Crotchety old businessman Ben Weaver wants moonshiner Sam Muggins locked up for Christmas but, after seeing the holiday spirit in Andy's jail, he tries to be arrested himself.



(as David Adler)

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video



1 video »


Episode cast overview:
Opie Taylor (as Ronny Howard)
Sam Muggins
Margaret Kerry ...
Bess Muggins


Christmas Eve gets Barney and Andy excited about getting together with loved ones to enjoy the holiday. Feeling especially generous, Andy lets all the prisoners out of jail for a Christmas break on the promise to return as soon as it's over. Their yuletide joy is only dimmed when mean old Ben Weaver makes a citizen's arrest of Sam Muggins for making a batch of white lightening to put some merry in his Christmas, stubbornly insisting 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 to arrest Sam's wife and kids on conspiracy charges so they can spend Christmas together in his cell, further bringing Aunt Bee, Opie and Ellie into the courthouse for the party. All night, Ben tries again and again to break into the proceedings, till Andy - after he and Ellie have a lovely sing-a-long of "Away in the Manger" - finally realizes what Ben's up to and arrests him, allowing him to first drop by his store ... Written by Jerry Dean Roberts <bothan2001@hotmail.> / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family





Release Date:

19 December 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Over the phone, Andy tells Aunt Bee that Elinor will be over later with eggnog. Up to now, everyone has called her "Ellie" and may cause some viewers to wonder if "Elinor" is correct. Her diploma in "Ellie Comes to Town" indeed shows that actress and character share the same first name. See more »


Ben Weaver exits the courthouse front to walk around the building counter-clockwise to the jail cell windows, keeping the building to his left. He passes the front corner of the building, walks around to the back corner of the building, then walks into the alley behind the building, all the time keeping the building to his left, but when he walks up to the barred jail cell window to look inside, he comes to it from a clockwise direction, with the window on his right -- a mirror image of what it should be. (This also creates a problem as, from the front, the courthouse appears to share a wall with the barber shop next door. As the cell in question lies opposite Andy's desk, there shouldn't even be a window in it unless it exists to allow prisoners to look in on men getting their hair cut.) See more »


Away in a Manger
(traditional carol)
Sung by Elinor Donahue, Andy Griffith, & Will Wright
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Opie The Birdman - something unique... brian-2557
Citizens Arrest lmcsrbfl
Hello Sara, Get Me the Diner......Hello, Juanita eveningstarz
Fun Girls episode oddity WakkZyldcat
Andy's Girlfriends Ellie and Peggy eveningstarz
TVLand sucks WakkZyldcat
Discuss Christmas Story (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: