The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 25: A Plaque For Mayberry. April 3, 1961.5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:
The first segment- Otis is in jail- came in drunk the night before but he’s sobered up and ready to leave but Barney isn’t so sure. Barney is badgering Andy about being too lax. He wants to give Otis a sobriety test. The test is hilarious- and Otis ends up doing better on the test than Barney does. In the end after they hop on one foot and then the other back and forth- Barney is gassed while Otis is still going strong- and Otis has to grab Barney and sit him down to save him from falling. Andy sitting behind his desk is quietly amused by it all- and tells Barney they should name the test the Barney Fife Peter Piper Piper Nose Pinching Test for Drunks.
Mayor Pike calls Andy and Barney in for a big meeting. The Women’s Historical Society has discovered that a Mayberry native was a hero during the Revolutionary War and that a descendant of Nathan Tibbs- the hero- lives in Mayberry. Barney is of course immediately convinced that he is the man they are looking for. Again Andy is quietly amused with Barney- and has a little too much fun at Barney’s expense- with Barney reminding him that the Fife’s are all sensitive people.
Barney goes and gets a family tree for Nathan TIbbs- and it only goes so far- but far enough to show that a Phyfe was mentioned- Andy reminds him that it’s spelled differently- to which Barney replies that eventually they spelled it right- Fife. During this exchange its mentioned that Barney’s middle name is Oliver. In other episodes its Milton and in another he refers to himself as Barney P. Fife. Hmmmm.
The Women’s Historical Society complete their research and come to the jail to let them know who is the descendant of Nathan Pike- and its no other than Otis- who is drunk in jail at the moment. Barney had just finished practicing his long winded speech to Otis when the women walk in. Barney is shocked and a little angry over this- he was certain he was the one. Andy hustles the women out of the building before they discover Otis sleeping off his drunk.
Andy goes to Mayor Pike and the Mayor and several other man- councilmen? are all against Otis getting the plaque. Andy speaks up and defends Otis- that is is his fair and square. Andy goes over to the Campbell house and talks to Otis- and it’s clear without asking that Otis plans on accepting the plaque. Otis’s wife is also there and very proud of Otis. Otis is sober by the way. Otis talks seriously to Andy and mentions how his wife is proud of him now for the first time in a long time and that he had given her a lot of hard times.
Otis shows up for the ceremony- and is dressed up and sober and wearing new shoes. When he is awarded the plaque he modestly says that he is no hero- and can’t take credit for just being born and gives the plaque as Distinguished Citizen to Mayor Pike for the town. Mayor Pike passes around the glasses for a toast- and at first Otis hesitates- but Andy smiles at Otis and tells him ‘ Nathan would have wanted it that way.’
In the final segment Otis walks into the jail and looks like he’s drunk again. He goes in and sets down in his jail sell- he’s not drunk at all- he was just in pain because his new shoes were killing him!
- Another strong episode- well written and the main characters- Andy, Barney and Otis play it just right. While Andy was prominent in the episode he was more low keyed than he had been say in the first ten episodes or so in the series. Barney as always is hilarious and Otis is perfect. This will not be the last time that Otis’s drinking will be addressed. I also thought the ending was perfect- if Otis had came in at the end drunk- it wouldn’t have fit in right with the episode- that his problem was his new shoes hurting his feet- surprised Andy and Barney who thought he was drunk again- perfect. Also it was great to see there being more sides to Otis than just being the ‘town drunk.’
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Dick Elliott- Mayor Pike
Dorothy Neumann- Rita Campbell
Burt Mustin- Judd Fletcher
Isabel Randolph-Mrs. Bixby
Carol Veazie- Harriet Wickes
Joseph Hamilton- Councilman
Joseph Crehan- Councilman
Director- Bob Sweeney
Written by Bob Greshman and Leo Solomon