Monday, September 13, 2010

Mayberry Mondays #18: “Howard’s Hobby” (02/03/69, prod. no. 0108)

As Mayberry Mondays returns to its proper time slot this week (seriously—when R.F.D. was originally on the air, it was always on a Monday…and when I’m forced to postpone it to the following day it just doesn’t feel right) I find myself once again having to apologize for some previous misinformation. In “The Harvest Ball,” episode two of season one, pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) escorts a sweet young thing named Grace (Pat Carpenter) to the big dance soiree…and I jokingly suggested that the trip they took to Myers Lake afterward resulted in the return of only one of them—that Grace had succumbed to Howard’s ambition to be a Dexter-in-training. Well, as this week’s episode begins, Grace is revealed to be hale, hearty and dancing up a storm with Mr. Sprague, who elicits a few giggles as he valiantly struggles to get down with his bad self.

Play that funky music, white boy. As the song ends, Howard’s terpsichorean prowess is applauded by city council head/poor dirt farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry), in attendance with Miss Chocolate Éclair of 1968—his girlfriend Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka), the counter girl at Boysinger’s Bakery. (From their surroundings, it would appear that the four of them have been a-boogieing up a storm at Mayberry’s diner…and I have to say, the dance floor is pretty impressive for a jernt that size.)

SAM: Hey hey…pretty fancy dancin’ there, Howard!
HOWARD: Well, I’ve been watching those kids on TV… (Reaching into his pocket for some change) What’ll be this time, gang—a little cha-cha-cha?
MILLIE: Anything you want, Howard…
SAM: Hey, what do you say we sit down and let the dust settle, huh?
GRACE/MILLIE (disappointed): Ohhh…
HOWARD: Oh…okay…but I was just getting warmed up


Yes, I can see why the girls are disappointed…because nothing beats the sight of a rhythmically-impaired white guy trying to frug furiously on the dance floor. Millie and Grace excuse themselves to go to the powder room, which means Sam now has to engage Howard in awkward conversation…and if anyone can explain to me why that diner always has breadsticks on the table, the comments section awaits.

HOWARD: Ah…you know, Grace sure is nice, huh?
SAM: Yeah…yeah, I’ve been noticin’ you kind of go for her…
HOWARD: Shows, huh?
SAM: Oh, yeah…yeah…
HOWARD: Well, she’s more darn fun…and real easy to talk to… (Sighs) I guess I’m kind of stuck on her…
SAM: Well…you two seem to get along, too…
HOWARD: Oh, sure we do… (After a pause) I mean, I hope we do…
SAM: Hmm…problem?
HOWARD: Mmm…I don’t know…I mean…we talk a lot, and have fun and stuff…well…something seems to be missing


It’s called sex, Howard. Perhaps you could stop by the library and bone up on reading about it.

HOWARD: I mean…you and Millie have it…whatever it is—I mean, it’s there...you can see it…
SAM: Well…yeah, we do have a good time together…I think it’s because we have a lot in common…you know, we share the same interests
HOWARD: Gee, that’s real nice…
SAM: Yeah…we both like fishingbowling…we both like the same movies
HOWARD: I’m probably worried about nothing…


So let’s take our camera into the ladies’ room (oh, stop it—you know what I mean) and eavesdrop on the conversation between Millicent and Grace:

MILLIE: He’s sure got eyes for you tonight
GRACE: Hmm…I always have a good time with Howard…
MILLIE: Nice fella…
GRACE: Oh, yes…a perfect gentleman
MILLIE: Think there could be anything serious…?
GRACE: Well…we’ve only had a few dates…I mean…I like Howard a lot, but…well…we’d better get back…


“Howard just leaves me…unsatisfied…” is what Grace is trying to diplomatically say to Millie…though considering Millie and Howard’s previous history on The Andy Griffith Show, I’m sure Mill’s already rode that bus. It’s not that Grace dislikes Howard—“I mean, he’s pleasant…and reliable…he’s always on time…but…”

Millie gets right down to the crux of the problem: “But, uh…you could use a little more…uh…” Oh, ferchrissake, Millie—come on out and say it. Howard is clearly not getting the job done at Project Grace.

Returning to their table, Howard turns on that old Sprague charm by asking his date if she’d care for a nightcap—“Chocolate, strawberry or vanilla?” (I’m going to go ahead and assume he’s talking milkshakes…because the other item I had in mind is probably not appropriate material for a family blog.)

