"The Andy Griffith Show: Complete First Season" -- A Personal Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by David Von Pein, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

    [​IMG]

    No. of Episodes: 32.
    No. of Discs: 4 (Single-Sided; "Region 1").
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame OAR (1.33:1).
    Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono (English).
    Color/B&W: B&W.
    Release Date: November 16, 2004.

    ------------------------------------------------

    After an agonizing delay by Amazon.com in shipping this set to me, I finally received my "Andy Griffith Season One" DVD set. (The Amazon delay seemed geared more toward nothing but pure spite than any other logical reason, since I pre-ordered the item weeks in advance of its November 16th release date -- but they elected not to ship it until November 28th for some inexplicable reason. [​IMG] Oh well, such delays occur in life I guess.)

    Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Thelma Lou, Otis, Floyd, and the rest of the Mayberry gang have arrived on DVD in style, and with unbelievably-vivid picture quality, in this first-season boxed set. The 4-Disc set contains all 32 episodes of the rookie season of one of the most beloved programs in television history: "The Andy Griffith Show".

    Beginning with the pilot episode, "The New Housekeeper" (which originally aired on CBS-TV on Monday night, October 3, 1960), "The Andy Griffith Show" settled into a comfortable eight-year run, encompassing a total of 249 episodes.

    I can just about guarantee this -- The debut season of "Andy" has never, EVER looked better than on the video we find encoded on these 4 DVDs! I was simply blown away by the incredibly-clear black-and-white picture that these DVDs exhibit! In fact, I'm practically shocked by the fact these shows from more than 40 years ago could look as great as Paramount has presented them here!

    There are some episodes that exhibit quite a bit of grain noise during some scenes (the Christmas episode is filled with it), and some of the ending-titles sequences are riddled with grain and dirt (which doesn't really bother me, because I normally skip the credits anyway) -- but, overall, I'd still say that these 32 episodes look mighty good -- very clear and sharp. In fact, even during the "grainier" programs, the underlying filmed image is still very sharp and undistorted (to my eyes at any rate).

    My hat is off, and I'm bowing at the waist to whoever was responsible for cleaning up these shows for this DVD release. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    An example of the excellent and clear video quality that I found here --- In several close-up scenes, you can literally read the tiny print on Andy Taylor's sheriff's badge! "Sheriff -- Mayberry" can be seen right on his badge in many shots; and the little "star" in the center of the badge is clearly discernible as well. Plus, each individual CRACK in the Mayberry sidewalks can be seen with ease! Remarkable quality! Just stunning, especially for a show of this age! The audio sounds excellent as well, via the 2-channel Dolby Mono tracks. And the audio is elevated to a good (decent) level, too. It's not too "low". Very good.

    I think it's a very safe bet to boldly proclaim that "Anj" and "Barn" have never looked or sounded better than they do on these four Digital Discs! This set is "Dick Van Dyke Show" good, picture-quality-wise. (Meaning: this "Andy" DVD collection rivals the picture quality found in all 5 of Image Entertainment's "Van Dyke Show" full-season DVD sets. And THAT is really high praise, believe me!) :)

    The initial season of this sitcom has always been one of my favorite years during the show's 1960-1968 lifespan. We're introduced to the Taylors in the very funny debut episode, which features an incredibly-cute, 6-year-old Ronny Howard (as Opie Taylor) stealing every scene he's in. Ronny's tearful appeal to his father at the end of the show is hilarious .... "But, pa, if she [Aunt Bee] leaves, what'll happen to her? She doesn't know how to do anything -- play ball, catch fish, or hunt frogs! She'll be helpless!!" [​IMG]

    Following the pilot episode, many more merry Mayberry escapades from the first season await us. Such as some of my personal faves: "A Feud Is A Feud", "Stranger In Town", "Andy And Opie, Housekeepers", "Quiet Sam", "The New Doctor", "The Manhunt", "Opie's Charity", "The Inspector", "Barney Gets His Man", "Bringing Up Opie", and perhaps the single best (and most touching) Christmas episode ever made for any TV show before or since, entitled simply "Christmas Story" -- in which crusty old town curmudgeon Ben Weaver (ideally played by 66-year-old veteran character actor Will Wright) surprises everyone by desperately wanting to be included in the gang's Christmas party at the Courthouse. That episode demands to be viewed each and every December.

    There are no chopped-up, edited episodes here. These programs have been fully restored to their original length, approximately 25-and-a-half minutes each (with some eps. running closer to a full 26 minutes!), including the complete "epilogue" scenes at the end of each show. These epilogues are rarely included on syndicated prints shown on commercial television.

    The original voice-overs at the beginning of the shows are also intact here, as well as the original whistling opening credits. (They sound like the Real McCoy to my ears anyway; others might disagree with this assessment however.)

    These episodes' closing credits DO sound a bit different from what I think are the "original" closing whistling credits, but I'm not altogether certain. At any rate, even if they have been altered (for whatever reason), they sound pretty close to the originals.

    Even the original CBS-TV "opening and closing eye" logo is included at the end of each of these episodes!

    These 32 episodes are arranged on the DVDs in "Air Date" order (not by Film Date). There are exactly eight episodes on each of the discs.

    There are no bonus features included in this set, which is a bit disappointing. But getting all the full-length episodes from Season One in this kind of jaw-dropping superb quality is the most important thing here, to be sure. Perhaps future "Andy" season sets will contain a few bonus supplements, such as cast-member interviews and original CBS commercials (which would be welcome indeed). But even without any extra bonuses, I could not be happier with this stellar boxed set!

    THE PACKAGING ..... This four-disc compilation from Paramount Studios features very nice packaging, including individual "ThinPak" plastic cases for each of the set's 4 discs.

    I have a (very) minor complaint about the slim cases -- Paramount has used a different style "ThinPak"/"Slim Case" for this set than I have ever seen before. I've only seen the "Dick Van Dyke"/"Family Guy" style of "Nexpak" slim cases. But Paramount went with "Scanavo" brand cases here. Which is OK, I guess, except that these Scanavos don't have one important feature that makes sure you CAN'T get a "floater" in the mail (or at a B&M store) -- that being: that little "ring" on the left side of the case that keeps the disc securely attached to its hub when the case is closed. The Nexpak brand has this useful "ring", and as a result, I'd prefer that style of slim case.

    To drive home the importance of just that little "ring" -- I DID get 1 floater (resulting in minor scratches on the disc) in my "Andy Griffith Show" set, PLUS two other discs that were about half-way off the hub when I opened the cases. Not a good percentage, IMO. If "Nexpaks" were utilized, the "floater" rate drops to Zero.

    Anyway, that's just a minor annoyance re. the packaging of this set. I actually traded those Scanavo cases for some extra empty "Nexpaks" that I had on hand. The only problem with the "trade" is that the "ring" on the left side makes a portion of the case's text hard or impossible to see & read. Oh well...ya can't have everything
    I guess. [​IMG]

    A relatively-strong and substantial outer slipcase box houses the four separate plastic slim cases (which are just half the thickness of a normal keepcase). Not too tight a fit either. The cases slide in and out of the outer box with ease, with no crowbar required, which is nice. [​IMG]

    Each of the slimline cases sports different "T.A.G.S." cover art, along with essential episode information located on the inside of the clear, see-through cases (including episode titles, program descriptions, and original air dates). The disc art is equally impressive, with images of Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, and Barney adorning the discs themselves (with the picture on the disc matching what is found on that platter's ThinPak case cover). When any disc is removed from its tray, a "Mayberry Fun Fact" is revealed (printed on the case insert underneath each disc).

    There are no separate paper enclosures or inserts. But no such added items are really needed, since all the info about the shows is available to view right on the clear cases themselves.

    The back side of each of the 4 individual cases displays (in a rather clever fashion) the episode titles of the 8 programs that are included on that disc. These titles are listed on what is meant to represent "Official Mayberry Courthouse" stationery -- complete with simulated handwritten memos to Andy and Barney, coffee stains, and dried-on "drink rings". A unique "down home" kind of a touch here, I think.

