The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 26: The Inspector. April 10, 1961. 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
Andy walks into the jail and observes Barney playing checkers against himself. Andy watches Barney for a while and gets a real kick out of it. He ends up telling Barney what he’d like to see is when he plays ping-pong against himself. Barney starts to get a little angry but Andy is just kidding around. Then their attention shifts to the mail- the Hubacher brothers- who Andy and Barney had sent away to the state prison- had sent them a package. The brothers had taken up leather craft and sent Andy a wallet and Barney a leather bookmark.
There is also in the mail- a letter informing them that the inspector will be in for a review. They realize that the inspector will be coming today. Andy isn’t worried about it- He tells Barney he’s friends with the inspector Sam Allen and they usually end up going hunting or fishing. Barney is taking this inspector business seriously and says they need to have a prisoner- so he goes out and gets- Otis of course. A somewhat drunk Otis is brought in- and it turns out it’s Otis’s birthday. Andy goes to get a cake for Otis he thinks Sam Allen will get a kick out of it. Meanwhile Otis is sleeping in Andy’s chair and Barney is sprucing up the jail when the inspector arrives. Turns out its not Sam Allen this time- Allen is on leave- the new inspector Ralph Case is not impressed when he sees a prisoner sitting out in Andy’s chair sleeping and gets out his little notebook and starts writing them up. Barney hustles Otis off into the jail cell- when Andy comes in with the cake. Andy is friendly and welcomes Case- but Case the inspector is all business. Barney is very aware that things are going wrong here but Andy seems very oblivious to the situation. Case is full of complaints but Andy seems to take them all as compliments. Case keeps writing up violations in his notebook. When they get to the guns Case asks Barney why he doesn’t have a bullet in his gun- gives him a bullet- Barney puts it in his gun and you guessed it -Barney shoots the gun off into the floor. Case is now upset and says this is the worst excuse for a jail he’s ever seen and storms out- talking about calling his supervisor and having Andy and Barney impeached.
We have a reversal of roles here- Barney knows they are in trouble and sees the situation for what it is- where Andy is playing a simpleton who doesn’t realize what is going on. I have been critical in the episodes where Andy plays the homespun buffoon but in this episode- it seems to work.
Opie comes in- for his only appearance in the episode with a hat and tie for Andy to wear. Barney had dropped in at the house and suggested bringing Andy a hat and tie. The only hat Opie could find was a fishing hat- and the tie was a poka dot tie. When Barney arrives and sees Andy in the fishing hat- he is upset but Andy sees nothing to be alarmed about. The next thing you know Andy and Barney are in the jail cell and the door slams behind them. Case walks in and has to unlock the door. Case can’t wait for his supervisor to arrive and they nail Andy and Barney for this shenanigans.
A guy named Sam runs into the jail and tells them that Luke Ranier a moonshiner is all worked up and shooting at people. Andy and Barney head out to Ranier’s house with Case in the back seat. As soon as they get out of the car shots are fired at them. Andy knows Ranier and knows he’s harmless but of course Case overreacts. He talks of getting tear gas- then he reaches for the radio to call the state police for help. Andy says they need no help and tells Case to stay off the radio and he will handle it. He then walks out into the open and straight to the house where Luke Ranier is shooting from- Andy walks in and gets Ranier and brings him out. Meanwhile Case’s supervisor a Mr. Brady has arrived and has seen Andy in action. Andy hands Ranier over to Barney. Mr. Brady asks Case why he called him in- and Case starts talking about birthday cakes and pokadotted ties etc- and Brady kind of looks at him like he’s crazy. As Case walks away Andy tells Brady that Case seems a little overworked. Brady clearly likes what he sees of Andy’s work. In the end as Case leaves he seems to have seen the light and smiles after a brief conversation with Andy.
- Jack Prince who plays Luke Ranier- was a moonshiner in an earlier episode Alcohol And Old Lace- his name in that one was Ben Sewell. He would play in three later episodes as Rafe Hollister.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Rony Howard- Opie Taylor
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Jack Prince- Luke Ranier
Tod Andrews- Ralph Case
Willis Bouchey- Mr. Brady
Ray Lanier- Sam
Directed by- Bob Sweeney
Written by Jack Elinson and Charles Stewart.