The Andy Griffith Show: Season 2/ Episode 12: Sheriff Barney. December 25, 1961. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
Another Barney great Barney centered episode. The nearby town of Greendale needs someone to finish out the old sheriff’s term. The mayor holds up the newspaper with a big headline about Andy being named the best sheriff in the state. Since he figures he can’t get Andy- he centers on the deputy- Barney Fife- and the camera zooms in on the photo of Andy and Barney in the paper and mayor-going on the photo calls Barney ‘keen, sharp, alert.’–cut to the Mayberry jail and Barney locked himself in a cell for the third time that week. Instead of letting Barney stew in the cell for a while like he did before he lets Barney out- because they have big business to do. Andy has some fun with Barney-building things up- three vehicles out on the street—all over parked- and hands Barney some chalk to mark them up. Andy laughs as Barney storms out the door.
The mayor of Greendale calls and talks to Andy-he wants Barney to finish the term. Odd they didn’t at least talk to Barney or interview him before offering him the job. Andy tells the mayor he will talk to him- but is clearly troubled he knows Barney isn’t up to this. When Andy tells Barney of the offer of course Barney gets all excited- and Andy can’t talk him down. Andy tries to tell him he needs more experience- that being a sheriff is a lot different than being a deputy- but Barney is hearing none of it. Of course Barney with head held high- has to walk down the street – Floyd and some of the old townsmen who are hanging out on the street in front of the barber shop- get to hear how Barney is going to be sheriff of Greendale. One of the old men say- ‘Greendale is a quiet peaceful town’- to which Barney responds- ‘underneath it’s another Dodge City.’
Opie comes in to visit Andy at the jail- he doesn’t want Barney to leave either- and gives Andy and idea- why not let Barney be sheriff now and then. Andy thinks this is a great idea- this will give Barney a taste of what it’s like and he will see it’s not all that easy. When Andy swears Barney in as sheriff for a day- Barney’s first move is to try to find out where the Rafe Hollister still is- and they have Otis sleeping away in his cell. So Barney is going to do some highly scientific police work. He goes in and talks quietly to Otis trying to get him to subconsciously give up the location of the still. Otis is awake but goes along with Barney- giving out directions which go to nearby states- until it gives up–Barney’s home address and says the still owner is- Barney Fife. Andy gets a big kick out of this- an angry Barney throws Otis out of his cell and gives Andy a piece of chalk to go mark cars.
Two guys come in arguing. Barney gets in between them and throws them into jail. Turns out one of them build a fence that blocked the sun from the others fellas chickens. Barney is going through law books- when Andy comes in and easily settles it- how about a wire fence? Both agree and thank Andy- and look at Barney with scorn as they walk out. Barney is all depressed and hands back the sheriff’s badge to Andy and walks out without a word.
Rafe Hollister the bootlegger who they are looking for comes in- and hands himself over. He’s going to get caught sooner or later he tells Andy and he is ready to change. Andy gets an idea-he bribes Rafe. He will make his stay in jail comfortable- if Rafe would just go find Barney. Rafe goes up to Barney- they don’t know each other- and is trying to turn himself in- but Barney is feeling sorry for himself and not listening. Then some kid rides his bike down the sidewalk and Barney goes after him. After the boy leaves- Hollister again trying to get Barney’s attention- gets frustrated and walks away- but he jaywalks- and Barney is finally with it–calls Hollister over-finds out who he has- and brings him into the jail.
Andy builds this all up- he knows Barney’s confidence had been shattered earlier and Barney is flying high again. Andy tells Barney he figures he is losing him now to Greendale- that he has a taste of being a sheriff etc.. Barney gets on the phone and tells the mayor of Greendale he can’t take the job- that Mayberry needs him and he can’t leave Andy like this.
The final segment- Andy and Barney are cleaning out the jail cells- and the jail door slams on Andy locking him in. Now Barney is in his glory- it’s his turn to let Andy stay in the cell for a while until he chooses to release him. Problem is- Barney walks away and walks into the other cell- and the door slams on him- they are both locked up. Andy is smiling.
Andy Griffith- Sheriff Andy Taylor
Don Knotts- Deputy Barney Fife
Ronny Howard- Opie Taylor
Howard McNear- Floyd Lawson
Frances Bavier- Aunt Bee Taylor
Hal Smith- Otis Campbell
Jack Prince- Rafe Hollister
Dabbs Greer- Councilman Dobbs
Ralph Dumke- Mayor Purdy
Orville Sherman- Huey Welch
Frank Warren- Clint Osgood
Joseph Hamilton- Checker player
Paul Bryar- Greendale councilman
Directed by Bob Sweeney
Written by Ben Gershman and Leo Solomon