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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: Best of Mayberry

December 20th, 2010

The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: Best of Mayberry - Buy from Amazon

The Andy Griffith Show started way back in 1960 as a special episode of Make Room for Daddy, which was very popular back then. Andy Griffith was already an established star after the success of What it Was, Was Football while he was in the adaption of No Time for Sergeants on TV, on Broadway, and in a movie. However, The Andy Griffith Show is where he went from star to TV legend. The show has been released on full-season sets, Complete Series Megaset, and now on a Best Of three-disc set called 50th Anniversary: Best of Mayberry.

The Show

The three-disc set starts with Danny Meets Andy Griffith, the episode of Make Room for Daddy that introduced the world to Andy Taylor. In the show, Danny Thomas gets busted for running a stop sign and when he tries to use his wealth to mock the town, Andy gives him a $100 fine, or a ten day stay in jail. Danny then uses his celebrity status to try and get Andy in trouble for abuse of power, but Andy's small town charm causes that plan to backfire. The Christmas Story is the only episode from the first season on the DVD, and not only is it one of the best in the series' run, it also fits the season. In Pickle Story, Andy and Barney try and figure a way to get rid of Aunt Bea's awful pickles without hurting her feelings, but everything they try just makes the situation worse. When the tenor leaves the town choir, Barney replaces him in Barney and the Choir. There's just one problem, he can't sing. Opie has an imaginary friend in Mr. McBeevee, but when he uses him as an excuse for missing his chores and finding things, Andy and Barney get worried. But Opie's convinced he's real... because he is real. Convicts At Large is noteworthy because it allows one of the side characters, Floyd the Barber, a chance to shine. In the episode, he and Barney are kidnapped by three escaped convicts, who just happen to be women. Likewise, Man in a Hurry is noteworthy because it is the first appearance by Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle.

Andy goes to his Class Reunion and reunites with old high school sweetheart. It doesn't go exactly how he would have liked. In The Darlings are Coming, the titular Darlings are a family of mountain folk that come into town. They're in Mayberry waiting for Charlene's financee to come into town, but when she sees Andy, it's love at first sight, which spells nothing but trouble for him. Barney buys a lemon in Barney's First Car, which is an amazing coincidence, because he does the same thing in the first episode of his guest run on Matlock. Dogs, Dogs, Dogs has the courthouse invaded by a pack of dogs, just as an inspector is coming to town to see if they truly are in need of extra funds. The Darlings are back in Mountain Wedding, which is also the episode that introduced the character of Ernest T. Bass. Opie is the focus of Opie the Birdman. After he accidentally kills a mother bird, Opie decides to raise the baby birds himself. Not only is this one of the best episodes, it is also one of the more emotional. In The Sermon for Today, there's a guest preacher from New York, and not only is he from the big city, but he's also famous, having written a popular book.

Disc three starts with Citizen's Arrest, in which first Barney gives Gomer a traffic ticket for doing a U-turn, but later when Barney does the same, Gomer tries to perform a citizen's arrest. In Fun Girls, Andy and Barney give a pair of wild women a ride home, but when their girlfriends see them, they are in a lot of trouble. Barney buys a motorcycle in Barney's Sidecar in order to catch speeders, but he's the most dangerous thing on the road. In Goober and the Art of Love, Barney tries to teach Goober how to get a date. This will end poorly.

Also on disc three is Return to Mayberry, the TV movie that aired in 1986. In it, Andy returns to Mayberry to visit Opie, who is about to become a father. When he gets there, some of the folks want him to run for sheriff again; however, that would mean going up against Barney. It's not as good as the episodes on the DVD, but it is still nice to see almost all of the actors again.

The Extras

Disc one has Andy Griffith appearing on Opening Night and performing one of his short monologues, while disc two has a second appearance, this time he's joined by Don Knotts. Disc three has Fishin' Hole Montage, which is a image gallery / clip montage set to the theme song, sung by Andy Griffith. Each episode comes with a text intro.

The Verdict

The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: Best of Mayberry suffers from the same problems every DVD like this suffers from. It's nearly impossible for two people to agree on what the best episodes of and show are, so there's will obviously be some episodes not everyone agrees should be here. Also, all of these episodes have been previously released on DVD, twice, so the target audience is limited to those who like the show, but not enough to buy the whole collection. For those, the three-disc DVD is worth picking up.

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