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   THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
Season One

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier
Director: Various
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen Black & White
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 915 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2004

Film ***

For as far back as I can remember, I have been watching The Andy Griffith Show on TV.  While I can’t recall the first episode I ever had the pleasure of watching, I do seem to recall not being able to get the theme song out of my head.  You know, the whistling that embodies the very simplicity of the show itself.  

Needless to say, many years have passed since I was a child whistling the days away in the hills of Southeastern Kentucky.  However, through the power of DVD and the good graces of Paramount, Andy Griffith can whistle on forever, in the digital realm. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the beautifully crafted show (although I can’t imagine there are many of you out there), I will give the lowdown on the goings on in this seemingly sleepy little North Carolina town.

Andy Taylor is the sheriff in the little one horse town of Mayberry, North Carolina.   Andy is a widower, raising his young son Opie.   Andy’s Aunt Bea comes to town in the pilot episode to help Andy raise the young lad. 

Deputy Barney Fife is a one bullet toting, accident prone, lean mean fighting machine!  Barney is always ready to step up and take charge!!  The problem is, Barney usually causes the problem to get worse instead of better, forcing Andy to step in and take control.

Throughout the first season, Andy and Barney go through many ups and downs as they tackle the everyday issues (or lack thereof) facing a small town.  Aunt Bea takes on the role of surrogate mom to both of the Taylor men.  

While his dad and best buddy Barney are bringing bad guys to justice (or the town drunk to the pokey for the evening so he can sleep it off,) Opie attends school, and plans to fulfill his greatest wish of becoming just like his father.

The Andy Griffith Show began its 8 year run in 1960…a time when TV was still brand new, and there were no preset notions about how a television show was supposed to be put together.   Mix simplicity with a bunch of country folks wanting to have a good time, and you’ve found a formula that would still work if it came out for the first time today. 

Each of the 32 episodes in this DVD box set can be viewed stand alone or all together.  The packaging was very nice, with each DVD having it’s own hard plastic case.   Inside each case is a fun Andy Griffith trivia fact, which allows you to learn even more about this wonderful show. 

Andy Griffith, the man, is a wonderful actor.  I have enjoyed him over the years as his career continued to grow.   Matlock was one of my mom’s favorite shows and by association, one of mine. 

Don Knotts has had a very nice career in various movies on the big screen and on television.   I have to say that it was his portrayal of Mr. Furly on Three’s Company that tickled my funny bone the most.

The youngest of the Taylor clan was played by Happy Days star, and modern day film director Ron Howard.   Howard was a wonderful actor, but in his own words he is more satisfied behind the camera than in front of it.  

Aunt Bea was the unsung hero of this show.  Without her cleaning skills and wonderful cooking, the Taylor men wouldn’t have made it.   Francis Bavier won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of the loveable Aunt Bea.  This just goes to show, this television program didn’t slouch when picking their actors and actresses.

With a solid cast of wonderful actors and a family formula that modern shows could learn a lot from, Paramount made a great decision bringing this show to DVD. 

Pick up your copy of The Andy Griffith Show on DVD today, and you will definitely NOT go wrong.

Video ***

When you’re dealing with a television show that was filmed well before the digital age was even a spec on the horizon, you have to be a tad bit lenient when it comes to reviewing video quality, or so I thought.   When I popped in the first DVD, I will admit to being very surprised that this box set didn’t need any lenience at all.  

Each episode was in black and white so color resonance wasn’t an issue.  The 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen transfer was very nice.  However, it does suffer from some hazing and softness around the edges.  There is some visible dirt and graininess to the prints but it’s nothing compared to some of the transfers from the early 1980s.  

Audio ***

I was very pleasantly surprised when I popped in these DVDs.  I expected the audio quality to be tinny and hollow without much depth…boy, was I wrong.   The Dolby Digital Stereo resonated crisply and cleanly through the speakers.  Unlike some other older transfers out there, these DVDs contained very nice low end levels, which gave each episode a rich robust sound.   Paramount did it right when they brought Andy to DVD.

Features (zero stars)

There were no extra features on these DVDs. 

Summary:

Fully loaded with 32 episodes of good ole’ country fun, the first season of The Andy Griffith Show really delivers on DVD.  Grab this box set today before it’s gone, ya’ll!

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