    I really like this good-looking packaging very much. The color photo used for the front of the outer slipcase, depicting Andy and Opie fishing, captures the homespun feeling and spirit of "The Andy Griffith Show" just perfectly, in my opinion. And from a purely physical standpoint, this is the type of sturdy DVD packaging design that should hold up well (and look like new) for many years to come -- as long as nobody is careless and fires Barney's lone bullet through the case, that is. [​IMG]


    More Info About This DVD Compilation:

    SUBTITLES / CAPTIONS -- No player-produced Subtitles are included, but English "Closed-Captioning" is available.

    IS THERE A "PLAY ALL" OPTION INCLUDED? -- Yes, indeedy! [​IMG]

    CHAPTER STOPS INCLUDED? -- Yes. There are 5 chapter stops for each episode, including a much-appreciated "break" immediately after the conclusion of the opening credits.

    MENUS -- Simple and static. No music. No long transitions. Beautiful! The Main Menu doubles as an "Episode Selection Menu" as well. No Episode Sub-Menus are included, so there's no individual chapter access from the Menu. Appropriately, a "Sheriff's Badge" serves as the Menu indicator/(pointer).


    EASTER EGGS -- None.

    -----------------------------------------------

    "The Andy Griffith Show" has been loved by millions of people for many decades since it first entered American living rooms in the Fall of 1960. Between its first-run airings and being shown in syndication, it's been said that the show has never been off the air since its inception. And now, thanks to Paramount's deluxe set of the show's complete first season, it's bound to find even more new fans and gain still more "air time", via the DVD format.

    So -- do Andy, Barney, and Company a big favor and pick up a copy of this sparkling DVD set. You'll then be able to see Barney's debut-episode "jaywalking" tirade as many times as you please, in full Digital splendor, and in pristine clarity:

    "Now why did ya do that, Andy?! You know she was guilty. I seen her do it! Now she's gonna go and tell all her friends how she got away with it, and the next thing you know people are gonna be jaywalking all over the place and disregarding 'keep-off-the-grass' signs and everything!! Why Mayberry's gonna turn into a regular SIN TOWN!!" --- Bernard Fife; "The Andy Griffith Show"; Episode #1; LOL! :)

    This Paramount Studios DVD boxed set gets a...........

    Highest Possible Recommendation!

    www.amazon.com/review/RKSJFOYHL0YWE

    www.blogger.com/profile/12501570830179992520

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DanFe

    DanFe Second Unit

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    I am watching disc 3 of the set now. I enjoy this more than Dick Van Dyke, to tell you honestly, and look forward to season 2. The humor here is priceless and Ronny Howard is a scream whenever he is on screen.
     
  3. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    It doesn't really bother me that there are no extras, since I watch these for the shows themselves, but I do think it's a shame that they didn't include the pilot from the Danny Thomas show. [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    Thanks David!! Your "personal reviews" are not only entertaining, but informative. I appreciate the effort you put into them.

    In no way am I trying to be negative but I am disappointed about the lack of subtitles/workable captions here. Unfortunately, I need to rely on them from time to time so their absence will be missed. I also agree with George that it would have been nice to have the Danny Thomas pilot (complete and with original beginning/ending credits). Perhaps Paramount can work a deal with the Thomas estate to include it later.

    Speaking of Paramount, I am currently of the opinion that Paramount is to classic TV fans what Warners is to classic movie fans. The various sets they've done have been greeted with near unanimous praise. Although my two most wanted TV on DVD shows (Perry Mason and Get Smart!) are currently MIA, the fact they're Paramount properties gives me hope that they will eventually come out.

    Mayberry rules!

    Steve
     
  5. DanFe

    DanFe Second Unit

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    The Danny Thomas pilot will be will be in the upcoming Danny Thomas show season 5 set. It will include the season 7 Andy Griffith program as a supplement (this according to the digital bits).
     
  6. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Yes, but apparently (according to an earlier thread here at HTF), these episodes are not intact, so that's a no-buy from me.
     
  7. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Indeed. And after seeing and hearing about the overall quality of Paramount TV-on-DVD collections, it makes me all the hungrier for a stellar Paramount boxed set of The Fugitive (1963-1967). [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    DanFe -- That Danny Thomas/Make Room For Daddy set is already out (Sept. 28). .....

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd

    [​IMG]

    I, too, would have liked very much to have had the "Andy Pilot" from the Thomas series included on the TAGS-1 set. That would have been nice, sitting right in front of the "TAGS" premiere ("The New Housekeeper") on Disc #1. Perhaps a future set might include it. But it makes much more sense (chronologically) to have placed it on the first-season DVD set, of course.
     
  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Great review. I'm enjoying my set too. Andy's comedic abilities are evident in the very first episode. Some of these episodes I've never seen, but I am very impressed by how quickly this show hit its' stride. Many sitcoms (past and present) take a few shows to get going. Not TAGS.

    "Kinda hurts a fella when you get 10-4'd right in the middle of an idea."

    Peace,

    DM
     
  10. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah, that "Anj" is a howl in a lot of these early TAGS shows. I love it when he's "pickin'" at Barney. -- "You haven't trouble-checked today? Well, then, let's trouble-check!"
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    David: Well done! [​IMG]

    I hope to see this set in my collection someday. This is a show that takes me back to a happy place. Here's hoping Leave It To Beaver comes along someday soon.
     
  12. William0

    William0 Agent

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    No Captions..........Ouch!! That hurts!

    Since there's a (CC) symbol display on the box set, that's downright fraud, in my opinion, just to trick their customers to assume that the captions are included. Does anybody out there reading this thread, have this classic TV show on DVD? If so, please test to see if the captions are working. Please let us know, many thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    David, I had been expecting a review from you for some time now, and you didn't disappoint very informative and entertaining.

    I think this is going to appear in my collection as a christmas gift from a friend, which is kind of a bummer cause I'd love to watch this set now.
     
  14. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    While I thought the set looked great overall, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of consistency, and especially the episodes with constant interlace artifacts, as mentioned in my review for dOc.

    Also, a bit of a nitpick, but Gomer doesn't appear until season two. [​IMG]

    Still this is classic TV, and also gets my recommendation, extras or not. The menu system is perfect IMO. Wading through screen after screen and animation after animation on some other series sets gets old real quick.

    I hope season two is fast tracked.
     
  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Yes, you're quite correct. The brief reference to "Gomer" in my review doesn't apply to a S.1 set. I shall fix that comment. (Well, at least I didn't say anything about Helen, Goober, or Howard.) [​IMG]

    Thanks. And ... "Lots of luck to you and yours!" [​IMG]
     
  16. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The artifacts are a horizontal pincushion effect, where the scan lines are visible along high contrast areas. This is probably only apparent if you are using a progressive scan player/TV.

    A rough example:

    The image should look like (without the 1s - spaces get deleted):

    _____
    _____
    _____
    _____

    and looks like:

    1_____
    1 _____
    1_____
    1 _____
     
  17. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    OK, thanks Jeff.
     
  18. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Jeff:

    I just looked up your Digitally Obsessed review, and noted these remarks re. some technical aspects of the "Andy S.1" DVD set ...........

    Run Time: 13h:41m:39s.
    Layers: single.


    Jeff: You actually counted each second of run time here? (And I thought *I* was dedicated to Anj and Barn! [​IMG])

    Anyway, your 13 hr., 41 min. time is definitely more accurate than what Paramount has on the box (it claims 15h; 15m.).

    Your figure averages to 25.65 minutes per episode, which is obviously correct given the show's uncut running time.

    I still wonder where Paramount gets the extra 94 minutes? T'ain't there -- unless there's 90 minutes of buried Easter Eggs somewhere. I haven't seen any though.

    But your remark in your dOc review re. "Single Layered" discs cannot possibly be accurate -- can it? 205 minutes, over 3.4 hours, of GOOD-quality PQ jammed onto a single layer? Surely not. .... Surely. Not. .... Right, Anj? [​IMG]

    If Paramount accomplished THIS type of great PQ using just a single layer of each disc, for eight shows per single layer, then it's a miracle of high proportions!

    Is there any way (by just looking at a disc) to tell whether it's single- or double-layered?
     
  19. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Jeff,

    Can you give me an example of a scene that has these interlace artifacts? I like to see for myself what you are referring to.

    Thanks!

    Peace,

    DM
     
  20. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    DanFe, Dave Miller, and Jeff U. ...........

    Any of you guys have working "Captions" on your "TAGS S.1" sets?
     

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