The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 20: Andy Saves Barney’s Morale: February 20, 1961. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
Andy has to leave town to testify in Centerville- and will be turning things over to Barney for the day. Although he is only going to be gone eight hours Andy does seem a little concerned about Barney being in charge. Barney is of course over reacting to his new responsibilities even if he will be ‘acting- sheriff’ for just a day.
They cut forward- Andy is back- Barney is standing out on the sidewalk in front of the jail looking satisfied with himself. Things look peaceful- it’s not until Andy walks into the jail and sees both jail cells crammed with people does he realize something terrible has gone wrong.
While in charge Barney of course went by the book and ran in what looks like a couple dozen people for piddly offenses. Everyone is up in arms and yelling. Andy lets them all out of the cells and then tries them all- and ends up dismissing all the charges on everyone- even Otis. Barney showed no favoritism by the way he had even arrested the mayor and Aunt Bee.
Even though Barney had made a mockery of his day as sheriff- Andy is understanding- tells him he tried too hard and you can’t just follow the book or everyone in the country would be locked up.
Barney becomes the butt of jokes in Mayberry. When he walks into Floyd’s they all laugh and joke at his expense. Floyd even going as far as saying maybe they should make a trade with the federal government- Barney for J.Edgar Hoover. Barney comes back to the jail all downhearted and again Andy tries to get him in a better mood to no avail.
The next morning Barney comes in- all rumpled up, unshaven, looking like he hadn’t slept the night before- again Andy tries his best to get Barney out of this down mood but it’s not working.
Andy runs into Barney’s girlfriend Hilda Mae on the street and she says she had a date with Barney the night before [Barney wore his ‘salt and pepper suit]- and had worked at building his ego back up but when she messed his hair up it looked so funny she had to laugh- and that brought Barney back to feeling down. Hilda does give Andy an idea- she talks about how everyone likes Barney and they are just having fun with him, they don’t realize it’s hurting him. Andy then goes around town and speaks of having to let Barney go because you can’t have a deputy who is a running joke.
Andy’s tactics work- no one wants to see Barney lose his job and in comes Aunt Bee, the mayor- and everyone else Barney arrested- jailing themselves, confessing to their crimes and talking Barney up. Of course this gets Barney back into being his over-confident self quickly.
The show is really starting to hit its stride- Barney has been consistently funny from day 1- but they seem to have finally found the formula for Andy- not as the funny guy but as playing the straight man to Barney.
- This is the final episode for Barney’s girlfriend- Hilda Mae. She had only appeared in two episodes.
- There are 9 people in each cell who Barney arrested- 18 total.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Howard McNear- Floyd Lawson
Hal Smith -Otis Campbell
Dick Elliott- Mayor Pike
Florence MacMichael- Hilda Mae
Burt Mustin- Jud Fletcher
George Dunn- Pete
Joseph Hamilton- Chester Jones
Joseph Crehan- Franklin
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Frank Tarloff