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HTF REVIEW: The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season

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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 07 2004 - 03:50 AM

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The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season





Studio: Paramount

Year: 1960-1961

Rated: NR

Length: 15 Hours, 15 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono

Closed Captioned

Special Features: None

Expected Street Price: $30 USD
Release Date: November 16, 2004





The Andy Griffith Show is one of those timeless television programs with universal and lasting appeal. The down-home humor seems to work whether or not you come from a small town like Mayberry, or a large metropolis - though I’m sure the show carries a bit more weight with those of us who have firsthand experience with small town living.

An endearing cast of characters is portrayed by a wonderful and talented ensemble, helping to make The Andy Griffith Show a historic achievement in television comedy.

Andy Griffith plays Andy Taylor, widower, father to young son Opie (Ron Howard), and sheriff and Justice of the Peace of the tiny North Carolina town of Mayberry. Andy and Opie live with Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier), who acts as the mother of the household and exudes Southern Hospitality.

Barney Fife (Don Knotts) is Andy’s cousin, and holds the job of deputy sheriff. He’s a lovable guy, but incompetent in most aspects of life - especially in his role as lawman. Thankfully, the town of Mayberry has no crime.

The cast of regulars is rounded out, in this first season, by Ellie Walker, Otis (the town drunk), and Floyd the barber.

Paramount serves up the original 32 episodes from season one in this DVD set.

The Transfers
This is, without a doubt, the best I’ve ever seen this show look. The elements used for the transfer were nearly pristine, with just a speck here and there. Considering these elements are 44 years old, I’m amazed by the quality.

The picture is usually sharp, with an occasional soft scene here and there. There is an occasional hint of edge enhancement - but it is very slight and only visible under the right conditions.

Contrast is excellent, overall, with solid black levels and good shadow detail.

Grain is variable, as on the original elements. The vast majority of the time, grain is very fine and tight, with only a scene here and there where it becomes a bit courser.

I have to say, after years of seeing deteriorated prints playing in reruns, I am pleasantly surprised at the sharpness, detail and contrast delivered by these discs.

The sound is Dolby Digital Mono. There is some occasional mild hiss, especially noticeable in quieter passages. The hiss is of variable intensity, and is not always present - and it is the only defect of note in the audio.

The dialog is always crisp, clean and intelligible, and music sounds as you would expect for a monaural source of this age.

Special Features
There are no special features. This is the one and only disappointment for fans of the show. It would have been nice to, at the very least, have had a thirty minute retrospective with interviews with surviving cast members. On the other hand, with a budget price of around $30 for the set, it’s hard to complain.

Final Thoughts
Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will be pleased with the audio-video quality of this set, and with the price. Those who are looking for extra features will be disappointed. For me, I’m happy to see a budget priced set with superb quality, so I can see these episodes cleanly and uncut for the first time in years.

#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted November 07 2004 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for the review Scott...
I was one that always loved extras... but as long as the transfer is good and it is priced right I am happy to add it to my collection... and sounds like this one is.... putting it onto my wishlist! Posted Image

#3 of 26 OFFLINE   James L White

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Posted November 07 2004 - 07:19 AM

no color video=no sale!!!!!! Posted Image

j/k glad the a/v is good but the lack of extras kinda sucks Posted Image
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#4 of 26 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted November 07 2004 - 09:06 AM

I'm getting this release, I'm glad to finally have Andy and Barn on DVD even if their are no extras.

#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted November 07 2004 - 09:22 AM

Thank you Scott! I'm glad to hear that this set looks very nice. Hopefully Paramount will be rewarded with good sales. As for extras, there was a very nice reunion on CBS within the last year that could be included in a future set and I'm sure plenty of archival interviews exist. If the budget doesn't allow for the production of new extras perhaps Paramount already owns some of this old material. Griffith, Knotts, and Nabors are not youngsters anymore and it's quite possible their health no longer allows active participation in these projects. The first two in particular looked quite frail in the CBS special. Steve
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#6 of 26 OFFLINE   William0

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Posted November 07 2004 - 01:32 PM

Scott, thanks for the review! I definitely will buy it since it will be closed captioned and the price is incredibly low for the length of 15 hours. That show is one of my top 5 favorites of all time. I wish there are many companies like Paramount, they tend to provide captions. Paramount, wherever you are, millions of thanks!! By the way, I wish you take Twilight Zone because Image Entertainment will not have it captioned.

#7 of 26 OFFLINE   Jeff Reis

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Posted November 07 2004 - 02:31 PM

This is among my 2 or 3 most-wanted shows on DVD so it's good to hear that the quality is so good. I can only hope that these episodes are truly uncut with all epilogue scenes intact. I would have loved some commentaries but I guess it just wasn't to be. If Paramount holds to their planned release schedule all the b/w episodes (5 seasons) will be out by this time next year. "Andy! Onvicts-cay Ere-hay!"

#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Dave Farley

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Posted November 07 2004 - 08:21 PM

I'm glad to hear this set is a good one. It's definitely on the top of my list.

#9 of 26 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 07 2004 - 09:38 PM

Thank you, Scott K.

Great to hear about the excellent PQ. Posted Image

Scott .... You mentioned right at the end of your review that the shows are "uncut". Does this also mean that purists will be happy because the original opening & closing (whistling) themes are intact, and not dubbed (like some PD DVD releases)?

And: Do we get the much-wanted Chapter Break immediately after the opening theme?

Can you give us a couple examples of running times on some eps.? According to the overall run time, the 32 shows avg. out to over 28.59 (!) minutes per ep., which is impossible, as we all know.

They should = 25 or 25.5 min. per show. 26 tops. Which has to mean the 15 hr./15 min. total time is a bit on the high side. Unless they put in an unexpected Easter Egg, consisting of the Danny Thomas "pilot" episode. That'd be ultra-sweet on Paramount's part if they did that. Posted Image

Of course, that one added episode *still* wouldn't come close to making the total run time drop by nearly 100 minutes (from 915 min. for 28m avg. to 816 min. for a more-likely 25.5m avg.).

Makes me wonder why they show 100 extra minutes for this 4-Disc set. Posted Image

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted November 07 2004 - 11:47 PM

I sure as hell hope so, because I must be a 'purist'. I have one of those dvds without the opening song, and all I can say is it completely ruins the experience for me.
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#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 08 2004 - 01:05 AM

Epilogues are intact. -Scott

#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Jeff Reis

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:43 AM

Great to hear Scott, thank you.

#13 of 26 OFFLINE   Jonny_L

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Posted November 08 2004 - 04:37 AM

A wise man once told me - $30 for an entire season is good, $40 for an entire season with lots of extras is better. Posted Image
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#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 08 2004 - 06:52 AM


Then there was the poor man who, referring to the less than $1 per episode price said, "I'll buy that for a dollar."

Posted Image

Either way, I'm happy. Extras are something I usually watch once, if they are really appealing. The episodes, I'll revisit time and again. While extras are nice, I don't like it when they bloat the price.

-Scott

#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Jonny_L

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Posted November 08 2004 - 07:07 AM

lol...true, true. The quality of the show is ultimately what matters, but I personally like goodies too.
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#16 of 26 OFFLINE   Steven Thomas

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Posted November 08 2004 - 08:05 AM

Thanks for the review Scott. This DVD set will be on the top of my Christmas wish list! Can't beat the price for such a wonderful show.Posted Image

#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:09 PM

Spot-checking the episodes, the running times are between 25:30 and 26:00 for each episode.

#18 of 26 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:16 PM

That you, Scott, for your quick replies to my TAGS inquiries. Posted Image

By "dubbed" earlier, I was referring to most of the public-domain DVD copies of TAGS eps., that nearly all have "alternate" whistling at beginning & end of ea. show.

Seems odd, too, because WHY couldn't just the original "whistler" be utilized for the discs? It's not much different either way, but any TRUE fan of TAGS can tell the "whistler" is "Wacky" (er....different, that is). Posted Image

I guess that the rights to the "original whistler's" version of "The Fishin' Hole" opening theme couldn't be acquired for the PD releases.

Also -- Remember that S.1 has the "Christmas Story" ep.; that is required Dec. 24th viewing, kids. Just remember that before purchasing. Posted Image

#19 of 26 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:17 PM


Roger. Wilco. Check. And good deal. Posted Image

Just what I thought. At those run times, we can be certain that no Barney-isms are deleted.

#20 of 26 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted November 08 2004 - 03:20 PM

Well that would have been better than the ones I have. They actually have an alternative song on there. Posted Image
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

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