The Andy Griffith Show—Season 1

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9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic series, great acting, some fun episodes

Weird early series inconsistancies, strange sexism throughout,

 
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Cue the famous whistling!

Welcome to Mayberry, one of the nicest towns in the South.  When Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) finds himself trying to raise his son Opie (Ron Howard), he calls in his Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier) for help.  Together, Andy, Aunt Bea, and Opie find themselves dealing with small town problems and Andy’s over-excitable cousin and deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts).  Andy and Barney always seem to find trouble, be it with Andy’s girlfriend Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue), criminals, or even movie producers and record producers.

The Andy Griffith Show—Season 1 aired from October 3, 1960 to May 22, 1961 on CBS in black-and-white.  The classic series with the whistling opening was originally previewed on The Danny Thomas Show on February 15, 1960 in an episode called “Danny Meets Andy Griffith”.  Andy, Opie (played by Ron Howard), and Frances Bavier (not playing Aunt Bea but Henrietta Perkins) all appeared in the episode.  The first season of the show garnered an Emmy nomination for comedy and a win for Don Knotts as a Supporting Actor.

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Hunker down for a good time!

The first season has some surprising moments.  I’ve never been much of an Andy Griffith watcher so to sit back and see the show at its start is strange.  There were some things I never knew (Barney is Andy’s cousin) and storylines that were developed and dropped included Andy’s girlfriend Ellie who disappeared forever after “The Guitar Player Returns” (it was decided that there was no chemistry between Griffith and Father Know’s Best veteran Donahue) and Floyd the Barber having a family.

There are a number of firsts in the show.  Otis Campbell shows up in “The Manhunt”, Floyd the Barber first appears in “Stranger in Town” but is played by Walter Baldwin…he is replaced by Howard McNear in “Mayberry Goes Hollywood” (but called Floyd Colby).  The evil Ben Weaver first appears as a Scrooge character (and played by Will Wright) in Christmas Story.  Hope Summers first appears (as Bertha Edwards) in “Andy and Opie, Housekeepers”, but her name changes to Bertha Johnson then Clara Edwards.  Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn) first appears in “Cyrano Andy” (in which Andy and Barney do a little partner swapping).

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Andy and Barney partner swap…Mayberry’s kinky like that!

An odd aspect of these early episodes is some rather rampant sexism.  You don’t have to worry about any racism episodes…no minorities are even seen in Mayberry’s area (you catch a glimpse of an African-American woman in “Barney Gets His Man” in a crowd scene), but the battle of the sexes is apparent in episodes like “Ellie for Council” and “Ellie Saves a Female”.  Andy comes off as a bit of an ass in “Ellie for Council” and the “women shouldn’t be bothered” message of the episode is kind of  cancelled out at the end, but doesn’t quite add up to the men’s actions against the women.  “Ellie Saves a Female” has Ellie helping a woman being essentially kept prisoner by her father who refuses to let her be feminine.  It comes down to women just being good for marrying…weird message by today’s standards.

If you’ve never sat down and watched The Andy Griffith Show, I do recommend checking it out.  It is very saccharine and overly wholesome, but it is also a relaxing break from complex shows.  Opposed to other no brainers like my childhood shows like The Facts of Life, Love Boat, etc. (entertaining shows, but not much thought behind them), The Andy Griffith Show does have a bit of a quality uptick not only in its style and writing, but strong acting…A classic in anyone’s books.

The Andy Griffith Show—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

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“The New Housekeeper”

1.1       The New Housekeeper Airdate:  10/03/60

Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) finds his son Opie (Ron Howard) is struggling with the leaving of his favorite housekeeper Rose (Mary Treen).  When Andy brings in his Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier), Opie finds he isn’t sure he wants her as a housekeeper.  Andy’s cousin Barney Fife (Don Knotts) tries to get respect as Andy’s deputy.  When Aunt Bea tries to get Opie’s confidence, she finds Opie doesn’t want her.

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“The Manhunt”

1.2       The Manhunt Airdate:  10/10/60

Opie worships Andy but finds Andy undermined when a dangerous criminal escapes, and the state police take over Mayberry to stop him.

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“The Guitar Player”

1.3       The Guitar Player Airdate:  10/17/60

Andy deals with a talented guitar player named Jim Lindsey (James Best) and attempts to get him a job when a group of musicians come through Mayberry…but getting Jim to play might be tougher then Andy thought.

