The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 12: Stranger In Town. December 26, 1960. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
The episode opens with Barney getting a haircut- by Floyd The Barber- which introduces that character to the show- except the actor playing Floyd isn’t the actor Howard McNear who we all think of as Floyd. There are a couple other fellas sitting waiting for a haircut- and Floyd is giving his views on what he’d do if he were running things in Washington, etc. Andy comes in and lends Floyd a hand in evening up Barney’s sideburns. A bus comes into town and a man walks off the bus with a suitcase and walks directly into the barber shop where he seems to know everyone there and details about their lives.
When the strange man leaves- all five of the men in the barber shop agree that they have no idea who this man is but it’s clear they are a little thrown off by him. The fella walks out onto the street and even knows a woman and her twin babies-and can tell the twins apart. A small crowd led by Andy and Barney follow him to the local hotel where he has taken a room.
Later the stranger- his name is Ed Sawyer comes to the courthouse to talk to Andy and reveals his plans to buy George Sapley’s gas station. Andy doesn’t find out a lot about this peculiar man except that he’s never been to Mayberry before but Mayberry is his hometown. While Barney is of course over reacting -thinking this stranger is a foreign spy, Andy doesn’t seem all that concerned.
Sapley won’t sell his gas station to Sawyer and a local girl Sawyer keeps trying to meet won’t open her door. Sawyer comes back to Andy and he tells Andy he is in love with Lucy but has never met her. He wants Andy to fix things up for him but while they are talking Lucy comes in- and Sawyer creeps her out even more by revealing all these details about her that he knows. In a great line Lucy says to Sawyer ‘I think you’re crazy’ to which Andy responds ‘I know he is.’
Finally Andy gets Sawyer’s story. He was in the military with Joe Larson from town and was was jealous because his friend was from this nice town and he- Sawyer was from nowhere. He had read the Mayberry newspapers that Sawyer received and then when he got out of the military subscribed to the paper himself. When he saw the gas station was for sale he thought it was time for him to make his move.
When Andy goes to call the newspaper to have a story done on Sawyer- Sawyer leaves and draws a big crowd of around a couple dozen angry citizens out on the street. Andy rushes out and sees what is happening and gives a long speech on how they are mistreating Sawyer and that they should be ashamed of themselves that Sawyer had done nothing wrong etc- and just wanted to be a part of town. Everyone changes their tune including Lucy Matthews who tells him he can call on her that evening. George Sapley tells him they can draw up the papers to the gas station..
This was a fun episode-because they kept the mystery of this stranger a mystery until the end. Having Andy playing things cool- and Barney over reacting as he would do throughout the series was also a smart move. This would be the roles Andy and Barney would play in the future.
- The episode ends and it certainly looks like Ed Sawyer is going to stay in town and buy Sapley’s gas station. Sawyer never appears in another episode which seems odd and also- the gas station that will be mentioned in the future is owned by Wally -not George Sapley. Is this the same gas station as Wally’s?
- A sign in the barber shop with the prices- Haircut $1.00/ Shave .35/ Shine .25/ Shampoo .75. This was in 1960.
- Floyd The Barber- in this episode- Season 1- Episode 12- the barber Floyd Lawson is played by Walter Baldwin. There would be a quick change- in the very next episode- Floyd The Barber is played by the Floyd we would know Howard McNear- who would play Floyd in 80 episodes. A great move getting McNear in as Floyd.
- In this episode a Beauty Shop is located next to the barber shop. In the future there will be Monroe’s Funeral Parlor and then a television repair shop. There is also a door you can see connecting the two businesses- which is never seen again.
- No Aunt Bee or Ellie Walker in this episode. A large amount of actors in this episode- but only Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Rony Howard are regulars -the other we won’t see again.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
William Lanteau- Ed Sawyer
Walter Baldwin- Floyd Lawson
Marlene Willis- Lucy Matthews
Phil Chambers- Jason
Bill Erwin- George Sapley
George Dunn- Pete
Sara Seegar- Mrs. Buntley
Pat Colby- Bill Matthews
Directed by Don Weis
Written by Arthur Stander