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The Andy Griffith Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)



DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014 (CBS Home Entertainment)
Color / 1960-1961
MSRP: $129.98 
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 31
Running Time: Approx. 820 minutes
Running Time of Features: 144 minunites
Audio: English mono
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles 
Special Features: Original Pilot from "The Danny Thomas Show;" The Howards' On-set Home Movies; Original Sponsor Spots (most episodes); "Return to Mayberry" TV Movie; Person to Person Interview with Andy Griffith


The Andy Griffith Show is back, and for the first time ever, it is on Blu-ray! The Andy Griffith Show - Season 1 brings all 31 episodes of the first season of the classic series together in a release that presents the episodes in a way that looks better than they ever have before, along with a decent collection of special features. For the few people unfamiliar with the series, the sitcom debuted on CBS in 1960, and followed small town sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and his deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts) as they dealt with the everyday life of Mayberry, solving little problems to the satisfaction of everybody. At home, Andy was a widowed father raising his son Opie (Ron Howard) with the assistance of Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier). The series is considered to be one of the greatest classic TV series of all time, and is also one of the few series from the era that has continuously played in reruns for over fifty years.


The series kicks off with "The New Housekeeper," where Aunt Bee comes to live with Opie and Andy… but Opie isn't pleased. An escaped convict turns up in Mayberry in "The Manhunt." In "Guitar Player," Andy tries to help a guitar player get the fame he deserves. Ellie arrives for the first time in "Ellie Comes to Town." In "Irresistible Andy," Andy thinks that Ellie has marriage on her mind. Andy teaches Opie a bit about keeping promises in "Runaway Kid," a lesson that sort of backfires. Andy and Ellie stage a fake robbery to bolster Barney's confidence in "Andy the Matchmaker." In "Opie's Charity," Andy is disappointed when he sees how little Opie donates to the Underprivileged Children's Drive.

A family feud is keeping a young couple from marrying in "A Feud is a Feud," and Andy is stuck in the middle of it. Ellie tries to change the gender balance on the town council in "Ellie for Council." In "Christmas Story," Andy is forced to make an arrest on Christmas that may just ruin one family's Christmas, and has to find a way to save it for everybody. A New Yorker shows up in Mayberry in "Stranger in Town," and Barney is determined to know why he knows so much about the people of Mayberry. In "Mayberry Goes Hollywood," the town is chosen as a location for a Hollywood movie. In "The Horse Trader," Andy once again fails to follow the lessons that he has taught Opie. Aunt Bee is out to prove that men are just as bad as women when it comes to gossip in "Those Gossipin' Men." Andy is named the sole judge of a beauty contest in "The Beauty Contest," which causes a few problems. In "Alcohol and Old Lace," Andy and Barney are pointed in the direction of local moonshiners by a pair of spinsters… but they may just be misleading them.

Andy is forced to play the role of marriage counselor to a new couple in town in "Andy, the Marriage Counselor." A music producer arrives in Mayberry in "Mayberry on Record," but Andy suspects trouble. In "Andy Saves Barney's Morale," Barney is made Sheriff for the day, and as it turns out, he arrests everybody that he possibly can. A con man is a hero to everybody in town in "Andy and the Gentleman Crook." In "Cyrano Andy," Andy has to help Barney win Thelma Lou. Aunt Bee leaves town in "Andy and Opie, Housekeepers," leaving Andy and Opie responsible for keeping house. Andy is jealous of a new doctor when he suspects he may be trying to steal Ellie from him in "The New Doctor." A plaque is to be given to the last surviving descendant of a Revolutionary War hero in "A Plaque for Mayberry," but as it turns out, it happens to be Otis, the town drunk. A state inspector may be causing trouble for Andy and Barney in "The Inspector."

In "Ellie Saves a Female," Ellie wants to help a female farmhand find her inner woman. Ben Weaver is demanding that Andy foreclose on a struggling neighbor's property in "Andy Forecloses." In "Quiet Sam," Barney is suspicious of the new farmer in town. A man that Barney helped send to prison has escaped (and returned to Mayberry) in "Barney Gets His Man." Mayberry musician Jim Lindsey returns in "The Guitar Player Returns," but as it turns out, he is behind on his bills. The season ends with "Bringing Up Opie," where Aunt Bee forbids Opie from visiting Andy and Barney at the courthouse.

For all but one episode on the set, there are two versions of the episode, the standard "uncut syndicated" version and a version with the original sponsor opening/closing/commercial (rotating between Post and Sanka each week). The only episode missing the original sponsor materials is the "Christmas Story" episode. Runtimes for the episodes are as follows:

Disc 1: 1. "The New Housekeeper" (25:51)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:26)
2. "The Manhunt" (25:49)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:23)
3. "Guitar Player" (25:52)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:25)
4. "Ellie Comes to Town" (26:00)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:20)
5. "Irresistible Andy" (25:49)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:14)
6. "Runaway Kid" (25:45)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:21)
7. "Andy the Matchmaker" (25:48)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:21)
8. "Opie's Charity" (25:40)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:18)

Disc 2:
9. "A Feud is a Feud" (25:03)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (26:35)
10. "Ellie for Council" (25:49)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:25)
11. "Christmas Story" (26:05)
12. "Stranger in Town" (25:55)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:27)
13. "Mayberry Goes Hollywood" (25:58)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:22)
14. "The Horse Trader" (25:45)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:19)
15. "Those Gossipin' Men" (25:20)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (26:41)
16. "The Beauty Contest" (25:30)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (26:58)

Disc 3:
17. "Andy, the Marriage Counselor" (26:00)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:18)
18. "Mayberry on Record" (25:52)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:20)
19. "Andy Saves Barney's Morale" (25:51)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:17)
20. "Andy and the Gentleman Crook" (25:24)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:15)
21. "Cyrano Andy" (25:58)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:19)
22. "Andy and Opie, Housekeepers" (25:02)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:07)
23. "The New Doctor" (24:39)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (26:21)
24. "A Plaque for Mayberry" (26:06)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:25)
25. "The Inspector" (25:28)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:21)

Disc 4:
26. "Ellie Saves a Female" (25:56)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:22)
27. "Andy Forecloses" (25:53)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:24)
28. "Quiet Sam" (25:45)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:21)
29. "Barney Gets His Man" (25:22)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:18)
30. "The Guitar Player Returns" (26:05)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:21)
31. "Bringing Up Opie" (25:34)
- Original Sponsor Materials Version (27:22)


The set comes packaged in a standard multi disc Blu-ray case along with a cardboard outer sleeve. Both the case and the sleeve have the same artwork, a color photo of Andy and Opie walking with their fishing poles. On the back, you'll find a photo of Andy and Barney, along with a photo of Opie. There is also a very brief description of the series and a listing of special features on the back of the case. Inside, you'll find the four discs (all of which have plain blue artwork) and a listing of episode. The episode listing also includes the original air dates and a brief description of each episode.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on this set look a whole lot better than the DVD menus did. They fully take advantage of the capabilities of Blu-ray menus, which is a positive thing. When the main menu comes up, you see a sign that says "Welcome to Mayberry," and there is a very nice animated background which takes you through the woods where you see plenty of signs… all of which have video clips from episodes playing on them. There is also some music playing in the background, although it is NOT the theme song. It still fits the mood of the show though. Main menu options include Play All, Episodes, Subtitles, and Special Features. When you select Episodes, you get a listing of all of the episodes on each disc. As you scroll through the list of episodes, you get a photo from the episode along with the original air date. For MOST (though not all) of the episodes, once you select an episode, you get the options of Play Episode or Play Episode with Original Sponsor Materials. Subtitles allows you to turn on the English subtitles, of course, and Special Features (available on Discs 1 and 4) allow you to see a list of special features. All menus are accessible while you are playing an episode of the series.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality on this set is essentially perfect. In all fairness, this series has never really looked that bad (except in public domain releases), but this set goes a notch above the previous releases. You'll find a small bit of grain and debris (it doesn't seem like the series was cleaned up quite as good as I Love Lucy was), but it is certainly less than I've ever seen on the series before. There aren't any major issues with the audio, other than the fact that it is an old mono track… but it is cleaned up rather nicely here. English subtitles are available for each episode.

Special Features:

The original DVD releases for this series were not all that impressive in regards to special features. Fortunately, CBS has made up for that in this release. It still isn't a set packed with special features, but at least it shows the series the proper amount of respect that it should have on home media.

First up, on Disc 1, is the original pilot for the series from The Danny Thomas Show (27:20). I have this episode multiple times on DVD by now, but this stands out as the best version, as it has been very nicely remastered for Blu-ray, which is particularly surprising since CBS is only borrowing this episode from another distributor. The episode includes all of the originals sponsor materials, just as the episodes did, with this being sponsored by Maxwell House.

"The Howards' On-Set Movies" (8:36) is a series of home movies filmed by Ronny Howard's parents. They take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes moments from the series and give a rare glimpse into what everything looked like in color on the set during those very early years of the series. I usually don't care all that much for special features like these, but these home movies actually are fun to watch, as they show what happened around the set when the episodes themselves weren't being filmed, and how much the cast genuinely seemed to like each other. What's really weird about this is that in watching it, you almost feel like you're watching the opening credits of The Wonder Years… it is very odd! Of course, these are silent, and but they do have some music playing in the background.

The remaining special features can be found on Disc 4. First up is the "Return to Mayberry" TV film (1:35:26), which was the 1986 reunion movie that aired on NBC bringing most of the cast (with the most notable exception of Frances Bavier's character of Aunt Bee) back together for the first time in several years. If you've never seen it, it is about what you would expect to see in a reunion movie.

The final special feature is a "Person to Person" interview (13:05) with Edward R. Murrow interviewing Andy Griffith and his wife. An exact date isn't given, but it is mentioned that Andy Griffith is 31 years old in the interview, meaning it would have been a few years before the series debuted. The interview has Murrow in the studio, while Andy is in his apartment in New York City (it is mentioned that he rarely spent any time there) along with his wife, Barbara. It's a very nice personal interview that gives us a glimpse into his life before the TV series that would cement his fame (granted, his movies are well-received today, but you have to wonder if they would have had the same legacy if it weren't for this TV series).

Final Comments:

This set is another quality Blu-ray release by CBS, though I still feel like a series such as this one deserves a little bit more in terms of special features on home media. Granted, this set did do better than the DVD release of the first season, but we still get very little behind-the-scenes material, interviews, commentaries, etc. And, with most of the main cast now deceased (Ron Howard, Jim Nabors, Betty Lynn, and Elinor Donahue are the only main/recurring cast members from season 1 still living), we probably will never get much in this regard. At the very least though, I'm glad that CBS gave us a better release of this series than the DVD release, and there is an improvement in the video/audio quality on this release from the DVD. I'm hopeful that this release does well enough to bring the remainder of the series to Blu-ray, including the color episodes. In the meantime, I think that the biggest fans of the series are going to want to get this right away. Those who like the series, but wouldn't consider this among their favorite series may want to wait until the price goes down a bit on it.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5 
Audio Quality: 4.5/5 
Special Features: 3/5 
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5 
Overall: 4.5/5 

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/14/14

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