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HTF REVIEW: The Andy Griffith Show - The Fourth Season

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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 22 2005 - 02:55 AM

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The Andy Griffith Show - The Fourth Season

Studio: Paramount

Year: 1963 - 1964

Rated: NR

Length: 13 hours, 31 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono

Closed Captioned

Special Features: None

Suggested Retail Price: $39.99 USD
Release Date: November 22, 2005

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.

The Transfers
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.

Special Features
There are no special features - a disappointment after the sponsor spots included with season three.

Final Thoughts
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.

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Jeff Reis

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Posted November 22 2005 - 09:25 AM

I think they stopped the sponsor spots because the cast no longer made them during this season. I still think it's criminal that there are no commentaries on any of these episodes. I'm the opposite of you Scott, I think this is easily the best, funniest season of the show, with seasons 5 and 3 close behind.

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Steven_F



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Posted November 23 2005 - 02:38 AM

I think it is likely that Sermon for Today may have something missing, but unlike the two edited episodes on Season 3, I think it is possible that the missing footage for that episode no longer exists. I have never seen an epilogue after the porch scene. Also, the laugh track is missing on about 4-5 episodes. I generally do not like the laugh track, but I have been so used to hearing it on this show for so many years, I find myself missing it when it isn't there. Still happy with this release. I just hope they continue to release the color seasons.

#4 of 23 OFFLINE   JeffT.



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Posted November 23 2005 - 04:44 PM

I received the (good) word today that my copy of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON 5-disc box set is on the way.

Of all the eight seasons of this classic 1960s sitcom the fourth season (1963-64) has always been my personal favourite not necessarily that I consider it to be the best but because of the (welcome) presence of Jim Nabors who became a bona fide cast member that year during his (regrettably) shortlived tenure on the show.

It's kind of difficult for me to (initially) get into the series' fifth season (1964-65) without his friendly presence in evidence.

I've never been much of a fan of GOMER PYLE, U.S.M.C. (CBS 1964-69) myself and wish that that Mr. Nabors had been kept on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW (CBS 1960-68) instead although it would (prosperously) continue on without him just the same.

Incidentally "Back to Nature" (11/05/1964) was the final segment produced for the fourth season (although not aired as such) and (sadly) Gomer Pyle's farewell episode. At least his involvement ended on a delightfully cheerful high note!

I'm certainly looking forward to MAYBERRY RFD (CBS 1968-71) someday being made available on DVD as well.

Jeff T.

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#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Bert Greene

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Posted November 25 2005 - 04:02 AM

I have a buddy who has an old bootleg tape of a 4th-season network print of "Andy," and he says it DID have a cast commercial. So, I am curious as to why Paramount dropped these nifty little extras this time around. I really got a kick out of their addition in the 2nd & 3rd sets, and can't deny I'm disappointed.

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 26 2005 - 08:00 PM


An interesting thing is (possibly) occurring with regard to "Andy Season #4". I've noted that both Amazon and DVD Empire do not have that set in stock (which is very, very unusual, considering it was just released days ago as of this writing). No possible way they could have "sold out" at both of those e-tailers already. Plus, my copy has been Pre-Ordered via Amazon for many weeks...and it still has not gone into Shipping Mode.

Therefore, it seems quite possible to me that Paramount has pulled this release back and will (maybe) re-do the 4 episodes that are lacking the laugh track (which are laugh tracks that should definitely be on there, even for the "Birdman" ep.; I've checked this via a TV-Land print, and there's a laugh track on the original soundtrack on that print).

Something just seems "not right" if the laugh track is gone all of a sudden from a show that you KNOW should have one.

I'm not a huge fan of canned laughter...but IMO removing it from a soundtrack when it originally aired WITH the laugh track is akin to "editing" the content IMO. (To a degree anyway.)

Anyway...just a heads-up post re. the Amazon/Empire thing. Neither site has it now. Amazon is saying it should ship "Within 3 to 5 Weeks"; while Empire shows it as "On Order". Very odd IF it hasn't been recalled by the studio. I've never seen that happen just DAYS after a DVD release at any rate.

P.S. -- Has anyone @ HTF gotten their Andy #4s from Amazon as yet? Or are your copies stuck in purgatory too?

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Rodney


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Posted November 27 2005 - 12:37 AM

David: I received my Amazon order yesterday.

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary OS

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Posted November 27 2005 - 05:56 AM

I agree with David. Something really seems to be going on here. You can add Buy.com to the list of etailers that have mysteriously seen their TAGS Season 4 stock disappear. Frankly, I hope Paramount has recalled this set so they can correct the laugh track problems. Gary "of course, Paramount could go ahead and add some commercial spots as extras too since they apparently do exist" O.
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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 27 2005 - 08:35 AM

Thank you, Rodney.
Thank you, Gary "I want the shows uncut & some sponsor ads in there too" O. Posted Image

Something is definitely strange with this Andy-4 thing. No way that Amazon has run out of stock after 2 days. And why didn't my September Pre-Order go through, like Rodney's? Very odd.

