A show that marked its debut in 1960 and enjoyed an incredible run on
prime-time television, it is perhaps matched only by it's ability to
continue to draw fans old and new in syndication, year after year, decade
after decade- does anyone think Friends will be shown in reruns 45 years
from now? Showing up during the tumultuous 60's, it and a few other sitcoms
that are truly worthy of classic status became that way because they did a
number of things very, very well. Even during that era many sitcoms came and
went rather quickly, in spite of the scant variety of programming available
for the average viewer. The comedy shows which tended to have a span of
several seasons were the ones which that centered on a main character who
was engaging and endearing in his/her role, and then built a strong
supporting cast around the star. Looking back, the 60's were an innovative
and incredible period for sitcom television, and The Andy Griffith Show is
about as good an example of this as can be found.
Affable, humble, humorous, fair and a myriad of other commendable qualities,
Andy Taylor quietly ruled rural Mayberry-Anytown, USA- with an unassuming
wisdom even Buddha might envy. It can be legitimately argued that this was
an ensemble show, but Griffith was the tower of strength at it's center. His
portrayal of a simple man who in truth wasn't simple of mind at all wears
the badge of sheriff as comfortably as one would their favorite slippers. In
Andy we see caring father and forgiving friend, fair mediator, moral
example, a peaceful soul that could also be perceived as one you'd probably
not want to cross. One look at Andy Taylor and you just know this man sleeps
peacefully each night. He's doing a job that he truly loves and it
Here is a synopsis of the 30 season seven episodes-
"Opie's Girlfriend"- Opie hangs out with Helen's niece and winds up getting
a black eye.
"The Lodge"- Howard wants to join the lodge but, thanks to his mother, one
member blackballs him.
"The Barbershop Quartet"- Mayberry is the reigning barbershop quartet
champions but their title is in jeopardy when their fourth man can't make
it. There is a voice in Mayberry that would make the perfect replacement- in
"The Ball Game"- Andy is the umpire of a championship baseball game between
Mayberry and Mt. Pilot and must make a tough call when Opie slides into home
"Aunt Bee's Crowning Glory"- Aunt Bee starts wearing a wig and is afraid to
admit to it when she starts seeing a visiting pastor.
"The Darling Fortune"- The Darlings arrive in Mayberry to find wives for his
boys. At first they don't like their prospects until a mountain superstition
sets their sites on Helen.
"Mind Over Matter"- Goober is involved in a minor car accident and Floyd and
Aunt Bee tell him stories that convince him he has whiplash.
"Politics Begin at Home"- There is an opening for town council and Aunt Bee
is convinced to run- but Andy, is committed to support Howard Sprague.
"The Senior Play"- Helen is head of the school play but, when the principal
sees the go-go dancing that they're planning, he tries to force Helen to
conduct a more traditional play.
"Opie Finds a Baby"- Opie and Arnold attempt to raise an infant they find on
the courthouse steps. Jack Nicholson guest stars.
"Big Fish in a Small Town"- Howard wants to try his hand at fishing and
snags the legendary silver carp that the Mayberry fishermen have been trying
to catch for years. Howard has the fish sent to an aquarium but has second
thoughts when he discovers how much the fish means to his friends.
"Only a Rose"- Aunt Bee tries to grow a hybrid rose to beat out Clara at a
garden competition. Unfortunately, the rose gets too close to a football
thrown by Opie.
"Otis the Deputy"- Andy sets out after bank robbers and is captured and held
captive. When Howard and Otis suspect something is amiss, they take off to
rescue Andy. Unfortunately, Otis takes a little nip of encouragement before
leaving. Otis's last episode.
"Goober Makes History"- Goober grows a beard and thinks it automatically
makes him an intellectual.
"A New Doctor in Town"- A young doctor arrives (played by William
Christopher of M*A*S*H) and Andy sticks up for him, until Opie needs his
"Don't Miss a Good Bet"- Andy's friends are swayed by a crooked investor who
claims he can uncover a legendary treasure. Andy warns them that they are
risking their money but ends up investing himself.
"Dinner at Eight"- Goober confuses messages and Andy ends up having three
spaghetti dinners in one night.
"A Visit to Barney Fife"- In season 6, Barney came to Mayberry for a visit.
In season 7, Andy goes to Raleigh and is suspicious of the family with whom
Barney lives, especially when there is a string of unsolved grocery store
burglaries going on. Classic Barney Fife here.
"Barney Comes to Mayberry"- Barney arrives just when Teena Andrews, a
Mayberry native who is now a big movie star returns for a publicity visit.
Barney used to date Teena in high school and thinks the spark is still
"Andy's Old Girlfriend"- Andy, Helen, Howard, and Andy's high school
sweetheart go to a cabin for a weekend getaway. Helen gets jealous when Andy
and his old flame get lost in the woods.
"Aunt Bee's Restaurant"- Aunt Bee goes into partnership on a Chinese
restaurant and then starts fretting over the financial risk and a cookie of
"Floyd's Barbershop"- Howard buys the barbershop to the ire of Floyd.
"The Statue"- Mayberry commissions a monument for Seth Taylor, but find out
he was a crook.
"Helen, The Authoress"- Helen is hired by a publishing company to put out a
book on children; Andy becomes jealous.