The next morning finds Howard seated at a table inside the council office and scanning a newspaper to see if his name might be in it. (He’s also dressed in a flannel shirt and casual slacks, which would seem to suggest that there’s nothing going on at his place of business…and that he must want to speak to Sam, otherwise he’d be pissing around at the fix-it shop.)

HOWARD: I’ve been thinking over what you said last night…
SAM: What did I say?
HOWARD: About you and Millie having things in common and sharing each other’s interests…
SAM: Oh, yeah! Yeah!
HOWARD: Well, I’ve decided that’s what’s missing in my relationship with Grace…we just haven’t laid the foundation for togetherness


Something’s not getting laid, that’s for certain. But I digress…

HOWARD: You know, a person can’t always be up

I swear…sometimes the jokes just write themselves

HOWARD: Human relationships just can’t survive on dancing and witty conversation…there comes a time when you have to fall back on a quiet sharing of interests…you know…experiences…hobbies…
SAM: Yeah…yeah, I feel that way, Howard…
HOWARD: For instance—wouldn’t it be great if Grace could get the same thrill out of my coin collection as I do?
SAM: Yeah…that would be great…uh-huh…
HOWARD: I don’t think I’ve ever even mentioned that I have a coin collection—it just never occurred before…


How Grace has managed to avoid sashaying down the matrimonial aisle with Mr. Excitement here is a question best left to imminent R.F.D. scholars more qualified than myself. But even with Grace watching the precious sands in the hourglass fall while spending pointless, boring hours staring at uncirculated coinage, Howard acknowledges that he would only be too willing to share in her hobbies, wondering out loud: “Be interesting to know what she gets her kicks out of…”

Wait for it…

Yes, it would appear that Howard’s demure young girlfriend is not into macramé or collecting trolls—but is a skydiving enthusiast, a gal who relishes taking a huge bite out of the French dip sandwich that is life and letting the juices dribble down her chin. Let the wacky complications ensue!

The scene shifts to a nervous Howard, pacing the living room at Chez Grace—he’s waiting for her to get ready, as they have a date to attend the flickers. He notices that she has a chessboard and pieces set up in a corner of her crib:

HOWARD: Oh, hey—I see you play chess!
GRACE (off camera): Oh, not me…I just bought that because it looks pretty there…
HOWARD: Oh… (Brightening) Oh, then you like decorating, huh?
GRACE (off camera): Unh-unh…I needed something to cover a watermark on the table…


Grace makes a not-so-grand entrance, and the two exchange compliments on how they look…she announces she’s going to get her coat, but Howard tells her there’s no big rush…

HOWARD: As a matter of fact…there’s something I wanted to discuss with you before we go…about…our relationship
GRACE: Oh…?
HOWARD (motioning for her to sit): Well…let’s sit down…you know…you know, Grace…a man and a woman can know each other for quite a while…and yet…not really know each other…


Well, not in the Biblical sense, anyway.

HOWARD: I mean, they can have fun and enjoy each other’s company and all…but…it should go deeper than that…there should be sharing…of everything
GRACE: You trying to tell me you want to go Dutch to the movies?


Oh, Gracie—you’re just being obtuse on purpose. It sounds like Howard wants to ride you like a carousel pony. And believe me, for Howard this is a breakthrough…

HOWARD: I was talking about a development of mutual interests…like…hobbies we could share—now that’s an area we’ve never explored…
GRACE: No, I…guess we haven’t…
HOWARD (beaming): You know, I happen to have…one of the finest coin collections in all of Mayberry…


Um, Howard…that coin collection pickup line hasn’t worked for you in the past and why you keep insisting on using it is a mystery for the ages. Unless you rebound with something like “By the way, I’m hung like a delicatessen salami” Grace is going to show you the exit tuit suite.

