Judge Cynthia Boris has been whistling this show's theme song all week, and it's been driving the rest of us crazy.
Our reviews of The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete First Season (published December 1st, 2004), The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Second Season (published June 8th, 2005), The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season (published February 15th, 2006), The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fourth Season (published February 15th, 2006), The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fifth Season (published May 17th, 2006), and The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: The Best Of Mayberry (published December 21st, 2010) are also available.
"Hey Pa, there goes another grown-up lady in trousers!"
When I reviewed the fourth season of The Andy Griffith Show, I began by saying this:
Mayberry. Over the years, it has become a symbol of America. A place where apple pies are always cooling on the windowsill. Where a date means skipping stones across Old Man Johnson's lake and the purchase of a new car is wildly celebrated by everyone in town. And though I've never lived in a place like this, I'm told that Mayberry (in the symbolic sense) exists or did exist at one time. I wouldn't know. I live in Orange County, California, where none of the above applies. Sometimes I wish it did; maybe that's why I really enjoyed watching The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season.
Since then, I've been told that there still are places in America that are just like Mayberry. I gave that idea a lot of thought and came up with this—nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. I'm glad I live in Southern California, and how appropriate is it that in The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Sixth Season, Andy and the family visit Southern California and their thought is just the same—nice place to visit but they wouldn't want to live there.
Facts of the Case
It's our sixth visit to this charming '60s sitcom about a widower sheriff named Andy (Andy Griffith), his son, Opie (Ronny Howard, Happy Days) and a community of slightly eccentric characters who all live in the small, small town of Mayberry, North Carolina.
This season includes:
The start of the sixth season came with many changes for the Andy Griffith family. The most obvious change was the disappearance of Don Knotts as Barney Fife. The word is, Knotts was only contracted for five seasons. Never thinking the show would go more than that, he contracted to make movies with Universal Studios and thus wasn't available when the show was picked up. Barney does make an appearance about halfway through the season for a short story arc, but the loss of his character does change the whole dynamic of the series.
In the impossible position of replacing Knotts, was Jack Burns of Burns and Schreiber. Burns brought his trademark, "yeah, huh, yeah, huh, yeah, huh-huh-huh" shtick to the character of Warren Ferguson, Andy's new deputy. Personally, I like Burns. He was a popular comic actor of the era and his distinctive voice can be heard in dozens of cartoons including The Simpsons,, and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home and he's the voice of one of the famed Crash Test Dummies. Sadly, many fans of the series weren't willing to give him a fair shake and he was quickly written out of the show. With Barney and Warren gone, the lesser characters of Floyd, Goober and later Howard Sprague (played by Jack Dodson) were given more screen time but no one had the chemistry with Griffith that Knotts did.
What people may not realize about season six is that it also heralded the exit of producer Aaron Ruben and along with him the majority of the writing staff. It's felt that the new writing staff, regardless of how talented they were, weren't able to capture the same homey, small town feel that was the series' trademark. Instead of being the laid back voice of reason in the middle of tornado, Andy becomes tense, whiney and he yells a lot. Several episodes have him in the dog house with girlfriend Helen and frankly, he seems like he's just had enough of the whole crowd around him.
Another oddity of this season is a change in locale. This set contains a four-episode story arc where Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee go to Hollywood to see the movie that's being made about Andy's life. Gavin McLeod makes a very funny appearance as the actor playing Andy in the movie but, other than that, these episodes just don't work for me. Andy is so uncomfortable playing the fish out of water that I'm uncomfortable watching him, and that's not a good thing.
As for the DVD itself, Paramount gets kudos for detail on the packaging. Each snap case has a themed graphic with the list of episodes (Opie's report card, a sheriff's incident report, a Hollywood scrapbook). Open the cases to find more detailed themed graphics and episode titles and descriptions, which is very handy. The color scheme is very intriguing and the art has a painted quality to it. Beyond the packaging there's nothing special here. No extras, nothing but a mono soundtrack and clean but underwhelming video quality.
Though I haven't seen the episode "A Singer in Town" in more than 10 years, I can still remember the song that Aunt Bee and Clara wrote and honestly, it still brings a tear to my eye. It's the perfect final episode for the season because it reminds us of what the show is all about.
My home town is the greatest place I know,
Sorry, but we can't render a verdict because the circuit judge is up in Mount Pilot officiating over the centennial quilting bee and jam making contest. Understand? Yeah. Huh? Yeah. Huh? Yeah. Huh-huh-huh.
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