character, Harlan Robinson, played by Woody Chambliss, that she is not "Mrs." but "Miss" Edwards.) She has a brother (who never appears on the show), and an adult nephew Ferdie, who makes one appearance. She also has a son, Gale, who never appears on the show. She occasionally looks after Sheriff Andy Taylor and son Opie, when their Aunt Bee is out of town.
Clara and Bee rival for the attentions of visiting single gentlemen. One of which, is Hubert Saint John, who takes a fancy to Bee as she reminds him of his late wife. When Bee cuts ties, Clara attempts to charm him.
For a dozen years straight, Clara won Blue Ribons for her pickles at the Mayberry County Fair, and annoyingly trumps every Mayberry flower contest. She is the organist at All Souls Church. Along with Bee, she composes a pro Mayberry anthem ("My Home Town"). Clara teaches Opie piano, and joins his rock group as pianist/ manager. She, Bee and friend Myrtle, take a free trip to Mexico. As a prominent church lady, and later, town council member ("Mayberry RFD"), she heavyhandedly asserts herself on such matters as parades ("Mayberry's Float", RFD episode #39), and scorning such locals as Howard (TAGS, "Howard The Comedian", episode #216 and "The Panel Show", RFD episode #6), and Millie ("The Church Play", RFD episode #8).
In season one of TAGS, the character appeared twice (including Episode #23) as "Bertha Edwards." In the second season she became "Clara Johnson" and remained so until the fifth-season episode "The Pageant," when she morphed into "Clara Edwards." She remained Clara Edwards until the end of the series' run. In spite of the name changes, the character was the same.
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