Perhaps we should keep in mind that this is Paramount, the same outfit that "fixed" one of the "I Love Lucy" season sets. So via that "repair job" shortly after its release, perhaps they've given a sign that if the product has a fixable problem (like adding back in the laugh-track sound layer on 4 eps.), they'll go and fix it.

I'm guessing that Amazon shipped a select few pre-orders for Andy-4 just prior to getting the "Hold It" note from Paramount. (Just my personal thought on that of course.)

Plus: I see where Amazon has now changed the Andy-4 availability to "4 to 5 Weeks", backing up the delivery time even further from yesterday's "3 to 5 weeks" approximation.


#10 of 23 OFFLINE   JohnOPR


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Posted November 28 2005 - 02:41 AM

I hope this thread is kept alive until we find out the reason for the unexpected delay on TAGS. Although I got it last week from Amazon, I enjoy the series so much that I would probably buy it again to get additional features. Surely do hope that's in the works.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   DanFe


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Posted November 28 2005 - 04:18 AM

You wouldn't have to buy it again if there's an official problem with the discs.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   JohnOPR


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Posted November 28 2005 - 06:27 AM

Dan That's an interesting thought. It never occurred to me that the discs would be replaced for free, since the ones I got last week play fine. It's certainly something I'll investigate, if additional features is the reason for the delay. Thanks for the comment. John

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Sean.S


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Posted November 28 2005 - 08:50 AM

Yeah, I was a bit freaked out with "Black Day in Mayberry" when there was no laugh track where I expected one. I hope that if it originally had one (I could *swear* that it did when I saw it in syndication) it can be fixed.

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 28 2005 - 01:54 PM

I've verified (via some old TV-Land prints) that every Season-Four TAGS episode is supposed to have a laugh track -- including the (apparently) four shows that are missing such a track on the current TAGS #4 DVD release (per an Amazon consumer who claims there are four programs without the laughter).

Those 4 shows being: Opie The Birdman, A Black Day For Mayberry, Opie's Ill-Gotten Gain, and Up In Barney's Room. ... I've checked each one of these episodes via TV-Land syndicated versions, and each one does have a laugh track included.

Those 4 shows, on the DVDs, would cover the first two discs (of 5) only...so Paramount wouldn't need to touch three-fifths of the discs at all to make "repairs".

I still cannot think of a single reason (other than a recall for laugh-track repairs) for this set to be "Unavailable" at so many e-tailers just days after its street date.

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted November 28 2005 - 02:47 PM

You can be fairly certain its got something to do with Goober.

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#16 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted November 28 2005 - 02:58 PM

Well, they could "edit" Goober out of most of the episodes and it wouldn't harm the programs very much. He was no Gomer. Posted Image

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted December 03 2005 - 12:19 PM


Well, I was wrong about the "Recall" thing. This set was never recalled. E-stores just ran out of stock evidently. (Very odd indeed for multiple stores to completely run dry of product one day after release date. Weird. But evidently the case.)

Because I just got my copy from Amazon (which wasn't shipped until after a 10-day delay which I thought for sure was a recall by Paramount), and the laugh tracks for those four (plus) episodes are still missing. So, nothing's been "fixed" at all. Posted Image

Very, very good PQ on this S.4 set though.

My full review for the DVD can be found at this link.....


#18 of 23 OFFLINE   DanFe


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Posted December 03 2005 - 12:34 PM

Nice review in a sea of histrionic reviews at Amazon about the missing laugh tracks.

#19 of 23 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted December 17 2005 - 04:24 PM

Additional Bulletin Re. "TAGS #4" availability........

This has got to be the weirdest vanishing & re-appearing act I've ever encountered at Amazon. I've never seen any Amazon product go through oddball "Unavailable" cycles like "Andy Griffith Season 4" is again experiencing at Amazon. (Esp. considering the fact this DVD is brand-new & just released.)

The entire TAGS-4 webpage has now disappeared from the Amazon database. Just gone! Very, very odd. Esp. on top of the odd "delay" right at release time last month.

But even after a delay in sending my order for TAGS-4, the DVD was no different than the ones people received right on release date (11/22/2005); i.e., laugh tracks still missing on 4-plus shows.

I've never been so perplexed by any DVD release than by Amazon's Houdini routine re. Andy #4. Posted Image

Up until December 16th, this was the active and working link for Andy S.4 (and it'll probably magically return to active status at some point; but I wonder when).......


The URL hasn't just merely been "moved" either...because when searching for "Andy Griffith Show Season" via the search engine @ Amazon, it returns no link for a "Season 4" product (except the "4-Season" pack, but no individual Season #4).

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   DanMel


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Posted December 17 2005 - 05:34 PM

This is not the only show that is no longer available on Amazon.com. Hogan's Heroes Season 3 is no longer listed as well. It was listed on there for a couple of months. I do have it on pre-order there but may cancel out and go with deepdiscount or dvdplanet as I don't want delays with my order for that set.

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