A Mayberry State Of Mind
Flora Malerbe / Alberta Nelson
No one knew anything about Flora Malherbe when she showed up in Mayberry in 1966, but she made a big impression on Goober Pyle right away. Goober, known for being rather shy around women, became so smitten with Flora that in addition to walking by her house and waving, he even once followed her into the movie theater, sat next to her and afterward, walked her home. These were pretty bold moves on Goober’s part, who in the past had always approached dating as if taking medicine.
Even though Goober was very excited about Flora, she didn’t seem all that impressed with him, in spite of the fact that at the time, he was the current county hand wrestling champ and had been for four years. It didn’t seem to matter to her that he rang the bell at the county fair 18 times or that he could take a carburetor apart in 38 minutes and 12 seconds.
In fact, it took Flora so long to warm up to Goober than Floyd was afraid Goober would end up like Hollis Dudney, who spent a fortune on Honey Tawilliger, wining and dining her, only to have Honey turn around and marry his brother. But after an encounter with Andy in the woods, Flora ended up realizing that Goober was the man for her and even asked him to marry her several times.
Flora liked older men and came from a family of slow-swellers and quick-healers. She could roast a turkey and cook Goober’s favorite dinner, pounded steak, and the general consensus around town was that she looked a heck-of-a-lot better in slacks than Goober did. She was young enough to know words like “delish”, “fab”, and “yummy”, but old enough to hand out kisses as rewards for being rescued, and believed that a woman should serve a man his dinner because he was entitled to relax during meals.
Once Flora realized Goober was the man for her, she was very good to him. She once volunteered to fill in for him at the gas station so he could go on a fishing trip, and even though she was great at selling gas and had a great head for business, she gave it all up when she realized having a career might mean losing the man she loved.
Alberta Nelson was an American television and film actress of the 1960s. She was born on August 14, 1937. Nelson attended Villa Maria Academy and later graduated from Andrews High School in Willoughby, Ohio. She performed on Broadway, at the Erie Playhouse, Erie Roadhouse and also in Hollywood. After several dramatic roles on television in the early 1960s, Nelson made four guest appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show," three of them as Goober Pyle's girlfriend, Flora Malherbe and one as Nettie Albright.
Nelson also appeared in seven movies in the 1960s as Eric Von Zipper's girlfriend in the successful American International "Beach Party" series. She is the only person who appeared in all seven Beach Party movies, including "Beach Party," "Muscle Beach Party" and "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." Nelson played the leather clad "rat pack" biker chick Puss (sometimes also called Alberta and in one film called Lisa), one of the comic villains who dogged the steps of America's sweethearts, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.
After her successful stint as Flora Malherbe, the wholesome girl-next-door on "The Andy Griffith Show," and her comedic career as biker girl Puss, Nelson starred in 1970's unsavory "The Wild Scene" as Dr. Virginia Grant, a female psychiatrist. This and a 1970 appearance on "Love, American Style" would be Nelson's last credited television roles although she did some stage productions in Pennsylvania after she left television.
Alberta Nelson was married to Herbert Gilman for 35 years. She passed away of cancer at age 68 on April 29, 2006 in Pennsylvania.