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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Somehow, several episodes from "The Andy Griffith Show" have been
allowed to slip into the public domain as their copyrights were not
renewed. Why, I have no idea. But despite many public domain shows and
movies being dogs (hence no one cared to renew them), this one proves
that some public domain programs are super.
Barney decides to buy a car. He reads about a deal that is too good to be true and when he meets the sweet old lady (Ellen Corby) selling the vehicle, she is also too good to be true. The very gullible Barney falls for what are obvious lies concerning the quality of the car and, not surprisingly, the car doesn't even make it back to Mayberry before it breaks down...and the 'sweet old lady' is no where to be found. Not only that, but a closer inspection of the car proves it was deliberately misrepresented--with sawdust poured into the transmission to make it work...at least briefly. All seems to be lost...until Barney and Andy happen to accidentally find the lady and her gang of car thieves. Barney's reaction to them is priceless--as is Corby's wonderful performance. The show is exceptionally well-written and acted and is a comedic delight. Very, very funny.
This episode contains all the classic elements that make "The Andy Griffith Show" appealing to so many people. It centers around Barney and the decision to spend his life's savings($300)on a used car. Of course the car is a supposed one owner, pampered cream-puff that has been "handled with kid gloves". And the car owner is a supposed recently widowed "little old lady" who's husband also happened to be named Bernard. The highlight of the episode is a Sunday drive in the country in Barney's new ride with Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, Thelma Lou and Gomer. This episode is also a perfect example of how important the incidental music (by composer Earle Hagen)was to the series (note the use of a harpsichord used in the scenes with Mrs. Lesh.) Ultimately, this episode spotlights Don Knotts who gets to display the entire range of Barney's emotions as he navigates his way through his first big purchase. One of the series' best.
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