The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 17: Alcohol And Old Lace. January 30, 1961. 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
This is the first but certainly not the last episode in the series that deals with moonshiners- and of course since moonshine and drinking is the subject, Otis has to be front and center. Andy and Barney are working on breaking up the moonshine business in Mayberry- when they get a tip from the Morrison sisters- Clarabelle and Jennifer about Ben Sewell a potato farmer who is running a still. What the Morrison’s are doing is- cutting down the competition because they are also in the moonshine business. Andy and Barney go and catch Ben making his shine. When they arrive Ben shoots at them thinking they were government. When he sees its Andy and Barney he sees nothing wrong and is kind of surprised when they arrest him. Andy and Barney think they have stopped the moonshining but the Morrison sisters are back- this time ratting out Rube Sloane. Sloane wants to know who has been ratting them out- and Barney won’t give it up until he hits on the Morrison sisters- and Barney kind of gives it away by his actions. Andy then flat out tells them its the Morrison’s.
Enter Opie- who goes up to the Morrison’s place to get some flowers- so he can make up to his teacher who is mad at him. He goes into the hot house and gets a jar full of the moonshine to put the flowers in. When Opie comes in to see his dad he shows them the flowers and as he was leaving he talks about the Morrison’s ‘flower making machine’ -and then describes what he has seen. Andy and Barney smell the jar of alcohol.
Andy and Barney go up to the Morrison’s and end up destroying their still- but are easy on the sisters who deny they sold the ‘elixer’ for drinking purposes- they sold it only for ‘celebrations’ and ‘special occasions’- of course they mention every holiday or even potential holiday as a ‘special occasion.’
The show ends with the Morrison’s out of the moonshine business- but they are now into making preserves. They see Andy on the street and tell them they left a jar with Barney- and give Andy a jar. When Andy walks into the jail he sees Barney sampling the product- and see that he is gassed. Maybe they aren’t out of the business after all.
- Jack Prince who plays Ben Sewell- will in future episodes play a character similar to Ben named Rafe Hollister. In real life the actor Jack Prince is also a trained vocalist and they will feature his singing in that future episode.
- The Morrison sisters- immediately remind me of another sister team who made moonshine- a decade later in the 1970’s on The Walton’s- The Baldwin sisters were also into making their recipe…
- This will be the only episode where the Morrison sisters appear.
- This is the first episode in the series where Barney gets drunk.
- Otis plays a fairly big role in this episode. In one scene he goes to get his moonshine from the Morrison’s and since the competition has been crushed they have raised the price on him. When arrested he also won’t give up where he got this moonshine from citing ‘town drunks have a code they live by.’
- In this episode Andy mentions that Mayberry is a dry county.
- When Andy has Ben and Rube in jail he entertains them by playing his guitar and singing Woody Guthrie’s ‘I Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way.’
- Gene Reynolds who directs this episode- also directed a number of television programs over the years-including Hogan’s Heroes and MASH. He died last year at the age of 96.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Howard McNear- Floyd The Barber
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Gladys Hurlbut- Clairabelle Morrison
Charity Grace- Jennifer Morrison
Jack Prince-Ben Sewell
Thom Carney- Rube Sloane
Directed by Gene Reynolds
Written by Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart