This was the first film of a multli-picture deal between Andy Griffith and Universal. Griffith was so disappointed with this film, that he declined to make the other pictures that were part of the deal. See more »
Reverend Samuel D. Whitehead:
[In reply to the old gossip who said that he had played the organ for a "naked harlot"]
She was not naked. And how do you know she was a harlot? You are bearing false witness!
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I saw this on Turner Classic Movies. Andy Griffith is a wanna-be pastor. He's got the education, the maturity, a family, and is even an ex-marine, but no church. Well, this particular church has an ornery congregation (a Hatfield/McCoy situation), and they keep chasing away the pastors. So finally, the Bishop digs through his old file and tries Andy Griffith.
Andy and his family are totally idealistic and naïve, expecting to help people and spread the love of the Lord. This congregation does not want to be helped, nor do they want the love of the Lord. They want to control the town, the finances, and have the pastor be their yes-man.
There are a lot of interesting characters, played by many familiar faces from 1960's sit coms. "Uncle Joe" from Petticoat Junction plays the mean mayor. "Howard Spragug" from Andy Griffith show plays a star-crossed lover. The band "Wildcats" which appears in many sitcoms plays at this church's social. Margaret Hamilton plays a vindictive gossip. There were many faces that I recognized, but I could not place them.
Andy tries to stand up to the feuding congregants, but they just call the Bishop and get him into trouble. Andy does not give up, and he keeps doing what is knows is the right thing, and they keep turning up the heat to cause more conflict. Being a family film, it does have a happy ending where everything works itself out anyway, which is nice.
One thing I really liked about this movie was that it involved a church, but was never preachy. Most of TV and movies pretend that no one has any faith at all, but most people believe in something. This accepted that church is a normal part of many American's lives.
The story supposedly took place in Kansas, but it had rolling hills and eucalyptus trees. I suspect they filmed it in California's Central Valley, or maybe in Fillmore.
I recommend it for any family that wants some good, old-fashioned fun, without worrying about something popping up that might be offensive for the kids.
(For the super-sensitive: there is one scene where Andy goes to a burlesque place to talk to the owner, and they do have spicy but corny showgirls doing a routine, but that is it. They are more covered up than women you see on the beach today. The movie still has a "G" rating.)
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