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The Andy Griffith Show: Missing Scenes, Laugh Tracks, And Other Issues

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Tony Bensley, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. Message #161 of 247 Jul 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
    Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    In the TAGS Season 5 episode "TV Or Not TV" from early 1965, is the initial references to bringing "Sheriff Without A Gun" to the screen, or rather in this case, the small Television screen.

    Within the spoiler alert (Key plot points revealed!), I've detailed why I believe all credibility is shot between the above and the later Season 6 Color "Sheriff Without A Gun" series of episodes:

    While it has been decades since I've viewed the later Season 6 "Sheriff Without A Gun" episodes, when this is being shot as a Motion Picture, it is painfully obvious that all credibility is shot to hell with the latter, especially on two key points; first with the earlier Black & White episode ending up with the whole thing being a crooked scam; and in one of the subsequent Color episodes, Gavin MacLeod, who played one of the scam artists in the Season 5 episode (Quite predominantly, I might add!), also portrays the star playing the "Sheriff Without A Gun" title character! Yes, I get it that actors will reappear in different roles in the same series over time (IE. Allan Melvin was heavily utilized during TAGS Black & White seasons!), but in my opinion, this is really stretching it a bit much! To be fair, perhaps the Gavin MacLeod recasting could have been some kind of deliberate in joke wink on the part of the show's casting department?

    In my opinion, even within the "TV Or Not TV" episode itself, credibility is rather stretched:

    The "Sheriff Without A Gun" TV Series scam extended to a successfully published article in a monthly magazine? REALLY?

    CHEERS! :)
     
  2. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    Slowly working my way through the Complete Series and just got to "A Black Day for Mayberry".

    I wasn't aware laugh tracks were missing. When I got to the scenes of Barney inside the armored truck, it felt awkward. He's flailing around in the back of the truck, hanging on for dear life & making bug-eyed faces. And it's just "silent".

    Laugh tracks aren't needed on every single comedy. But when it is a consistent part of the audio mix on a sitcom, then when its removed, it creates a noticeable, awkward silence. I didn't notice missing tracks "Sermon for Today" - probably because it was not a slapstick episode like the truck scene in "Black Day". It still plays fine without them.

    I remembered this thread, so headed here for confirmation. Thanks for this topic. Was it determined why these were removed in the first place, and why almost all were fixed for the Complete Series except these few episodes?
     
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  3. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I have the fixed versions of both episodes, in which the laugh track disappears right around the 18 minute mark in each - Coincidence?

    The scene with Barney flailing around inside the Armored Truck was indeed, most awkward without a laugh track present, at least for myself. One's mileage might vary regarding this.

    As far as I know, only the two episodes you mentioned, plus the first "Opie The Birdman" episode from Season 4, had the missing laugh track issue. Unlike the other two, the Birdman episode had its entire laugh track restored. Why they were missing in the first place, I have no idea, other than whatever source elements were used for the transfers in the initial DVD release didn't include them, for some reason. For me, the partially fixed laugh tracks are even more of a mystery, especially with them cutting off at right about the same 18 minute mark for both affected episodes! Just what caused this to occur? Strange!

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  4. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Just watched "The Darlings are Coming" episode on MeTV. No "Salty Dog" :(
     
  5. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Probably no "Cindy" either! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Actually "Cindy" was there at the end.
     
  7. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    It was likely the edit that was used on the AGS 50th Anniversary Edition DVD set, then. Were the visuals for the epilogue scene about on par with the rest of the episode?

    CHEERS! :)
     
  8. Gary16

    Gary16 Screenwriter

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    Yes. The transfer was excellent and consistent throughout. Maybe MeTV made the "Dog" cut for time but if so it's a real coincidence.
     
  9. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Tony Bensley said:
    It was likely the edit that was used on the AGS 50th Anniversary Edition DVD set, then. Were the visuals for the epilogue scene about on par with the rest of the episode?

    CHEERS! :)

    Doubtful, as based on what you've posted, I'm all but certain MeTV used the same source that was on the AGS 50th Anniversary DVD set, which doesn't include "Salty Dog Blues" for starters.

    Why MeTV has the closer to complete edit, while NetFlix and Amazon don't is a mystery in of itself! :unsure:

    CHEERS! :)
     
  10. Message #170 of 247 Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
    Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW - Season 5 Observations & Opinions

    Here's some of my thoughts, and some facts regarding the show's final Black & White Season:

    - After a somewhat shaky return toward the end of Season 4, Howard McNear (As Floyd Lawson, the Town Barber) is clearly in much better form, and turns in some fine performances during the 5th Season! While much is often made about George Lindsey (As Goober) replacing Jim Nabors' "Gomer Pyle," in my opinion, Howard McNear's return as a TAGS regular was a bigger highlight of Season 5!

    Howard McNear in "The Case Of The Punch In The Nose," (#25) a TAGS Season 5 highlight:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-23h14m49s281.

    - Speaking of Goober Beasley (Referenced once, in a late Season 5 episode!) /Pyle (Goober's surname was later "changed" to match his cousin Gomer's during the Color seasons!), while certainly likeable enough, for me, he comes off a bit one note, these days.

    - I noticed quite a few references to specific colors in various Season 5 episodes. Could this have been a not so subtle "We want our show to be in color next season!" pitch to the CBS Network, perhaps?

    - In terms of special settings, the Carnival featured in the last two TAGS episodes of the 1964-65 season was the first to cover multiple consecutive episodes of this series, and the only one to occur during the classic Black and White seasons!

    Richard Keith, Ronny Howard, Lewis Charles (In his 3rd and last TAGS appearance), and Billy Halop (In his 2nd and last TAGS appearance) in "Opie And The Carnival," (#31) the penultimate Black and White TAGS episode!:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h32m27s992.

    - While for me, picking one favorite Season 5 episode is a difficult task, I wholeheartedly agree that the late season "The Arrest Of The Fun Girls" (#28) episode is the last great one with Don Knotts as a regular cast member, although in my opinion, the following episode ("The Luck Of Newton Monroe") that featured Guest Star Don Rickles as the hard luck Newton Monroe, was pretty good, also!

    Joyce Jameson (Skippy) and Jean Carson (Daphne) make their 3rd and final TAGS appearance as "The Fun Girls" from Mt. Pilot (Although Jean also appeared in the Season 3 "Convicts-At-Large" episode) in "The Arrest Of The Fun Girls" (#28):
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h23m07s753.

    A Tale Of Two Dons - Newton Monroe (Don Rickles) pleads his case to Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), while Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), in one of his last appearances as a TAGS regular, looks on in "The Luck Of Newton Monroe" (#29):
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h29m35s922.

    - Why, oh why did Don Knotts' final appearance as a TAGS regular have to be in the "Opie Flunks Arithmetic" episode, in which viewers are "treated" to a preview of the "Angry Andy" who would turn up more and more during the color seasons? Barney also manages to cross over into extremely annoying territory (Even for him!) in the doling out of non helpful advice, which seemed rather less amusing to me in this particular episode! That said, the episode's ending does in its own way, manage to be poignant, if only in retrospect!

    From the late Season 5 "Opie Flunks Arithmetic" (#30) episode. Yep, this is about as angry looking as the Mayberry Sheriff gets during the Black and White seasons!:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h34m44s133.

    Finally, as a preview to the 6th season of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, I'll simply mention that in the "Sheriff Without A Gun" story line, which occurs fairly early on, a key aspect of the Season 5 "TV Or Not TV" episode is ignored.

    Gavin MacLeod appears in both "TV Or Not TV" (#23) and in one of the Season 6 "Sheriff Without A Gun" themed episodes, as different characters:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h48m26s076.


    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h49m02s724.

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I haven't looked at a list of season five episodes, but the one that springs to mind as a favorite is "Barney's Physical" where Barney must gain weight and add height to stay on the force. I also like the one, can't remember the name, where Aunt Bee attempts to replace Clara in a play and is revealed as a terrible actress. (Ironic since Frances Bavier was the only female performer on the show to ever win an Emmy for her work on it).
     
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  12. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    "Barney Fife Realtor" is my all time favorite from season 5. And "Goober and the Art of Love".
     
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  13. Message #173 of 247 Aug 7, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW - Season 6 Observations & Opinions:

    Having viewed the entire 6th season, here are some of my thoughts, and facts regarding this season of many changes:

    - In opening this, I will state that there were many elements of this season that I did enjoy, or at least appreciate. Among these, are character development, and some good, solid story lines. Perhaps, in different circumstances, Jack Burns might have even worked out better as the "new" Deputy Sheriff, such as, if the show's previous writers had remained on board?

    - Though not the first episode filmed, "Opie's Job" was the first of the series color episodes to air. As such, I believe the opening scene, in which Andy is quite visibly angry with his son, does a lot to set the tone, in terms of confirming the "Angry Andy" who admittedly, does seem to show up more often during the first of the color seasons.
    vlcsnap-2017-08-07-21h36m10s971.

    - The "Sheriff Without A Gun" story line, which began the previous season with the "TV Or Not TV" episode is revisited, although only the previous article (Published by Lawman's Monthly Magazine, not concocted by the scam artists, as I had mistakenly recalled!) gets mention, with no reference to the TV series scam. I suppose that leaving that in would have made for too much awkward "Are you sure the movie deal isn't also a scam?" dialogue, especially with that lousy $1000.00 check for the movie rights, which to me, seems rather skint, even in 1965 dollars! The key actor who appeared in both the "TV Or Not TV" and "The Taylors In Hollywood" (#08) episodes is Gavin MacLeod, who played one of the scam artists in the former, and Bryan Bender, the actor playing Andy in the "Sheriff Without A Gun" movie! Even in an age in which many actors played different characters in the same TV series, I find this recasting within the same story line thread to be just a bit much!

    Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, And Gavin McLeod (As Scam Artist Gilbert Jamel) In The Season 5 "TV Or Not TV" Episode (#23), Featuring The "Sheriff Without A Gun" TV Series Scam:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-01-21h48m26s076.

    And, Once Again, Gavin McLeod, This Time As Actor Bryan Bender, Who Portrays The Mayberry Sheriff In The Legitimate "Sheriff Without A Gun" Motion Picture, In "The Taylors In Hollywood" Season 6 Episode (#08):
    vlcsnap-2017-08-07-20h23m57s211.

    - Although not even referenced in the Season 6 TAGS episodes, it could be stated that it was in part, Opie's cross country flight experience in the aforementioned story line that led to his running away to the Marines in the late Season 2 GOMER PYLE - USMC episode "Opie Joins The Marines." While that episode manages to have a heart warming outcome, its story line was such, that not unlike the original Sheriff Without A Gun "TV Or Not TV" story line, it seemed to be one of those that subsequently had to be either avoided altogether, or certain key awkward elements had to be dropped, if any further reference was made.

    - While much contemporary criticism has been made regarding Jack Dodson's Howard Sprague County Clerk character stinking up the show in its last 3 seasons, he really doesn't appear much at all in Season 6. In fact, Jack Dodson makes but two appearances, with only one as "The County Clerk" (#26), having previously played an Insurance Agent in the mid season "Lost And Found" (#19) episode. Actually, if anything, I tend to feel a bit sorry for poor Howard, as the mother (Played by Mabel Albertson) he idolizes, comes off as a conniving control freak, an annoying trait that becomes even more painfully obvious in Season 7! In my opinion, if Howard Sprague were anything but a good natured soul, the poor bugger would probably have either murdered his mom in her sleep, or else developed severe ulcers! Seriously, Mrs. Sprague is by far, the least likable recurring TAGS character that was on the right side of the law, and probably wouldn't have fared too well in ranking among the show's criminal element, either!

    - Regarding a favorite episode, I'm not sure which one from Season 6 I'd choose, although there are a number of them that I like very much, and I do have a soft spot for the Don Knotts guest appearances, with both episodes among my Season 6 favorites. However, I do have some favorite moments within episodes. One that stands out for me is at the end of "The Legend Of Barney Fife," in which Barney suggests that Andy should slant the credit for catching the crooks towards the new Deputy instead of him. It's a truly heart warming moment, with Barney's donning the old Deputy Uniform earlier in the same episode being another personal favorite highlight!

    Andy Griffith, Frank Cady, Don Knotts, And Jack Burns In "The Legend Of Barney Fife" (#18), From Season 6:
    vlcsnap-2017-08-07-21h04m33s824.

    - On another positive note, for the first time, every episode on the Season 6 DVD set has a running time in excess of 25 minutes, with most of them running at around 25:30. The vintage Black & White CBS logo that closes out all of the Black & White episodes, is not present, with just the mid '00s era Paramount logo closing after the end credits of each of the 30 episodes.

    - Jack Burns' Warren character also bears the dubious distinction of appearing on two TAGS Disc Menus without actually appearing in any of the episodes contained within either of them! The first instance was on one of the AGS Season 2 DVDs, and the other on Disc 4 of the Season 6 DVD set, which contain the episodes that aired after Warren's last TAGS appearance!

    - The best way that I can sum up Season 6, is that, while TAGS is still pleasant viewing on the whole, the laugh out loud moments that were prevalent during the Black & White seasons, aren't really present in the first color season, with the exception of the two Don Knotts guest appearances, and when the recurring TAGS characters Otis Campbell (Hal Smith), Ernest T. Bass (Howard Morris), and Malcolm Merriweather (Bernard Fox) made one off Season 6 appearances, which were the very last for the latter two. For me, that meant that I was able to view some of the episodes late at night without fear of waking anyone with sudden, uncontrollable guffaws!

    Ernest T. Bass (Howard Morris) And Malcolm Merriweather (Bernard Fox) Both Make Their Final TAGS Appearance In The Season 6 Episode, "Malcolm At The Crossroads" (#03):
    vlcsnap-2017-08-07-21h52m09s680.

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  14. Matt Hough

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    Apart from the Don Knotts episodes, the only episode in season six that I remember with any fondness is "The Church Organ" which has some amusing moments and some lovely character acting by Hope Summers.
     
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  15. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    I think it's also worth noting that Gavin McLeod was a regular on McHale's Navy when he made his TAGS guest appearances.

    I agree with Matt Hough that "The Church Organ" is one of the better Season 6 episodes that didn't feature Don Knotts, Hal Smith, Howard Morris, or Bernard Fox. It was indeed, one of Hope Summers' most endearing appearances.

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  16. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    Many of the season six writers were working on season five as well. The big loss were Greenbaum and Fritzell, who I believe were working on scripts for Don Knotts at Universal, and Richard Powell. Aaron Ruben took many of the veteran TAGS writers to Gomer Pyle and Bob Ross had to find new talent.
    It seemed to me that Warren was asked to fill the same role that Barney had early on. This was not a good fit and only reminded viewers that Jack Burns was not Barney Fife. Warren worked well with Goober and Otis better than Andy. And it's a shame that by the time the writing started to catch on to this, ( The Cannon, Girl Shy and Otis the Artist), he was soon gone.
     
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  17. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Greenbaum and Fritzell were indeed, the credited writers for THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (1966), which starred Don Knotts. This film, which was an expansion of "The Haunted House" TAGS episode (#2) from Season 4, was released the same month (January, 1966) that Don's two Season 6 TAGS guest appearances aired. I wonder whether there might have been some promotional tie ins with these?

    Although I believe that the AGS production was basically done with Hal Smith's Otis Campbell character (He only appeared once more during Season 7!), I do think that a Goober/Warren pairing could have bore more fruit, but unfortunately, it seems that Andy Griffith had already made up his mind about releasing Jack Burns before such a pairing had any chance of catching on.

    CHEERS! :)
     
  18. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    "Otis the Deputy" a funny show in season seven that showed the trouble Andy could get into without a full time Deputy. It was the reason I think the show became a bit more sedate in the latter years as the focus was now almost fully on the domestic side of Andy's life.
     
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  19. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    That's one of the Season 7 episodes that I am looking forward to viewing! I'm anticipating that I won't be able to get away with watching this one late at night! ;)

    CHEERS! :)
     
  20. LeoA

    LeoA Cinematographer

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    While I agree that's one of the better color episodes, Otis seems a bit out of character on that episode. He's a weekend drunk in the black & white seasons, but also characterized as a fine citizen during the week. His drinking doesn't seem to ever cause him or those around him any real harm.

    Yet suddenly one of his best friends needs his help in what's possibly a life or death situation, and he's so deep into alcoholism that he can't resist having a few too many on his way to help save his friend?

    Can't picture the b&w Otis doing that.
     

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