Judge P.S. Colbert's was just thinkin' about walkin' downtown to get a bottle of pop, and sayin' "Hey!" to Goober.
"Helen and I begged her to stay on with us, but you know Aunt Bee. She says two women in one household is one woman too many."—Sheriff Andy Taylor
Devoted fans and collectors of The Andy Griffith Show, rejoice! Here are all twenty six episodes of Mayberry R.F.D. The Complete First Season:
• "Andy And Helen Get Married"
Call it a spin-off. Call it a revamp. Call it a travesty; whatever. The fact is that in the astoundingly violent year of 1968—marked by the Vietnam War, political assassinations, campus revolutions, and rioting in almost in every major city—Americans sought refuge from their grim daily realities by making weekly pilgrimages to Mayberry, that mythical TV town of folksy serenity, where the sheriff needn't wear a gun. After eight seasons, The Andy Griffith Show was more popular than ever, topping the Nielsen ratings for the first time in its history. Griffith, however, had made it clear to CBS at the beginning of the season that he had no desire to continue playing Mayberry's affable "Sheriff Without a Gun" for another year, and he wasn't kidding.
Simply put, Mayberry R.F.D. methodically replaced Andy Taylor and his son Opie (Ronny Howard) with widowed City Council head (and gentleman farmer) Sam Jones (Ken Berry, Mama's Family) and his pre-teenage son Mike (Buddy Foster). The Jones men became a part of the scene during the last four episodes of TAGS, making the transition from one series to another almost seamless.
As its title implies, the season premiere episode deals with the wedding of Taylor and former school teacher Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut), and features a special guest appearance by Don Knotts as Barney Fife. You know the rest of the regulars: Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier), Filling station operator Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), County Clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson), Fix-it shop owner Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman), and Millie Hutchins (Arlene Golonka), the pretty blonde bakery worker that once nearly married Howard is back by episode two, but now she's Sam's girl, and for some unexplained reason, her last name has been changed to Swanson (which tested better in Peoria, perhaps?—who knows!)
Warner Bros. has done a wonderful restoration job here, delivering remarkably crisp picture quality and a sterling mono sound accompaniment. The set features no extras, but in addition to English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, there are additional subtitles in French (which tested well in Poughkeepsie, perhaps? who knows!)
If you're looking for knee-slapping, side-splittingly hilarious hijinks, you might try Raleigh, or Mount Pilot, even, but Mayberry R.F.D., while providing occasional chuckles (this is a cast of comic professionals), is more accurately described as a series of pleasant visits with some awfully nice, down-home folks. Speaking for myself, I'd live there in a New York minute, if it were only possible!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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