Helen, the Authoress
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|"Helen, the Authoress"|
|The Andy Griffith Show episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Lee Philips|
|Written by||Douglas Tibbles|
|Original air date||Monday, February 27, 1967|
"Helen, the Authoress" is an episode from the American television program The Andy Griffith Show broadcast Monday, February 27, 1967 on CBS. Helen's sudden celebrity as an author creates a rift in her relationship with Andy. "Helen, the Authoress" was the 24th episode in the show's seventh season, and the 213th episode in the complete series.
The episode opens in Helen's house. Andy scans a listing of television programs. Helen enters with a large manila envelope and indicates she wants to go to the mailbox before settling in for television viewing. Andy inquires about the contents of the envelope but Helen demurs, claiming Andy will think her silly. She finally reveals that the envelope contains the manuscript for her book, Amusing Tales of Tiny Tots. She is sending the manuscript to a publisher in Richmond. Helen is excited about the possibility of being published. Andy supports her endeavor and they leave to mail the manuscript.
Time passes and Helen receives a letter from the publisher. Breathless with excitement, she rushes to the Taylor house where Andy reads the letter aloud to his family. The Taylors are thrilled when they learn Helen's book will be published and even more thrilled when they discover Helen has received an advance of one thousand dollars. Helen says she is meeting her publisher the next day in Richmond. Bee suggests Andy accompany her for a "strong shoulder to lean on." Andy agrees and tells Helen he's proud of her.
In the publisher's Richmond office, Helen is warmly welcomed while Andy is treated with coolness. Mr. Bryant, the publisher heaps praises and compliments upon Helen. He wants to promote the book as a literary gem from small town America. Helen however points out that Mayberry is not "that small". A compromise is reached and then the suggestion that Helen publish the book under the name 'Helene Alexienne DuBois' is broached. Helen is uncertain. Andy defends her name but Helen accedes to the publisher's suggestion. Andy is then pressed into service as an "easel" to hold the cover illustration. Helen approves the illustration. When she asks Andy what he thinks of the illustration, the illustrator wonders aloud if Andy is competent to make a pronouncement. Andy murmurs, "I'm with her."
The next day in the barber shop, Floyd and Goober have heard of Helen's trip to Richmond and speculate on her future financial prospects as a well paid authoress. Andy enters and the boys congratulate him on being engaged to a woman who will be "bringing in the bacon." Peeved, Andy leaves abruptly. On the street, he meets Howard, who, like Goober and Floyd, speculates on Andy's future as the spouse of a rich and famous woman. Andy sighs and walks away.
That evening, Andy has dinner at Helen's house. He toasts her success with the hope that their relationship never changes. When he asks Helen how she'd like to spend the rest of the evening, Helen tells Andy she needs to put time into rewrites because her publisher is due in the morning. While Helen works on her rewrites at a typewriter, Andy, (wearing one of Helen's aprons) tidies up the house. Goober enters with two tourists who are thrilled to meet a real writer. When one of the tourists asks who Andy is, he dismisses himself with the comment, "I'm with her."
The next morning at breakfast, Aunt Bee warns Opie not to cross his father because he's acting "peevish." She ascribes his mood to his work. Andy enters and Bee, in order to avoid mentioning Andy's work, waxes enthusiastic about Helen's celebrity. Opie says Helen is a good writer. Irked, Andy stalks out of the kitchen leaving Bee and Opie puzzled.
Later at the courthouse, Helen enters excitedly calling for Andy. She tells him her publisher is in town. He wants her to do more rewrites and an autobiography for the flyleaf. She says she must work every night through the week on her book which means cancelling their dinner date at Morelli's. Andy is peeved. Helen reminds him that he has worked evenings many times in the past. Andy claims "that's different." Why it's different, he is unable to explain to Helen. The discussion escalates. Voices are raised, with Andy becoming sarcastic. Helen wonders why Andy is so upset over spending a few nights at home alone. Andy then insinuates he doesn't have to sit home alone. Helen is indignant, telling him to find another date. When Helen leaves, Andy immediately calls Mavis Neff at the drugstore.
At the barber shop, Howard tells Floyd that Andy made a date with Mavis Neff. Floyd is astonished. Howard says he understands Mavis is a woman who's "rather forward". Floyd reminds Howard that Harvey Bunker was made to give up his job as scoutmaster after going with Mavis. Howard hopes Andy is made of "sterner stuff."
That evening, Mavis cuddles up to Andy while the two are parked in the squad car at Myers Lake. Mavis coos over Andy's "laugh wrinkles" and asks if he's still going with Helen. Andy avoids Mavis's question and, uncomfortable with the situation, suggests they go to the diner for a bite to eat. Mavis is reluctant but complies with Andy's suggestion.
At the diner, Helen and Mr. Bryant, her publisher are having coffee and discussing her book. Helen is glumly preoccupied. She dismisses her mood by suggesting that she may be "coming down with something". Bryant assures her authors usually feel a let down just before their books are published. Andy enters with Mavis on his arm. Helen is astonished. The couple greet Helen and her publisher. Mavis then steers Andy into a booth immediately behind Helen, sighing, "Myers Lake was so beautiful." Mavis orders a root beer float telling Andy they make her "bubbly all over ... bubbly wubbly." Knowing Helen can hear her, she coos like a schoolgirl over Andy's laugh wrinkles, telling him they "drive me crazy." Helen abruptly leaves the diner followed by her publisher.
A short time later, Andy appears at Helen's door. He offers an apology telling Helen, "I've thought about it, and I know I was wrong. You see, when this book business first started -- yours, it didn't bother me not one bit but then everybody started talking about how wealthy you were going to be, and how famous you were going to be, and I got worried that I was going to take a back seat. But now, I think I see things the way they ought to be. You see, you've got this talent for writing. Talent's a very rare thing and you should use it and be proud of it. And I've just realized that I have a job and it requires a certain amount of talent and I'm proud of it. And I see no reason why a sheriff and a lady author shouldn't get along just fine. That is, if you want to."
With a smile, Helen asks, "Hey. You wanna take a drive up to Myers Lake?"
In the epilogue, some time has passed and Andy and Helen are sitting in the Taylor living room holding hands, drinking coffee, and commenting on Helen's experience as an author. Andy believes Mr. Bryant is probably working diligently to make Helen's book a bestseller. Helen says she's glad her part is over because she's exhausted. Bee comes downstairs with a large manila envelope and prepares to leave the house. Andy asks if she's written a book and, with some apologetic hesitation, Bee admits it's nothing but a collection of her recipes. Bee leaves for the post office. Opie enters. He's also writing a book, What It's Like to Be the Son of a Sheriff. Helen smiles and thinks Andy is going to have to get a typewriter, too.
- The Andy Griffith Show at the Internet Movie Database
- Helen, the Authoress at epguides.com
- Mayberry.com home of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club w/ Interviews, Episode Guides, newsletters, and forums.
- Behind The Scenes of The Andy Griffith Show A behind the scenes look at The Andy Griffith Show and the real Mayberry, includes filming locations, the stars made on the show, and Mayberry trivia.
- Remembering Mayberry
- Mayberry Articles & Events
- Searchable Andy Griffith Show Episode Guide
- The Andy Griffith Show on TVLand.com
- Interview with Michael Rosen on Archive of American Television in 1998.