Barney becomes a laughing stock after being left in temporary change and arresting upstanding townsfolk over petty violations. Andy must step in and make them appreciate Barney before he quits.



(as David Adler)

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Episode cast overview:
Opie Taylor (as Ronny Howard)
Florence MacMichael ...
Hilda Mae
George Dunn ...
Dick Elliott ...
Joseph Hamilton ...
Chester Jones


Andy heads for Centerville to give some testimony, leaving Barney in charge of Mayberry for the day. As he prepares to leave, he harps on all manner of reminders of rudimentary things that need to be done while he's away. Barney is incensed that Andy doesn't seem to trust his judgment and assures him that he's leaving Mayberry in the hands of good old reliable Barney Fife. Upon his return, Andy admits that things seem mighty quiet, until he enters the courthouse and realizes that Barney has arrested and jailed half the citizens of Mayberry for minor offenses. While being tried, the townsfolk go from anger to humor as they find themselves laughing at Barney's overreaction. Andy lets everyone go one by one, even Otis, because the offenses were all very minor and reminds Barney that there is more to being a police officer than just the police manual. Barney laughs off the situation but finds it impossible to get any peace from the townsfolk as he has become a laughing stock, falling into... Written by Jerry Dean Roberts <> / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

20 February 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Don Knotts stayed awake for two days and nights and did not shave so he could look tired for the scene in which he comes to work looking scraggly. See more »


Chester Jones appears to be in two places at the same time, firstly when Andy visits Jud and Chester playing a game of checkers to inform them that he is firing Barney, and secondly in the next scene when Andy stops in at Floyd's Barbershop with the same news, where Chester Jones, standing in the group, seems to be hearing the news for the first time. See more »


Andy Taylor: [entering the courthouse] Well, no wonder it's quiet in town. The whole population's in here.
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The Fishin' Hole
Written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer.
Performed by Earle Hagen.
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User Reviews

The prototype for many future episodes...
12 October 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a very good episode--and one that sets the stage for many future episodes involving Barney. Andy is going out of town for a short period of time and leaves Barney in charge. Barney insists that Andy shouldn't worry--he will take good care of the town. However, soon after Andy leaves, Barney's usual over-zealousness kicks in and he begins arresting people for the most trivial of crimes--and many of them aren't crimes at all. When Andy returns, the town is a mess and it takes him a lot of effort to straighten everything out--and in the process Barney is ridiculed by the community and demoralized. While Barney IS an incompetent boob, he's a nice incompetent boob and so Andy decides to come up with a plan to bolster Barney's confidence, as by now the Deputy is ready to resign.

This is a great episode to illustrate Andy's affection for Barney--something you just don't see in many sitcoms. Although Barney truly is an incompetent, Andy cares about him to much that he cannot let Barney down. And, in true Barney fashion, he really doesn't learn much of anything from the experience!! Classic--and a theme that you'll see in quite a few subsequent shows. Excellent all around and one you have to see.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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