The Christmas Story
The Andy Griffith Show
It begins with the joy of receiving Christmas cards and Deputy Fife admitting his is addressed to “Barney-poo”, advances a notion of releasing prisoners on their honor for the holiday, and really gets down to business when Mr. Weaver brings in Muggins, a moonshiner. The sheriff locks the whole Muggins family up, there’s a Christmas tree and trimmings in the jail, an image from Acts, and then Sweeney dollies and pans from Ellie and Andy singing “Away in a Manger” across the room past the tree and all the way to the barred jailhouse window gripped by Mr. Weaver staring in with a contorted face.
He tries repeatedly to get himself arrested, each time put off with good Christmas cheer, until Sheriff Taylor catches on and brings him in with a suitcase full of gifts packed “by mistake”.
Andy Saves Barney’s
The Andy Griffith Show
Sheriff Taylor has a one-day trip to Centerville for a trial, Deputy Fife is left in charge. Everyone in town goes to jail.
Barney becomes a laughingstock, morosely turns in his badge. Andy has a ploy, joins in the jokes, announces he’ll have to get a new deputy. One by one, the townspeople stream into jail, insisting on law and order.
This meditation on Acts was written by a blacklisted writer under his nom de guerre. Sweeney lowers the camera as Barney sits behind the sheriff’s desk, which is very tall. Aunt Bee is in for inciting to riot, the mayor for vagrancy. Barney’s unshaven dejection is a sight.
Sheriff Taylor as Justice of the Peace has to hear the cases, how Aunt Bee and her friends were chatting as usual in front of the courthouse, how old Jud insulted his checkers opponent of twenty years on a porch, again.
The music of Fife’s march accompanies him to the desk, as the camera sinks behind the railing.
Bringing Up Opie
The Andy Griffith Show
Aunt Bee decides the courthouse is no place for young Opie to spend his time after school, what with Otis coming in with a “snootful”, Barney and the boy practicing quick-draw, and the sheriff letting his son put up the new wanted posters.
“Are we really a bad influence?”, Barney wants to know. He and Andy ponder the problem and resign themselves to Aunt Bee’s judgment.
Opie is bored, so she has him plant some spinach. After he’s watered the seeds, Opie wanders off, accompanied by Earle Hagen’s music.
He comes upon an old abandoned mine, boarded up and attended by danger signs. Trying to pry loose one of the boards, a slight cave-in wards him away.
He kicks a can across the countryside, till a boy trades him a shirtful of green apples for the shiny new can. Opie eats them all, gets a tummy ache and lies down to sleep in the back of a pickup truck from Elm City, which by and by drives off.
Sheriff Taylor gets a call from the driver that evening, Opie is returned, Aunt Bee concedes the point. It begins with Andy telling Opie the story of Beauty and the Beast, and promising to tell him all about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table tomorrow.
The Andy Griffith Show
Deputy Fife is offered a new position in a neighboring town. “Me? High sheriff of Greendale?” Andy doesn’t think he’s qualified, and makes the mistake of saying so. Opie gives him the answer.
Barney is sworn in as sheriff of Mayberry for a day, he and Sheriff Taylor trade badges (the “War on Crime” march is heard, soft and slow). The days of “cracker barrel” law enforcement are behind us, Sheriff Fife proposes to use “highly scientific police techniques”.
The first order of business is to locate Rafe Hollister’s still, something Sheriff Taylor has been working on. Otis is sleeping off a snootful, Barney “probes his subconscious”. Otis is awakened by the wheedling questioner but shams through his roundabout directions to the still, at an address Barney doesn’t recognize as his own until Deputy Taylor points it out, adding that the sheriff ought to write a book, The Barney Fife Subconscious Prober Primer.
Fife is alone when two men come in seeking justice in a legal dispute. One has messy chickens, the other’s built a fence blocking their light. Each is locked in a separate cell, Andy enters to find Sheriff Fife consulting legal precedents, the case could go on for years. Taylor settles it by suggesting chicken wire, both men are released.
Sweeney’s direction has grown by a leap and a bound since “Andy Saves Barney’s Morale”, the look on Barney’s face as he lifts his head from the law book to contemplate the air around him at the disposition of the case, and the shot over Andy’s shoulder out the courthouse door as Barney strides diagonally to the opposite corner and kicks a can on his way down the street, angrily.
Rafe turns himself in, his wife grew tired of changing locations to evade the law. Andy persuades him to go back out and give himself up to Barney, there’ll be chicken and dumplings with sweet potato pie from Aunt Bee during his sentence if he does. “I should have turned myself in years ago,” says Rafe.
