The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 2: The Manhunt. October 10, 1960. 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
Season 1- Episode 2: OK we got the introduction of the key characters in the show with episode 1. On to Episode 2 _The Manhunt: There is an escaped convict suspected to be in the Mayberry area. The State Police come in- the captain and about a dozen men. They don’t want the help of Andy and Barney. Captain Barker is clearly disrespectful to Andy and Barney- he looks at them as a couple of country bumpkins and just wants them out of the way. Opie and a group of townspeople sitting out in front of the jail make Andy feel like a laughingstock and he decides he’s going to do something. They stake out the back roads and in a typical Barney Fife overdoing it scene- Barney is stopping and frisking everyone who passes by even though he knows who they are- this includes Mayor Pike- and- Barney’s mother. This is the only time Barney’s mother would make an appearance on the show. She is on maybe 5 seconds and says “But Barney, I’m your mother.” Barney ends up being apprehended by the convict- who ties him up and handcuffs him and takes his gun. Andy will come along and rescue him. Andy and Barney check in on Emma Brand-[the elderly lady who Barney arrested for jaywalking in episode 1]- they think the escapee could be there. When Emma acts odd Andy suspects he is in the house and goes back. He tells Emma if the convict came there not to tell him about the boat he has down by the lake. [In the opening scene Andy and Opie are on the lake fishing and the boat has a leak.] Andy and Barney then sit back and watch as the escapee gets in the boat and goes out onto the lake. When Captain Barker and his men arrive [Andy had called the jail and alerted them they knew where the escapee was- and Opie lead them to the lake.] Andy points out the escapee on the lake and Barker is furious at the bumbling Andy letting him escape. Andy replies he’ll be coming back- and as the boat sinks- the escapee -Dirksen- swims back and is arrested. This will become a constant theme in the show- Andy outsmarting everyone in his own laid back way. The episode ends with Captain Barker praising Andy.
After the first episode introducing the characters- episode 2- hits the ground running. A finely written episode- a consistent characteristic of the show- especially in the Barney years.
- Andy and Barney again refer to each other as being ‘cousins’- again this only occurs a couple times in the entire series.
- While they were in the jail- Barney accidentally shoots off his pistol while it is in the holster. This would become a running gag throughout the series. Andy will tell him to take the bullets out of his pistol.
- As far as Barney accidentally shooting his pistol- in the series he did it eight times. Three times he would shoot a bullet into the courthouse floor.
- This is the first of five times in the series where a criminal would take Barney’s gun away from him.
- We are introduced to a new character who will be a regular- Otis Campbell, the town drunk. He is in jail and lets himself out early in the episode. We will find out of course that when Otis gets drunk he locks himself up in the jail- and is usually the only one in jail. There are two cells. I’ve always found it interesting how things have changed. 60 years ago- even into the 70’s- a drunk was a source of humor. I don’t think the way the Otis character is played-that wouldn’t fly today. I also think of the characters that Foster Brooks and Dean Martin would play in the 70’s.
- Otis talks of being in the choir- in future episodes where they choir is shown- Otis is never a member.
- Also making his first appearance is the mayor- Mayor Pike- who is briefly searched by Barney at the road block.
- Another inconsistency in the show- in this episode the elderly Emma Brand lives near the lake. Later in season 1 they have her living in town.
- Ken Lynch who plays Captain Barker is a face you may recognize from this and other sitcoms. He appears in 4 Andy Griffith Shows- each time as a different character.
- The writers of this episode-Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart would win the 1960 Writers Guild Award for best comedy writing in a series.
- One of the older townsmen hanging out in front of the jail who were razzing Andy and Barney- character name -Jud Fletcher. Jud Fletcher an elderly character actor in many sitcoms during the era- is certainly a face you will remember-he also played Gus The Fireman in Leave It To Beaver, and bit roles in All In The Family, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C and countless other television shows and movies. He played Jud in nine episodes and was in two other episodes as an unnamed character- in The Andy Griffith Show. Burt was so old that he attended the first World Series in 1903.
- When the state police arrive in town- the music played- would become known as ‘Barney’s Theme’-
ANDY GRIFFITH- SHERIFF ANDY TAYLOR
RONY HOWARD- OPIE TAYLOR
DON KNOTTS- DEPUTY BARNEY FIFE
FRANCES BAVIER- AUNT BEE TAYLOR
CHERRIO MEREDITH- EMMA BRAND
HAL SMITH- OTIS CAMPBELL
DICK ELLIOTT- MAYOR PIKE
BURT MUSTIN- JUD FLETCHER
KEN LYNCH- CAPTAIN BARKER
FRANK GERSTLE- DIRKSEN
LILLIAN CARVER- BARNEY’S MOM
DIRECTED BY DON WEIS
WRITTEN BY JACK ELINSON AND CHARLES STEWART