Monday, January 21, 2013


Here's the opening narration from the TV series 'In Plain Sight':

"Since 1970, the Federal Witness Protection Program has relocated thousands of witnesses, some criminal, some not, to neighborhoods all across the country. Every one of those individuals shares a unique attribute, distinguishing them from the rest of the general population. And that is, somebody wants them dead."

My blogging buddy Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. has a regular feature in his "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" (link to the left, Team Toobworld) called "Mayberry Mondays" Each week he focuses on a particular episode of 'Mayberry RFD' (in broadcast order) and not only gives us the play by play of "wha' hoppint"*, but he comes up with some great dialogue wish-craft that would have made for a far more interesting show!

A few weeks back he wrote about an episode entitled "Howard The Dream-Spinner" in which he pointed the spotlight on guest star Maggie Peterson:

Sam introduces her as “Edna Pritchard” (no explanation as to how they met—something I’m sure his girlfriend would be interested in) and “nice to meetcha’s” are exchanged. But Edna must think we’ve been asleep for eight years…because we know she’s no stranger to Mayberry—she’s Charlene Darling-Wash, object of affection to demented hillbilly Ernest T. Bass (Howard Morris)!

[Maggie Peterson's] most frequent boob tube gig was doing what she does in this episode—in the second season of The Bill Dana Show; Peterson joined the cast as coffee shop waitress Susie.

Ivan suggested I could probably do something with this idea, and I immediately got back to him with my new premise:

Hrmmmmm..... I'm thinking - NYC... falls in with a bad crowd, or at the very least witnessed something bad going down, enters witness protection (started in 1970 according to In Plain Sight, so she'd be one of the first). Looking like the Darling girl might have been an unfortunate coincidence for Susie aka "Edna Pritchard" and for Mrs. Darling-Wash as well......

And that's how I'm going to combine these two characters played by Maggie Peterson Mancuso despite the fact that they had different names. (Susie was listed only as "Susie the Waitress" on 'The Bill Dana Show' so we don't know what her last name was.)

Susie witnessed a crime committed by some TV gangster located in New York City (probably one of the many played by Sheldon Leonard, like Big Max Calvada from 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.) She was put into the Witness Relocation Program in exchange for her testimony and that's how Susie ended up in Mayberry as "Edna Pritchard".

As the program was in its infancy, there were still kinks to be worked out. In Susie's - that is, in Edna's - case, the town of Mayberry wasn't thoroughly vetted to make sure it was a safe environment in which she could live unnoticed. As such, the U.S. Marshals never noticed that there was already a woman living on the outskirts of town who looked exactly like Susie - Charlene Darling-Wash.

Once that identity crisis came to light (probably with comedic results involving the whole Darling brood), the marshals had no choice but to relocate Susie once again under a new name in another small town.

Perhaps Fernwood, Ohio?

By October of 1977, it looks like she had either gone on a trip to Blackpool in England, or had permanently moved there to avoid the gangsters still looking for her. In the first episode of 'Odd Man Out', she was seen in Neville Sutcliffe's chip shop. And we don't learn what name she was using there. 

Unless of course there's an English actress named Maggie Peterson and once again the IMDb is confused.

If so, then go home, IMDb. You're drunk......

At any rate, the WITSEC program serves as an excellent splainin as to why two characters who look alike (because they're played by the same actor) have different names.


And since he was responsible for this identity check, I'm dedicating this post to Ivan G. Shreve!

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