It's Christmas Eve and Barney and Andy are excited about getting together with the loved ones to enjoy the holiday. Andy is feeling so generous that he lets all the prisoners out of the ... See full summary »



(as David Adler)

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Episode credited cast:
Opie Taylor (as Ronnie Howard)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sam Muggins
Joy Ellison ...
Effie Muggins
Margaret Kerry ...
Bess Muggins


It's Christmas Eve and Barney and Andy are excited about getting together with the loved ones to enjoy the holiday. Andy is feeling so generous that he lets all the prisoners out of the jail for a Christmas break on the promise that they be back as soon as it's over. Yet, the yuletide joy is dimmed a bit when mean old Ben Weaver makes a citizen's arrest of Sam Muggins who has made up a batch of white lightening to put some merry in his Christmas. Stubborn Ben demands that Sam get the required 24 hours in jail despite reasoning objections from Andy that, after all, it's Christmas. Andy comes up with a plan of arresting Sam's wife and kids on conspiracy charges so they can spend Christmas with him in the cell. Further, he brings Aunt Bee and Opie and Ellie into the courthouse for the party. All night, Ben tries again and again to break up the proceedings, but Andy finally suspects that he really wants to join the party. After Andy and Ellie have a lovely sing-a-long of "Away in the ... Written by Jerry Dean Roberts <>

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Plot Keywords:

christmas | See All (1) »


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

19 December 1960 (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?


Will Wright makes his first of three appearances here as stubborn old Ben Weaver. Previously Wright had appeared as Mr. Johnson on the Danny Thomas Show episode "Danny Meets Andy Griffith," the episode that led to "The Andy Griffith Show." See more »


When Barney is sitting at the desk reading Christmas cards, the card he is holding switches to another one then back to the original one from shot to shot. See more »


The Fishin' Hole
Written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer.
Performed by Earle Hagen.
See more »

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User Reviews

Will Wright makes this one terrific...
11 October 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

You probably won't recognize his name, but Will Wright made a career out of playing grouchy old men. I assume he always looked grouchy and old--as that's the only way I recall him in films--even when they were made years before this episode! And, he was great in roles like this one--and makes this "Andy Griffith" episode one of the best.

The show begins with a nasty old man (Wright) storming into Andy's office and demanding that he throw a debtor into jail--even though it's practically Christmas! Andy is aghast--especially when the hard-hearted Wright keeps insisting. So, ultimately, Andy has the idea to also incarcerate the man's family and make it a holiday celebration. But, Wright is furious--insisting that this isn't fair and is clearly a way to subvert the law. However, soon Andy realizes that Wright, despite his blustering and nasty demeanor, is a lonely old guy and truly wants to be liked--he just can't let himself show it. I'd love to say more but can't. Suffice to say it leads to a very funny yet heart-warming finale--one that also manages not to step over the border into schmaltz. Well worth seeing and a Christmas classic--well written and acted throughout.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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