The Andy Griffith Show - The Fourth Season
Year: 1963 - 1964
Length: 13 hours, 31 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono
Special Features: None
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99 USD
Sheriff Andy Taylor is back, with son Opie, Aunt Bee, Deputy Barney Fife, gas station attendant Gomer Pyle and Gomer’s cousin Goober. Season four continues the laughs with episodes that include two of the “top ten” of the series.
In “Opie, The Birdman”, Opie takes on the task of raising a nest of orphaned baby birds, after accidentally killing their mother with his new slingshot. TV Guide calls this episode “One of the greatest episodes in TV history.”
In “Citizen’s Arrest, an argument between Barney and Gomer over a traffic ticket grows into an all out feud that finally results in Barney’s resignation.
“Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”, the final episode of the season, is the pilot for the Gomer Pyle spinoff series. Gomer enlists in the Marine Corps. Andy drives him to the base to look out for him as he adjusts to life in the corps.
While season four is enjoyable and a solidly entertaining season of The Andy Griffith Show, I think the earlier seasons were more consistently funny.
I’m not familiar enough with this show to evaluate any possible cuts, and did not have time to view every episode. The shortest episode, “The Sermon for Today", clocks in at 24:08. A few others are slightly less than 25 minutes, while the average running time is over 25 minutes.
Judging by a random sampling, the season four transfers seem to be a touch softer than season three - though there is enough variation from episode to episode to account for minor variations. This is still 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 over 40 years old, I’m very pleased by the quality of the source.
The picture has reasonable sharpness, with less visible enhancement than previous seasons (which may account for the perception of a softer picture). Contrast is excellent, overall, with solid black levels and good shadow detail.
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.
There are no special features - a disappointment after the sponsor spots included with season three.
Paramount continues to offer solid transfers of this classic - though they have inexplicably dropped the special features. Still, it’s a Must Buy for fans of the series.