The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 6: Runaway Kid. November 7, 1960. 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
While Andy and Barney get their share of airtime in this episode-the center of attention here swings to Opie. This one is the first to focus on Andy trying to teach Opie a lesson- and it backfires a little on Andy. The show opens with Opie and his friends Tommy and Steve playing the wild, wild west on the sidewalk never the jail. Andy pulls in and plays along with the kids for a couple minutes before going back to work. The boys decide to move Andy’s police car a little bit- down in front of the fire hydrant. [These three boys are so small- as we were watching Mrs. Postcard immediately said ‘those boys couldn’t have moved that car’- I agree with her!] Barney then comes along and sees Andy’s police car in front of the hydrant – writes him a ticket and confronts him about it inside the jail.
When Andy comes out and sees his car he knows he didn’t park it in front of the hydrant. He has a conversation with Opie who tells his Pa what happened that it was the three boys- and that he had promised Tommy and Steve he wouldn’t tell but he did anyway. Andy goes into his spiel about breaking promises. It will back fire on Andy-because Opie took this lesson taught to heart.
When Andy gets home -Opie has a new friend- a runaway boy named George ‘Tex’ Foley. Opie had promised ‘Tex’ that he wouldn’t reveal his name or the town he came from. When Andy presses Opie for the information he is told that he had made a promise to ‘Tex’ and promises were important, he couldn’t tell. Andy eventually finds out about a local runaway boy from the local police and eventually convinces ‘Tex’ to let him call his parents. In the end Andy tells Opie that keeping a promise is important but that there are times when the greater good and common sense allows one to break those rules.
Maybe they are starting to settle in at this point on this Andy Taylor character. As annoying as the previous episode was due to Andy’s over the top acting- in this episode he seems more like the Andy Taylor we will know for most of the entire series. Rony Howard is really good in this episode. A lot of 60’s child actors on television series- I have found annoying- Rony as Opie is never annoying. For a 6 year old he was a fine actor. I think at this point in the series it was a good idea to focus an episode on Opie.
- This would be the final episode in the entire series where Andy and Barney are referred to as being cousins.
- It is said that Barney owns a car in this episode. Later on in the series- there is an episode where Barney buys a car and it is called Barney’s First Car. What gives?
- This will be the only episode where Opie’s friends- Tommy and Steve appear- and the only episode where his new friend the runaway kid- George ‘Tex’ Foley appears. This will be a common happening throughout the series with Opie and his friends.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Pat Rosson- George ‘Tex’ Foley
Dennis Holmes- Tommy
Donald Losby- Steve
Director- Don Weis
Writer- Arthur Stander