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The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Fourth Season



DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005 (Paramount Home Video)
Black & White
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 32
Running time: approx. 13 hours, 31 minutes
Language and Subtitles: English, closed captioning available
Special Features: None


Named as "one of the greatest television shows of all time" by TV Guide, The Andy Griffith Show featured the adventures of some of the most well-known and beloved characters in television history. All 32 episodes of the classic fourth season are here. The entire gang is back, including Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), who does his best to raise his son Opie (Ron Howard) with the help of his beloved Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier). Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts) and everyone's favorite gas-station attendant Gomer (Jim Nabors) are back too, and Season 4 features the first appearance of Gomer's immensely popular cousin, Goober (George Lindsey). So come on home to the little 'ol town that everyone remembers and re-live all your favorite moments.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The Andy Griffith Show finished in 5th place with a 29.4 rating for Season 4 (1963-64). Jim Nabors would leave after a year and a half, as Gomer joined the marines on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. George Lindsey would make his first appearance as Goober, the cousin of Gomer, in this season. Also returning this season are the Fun Girls, the Darlings, Malcolm Merriweather, and Ernest T. Bass.

There are a number of stand-out episodes this season. Opie decides to raise a nest of baby birds after accidentally killing their mother with his new slingshot and ends up learning one of the hardest lessons of motherhood in the process in "Opie, The Birdman." TV Guide named this episode as one of the greatest episodes in TV history. Andy lets Gomer move in after he loses his job at the gas station and instantly regrets it after Gomer's night habits prove to be more than the Taylors can take in "Gomer The House Guest." Thelma Lou's bachelorette cousin is coming to Mayberry for the town dance, and Barney decides to set her up with Gomer in "A Date For Gomer." A minor argument between Barney and Gomer over a traffic ticket erupts into an all-out feud that leads to reckless driving, staged burglaries, and eventually Barney's resignation from the force in "Citizen's Arrest." Gomer decides to join the Marines, and Andy helps out by secretly convincing the drill constructor that Gomer is the son of a decorated general in "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," the pilot episode for the popular spin-off series.

Notable guest stars included Allan Melvin as the Recruting Sergeant in "Ernest T. Bass Joins The Army" and as the Convict in "Andy's Vacation." Rance Howard, Ron Howard's father, guest starred as the Treasury Agent in "A Black Day for Mayberry" and as a Party guest in "The Rumor." J. Pat O'Malley was Oscar Fields in "Up in Barney's Room." Keith Thibodeaux (Little Ricky on "I Love Lucy") appeared as Johnny Paul Jason in "Opie and His Merry Men," "Andy and Opie's Pal," "A Deal Is A Deal," and "Back To Nature." Legendary character actor Charles Lane guest starred as Mr. Frisby in "Aunt Bee the Crusader." Doris Packer played Mrs. Wiley in "My Fair Ernest T. Bass." Dabbs Greer appeared as Naylor in "Andy's Vacation." Bob Denver guest starred as Dud Wash in "Divorce - Mountain Style." Bernard Fox returned as Malcolm Merriweather in "The Return of Malcolm Merriweather." Frank Sutton appeared as Sgt. Vince Carter in "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which served as the pilot episode for the successful spin-off series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.


All 32 episodes from the fourth season (1963-64) are included in this 5-disc set. The DVD cover art features a color photo of Andy, Opie, Barney, and Gomer. There is a house and fence in the background. The back of the box has various small photos of Andy, Opie, and Barney with Opie peeking out from behind a fence. Each episode title is listed by disc at the top on the back cover. There are 3 slim cases that slide out from the main outer box. Sepia-colored photos are featured on the front of each slim case. The photos are in frames with various settings as the surrounding backgrounds. The backs of the slim cases are set up like news headlines from "The Mayberry News." The episodes titles are listed with various photos and news articles featured. The inside of the cases are set up a bit differently on each disc, with various black and white photos as well. Disc 1 has what looks like lunch plates with a menu, knife, and fork. Disc 2 has some barber items like a comb, scissors, and hair tonic. Disc 3 has some fishing related items. Case #1 pictures Gomer, Andy, and Barney in the haunted house and holds the first two discs. Case #2 holds discs 3 & 4 and has a photo of Barney acting like a mannequin next to one. Case #3 has disc 5 and has a photo of Andy, Barney, and Gomer in the woods. Once again, the discs seem to pop out too easily from the holders. They really should use some sturdier holders so the discs don't slide out so easily. When you lift up the discs from the holders, there are some pretty detailed episode summaries along with the original airdates. The actual discs look pretty much the same with a Sheriff Mayberry badge on them with the disc # noted. The only difference is that the badge's border is a different color on each disc. The episode breakdown by disc is as follows: Disc 1 - 7 episodes, Disc 2 - 7 episodes, Disc 3 - 6 episodes, Disc 4 - 6 episodes, and Disc 5 - 6 episodes.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very simple and easy to navigate. There is only one main menu on each disc that has a different photo of a cast member in a badge. The show logo is listed below the photo. The episode titles are listed vertically in white on the right hand side of the screen. There is a blue sheriff badge next to the episode you highlight that turns orange/red when you select that episode. There is a Play All button and chapter stops within the episodes but no separate menus for scene selections. Disc 1 has Andy, Disc 2 features Opie, Disc 3 pictures Aunt Bee, Disc 4 has Gomer, and Disc 5 rounds out the set with Barney. When you play disc 1, there are previews for some other Paramount DVD releases including MacGyver, Charmed, and The Brady Bunch.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video quality has looked about the same over the last 2-3 releases. I can't tell much difference from season to season. The picture is in its original 1.33:1 ratio full frame and in black & white. I'm sure all the seasons have been remastered for the best possible picture given the show's age. There is a bit of grain, which can be expected as the show was shot on film. Compression problems are not an issue as the episodes are well spread out over 5 discs, with no more than 7 episodes per disc. The audio is the original mono track, which was the norm in the 1960's. There are no major issues with this track as most of the audio is spoken dialog. The volume is at a good level, and there isn't a lot of hiss or background noise. These episodes include the original opening theme credits as you would expect. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Episodes are presented in their original airdate order. There is nothing on the back of the box to indicate that any of the episodes are edited. On the Season 3 set, there was a notice that "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." You would think that same notice would be found on this set if it was the same case. The episodes run from around 24 minutes to almost 26 minutes in length. "The Sermon For Today" only runs 24:08 and "A Deal Is A Deal" runs 24:20, so it's possible there could be something missing from them.

Here is a breakdown of the episodes and their running times and original airdates:

Disc 1
96. Opie, The Birdman (09/30/63) (25:45)
97. The Haunted House (10/07/63) (25:11)
98. Ernest T. Bass Joins The Army (10/14/63) (25:39)
99. The Sermon For Today (10/21/63) (24:08)
100. Brisco Declares For Aunt Bee (10/28/63) (25:17)
101. Gomer The House Guest (11/04/63) (24:41)
102. A Black Day For Mayberry (11/11/63) (24:51)

Disc 2
103. Opie's Ill-Gotten Gain (11/18/63) (25:42)
104. A Date For Gomer (11/25/63) (25:32)
105. Up In Barney's Room (12/02/63) (25:48)
106. Citizen's Arrest (12/16/63) (25:03)
107. Opie and His Merry Men (12/30/63) (25:48)
108. Barney and The Cave Rescue (01/06/64) (25:40)
109. Andy and Opie's Pal (01/13/64) (25:43)

Disc 3
110. Aunt Bee The Crusader (01/20/64) (25:46)
111. Barney's Sidecar (01/27/64) (25:03)
112. My Fair Ernest T. Bass (02/03/64) (25:54)
113. Prisoner of Love (02/10/64) (25:51)
114. Hot Rod Otis (02/17/64) (25:46)
115. The Song Festers (02/24/64) (25:35)

Disc 4
116. The Shoplifters (03/02/64) (24:31)
117. Andy's Vacation (03/09/64) (25:21)
118. Andy Saves Gomer (03/16/64) (25:42)
119. Bargain Day (03/23/64) (24:48)
120. Divorce - American Style (03/30/64) (25:46)
121. A Deal Is A Deal (04/06/64) (24:20)

Disc 5
122. Fun Girls (04/13/64) (25:48)
123. The Return of Malcolm Merriweather (04/20/64) (24:42)
124. The Rumor (04/27/64) (25:47)
125. Barney and Thelma Lou, Phfftt (05/04/64)
126. Back To Nature (05/11/64) (25:24)
127. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (05/18/64) (25:28)

Special Features:

Season 2 and 3 had the original sponsor spots, which were a lot of fun to watch. There are no sponsor spots or any other special features on this set. I can't seem to find any definitive information on whether they originally stopped after Season 3. If anybody knows for sure, please drop me an e-mail.

Final Comments:

Shazam! It was only three months ago that Season 3 was released. 2005 was a good year as Seasons 2-4 of The Andy Griffith were released on DVD. We can expect Season 5 to be released on February 14, 2006. Paramount is also rumored to be releasing the first season of the spin-off series, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., sometime in the first quarter of 2006. I think there is a good chance that seasons 6-8 of TAGS will also be released in 2006 to complete the series. 2006 is shaping up as another banner year for fans of Mayberry. As a big Ron Howard fan, I only wish Paramount would release Happy Days at the same pace.

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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/22/05

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