The girl that Andy tossed in jail grew up to have a crush on Gomer Pyle
Andy Taylor had good reason to throw a family of four in jail during the holiday season. He was making a point to mean ol' Ben Weaver. In the charming "Christmas Story," The Andy Griffith Show's answer to It's a Wonderful Life, the grouchy businessman demands that the sheriff toss Sam Muggins in the clink for moonshining. Nevermind that it's Christmas Eve — the law must be upheld.
So, Andy takes it a step further and throws the entire Muggins family behind bars, including mother Bess Muggins and kids Billy and Effie. Mayberry fans know the rest of the "Christmas Story." Ellie, Andy and the Muggins sing "Away in a Manger," which thaws the frozen heart of Ben Weaver.
There is some fascinating trivia locked up in that jail cell. Margaret Kerry, who played Bess Muggins, was the live-action model for Tinkerbell in the Disney classic Peter Pan. Young Joy Ellison, the freckle-cheeked Effie Muggins, made her own impressive mark on Hollywood.
Her work has appeared in — well, been heard in, technically — everything from Brokeback Mountain and Terminator Salvation to Mad Men and American Horror Story. Joy Ellison is a dialect coach. She has tutored Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jodie Foster, Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and dozens of other massive names.
But long before that, she had a crush on Gomer Pyle.
In her adolescent acting days, Ellison made frequent appearances in the world of Mayberry. She popped up in four more episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, from 1961–67, playing "Mary Wiggins," "Mary Scobey," "Betsy" and "Iris." As we have mentioned before, the television universe of Mayberry played fast and loose with continuity.
This is why, in 1968, Ellison turned up in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. as a love-struck teenager named "Molly Peters." The episode "Luv Finds Gomer Pyle" sees Gomer buying a soda for a girl without money. That would be Ellison's character, of course. The story is chockablock with familiar Mayberry faces.
Elizabeth MacRae, Gomer's true love Lou-Ann Poovie, also was "Betty Parker" on The Andy Griffith Show. That episode also featured actor Scott Lane as "Tommy Parker," Betty's brother. And guess what? Scott Lane is also in "Luv Finds Gomer Pyle"!
Mayberry truly is a small world.