"Goodbye Dolly"- A milkman's horse is replaced by a truck; Opie is concerned
that the horse no longer wants to eat.
"Opie's Piano Lesson"- Opie is torn between piano lessons and football
"Howard, the Comedian"- Howard is so funny he goes on television;
unfortunately his jokes prove a little too close to home for some of the
folks of Mayberry.
"Big Brother"- Howard helps a student with his studies but becomes more
interested in the student's older sister.
"Opie's Most Unforgettable Character"- Opie wants to write a paper on his
father but finds it is more challenging than he had anticipated.
"Goober's Contest"- Goober holds a contest at the filling station but a
printing error has Floyd believing he's won more money than the station can
afford. This episode marked the last appearance of Floyd.
While the show had no chance of recapturing the glory of the Andy/Barney
years, season seven was something of a renaissance year after season six
which was the viewers first look at a Mayberry with so many significant
character losses; Jim Nabors had taken his Gomer Pyle character off to a
spinoff series of his own after season four. Funny as Nabors' goofy
down-home grease monkey character was, Barney was the true slapstick comedic
relief, with Don Knotts taking physical comedy to a level all his own. Gomer was
somewhat replaceable with almost equally goofy and likable cousin Goober,
but there was no replacing Barney Fife. If Griffith was king, Knotts was the
clown prince that allowed the show to effortlessly shift gears between
amusing and hilarious year after year. To lose both Knotts and Nabors in the
course of two seasons was alot to ask of a sitcom that made superb use of
several cast members. While season six certainly has its moments, the show
was still trying to find its way, using the cast of characters they had
left. More than anything else, that is what probably makes season seven a
better one; the writers as well as the cast knew going in what they had
available to work with, and had learned some solid lessons in the prior
season. First and foremost, there is no replacing Barney Fife with some
other goofy character as they had tried in season six to what must have been
a deluge of negative response from fans. Accentuate what you have and build
in other areas, but forget replacing Don Knotts.
In season seven, accentuate they did. The core characters from season six
were still here; Andy, Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier, who won an Emmy for
her role for this season) and Opie(Ron Howard), and the three get
plenty of plotlines devoted to them over the course of the season.
Supporting characters Goober (George Lindsey) and Andy's girlfriend
Helen (Aneta Corsaut) are made proliferate use of as well, but the
character that is really built upon in season seven is county clerk Howard
Sprague (Jack Dodson), a pretty good move on the producers' part.
Town drunk Otis (Hal Smith) is still here for laughs, and of note
this is the final season one would see wonderful, lovable (Howard
McNear) as barber Floyd Lawson; he had suffered a serious stroke and was
unable to walk or make use of his left arm. Still wanting to work even in
this compromised capacity, scenes were written around his ailment; this
would be his final season. While we don't see Ernest T. Bass in season
seven, the backhills family the Darlings are still around and made use of
for an episode- this is the last season the viewer would see Floyd, Otis or
What also worked in season six was bringing in Don Knotts to guest star as
Barney for two episodes, a move that won Knotts an Emmy award; for the
season seven episode "Barney Comes To Mayberry", Knotts repeats this
success, taking home his fifth Emmy for playing Barney Fife- proof that
sometimes the voters do get it right after all. Other significant points at
this stage in the show's history come as a result of audience familiarity
with so many characters year after year. Opie is now-gasp!- a teenager, and
while not little boy cute anymore, has turned into a pretty fine young
actor, loved in his role regardless of age. Helen is utilized much more this
season, and its obvious that Andy and Helen are going to go the distance.
Its a bit like watching your family and their neighborhood change over the
years; the changes are there, but they come in a subtle fashion, nuances
added to personalities while leaving the core intact, neighbors coming and
going. Andy Griffith is a curious show, when one analyzes its long lasting
popularity; its a sitcom that was immediately a hit with viewers, and for
good reason. Even after it started losing supporting characters, its
popularity didn't plummet- in fact,the series closed out season seven as
America's third highest-rated program. In part this was because audiences at
the time had made the show a part of their weekly routine, and it was a time
when television choices were a fraction of the fare available today. Still,
with so many character departures (and even more come when season eight
rolled around) as well as Griffith seemingly tiring of the role, the writing
was on the wall; Andy Griffith fans are fortunate that season seven gelled as
well as it did.
Andy Griffith- The Complete Seventh Season is presented as a
five disc single-sided set, in slimcases housed with a cardboard sleeve.
Aspect ratio here is 1.33:1 fullscreen. As was the case with Season Six,
colors seem accurate and for the most part the shows look very good. While a
bit on the soft side, the viewer is likely going to see these shows looking
better than they ever have on TV.
The audio track here is Dolby Digital mono. Nothing special but its clear
and easy to understand, fine for its purpose.
When you don't have enough apples, make applesauce. In the case of Andy
Griffith- The Complete Seventh Season the crew did a fine job taking
advantage of the talent still available after the cast losses they had
suffered; significant points regarding season seven are the losses of yet
more characters, making their final appearances here. Losses and all, this
is still 30 episodes and 780 minutes of Mayberry goodness. With an Emmy each
for guest star Don Knotts and Frances Bavier as well as a place at or near
the top of the ratings in 1966-67, this is something of a swan song for the
series, though there was still more Andy/Mayberry to