Paramount // 1964 // 830 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 17th, 2006
Don Knott's final season...and the end of mankind as we know it.
It's never a dull day in Mayberry, where Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) holds down the law with his loving, full-of-character family and friends as the local residents. Andy spends his time raising his young son, Opie (Ron Howard, director of such films as Backdraft and A Beautiful Mind) with Aunt Bee's friendly advice (Francis Bavier). Andy's best friend and is also his bumbling deputy, the shaky Barney Fife (the irreplaceable Don Knotts, The Private Eyes). Also around town are Andy's friends and neighbors, including local gas station attendant Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and left-of-center cousin Goober (George Lindsey), as well as Floyd Lawson, the town's local barber (Howard McNear).
Included on this disc are the following 32 episodes:
* Opie Loves Helen
* Barney's Physical
* Family Visit
* The Education of Ernest T. Bass
* Aunt Bee's Romance
* Barney's Bloodhound
* Man in the Middle
* Barney's Uniform
* Opie's Fortune
* Goodbye Sheriff Taylor
* The Pageant
* The Darling Baby
* Andy and Helen Have Their Day
* Three Wishes for Opie
* Otis Sues the County
* Barney Fife Realtor
* Goober Takes a Car Apart
* The Rehabilitation of Otis
* The Lucky Letter
* Goober and the Art of Love
* Barney Runs for Sheriff
* If I Had a ¼ Million
* TV or Not TV
* Guest in the House
* The Case of the Punch in the Nose
* Opie's Newspaper
* Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau
* The Arrest of the Fun Girls
* The Luck of Newton Monroe
* Opie Funks Arithmetic
* Opie and the Carnival
* Banjo Playing Deputy
How can one not love a show like The Andy Griffith Show? It's as inviting as a call home from mom or Christmas morning as a kid. The characters are a rich tapestry of homespun delight that never gets old. Although the show is rooted in the mundane -- people going about their everyday business without much consequence -- it's still entertaining, funny, warm, and timeless. It's been said a thousand times, but Mayberry is the town we all wish America could be. In this day and age of cell phones, the Internet, skyscrapers and Starbucks, it's nice to think that there might be a place where the barbershop still has a striped pole spinning out front.
This fifth season of The Andy Griffith Show never breaks the tradition of the previous seasons. The problems and challenges the characters encounter are minute by comparison, but amusing. In one episode Barney becomes the target of an irate store owner's wrath. In another, Sheriff Taylor is offered a new job in Raleigh, and Barney, afraid of losing Andy, creates multiple problems around town to show Andy how much he's needed. None of these plot lines are overly complicated; they are just the right dose of small town whimsy to make the show endearing.
Even with the formula intact, fans of the show found this fifth season to be one of immense change in Mayberry. For starters, the final episode of this season would prove to be its last in black and white. No longer would folks have to sit through two color tones -- Andy and the gang would spend the latter part of the 1960s in full-blown color! But less exciting would be the eventual departure of Don Knott's cherished Barney Fife. Knott's five years on this series is the glue that held it together -- his rambling, goofy rants would be sorely missed. But the cast marches on, and before Knott's leaves (eventually heading off to movies, then as the landlord on Three's Company) the fans get their last helping of his weird, wonderful behavior.
As usual, everyone performs his or her role to a tee. Andy Griffith is fatherly and amusing as the town's Sheriff. Future Oscar winning director (and star of Happy Days) Ron Howard is precocious as Andy's young son (and keep an eye out for Ron's older brother, Clint, during the episode "Goodbye, Sheriff Taylor"). The rest of the cast -- including Jim Nabors as good old Gomer Pyle -- give it their all. It's a testament to the writers and actors abilities that these characters are still remembered fondly forty years later.
Each episode of The Andy Griffith Show is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame in black and white. Overall these are great transfer, considering the age of the show. The blacks are solid and dark while the whites are crisp and clean. Though there is some dirt and grain once in a great while, it's hardly ever noticeable and never intrudes on the viewing. Once again, fans of the show will be pleased with how nice these transfers look.
The soundtrack on each episode is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. Not surprisingly, this is a very front-heavy mix that includes little in the way of surround sounds or directional effects. Ah, but that sweet whistled theme from the opening credits sure sounds great! No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are included on this set.
Once again, this season of The Andy Griffith Show is suspiciously light on extra features -- in fact, there are none to speak of. Somebody call the sheriff!
Review content copyright © 2006 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 830 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated