The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 21: Andy And The Gentleman Crook- February 27, 1960. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
The show starts with a great set up to the episode- Andy is at the jail telling Opie a story- which Barney is as much into as Opie is. After Aunt Bee comes and gets Opie- Barney is practicing his draw on his pistol- and accidentally his pistol goes off. Andy is not happy but understanding of course and in the end gives Barney another bullet- just as long as Barney keeps the bullet in his shirt pocket.
There is a phone call and Andy learns that the state police wants to house an notorious law breaker- Gentleman Dan Caldwell for a couple days until he can be sent to Atlanta. This excites Barney who wants to spruce up the jail house for the distinguished guess they will be getting.
When the state police arrive- Barney gets the bullet out of his pocket and after giving it some thought puts it in his pistol- against Andy’s previous orders. When ‘Gentleman Dan’ comes in- Barney immediately falls under his spell. Barney even goes as far as to ask for his autograph. Gentleman Dan- a confidence man and swindler- is a real charmer. Next he is telling Opie outlaw stories and Barney is also taken in with the stories of Gentleman Dan. Gentleman’s Dan’s code is ‘On my word as a gentleman.’- He looks and acts the part and so far Barney and Opie have bought into it easily- Andy isn’t buying any of it. He knows better.
Next Gentleman Dan- collects Aunt Bee when she comes in. He charms her telling her ‘I’ve never met a more charming lady.’ When Barney, Aunt Bee and Opie leave- Barney even calls him “Uncle Dan.’ Andy who has been observing all this can’t be charmed by Gentleman Dan and pretty much levels with him after everyone leaves.
It’s night time at the Taylor’s and Aunt Bee is making Gentleman Dan a fancy supper and gets all dressed up to deliver his meal. It’s about bedtime for Opie- and when Andy starts to tell him another story- Opie isn’t interested, he is more interested in Gentleman Dan’s crime stories. As Opie goes to bed Andy tells him to go right to sleep -and Opie replies that he will – ‘On my word as a gentleman’
Barney has Gentleman Dan to himself and they are going to play gin rummy. Gentleman Dan remarks how its hard to play through the bars- so Barney goes into the cell and they start to play cards. Of course Gentleman Dan ends up stealing Barney’s pistol. Barney acts kind of shocked at Dan’s behavior. “You gave me your word’- Bee and Opie then walk in- and Dan tells them to join Barney in the jail cell. Opie at this point is still buying in to the Gentleman Dan act-not realizing that this is the real Gentleman Dan. In comes Andy- and when Gentleman Dan tells him to get into the cell with Barney – Andy is laughing at him. He doesn’t realize that there is a bullet in the pistol. This is when Opie realizes the seriousness of the situation. Barney is trying to tell Andy that there is a bullet in the pistol but doesn’t quite get the words out he’s so excited. Dan with the gun on Andy pulls the trigger a number of times- nothing but clicks… Andy who had explained their was no bullets -walks over and takes the gun from Gentleman Dan. Andy is laughing about there being no bullets. Andy points the gun to the ceiling and fires- and it goes off. Andy is now stunned and needs to sit down.
The episode ends with Barney admitting to Andy that he fell for Gentleman Dan’s act. Andy tells Barney that doesn’t upset him but what does is how Gentleman Dan was able to get Barney’s gun off of him so easily. Barney then goes into the motions of showing Andy what happened- and Andy takes Barney’s gun just like Gentleman Dan did.
Another 5 star episode. More and more Andy is settling into the role he will play for the rest of the show. The way Andy acted in earlier episodes you could almost see him falling for the Gentleman Dan act- like Barney did but now he is the wise one and is on to Dan from the get go. He’s also not loud about it- just observes the act he is putting on without a whole lot of comment to Barney, Opie or Aunt Bee. Dan Tobin plays a great Gentleman Dan- he looks the part- like a con man- but not like your typical criminal. Again- Don Knotts gives a stellar performance as Barney.
- This is the second time in the series that Barney has misfired his gun- the first time was in episode 2.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Dan Tobin- Gentleman Dan Caldwell
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Mike Steen- Police Sergeant
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Ben Gershman and Leo Solomon.