Post by Stan Engel
Frances Bavier (1902-1989) is best remembered for her
character Aunt Bee Taylor who appeared on 178 episodes of
The Andy Griffith Show, 25 episodes of Mayberry RFD and
two episodes of Gomer Pyle, USMC. Suppose, in some
alternate reality, Frances Bavier had declined the role
and it had gone to another actress. Who would be the ideal
alternate reality Aunt Bee? Here are four women who could
have fulfilled the character so brilliantly portrayed by
Frances Bavier. It may have been necessary in some cases
to refer to the lead-female as Sister Bee or Cousin Bee to
avoid any sexual innuendo between Bee and Andy Taylor due
to the reduced age difference between the two.
Virginia Gregg (1916-1986)
She was a favorite of actor/producer Jack Webb and
appeared several times on Dragnet and Adam-12. Her
characters varied between those who were slightly touched
in the head to those who were unequivocally insane. She
also appeared on Perry Mason, Kraft Suspense Theater,
Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone.
Irene Tedrow (1907?1995)
She did plenty of portrayals of 19th century farm women
but I best remember her for the Twilight Zone episode The
Lateness of the Hour (1960), where Inger Stevens discovers
to her dismay that she's not the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Loren, but a robot.
Edna Skinner (1921-2003):Best known for playing Kay
Addison on Mister Ed. Remember? I sure do.
Nancy Kulp (1921-1991):OK, Miss Hathaway.
So, of the four alternate Aunt Bees, who's the best. I say
Absolutely no to Nancy Kulp. She simply couldn't have
carried it off over the length of the series.
from Gunsmoke to Suspense. A nice acting range. She could
of her talent would have been wasted in Mayberry.
too sophisticated for the part of Aunt Bee.
So it would be Irene Tedrow as my pick.