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“Ellie Comes to Town”

1.4       Ellie Comes to Town Airdate:  10/24/60

Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue) comes to town to help her uncle Fred run his drugstore.  When Ellie refuses to sell Emma Brand (Cheerio Meredith) her pills, Andy and Barney have to step-in to try to get the pills.

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“Irresistable Andy”

1.5       Irresistible Andy Airdate:  10/31/60

Andy learns Ellie isn’t going to the town picnic and asks her to go.  When Andy thinks that Ellie tricked him into asking her, Andy reconsiders and sets up other men with Ellie.

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“Runaway Kid”

1.6       Runaway Kid Airdate:  11/07/60

When Andy tells Opie that he shouldn’t break promises he’s made with friends, he finds himself stuck in a problem when Opie brings home a runaway boy who refuses to talk.  Andy identifies the boy, but has to find a way to convince him to return home.

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“Andy the Matchmaker”

1.7       Andy the Matchmaker Airdate:  11/14/60

Barney tires of being mocked as deputy and decides to quit.  When Andy sees that Miss Rosemary (Amzie Strickland) is interested in Barney, Andy tries to match them up to increase Barney’s self-esteem by setting up a fake crime.

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“Opie’s Charity”

1.8       Opie’s Charity Airdate:  11/28/60

Andy learns Opie isn’t giving to the underprivileged children drive and criticizes him for saving for his girlfriend instead of the children.  Andy finds that Annabelle (Lurene Tuttle) has declared her husband Tom (Stuart Erwin) dead when he really just left her.

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“A Feud Is a Feud”

1.9       A Feud Is a Feud Airdate:  12/05/60

Andy finds himself involved in the fight between the Wakefields and Carters when the children of the Wakefields and Carters come to him to get married.

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“Ellie for Council”

1.10     Ellie for Council Airdate:  12/12/60

Andy and Ellie find themselves at odds when Andy feels a woman shouldn’t be on the town council.  When Ellie decides to run, Andy might have to change his tune.

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“Christmas Story”

1.11     Christmas Story Airdate:  12/19/60

It is Christmastime in Mayberry.  When Ben Weaver (Will Wright) captures a moonshiner named Sam Muggins (Sam Edwards), he demands Andy lock him up.  Andy, Ellie, Opie, Barney, and Aunt Bea bring Christmas to the jail for Sam and his family, Ben decides he wants to be in jail too.

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“Stranger In Town”

1.12     Stranger in Town Airdate:  12/26/60

A man named Ed Sawyer (William Lanteau) comes to town and seems to know everything about everyone in Mayberry.  As the town gets upset, Andy tries to find out why the man knows so much.

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“Mayberry Goes Hollywood”

1.13     Mayberry Goes Hollywood 01/02/61

A movie producer (Dan Frazer) comes to Mayberry to consider it for a picture.  When the producer decides to use Mayberry, the people of Mayberry prepare for the Hollywood boom.

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“The Horse Trader”

1.14     The Horse Trader Airdate:  01/09/61

A decision to get rid of the town canon has Andy and Barney trying to find someone to buy it.  When Opie sees Andy swindle an antique dealer (Max Showalter), Opie gets the wrong idea.

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“Those Gossipin’ Men”

1.15     Those Gossipin’ Men Airdate:  01/16/61

Andy and Barney criticize Aunt Bea and Emma’s gossiping after it “kills” Barney.  When Bea and Emma turn the tables on Andy, the men end up investigating a travelling salesmen (Jack Finch).

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“The Beauty Contest”

1.16     The Beauty Contest Airdate:  01/23/61

Mayberry decides to have a beauty contest for their festival, and Andy is picked to be the judge by Ellie.  When Andy thinks Ellie picked him to win the contest, Ellie gets mad at Andy.  As the contest approaches, Andy finds all the women auditioning for him.

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“Alcohol and Old Lace”

1.17     Alcohol and Old Lace Airdate:  01/30/61

Andy and Barney search for moonshiners and gets tips on the moonshiner from sisters Jennifer (Charity Grace) and Clarabelle (Gladys Hurlbut). When Opie accidentally uncovers the secret of the sisters, Andy and Barney must act.

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“Andy the Marriage Counselor”

1.18     Andy the Marriage Counselor Airdate:  02/06/61

Andy finds him caught between a feuding husband and wife and decides to have Fred Boone (Jesse White) and Jennie (Claudia Bryar) try to talk through their issues.  As Andy works to mend Fred and Jennie’s marriage, an unexpected reaction happens.