Barney doesn’t know Rafe Hollister, he rebukes a boy riding his bicycle on the sidewalk and sends the importunate stranger away. Rafe storms off and gets a jaywalking ticket. His identification comes as a lightning bolt to Barney.
Rafe is brought in at the point of a gun. “Mayberry needs me,” Deputy Fife tells the mayor of Greendale by telephone.
A Tiger Hunt in Paris
Col. Klink has one week’s leave in Paris, although “in the soul of the German warrior, Col. Hogan, there is only duty.” He makes the “Hitler dance” on arriving at his hotel, unconsciously.
Tiger, the beautiful Resistance fighter, is betrayed to the Gestapo and flown to headquarters for interrogation. Hogan and LeBeau join Klink on vacation, hidden with the luggage on the roof of his car. At the Hotel La Fontaine, Sgt. Schultz is given to understand the Gestapo have commandeered their transport.
Hogan sets up as a champagne-sipping black-marketeer in a plush suite. Col. Backscheider enters into league with him, although “champagne shrivels the Achilles tendon”. The car is a gift, Tiger is an employee, she knows Backscheider, “a Nazi, a genius at the art of death, an idiot at living.”
A beautiful Russian spy wants to know what Tiger knows about fighter bases in Germany. Klink calls home, he seems to think Hogan and LeBeau have escaped. Schultz’s temporary replacement conducts three bed checks a night.
To Be or Not to Be, one of the great sources for this series, is paid homage (like Stalag 17 and The Great Escape). Himmler, a Russian doorman, pays a visit to Gestapo headquarters. Klink is arrested as a highly-placed member of Tiger’s gang and released on his last day of leave. Himmler takes Tiger to Berlin. Col. Backscheider only wants to know one thing, “save the small talk, did he relieve me of my command?”
A counterfeiting operation is set up by the Germans at Stalag 13 to produce English and American currency. A clever ruse puts Col. Klink’s signature at the bottom of an order placed on the bulletin board inviting the prisoners to a cocktail party and weekend pass. Newkirk takes the credit for this “childish little laugh,” as Klink calls it, but his actual knowledge of counterfeiting is faulty, as the Nazis quickly determine.
An SS major tells the officer in charge he will be shot if there is any slip-up, the officer wisely files no report when one of his men questions the morality of counterfeiting even in wartime.
Without Newkirk on the inside, a frontal attack is made. Smoke bombs and a trash fire bring the prisoners with axes to save the camp, heroically.
Schultz cancels the volleyball game, Allied bombers have hit the zoo and freed the animals, there is a guard shortage, “back to the barracks!” He detaches one end of the net, and rolls it up, the prisoners cajole him, he reaches the other end, puts his rifle on his shoulder, the net is wrapped around it like a Torah.
A chimpanzee carries the missing part for an underground transmitter, fabricated by Carter. Royal Navy 371 relays messages to London between depth charges and tea, Hogan plays defense counsel to the chimp, “he looks like a lot of Gestapo men I’ve seen,” it goes back to the zoo past hunting guards, among whom LeBeau is nearly placed as a “big-game hunter” like his cousin Émile, the “king of the bull” (elephant).
A bridge is mined to destroy a truckload of synthetic jet fuel and the German scientist who produced it, instead the prisoners’ Red Cross packages are blown up.
Carter is of the Sioux tribe, Little Deer Who Goes Swift and Sure Through Forest. The jet fuel truck is due to pass the camp, LeBeau prepares an “arrow flambé”, Carter hits the barracks windowframe, Newkirk tries and succeeds, “Robin Hood”.
Klink is outside lecturing the prisoners as the truck in flames drives along the roadway and explodes. “Our specialty was massacres,” Carter says, glaring at a mocker.
I’m a Family
A family of grifters (husband, wife and ten-year-old daughter) work Honolulu in a series of scams. Their forte is found money shared by the wife with a susceptible lady, the husband is an attorney handling the necessary fees.
The daughter has a knack for getting change or a newspaper out of a nonexistent coin or bill. She plays a part in their most elaborate con by standing on a busy sidewalk and loudly pleading with a likely man to “come home, Daddy”, a crowd gathers, the wife as concerned bystander calls over a policeman, the husband in uniform. On this occasion, the daughter runs off with the mark’s briefcase, followed by the cop.
The mark is a bagman for a top mobster’s protection racket, the scam has interfered with a rival gang’s attempt to steal the bag, as well as Five-O’s stakeout and anticipated arrest. It contains a large amount of cash and an account book.
The mobster shoots his bagman dead, blows his rival to smithereens, kidnaps the daughter, while the husband and wife parlay Christian charity into passage money on a freighter.
The last scam is worked by Five-O to get past the mob’s “doctor”, an expert at detecting marked money.