Surprising Facts About Aunt Bee

Surprising Facts About Aunt Bee

  1. She encouraged Andy to have “The Talk” with Opie after finding one of her bras tucked under the youngster’s pillow
  2. Baskin-Robbins revealed that Aunt Bee was the inspiration for its most popular flavor – Vanilla
  3. I remember fondly that first episode where she slowly descends into Mayberry while holding her umbrella in the air. That was Aunt Bee wasn’t it?
  4. To tame an unruly cowlick in Opie’s hair, she once used a dab of Gorilla Glue. It stayed down for all 8 seasons and remained down until Ron Howard went bald.
  5. Her torrid off-screen love affair with co-star Don Knotts produced 3 out-of-wedlock children whom the Brady’s quietly adopted and raised as their own – the youngest one in curls.
  6. At the ’36 Berlin Olympics, Aunt Bee won Gold in the Beecathlon

    “This is our worst church fundraiser ever.”

  7. Told that no-good Colonel Harlan Sanders, “I’ll see you in Hell” after he stole her secret fried chicken recipe featuring 11 herbs and spices
  8. Aunt Bee was all set to star in the lead role of “The Flying Nun” till that dimple-cheeked Sally Field swooped in and snatched it away.
  9. During rehearsals, she often wore her robe “loosely gathered” in the front. #CantUnseeIt #NippleHair
  10. Those Ritz Mock Apple Pies…Aunt Bee’s idea. She explained, “Oh dear, sometimes the apples at the Mayberry Market can be a little costly. Abe Mortimer, the produce manager, says he has to pay the same price for his apples as those Big City apples they sell in Raleigh. Well I say fiddlesticks. Who needs apples to make an apple pie?” Thus was born the Ritz Mock Apple Pie.

Fun Fact: Years later Andy Griffith would do TV commercials for Ritz Crackers. Remember Andy declaring in his soothing southern drawl: “Everything tastes great, when it sits on a Ritz. Mmmm, good cracker, good cracker.”  And come to think of it, for a southerner, Andy was a good Cracker.  

  1. Andy was never more embarrassed than when Opie asked, “Paw, how come whenever Aunt Bee drops her purse it starts to vibrate?”
  2. Aunt Bee did not use a stunt double in the ghoulish Twilight Zone episode where vengeful little Billy Mummy transforms her into a tumbleweed as punishment for not letting him watch cartoons. In the chilling final scene we hear a howling wind blowing, and off in the distance we see her spherically-bloated body come tumbling into view as she uncontrollably cartwheels across a dark highway. And when she skitters past we hear her wailing desperately: “Oh Andy! Do something Andy!”
  3. Not only was she the inspiration for Baskin-Robbins vanilla flavor, but her down-home Southern cooking also inspired Campbell’s to introduce 3 new soups: Cream of Whiteness, Caucasian Chowder and Confederate Wedding Soup
  4. In “The Dangling Bee” episode, after completing a bungee jump challenge to raise money for the church’s new fiberglass cross, we see an unruffled and composed Aunt Bee dangling upside down at the end of her rope – her bonnet is intact and she’s still clutching her plain black purse in her delicate white gloves.

Witnessing this, her fellow Mayberrite George “Goober” Lindsay remarked, “Dang, if that Aunt Bee don’t beat all. She’s outta this world. Like one-those ass-tro-nauts.”

  1. From 1968 on, whenever setting her table, she quietly showed her solidarity with the Black Panther movement by placing a copy of Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul on Ice” on its own doily, next to the dinner rolls
  2. While working at a Speakeasy during the Jazz Age, she lost a bar bet to fellow-flapper Bea Arthur. She carried her “Keep Cool with Coolidge” tattoo with her to the grave. Back in those heady times she and Ms. Arthur were very active and known as the Busy B’s.
  3. On sultry Mayberry days, Aunt Bee would often pull down the blinds and do her housework in a G-string. And this article also was later found tucked under Opie’s pillow.
  4. Who can ever forget the macabre Halloween episode “What’s That in Aunt Bee’s Bonnet?” While he’s dressing her hair for the Women’s Auxiliary Ball (whatever that is), Floyd the Barber discovers that the flower in Aunt Bee’s trademark bonnet…is actually growing out of her head! Egad! He quietly trims the offending blossom, presses it between his Bible and it is never spoken of again.
  5. Aunt Bee once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die
  6. Did you know that Aunt Bee invented the “Polo” response feature to the popular pool game of “Marco Polo?” At least now the game makes some sense. Before she invented the “Polo” response feature, kids in the pool would just randomly yell out “Marco” in a pointless stream of unanswered queries. Poolside loungers thought these kids had some kind of aquatic Tourette’s Syndrome. Sad really. But now, thanks to Aunt Bee, adults hoping to relax by the pool get to hear a cluster of 15 “Marco…Polos” shrieked in rapid succession. Un Florida the game is played “Marco” “Rubio.”
  7. Let It Bee! Beatle fans everywhere believe that if Aunt Bee had met John Lennon before he met Yoko, the Beatles would’ve broken up even sooner.
  8. Mayberry fans can easily chart Opie’s meteoric growth in relation to Aunt Bee. In the episode entitled “Opie’s Big Spurt” the boy hits puberty right before our very eyes. This coming-of-age episode begins in B&W where we see a cuddly Opie barely coming up to his Aunt Bee’s unpadded shoulders. But by the show’s end he’s shaving, he’s 5’8” and he’s in color. When Opie (Ron Howard) hits puberty we can only wonder – can Happy Days be far away?
  9. Aunt Bee never had a tan line…that she knows of. She did, however, have to explain her “Keep Cool with Coolidge” tattoo a few times – mostly to people who’d never heard of this Calvin Coolidge fellow.  
  10. An unaired episode scripted by Lillian Hellman was entitled “What’s in Aunt Bee’s Closet.” In this revealing episode we witness a deeply suppressed side of the caring and conflicted aunt. At the monthly quilting bee held in the church vestry, everyone is quietly attending to the patriotically-themed quilt. Suddenly Aunt Bee is overcome by a spasm of wanton lust. She throws down her needles, rushes to Helen Crump and plants a hard kiss, flush on her fellow-quilter’s lips. When a bewildered Helen drops her quilting blocks and recoils in shock, Aunt Bee laughs-off the whole thing and chalks it up to: “Oh me, I guess all that homemade marmalade I ate this morning had fermented.” In an alternative ending Helen returns Aunt Bee’s affections and they go out and buy a Subaru.  
  11. True fact (not that the others weren’t, but this one is “truly” true): Ronny Howard stayed in regular touch with the aged and caring spinster until her death in Siler, NC in 1989.
  12. In later years it would be discovered that Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) was a Bodhisattva. An enlightened being returned to Earth to relieve suffering by soothing the jangled nerves of a restive nation unable to grasp the proximity of divine consciousness. Such humble self-sacrifice. Such noble sentiments. We salute you Aunt Bee. For without your exemplary presence, we might all be skittering across the dark and lonely highway of life lamenting, “Oh Andy! Do something Andy!”

Goodnight sweet Bee.

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