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“Mayberry on Record”

1.19     Mayberry on Record Airdate:  02/13/61

A talent scout named Maxwell (Hugh Marlow) comes to town looking for new musical acts and records Andy and other singers.  When Andy learns Barney, Ellie, and other town members contribute to Maxwell’s record, Andy thinks they are being taken.

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“Andy Saves Barney’s Morale”

1.20     Andy Saves Barney’s Morale Airdate:  02/20/61

Andy has to go out of town to Centerville and leaves Barney in charge.  When Andy returns, he finds Barney has arrested almost the whole town.  Andy dismisses all the charges, and Barney feels unwanted.

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“Andy and the Gentleman Crook”

1.21     Andy and the Gentleman Crook Airdate:  02/27/61

When Andy is asked to house a big time criminal named “Gentleman” Dan Caldwell (Dan Tobin) during transport, Gentleman Dan becomes a celebrity in Mayberry.

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“Cyrano Andy”

1.22     Cyrano Andy Airdate:  03/06/61

Barney finds he can’t talk to Thelma-Lou (Betty Lynn), and Andy finds he has to be the messenger.  When Thelma-Lou decides to make Barney, she tells Barney that Andy called on her.  It is up to Ellie and Andy to get them back together again.

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“Andy and Opie, Housekeepers”

1.23     Andy and Opie, Housekeepers Airdate:  03/13/61

Aunt Bea is called out of town and Andy and Opie are forced to take care of the house while she is gone.  When they do too good of a job, they worry that Aunt Bea will feel she isn’t needed.

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“The New Doctor”

1.24     The New Doctor Airdate:  03/27/61

A new doctor (George Nader) comes to Mayberry, and Barney and Aunt Bea warn Andy that Doctor Benson might cause problems for Ellie and Andy.  Andy finds himself in a situation where he needs to make a big jump.

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“A Plaque for Mayberry”

1.25     A Plaque for Mayberry Airdate:  04/03/61

The town learns that the descendant of a revolutionary war hero named Nathan Tibbs might be in Mayberry, and everyone in town tries to find out if they are related.  When Otis Campbell (Hal Smith) is revealed to be the descendant, Andy is ordered to keep Otis away from the celebration.

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“The Inspector”

1.26     The Inspector Airdate:  04/10/61

When Barney and Andy get word that an inspector is coming, Andy assumes it his friend.  Ralph Case (Tod Andrews) arrives and reveals he’s a new inspector with new rules.  When Andrews orders an impeachment, Andy realizes his job is at risk.

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“Ellie Saves a Female”

1.27     Ellie Saves a Female Airdate:  04/17/61

When Frances “Frankie” Flint (Edris March) comes into Ellie’s drugstore, Ellie decides to help her by giving her a few gifts against Andy’s warning.  When Frankie’s father (R.G. Armstrong) refuses to let Frankie dress up, Barney agrees to help get Frankie out.

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“Andy Forecloses”

1.28     Andy Forecloses Airdate:  04/24/61

Ben orders Andy to foreclose on the Scobeys’ home.  When Andy realizes Ben is trying to get the Scobeys’ land to build a warehouse, Andy tries to get Mayberry to save the Scobeys’ home.

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“Quiet Sam”

1.29     Quiet Sam Airdate:  05/01/61

Barney questions Sam Becker (William Schallert) and his quiet nature and suspects that Sam is hiding something.  When Andy makes an emergency call to the Becker’s house Barney decides he needs a posse to help Andy.

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“Barney Gets His Man”

1.30     Barney Gets His Man Airdate:  05/08/61

Barney accidentally arrested a wanted felon (Barney Phillips) and is credited for the takedown.  When the criminal escapes, Barney realizes that he is coming after him.

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“The Guitar Player Returns”

1.31     The Guitar Player Returns Airdate:  05/15/61

Jim Lindsey returns to Mayberry to much fanfare and reveals he’s struck out on his own.  When Andy learns that Jim is leaving bills untouched, he suspects something is wrong.

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“Bringing Up Opie”

1.32     Bringing Up Opie Airdate:  05/22/61

When Opie acts out at school, Aunt Bea worries Opie is spending too much time at the jail.  Andy decides that Opie can’t spend time at the jail and orders him to stay home for his own good.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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