The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Second Season Studio: Paramount Year: 1961 - 1962 Rated: NR Length: 13 Hours, 2 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, Audio: Dolby Digital English 2.0 MONO Subtitles: None Closed Captioned Special Features:Original Sponsor Spots Estimate Street Price, $30 USD Release Date: May 24, 2005 Spend some more time with the folks of Mayberry in this 31 episode second season of The Andy Griffith Show on DVD. There are great episodes aplenty in this season, with not only several of the cast’s favorite episodes, but the number one episode as well - “The Pickle Story.” While Aunt Bee’s pickles may not be the best, the show is gooo-oo-ood. In “The Pickle Story,” Andy and Barney are horrified when Aunt Bee decides to enter her prized pickles - with a taste described as “kerosene cucumbers” - in the county fair pickle contest. They can’t tell her how bad the pickles are, so they replace them with store pickles and compliment Bee on her recipe, prompting her to make more and enter them in the contest. Other cast favorites in season two: “Barney and the Choir” When the choir director talks with Andy about their need for a tenor, Barney talks up his abilities, saying he has a trained singing voice. It isn’t long before it is discovered that he can’t sing at all. How do they carry on with a tenor who can’t carry a tune? And what do they do with Barney? “Andy on Trial” After Andy arrests an out of town newspaper publisher for failing to appear in court on a traffic violation, the publisher retaliates by sending an undercover reporter to Mayberry to dig up dirt on Andy and the Sheriff’s department. Andy’s job is threatened when the retaliatory article appears in the paper. In one of my favorite episodes, “The Merchant of Mayberry,” Sterling Holloway guest stars as Bert Miller, a mild-mannered traveling salesman who sets up shop in town with a lot of help from Andy, who has motives other than to help Bert - namely, to rile up old man Weaver. The Andy Griffith Show works so well not only because of its down-home charm... the chemistry of the cast is another real driving force. Add to that some great guest stars and you have a winning mix. Guests stars in season two include Jean Hagen, Buddy Ebsen, Alan Hale, Jr., Bill Bixby, Barbara Eden, Sterling Holloway, Arte Johnson and others. I haven’t had a chance to watch every episode from the set, but those I watched ran between 25 and 26 minutes in length, indicating the likelihood that these are original and uncut episodes. The Transfers The elements used for the transfers were nearly pristine, with just an occasional speck here and there. Considering the age of these elements, they are in remarkable shape. The picture is usually nice and sharp, with an occasional soft scene here and there. The image features decently solid black levels and good shadow detail. Whites are never clipped, but they are often somewhat less than bright white - the contrast could be improved slightly. Grain is variable, as dictated by the source elements. These episodes look as good as the episodes in the season one set, which were also quite remarkable. The sound is Dolby Digital Mono. There is some occasional mild hiss, especially noticeable in quieter passages. The dialog is always crisp, clean and intelligible, and music sounds as you would expect for a monaural source of this age. Special Features Included in this set are the original sponsor spots for each and every episode. We get to see Andy and the rest of the cast enjoying Sanka coffee and Post cereals, in a way that usually ties in with the plot of the episode. These spots are under a minute each, and are played separately from the episodes via a separate features menu. There is a “Play All” option for the sponsor spots, and another “Play All” option for the episodes, but there is no way to automatically play episodes with sponsor spots intact or sequentially. Still, the spots are interesting in a nostalgic way, and it’s nice to have any special features on “Paramount Television” branded sets. Final Thoughts Fans of the show can’t go wrong, here. The second season DVD set continues with the nice A/V quality seen in the first, and there are those sponsor spots thrown in to boot. Packaging is in 3 space-friendly double-thins. And the price is a wallet-friendly $30 US. Recommended.