Entire family: Yes
1960-61, 820 min. (33 episodes), black and white
CBS Home Entertainment
Not rated (would be PG for adult drinking and smoking)
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Featured audio: Dolby digital Mono
Bonus features: B
CBS restoration trailer
It’s no secret. Kids today are turned off by black-and-white movies and television shows. They’re so BORING, is the common refrain. But there are exceptions, and The Andy Griffith Show is one of them. This series, which ran on CBS from 1960-68, was ranked #9 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Now Season 1 is out on Blu-ray, and that’s good news for fans and families wanting to watch a wholesome, timeless, homespun comedy together.
How wholesome is it? Well, the Town of Mayberry, North Carolina is a sleepy little backwater where folksy sheriff and justice of the peace Andy Taylor (Griffith) doesn’t wear a sidearm, doesn’t drink, doesn’t use harsh language, and seldom raises his voice. With an aw-shucks demeanor, a bushel full of aphorisms, and a smile that could disarm all but the most hardened criminals, Andy spends most of his time dispensing common-sense advice to family, friends, and residents of Mayberry, and also proving to “big city” law enforcement officers and visitors that small town residents have a wisdom all their own. Heck, they were smart enough to choose that pace and lifestyle, weren’t they?
Our kids’ favorite black-and-white TV series is still I Love Lucy, but The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show run a close second and third. The source of the appeal is pretty easy to pin down, starting with the situation. Andy is a widower who lives with his precocious young son, Opie (Ronnie Howard) and the aunt who raised him—Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier). Those two appealing characters get into enough “pickles” that the entire show could have been based on their mishaps and Andy’s always gentle intervention.
But when you add Andy’s job, with comic genius Don Knotts playing over-eager and bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, you create a whole other range of possibilities for humorous problems that Andy can solve. Mayberry isn’t just a backdrop, either. The citizens get a lot of air time, and their stubborn, provincial ways constitute yet another group of patients in need of Sheriff Taylor’s magic tonic—always a blend of common sense, insights into human nature, and Solomon-like judgment. And Andy’s morals are within easy grasp of youngsters, too. More