Identity of "Nice Dress Nellie" revealed

7137786864?profile=RESIZE_400x"Nice Dress Nellie" is an actress that appeared in at least 34 episodes of the show. (Mayberry Wiki article) "According to assistant director Bruce Bilson, her name is Marvel, but he did not give her full name. Marvel was a stand in for Don Knotts and Mr. Bilson picked her for the stand in job." (Mayberry Historical Society article)

I think her name is probably Marvel Lawrence.

I saw a comment on a MeTV article about Nice Dress Nellie where a poster named Jermyn said "I searched IMDB for someone named "Marvel" (first or last) and the only possible one I came up with was a "Marvel Lawrence" who was an actress with one credit for appearing as a store clerk in The Danny Thomas Show (a.k.a. Make Room for Daddy) in 1961 in Season 9, Episode 3, Love Letters."

Given the connections between Andy Griffith and the Danny Thomas Show, I decided to do some research. I then found this Dec. 31, 1965 Article (you have to download the pdf) in the Alpine Sun (Alpine, CA) about Floyd where he said "Marvel Lawrence, who stands in for me, is the foster daugher of Eltinge." (page 14) He is talking about Julian Eltinge. Also note how he said that Marvel was his stand-in like how Bilson did in my first paragraph.

At these two links (1) (2), people noted that they had seen Nice Dress Nellie on The Bob Newhart Show. I then found this June 30, 1974 Article in the San Bernardino County Sun that said "The Bob Newhart Show" wrapped for the season on Friday with a mood of sadness permeating the set." "The husband of Marvel Lawrence (stand-in for co-star Marcia Wallace) died on Tuesday". You have to click "Show page 47 article text" to see it.

Now we need to find out who Mr. Schwamp and the pianist named Hazel are.

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  • I came across this in a photo book called Mayberry Memories.  It’s from season one but the episode wasn’t given.  Note Marvel Lawrence as a stand-in.  It made me think that somewhere deep in the CBS archives, there lies the identity of Mr. Schwamp.

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    • Great find! According to the Mayberry wiki, Mr. Schwamp first appeared in the season 4 episode My Fair Ernest T. Bass. If we could find these for later seasons, there is a decent chance we could identify Mr. Schwamp.

    • Bernie,  

      What book exactly is that? The book by Ken Beck and Jim Clark?  YES...I found it.  That call sheet was provided by Ronald Jacobs!  That's a great find to help confirm that Lawrence is indeed the last name of "Nice Dress Nellie."   I did a podcast episode about this back on 16 Jun 2020 called "Nice Dress Nellie" and I've done several updates since to include the information that Bobby found about her remarrying and passing away.  

      Great work by all!!

      --Allan

  • Just noticed this morning....I’m 97% sure this is Nice Dress Nellie, seen in the very first episode of the Dick Van Dyke show.  Sorry about the focus, but if you double-click the pics, they’re pretty clear.

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    • It certainly looks like her, but if you go to the imdb page for the episode, Marvel Lawrence is not listed. And they list everybody, even the uncredited actors.

      What I would really like to get my hands on is that Season 9 Episode 3 of The Danny Thomas Show where Marvel Lawrence is credited. As of now, it is nowhere to be found.

      • Keep in mind that there were perhaps 20 or more people sitting on the couches, standing around, or playing in the band in the background.  I doubt if anyone would list the names of all those participants.  Plus, the IMDb party goers without lines listed are all males.

      • Interesting. I'd say that's her in the picture. I think the uncredited people on those imdb lists are added by fans like us who watch the episode and happen to recognize someone they know and then they add them to the episode's cast list, so that would account for her not being on the list because most people don't know her name.

        I'd like to see that Danny Thomas episode too, Mayor.

    • Good eye Bernie

      • Thanks.  And, she had a nice dress on again.  :-)

  • I’m watching Jeopardy today, a 2001 celebrity game, and the category Vaudville is picked and I see this....

    7160488867?profile=RESIZE_180x180Julian Eltinge it is, “billed as the most beautiful woman in the world”.....yikes!

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