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Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season
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The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season

4.6 5
Director: Bob Sweeney, Don Weis, Gene Reynolds

Cast: Andy Griffith

There are a dozen or so episodes of The Andy Griffith Show from across the series' early run that have turned up on DVD since the end of the '90s -- all of them were unauthorized, made possible by those particular shows having fallen out of copyright; all were cheap public-domain editions made from poor quality 16 mm print (most of them deliberately missing the


There are a dozen or so episodes of The Andy Griffith Show from across the series' early run that have turned up on DVD since the end of the '90s -- all of them were unauthorized, made possible by those particular shows having fallen out of copyright; all were cheap public-domain editions made from poor quality 16 mm print (most of them deliberately missing the main title and closing theme music, which is still under copyright). This four-disc, fully authorized set of the Andy Griffith Show from Paramount Home Video is completely different in content and quality. Mastered from original 35 mm negative materials, the shows here look so good that it's a delight to the eye to watch them -- there are movies from the early '60s that aren't as well preserved or as well transferred as these episodes in glittering black-and-white (mastered in full-screen, 1.33:1). The audio isn't quite as impressive but only because the volume is mastered a bit low, requiring a doubling of the normal monitor setting -- but once that little problem is overcome, the sound that is here is excellent, as becomes clear on the one major music-related episode in this package, "Mayberry on Record." The series' first season defined the parameters and appeal that allowed it to dominate the ratings for seven years, and make Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Francis Bavier, and Ron Howard into television stars (and launch Knotts into a movie career in the mid-'60s, and Howard to major TV stardom in his own right, and later to a director/producer career in movies). Some of the characterizations would get better defined, but the show seldom moved far from what we see here, presenting simple, honest, rural humor (and not all of it squeaky innocent -- on letting some prisoners out on a Christmas furlough, Sheriff Taylor (Andy Griffith) cheerfully calls after them, "And don't drink too much"). Some of the scripts have fun at the expense of Griffith's character ("Mayberry on Record") as well as Knotts' excitable Deputy Barney Fife, and others show an almost Capra-esque degree of gentleness, if not sentimentality ("Christmas Story, which features veteran movie heavy Will Wright as a Scrooge-like town resident). It's interesting to look at the overall casting which, in addition to a cadre of gifted television and veteran big-screen and stage performers (including character actor Dick Elliott as the mayor), also includes guest spots by at least two big-screen leading men of the period, Tod Andrews and George Nader, who were not noted for comedy and who were entering decided downturns in their respective careers -- and one (James Best) who was on his way up. "Mayberry on Record, features a musical treat for fans of bluegrass music or the rock group the Byrds in the presence of a guest-starring performing group, the Country Boys, featuring future Byrds guitarist Clarence White and his brother Roland White in their line-up. The bluegrass group the Dillards later became well known as semi-regulars on the show, as the "Darling" family, but White brothers' appearances on the series are less well remembered today. As to the overall series, the shows hold up much better being seen in their uncut versions as opposed to the decades of syndicated and cable-cast presentations for which they have had between one and two minutes of material removed. The balance in the writing of the original episodes is restored along with the careful pacing and placement of plot elements; usually Griffith and Knotts engage in some humor built around their characters in the opening sequence for a minute or two, followed by the introduction of the specific plot for the show. Each episode gets five chapter markers, matching the breaks for commercials, and even the one-minute end segments and end credits get separate chapter numbers. The four discs each have eight episodes with no onscreen extras, though each narrow jewel case contains good synopses with essential plot elements for each episode. The discs each open automatically to a simple easy-to-use menu that allows quick access to all eight episodes.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
One of the most beloved television series all time, The Andy Griffith Show has held up remarkably well over the past 40 years, thanks to clever writing, memorable characters, and genuine heart. Already a popular comedian and storyteller when the show hit the air, Andy Griffith exuded likable charm as Andy Taylor, sheriff of the sleepy town of Mayberry, North Carolina. A widower, Andy lives with his young son, Opie (Ron "Ronny" Howard), and Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), who moves in to help around the house in the premiere episode, "The New Housekeeper." Without much actual crime in Mayberry, Andy spends much of his time keeping overzealous deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts, who won five Emmys in this role) out of trouble (after shooting himself in the foot, Barney is forced to keep his only bullet in his shirt pocket). Other Mayberry residents appearing in Season 1 include Floyd Lawson (Howard McNear), the barber at whose shop Andy and Barney spend much of their time; Ellie Walker (Father Knows Best's Elinor Donahue), the clerk at the local drugstore; and Otis Campbell (Hal Smith), the town drunk who checks himself into jail every Friday night after tying one on. Season 1 is loaded with classic episodes: In "Mayberry Goes Hollywood," a movie crew turns the town upside down; Barney's policing gets a little out of hand in "Andy Saves Barney's Morale"; "Alcohol and Old Lace" finds the hunt for moonshiners ending with surprisingly dainty perpetrators; an escaped convict vows revenge against the lawman -- Barney -- who sent him away in "Barney Gets His Man"; and in the series' only Yuletide episode, "Christmas Story," Andy shows Scrooge-like department store owner Ben Weaver (Will Right) the true meaning of the holidays. As for Gomer Pyle, Howard Stringer, Thelma Lou, and Ernest T. Bass, they won't show up until subsequent seasons, but there is more than enough homespun humor in this first set to keep you smiling for some time.

Product Details

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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Andy Griffith Sheriff Andy Taylor
Arthur Hunnicutt Mr. Wakefield
Betty Lynn Thelma Lou
Cheerio Meredith Emma Brand
Dan Tobin "Gentleman" Dan Caldwell
Elinor Donahue Ellie Walker,Elinore 'Ellie' Walker
Frank Gerstle Dirkson
Hal Smith Otis Campbell
Hope Summers Bertha,Bertha Edwards
Howard McNear Floyd Lawson
Hugh Marlowe Mr. Maxwell
James Best Jim Lindsey
Jesse White Fred Boone
R.G. Armstrong Farmer Flint
Ron Howard Opie Taylor
Stuart Erwin Tom Silby
William Lanteau Ed Sawyer
William Schallert Sam Becker
Don Knotts Deputy Barney Fife
Phil Chambers Jason
Tod Andrews Ralph Case
Frances Bavier Aunt Bee Taylor
Dick Elliott Mayor Pike

Technical Credits
Bob Sweeney Director
Don Weis Director
Gene Reynolds Director
Sheldon Leonard Director

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While there are no extras at all involved here, not even closed captioning or subtitles, to see these episodes restored to full length with all the original tags at the end is great. The visual quality and sound is outstanding. The first season is so different from the following years in that Andy plays the hick role to the max, whereas later on, he sounds much more educated and sophiscated and allows the humor to develop around him, giving Don Knotts full run to grow fully into Barney. So while the first season is great, it shows the show beginning to get its legs. Well worth the money and the wait for this 'official' release.
Guest More than 1 year ago
good old time television comedy that each show usually had a real life lesson - looking forward to future seasons
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born and raised in the South, so I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show. It is good wholesome, clean fun. It is set in Mayberry, NC. Andy Taylor, played by Griffith, is a straight foward kind of guy who happens to be the sherrif in the small, rural town of Mayberry, and his deputy, Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts, is his crazy cousin. And then there is Ernest T. Bass, one of my favorites on the show, who is always looking for a girl. And The Darlings, played by The Dillards. All in all this is a very good show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago