The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 3: Guitar Player. October 17, 1960. 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
The episode opens with a guitar player – Jim Lindsey out on the sidewalk entertaining an audience of locals -in front of Monroe’s Funeral Parlor. Everyone is enjoying it except for the undertaker- Orville Monroe. Andy comes along and is enjoying the picking- but Monroe wants Lindsey arrested for disturbance. Andy then makes the first arrest in the series. It’s not as you’d expect. While Lindsey is behind bars- Andy gets out his guitar and they both start playing and singing and are soon joined by Deputy Fife. Aunt Bee comes in with a big lunch for Lindsey-chicken and dumplings. Andy tells Lindsey that he is the best guitar player he’s ever heard and that he should think bigger. Into town comes a group Bobby Fleet and His Band With A Beat. They group goes to a restaurant and Fleet is insulting to the waitress- and to Andy when he comes in and also insults the town. Andy takes this all with a smile on his face- which upsets Barney. Andy’s goal is to hook Lindsey up with the band so he arrests Fleet for illegal parking. Andy stages a try out for a reluctant Lindsey in front of the captive Fleet and his band in jail. Fleet is impressed and decides to hire Jim Lindsey into his group- but Andy steps in first and negotiates a decent salary for Lindsey. Fleet is happy to have a great guitar player- he ‘digs’ Lindsey. As they are about to leave town- Barney tells Fleet there is a lot of talent in Mayberry and pulls out his harmonica and starts playing “Jingle Bells’- Fleet and the boys pull out of town. Andy nudges Barney to tell him that they’ve left and tells Barney ‘Barney, I don’t think he digs you.’
I like how music is often featured in The Andy Griffith Show- Jim Lindsey is only in two episodes- which was probably enough.
- Actors James Best [who plays the guitar player Jim Lindsey and Bub Taylor who plays postman Billy Ray Talbot- were in the same Twilight Zone episode a few years later- the one titled- The Last Rites Of Jeff Myrtleback. The Jim Lindsey character would appear in one more Andy Griffith Show episode- Season 1 Episode 31-The Guitar Player Returns. He is best remembered for playing Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane in The Dukes Of Hazzard. Dub Taylor a veteran character actor appeared in many television shows and in movies- he appeared in only two episodes of Andy- in this one he was called Talbot- in a season 2 episode he is called ‘Billy Ray.’
- The song that Jim, Andy sing with Barney joining in is called “New River Train’
- The character Orville Monroe- played by Jonathan Hole- would appear in three episodes. When the undertaking business is slow in Mayberry he repairs televisions.
- In the episode Andy tells Lindsey that he could be a big star- and people would be asking for autographs- and it would be worth learning to write just for that. Is this statement telling us that Lindsey couldn’t read or write?
- Andy makes a reference to Elvis when he tells Lindsey ‘How about that fella we see every now and then on television, shakin’ and screamin’- sounds like somebody is beatin’ his dog.
- When Lindsey plays his acoustic guitar in his ‘try out’ for Fleet- the sounds coming out of his guitar as the camera pans off of Lindsey sound like an electric guitar.
- In this episode Andy calls Barney ‘Tiger’- the first of many times this will happen in the series.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
James Best- Jim Lindsey
Henry Slate- Bobby Fleet
Johathan Hole- Orville Monroe
Dub Taylor- Billy Ray Talbot
Director- Don Weis
Written by Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart