Widower Sheriff Andy and his son Opie live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry NC. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney.
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In this continuation to the "Andy Griffifth Show", Sam Jones, a local farmer, is elected to the Mayberry town council. Like Andy Taylor, Sam is a widower raising a young son named Mike. Sam also hires Aunt Bee as his housekeeper after Andy marries his sweetheart Helen Crump and moves away. The show chronicles Sam's dealings with the citizens of Mayberry as well as his home life. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
I've never seen more than a couple of episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. But for some reason, I saw probably the entire run of Mayberry RFD in reruns during the mid-70s. Mainly because it happened to be on after I got home from school, most likely.
What surprises me looking back is how good an actor Ken Berry was. Generally a comic actor (and a fine dancer to boot), as Sam Jones he was essentially a straight man and his performances here were always nicely understated (too much so for some people, judging from other comments here) and very believable. From time to time, he showed quite a bit of depth.
I'm thinking right now of a couple of episodes. 1) Sam's struggling with a mild depression after some of his crops fail. 2) He and Millie are in Los Angeles (don't remember why), they have a fight and make up. Something about the emotion Ken Berry delivered in these - not too much, always knowing just how far to step outside his character's ordinary range - made then unexpectedly powerful.
I also remember an episode in which Sam does a very funny eccentric dance as part of a talent show of some kind.
The secret to a really good sit-com is that it convinces us we're watching real people, even when some of the characters are a bit outlandish. Ken Berry in this show always kept me believing I was watching real people.
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