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.

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(as David Adler)
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Opie Taylor (as Ronny Howard)
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Bess Muggins

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Storyline

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. hotmail.com> / revised by statmanjeff

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Genres:

Comedy | Family

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Release Date:

19 December 1960 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the "Away in a Manger" number, when the camera pans up to Ben, a pin-up girl can be seen on the wall right next to the sink. See more »

Goofs

When Ben pulls himself up to the courthouse window, the supposedly steel or iron bars bend a little. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Andy Griffith Show Christmas Special (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Away in a Manger
(uncredited)
(traditional carol)
Sung by Elinor Donahue, Andy Griffith, & Will Wright
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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.


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