GRACE: Oh, that’s…that’s wonderful…I’ve never known much about coins
HOWARD: Well, it’s very stimulating—I’d love to get you interested in it…but you know, this is a two-way street…I insist on sharing your hobby, too…
GRACE (hesitant) Oh…that’s very sweet of you…but…
HOWARD: You do have a hobby—don’t you?
GRACE: Oh…well, yes…but it’s kind of silly
HOWARD: Aw…come on, now…nothing you do could be silly…not to me…


Grace tries to sidestep the issue of her extracurricular activity by insisting that they’ll be late for the movie if they don’t hurry—but Howard determinedly presses her into admitting what tickles her fancy. It would be ten times funnier if she answered: “Bondage…I like the kinky stuff”—but instead, she’s working up to admitting that she gets a thrill out of, as my father often describes it, “jumping out of perfectly good airplanes”:

GRACE: Well, some people think it’s kind of nutty
HOWARD: Well, I’m not “some people,” you know…I pride myself on being completely open-minded and adaptable
GRACE: But I wouldn’t want you to disapprove
HOWARD: Nonsense! Believe me, I’m wide open—I like bowling, hiking, dancing…as a matter of fact, before I go I want to be able to say I’ve tried everything


Even sleeping with a woman. (By the way, the suspense is killing me…)

GRACE: Well…
HOWARD: Come on…tell me what it is…
GRACE: Skydiving…



Boiiinnnnnnggggg…that expression on his face is the gift that keeps on giving…

HOWARD: Skydiving! (Laughing) Out of a paraplane with an airachute?
GRACE: That’s right…
HOWARD: Oh, my…


Howard is a bit unsteady on his feet, as if he’s about to tip over…and it would appear he’s mucked his chance to impress Grace, who impatiently insists they head out the door or they’ll miss the movie—Fathom (1967). (Okay, I made this up—actually, I wanted to use The Gypsy Moths [1969] because it sounded funnier, but that film wouldn’t be released until six months after this episode first aired.)

It’s nearly eight minutes into this episode and we haven’t seen the signature backdrop of R.F.D.—namely, grown men frittering away precious hours hanging out at the shop of Mayberry’s resident fix-it savant, Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman). So in a scene shift, we are transported to this familiar folksy locale, as Emmett is working on a typewriter…assisted by gas pump jockey/village idiot Goober Pyle (George Lindsey). Sam is also present and accounted for, once again demonstrating how masterfully he avoids working on his farm…

EMMETT: Now… (Goober strikes one of the typewriter keys upon hearing this command, and Emmett reacts in disgust) Boy, the way people ruin things…
GOOBER: Well, if people didn’t ruin things you wouldn’t have nothin’ to fix…ain’t I right, Sam?
SAM (obviously humoring him): Mm-hmm…right, Goob…
GOOBER (to Sam): I think of a lot of things like that…


“But I can’t figure out why my head always hurts.” Anyway, Howard crosses the threshold, with a pensive look on his face. He’s offered some coffee courtesy of Emmett but declines on account of his “feeling a little queasy this morning.”

SAM: Oh, hey—I saw you at the movie last night with Grace…pretty funny movie, huh?
HOWARD (distracted leafing through a magazine): Hmm? Oh…yeah…I guess… (There is a pause as Howard glances over at Goober and Emmett, who are still working on the typewriter…he then stands up to speak) You know, I read an interesting magazine article …all about skydiving…
GOOBER: Skydiving…you mean jumpin’ out of them airplanes?
HOWARD: Yeah…I understand…uh…a lot of people are taking it up…
EMMETT: Lot of idiots, you mean…


Physician…heal thyself.

HOWARD: Oh…it’s probably not as bad as it seems…
GOOBER: Well…it’d sure be a thrill, I’ll tell you that…
HOWARD: Would you do it?
GOOBER; Well, heck no…I’m as chicken as you are…
EMMETT: I can’t even imagine why anyone would try it…
SAM: Oh, probably want to prove something to themselves…
EMMETT: Yeah…if they don’t prove it, it probably don’t matter much anymore


This bon mot from the Robert Benchley of the repair shop set starts Emmett and Goober off on a laughing jag, and Howard looks noticeably hurt. “Well…it sounds scary, but it’s not supposed to be real dangerous…a lot of girls even do it…”

At the mention of “girls,” the penny drops for Sam; he realizes that Howard is talking about Grace, and when Goober describes the practice of when a skydiver depends on someone to hand them a parachute in mid-air by adding a whistling sound effect (finally slapping his hand on the table saying “BAM!” and startling Howard and Emmett), Sam makes a lame excuse to leave the shop and go over to the council office so he and Howard can discuss more fully Mr. Sprague’s taking leave of his senses…

HOWARD: What did you want to see me about, Sam?
SAM: Uh…nothing, Howard…really…I…uh…I just wanted to get you out of there…you…you were beginning to look a little green
HOWARD: You know, huh?
SAM: Well, I can guess—Grace’s hobby is skydiving?
HOWARD: Yeah… (With a sick look on his face) Boy, did I ever get a live one
SAM (laughing): Did you give her that pitch about…wanting to share interests?
HOWARD: Did I! I walked right into it…me and my coin collection


Sam reassures Howard that he’s not going to have to follow through with “sharing Grace’s interests”—but Howard, braver (and stupider) than at any time in my recent memory, insists that he has to man up:

HOWARD: But Sam, it’s real big with her…well, it’s her most consuming interest…
SAM: Well then, Howard…if you want my advice…you’ll get yourself another girl
HOWARD: But I don’t want another girl…I want Grace! She’s so cute, and sweet, and pretty…
SAM: …and she jumps out of airplanes…
HOWARD: Sam, I’m going to have to do it…
SAM: Oh, Howard…
HOWARD: No, a man has to face life…now if…if I don’t do it now, I’d just be sneaking out…I’d never be able to face myself…


I know I’ve ragged a good deal on Howard in the past, but I have to admit I kind of admire his stance here—he’s grabbing life by its testicles and he’s going to go for the gusto at the risk of his own life. His mother, of course, is going to set a new world’s record for sh*tting bricks…but that’s an episode for another day.

At this point in the conversation, Millie walks in…and inquires “Don’t you feel good?” of Howard because she, too, has noticed he’s a bit green around the gills. When Sam fills Millie in on Howard’s daredevil intentions, Millie surprises her boyfriend by giving Howard a thumbs-up of approval…

MILLIE: I think it’s wonderful!
SAM: You do?
MILLIE: Yes! That’s so romantic…doing something like that for the girl you love… (She giggles)
SAM (to Howard): Women…


I positively love Millie to death…but I have to admit that she can be a bit ditzy at times.

MILLIE: I think I just might take up a hobby myself
SAM: Forget it…
HOWARD (heading for the exit): Well, I’ll see you…
SAM: Okay, Howard…
(Howard makes it to the door, but turns around to face Sam and Millie)
HOWARD: I don’t even like coming down in elevators


Ah, here’s the evidence of a thriving metropolitan colossus…your very own airport. The scene then shifts to a man wearing a yellow jumpsuit standing in front of a chalkboard, lecturing to Howard and Grace…

You'll no doubt recognize this actor as veteran thespian Larry Pennell, who emoted as Keith Holden, Lassie’s interpreter during the final season of that long-running drama (I don’t like to call him her “master” because that would imply he actually performed in some sort of capacity, where as you and I know the damn dog did all the work) but lives on in boob tube immortality here at TDOY as actor-boyfriend Dash Riprock on The Beverly Hillbillies. What’s so amusing about casting Pennell as the instructor is that his biggest television success was playing skydiver Ted McKeever on the 1961-63 syndicated adventure series Ripcord—a show that co-starred The Man Who Would Be Festus, Ken Curtis (as his sidekick, Jim Buckley). Pennell’s character is called “Chuck” here—demonstrating that scribes like Dick Bensfield and Perry Grant (the authors of this episode) not only do not watch TV regularly, they have no imagination.

CHUCK: Your first jump will be off a static line at 28,000 feet…after the chute opens, you’ll fall at approximately…twenty feet per second…(Howard does not look enthused) The static line is attached to the floor of the plane…as you drop… (Holding up a chute) It pulls the chute out of the container…the object of the sleeve…is to slow the opening of the chute, and reduce your G-load to two G’s…any questions so far?
HOWARD: 28,000 feet, huh?
CHUCK: Oh, that’s just the first jump…you’ll get to go a lot higher later
HOWARD: Oh… (He gives out with a nervous chuckle)
GRACE: Oh, I just know you’re going to love it, Howard…
HOWARD: Oh, you bet…you bet… (To Chuck, with concern in his voice) You do get to wear two chutes, don’t ya?


Chuck assures Howard that the “two chutes” are mandated by law, and goes off in search of a reserve parachute to demonstrate. Meanwhile, Grace is just about ready to cream her jeans over the prospect of her boyfriend taking to the wild blue yonder with her…

GRACE: Oh, Howard…I’m so proud of you…I mean, I like you a lot but I never knew about your adventurous side…
HOWARD (trying to be modest): Oh…well…
GRACE: Oh, you don’t know the fun we’re gonna have together…floating through the sky…and wait until you try your first freefall…there’s just nothing like it!
HOWARD (faking enthusiasm): Oh, I’ll bet there isn’t…
GRACE: I’m just thrilled that you decided to take it up…I’ve already lost two boyfriends because of it…
HOWARD (his face slightly frozen): You did??
GRACE: Uh-huh…they found out I was interested in parachute jumping and just…disappeared


In other words, they bailed out on her. (Oh, I slay myself sometimes.) Howard laughs this off, realizing that she didn’t mean that her previous fiancés fell to their death…and then excuses himself, as he has to change his jumpsuit. No, I’m just kidding—but there is a syndication-mandated swipe to the council office, and we can see through the window Howard making his way towards Sam, who’s busy operating an adding machine…

HOWARD: I jump tomorrow…
SAM: Tomorrow? Well, that soon, huh?
HOWARD: Yeah… yeah, they move you right along…
SAM: Uh-huh …
HOWARD: Of course, with the instruction I’ve had I’m not worried…I mean, I can see that it’s safe… it really is…
SAM: Great…
HOWARD: It’s very safe
SAM: Mm-hmm…great…
HOWARD: So…tomorrow’s the day…
SAM: Well, that’s…that’s great…
HOWARD (after a long pause and glancing out the window): Of course, it might rain…you don’t think it’ll rain tomorrow, do ya?
SAM: Uh…no, Howard…I’m afraid not… (Pause) Ohhhh…look, Howard…you don’t have to go through with this thing…
HOWARD: Well, yes I do…
SAM: No, you don’t…Grace will understand
HOWARD: It’s not just Grace…not now…what about myself?
SAM: Believe me, Howard…no one’s going to think less of you if you decide not to go through with this thing…


Sam’s right, Howard…after all, we couldn’t possibly think any less of you than we already do right now. Howard is wringing his hands over what his friends will say if he begs off—thinking they’ll consider him “chicken.” “No, Sam,” Howard says ruefully, “there are some things in life you just have to face up to…now, I’ve gone this far and I’m going to do it if it’s the last…” He then stops short, realizing he’d prefer not to finish that cliché.

I have to come clean here. I don’t want Howard to risk his fool neck…only because if he dies, that just leaves one less person for me to make fun of on this show. The day of the big leap arrives, and we find Howard diligently and painstakingly packing his chute. Unfortunately, he’s about to be distracted in his task by Goober and Emmett—and I cannot stress this enough that if you’re making a quick checklist as to the preparations you’ll need to make before skydiving at 28,000 feet, one item to leave off this list is “Have a conversation with Tweedledum and Tweedledummer before making your death-defying jump…”


GOOBER: Well, hurry up—everybody’s waitin’…
EMMETT: Don’t tell him to hurry up…he’s packing his chute!
GOOBER: Sorry, Howard…go ahead and take your time…you wanna get it right
EMMETT: Yeah…don’t mind us…we’ll just watch


Never a claw machine on the premises when you need one…as Howard continues to pack, Goober provides color commentary…

GOOBER: It’s kind of a skinny parachute…
HOWARD: Oh, this isn’t the parachute, Goober…this is the pilot chute…
GOOBER: Oh…complicated, ain’t it?
HOWARD: No…not too…
EMMETT: Did you stow the lines on the locking flap?
HOWARD: What?
EMMETT (pointing to a chart on the wall): It says that’s the most important step…
HOWARD: Yeah, I did that…
GOOBER: Double-checked it, huh?
HOWARD (staring at Goober): Double-checked what?
GOOBER: Well, what Emmett said…the most important thing...
HOWARD: Well, no, I didn’t double-check it…I just did it…
GOOBER: I guess you know what you’re doin’… (After a pause) I’d double-check it myself


I kind of have to stop here at this point in the transcript because the source of this episode experiences a satellite outage, so some of the sparkling repartee exchanged between Howard and his idiot friends is missing…

I know that I often make obtaining bootleg movies and television shows glamorous and exciting on the blog…but this is one of the pitfalls. (It’s not all skittles and beer, kids.) Anyway, when normal transmission resumes Howard finds himself exasperated by Messrs. Clark and Pyle, and frustratingly tears apart his chute to do it all over again.

Out on the airfield, Sam, Millie and Grace await Howard’s arrival—and Millie, being the first to spot Howard, excitedly waves him on…

SAM: Well…well…you look pretty professional there, Howard…
HOWARD: Huh ho…well…
GRACE: What took you so long, sweetie? You had time to pack and repack your chute…
GOOBER: He did…three times!!!


Chuck, from inside the plane, tells Howard it’s time—and he’s given well wishes from his friends…Millie and Grace both tell him how brave he is (causing him to swell slightly, pride-wise) and of course, you can always depend on His Goobness to raise the tone when he shouts: “Watch that first step…it’s a biggun!” As he and Emmett cackle like barnyard hens, Howard gives him this look…





…and off he goes…into the wild blue yonder! To tell the truth, I had expected scribes Bensfield and Grant to insert a real deux ex machina moment here, like Howard begging off at the last moment and producing a note from his mother excusing him from the jump. But no—they’re paying good money for a stuntman, damn it, and so Howard takes to the air like a bird in flight.

The very first time I saw this scene I was like—hey…there were originally five people in this shot…what happened to Millie? Well, here’s the answer…

I laughed out loud at Millie’s covering of her eyes the whole time Howard was plunging to Earth…Howard receives kudos all around, and for the first time in his life knows what it’s like to be a man…

Staring down death in the manner that Howard did, it’s time for some sober reflection…and that’s why Mayberry’s city fathers created bus benches—though you could argue that some people (Emmett Clark, call your office) abuse the privilege.

HOWARD: Well…I’ll tell you one thing…I’m glad I did it…real glad…
SAM: Hmm…
HOWARD: And it was pretty spooky
SAM: Oh, I’ll bet…gonna do it again?
HOWARD: Maybe, but…not too often


Okay, let me break in here just to remind readers that Howard is talking about skydiving. “You must be in pretty solid with Grace now,” observes Sam, to which Howard happily replies: “Oh, yeah…numero uno! It’s gonna be clear sailin’ from now on…” Down the street, a figure comes into view, riding a motorcycle—and seated on the cycle is Mt. Pilot’s most notorious hellcat…Grace!

GRACE: Hi, sweetie!
HOWARD: Grace!
GRACE: Hi, Sam!
SAM: Hey, Grace…
GRACE: How do you like my new bike? Isn’t it too much?
HOWARD: This is yours?
GRACE: Sure! Hop on, I’ll give you a spin!
HOWARD: Oh, well, I…
GRACE: Oh, come on, sit behind me
HOWARD: …I don’t really think…
GRACE: We’ll both get one! Oh, you’re gonna love it…we’ll go hill climbing, and racing, and everything…even jumping over barrels…


With Howard seated on the back, Grace guns the engines and revs off into the distance…


…and Howard stands up at the last minute, watching her zoom away for Siler City and points unknown. Honest to my grandma, I never laughed so hard at an R.F.D. episode in my short time watching these darn things. As he and Sam look as Grace speeds off around a corner, Howard says to his friend: “You know, Sam—you were right. There are plenty of other girls.”

Not much of a coda on this one, mainly because it’s folly to try and top that hilarious bike gag. Howard further explains to Sam: “If I was ever to marry a girl like that, I’d spend most of my time in the hospital.” So Millie comes skipping into view…

MILLIE: Oh, Sam…I’ve got something very exciting to tell you…
SAM: What’s that?
MILLIE: I finally decided what hobby I’m going to take up…
SAM: Oh, come on, now…
MILLIE (giggling and squealing) No, it’s exciting! You’re gonna love it!
SAM: Quit it!
MILLIE: You’re gonna love it!
SAM: Okay…okay, what is it?
MILLIE: Needlepoint


As Millie and Howard burst out in laughter, Sam sheepishly admits: “Now that’s my kind of girl…”

Why the writers of this particular R.F.D. episode didn’t think to work Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (Francis Bavier) into the proceedings will remain shrouded in mystery—Andy Griffith Show fans are aware, of course, that our beloved housekeeper had her own excursion into the friendly skies in “Aunt Bee’s Big Moment” (02/12/68) and why they passed up the wackiness that would result in her being in charge of the airplane that Howard was to jump from is, again, evidence of a lack of creativity on the writers’ part. What’s more, we suffer from her absence…and Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Mayberry R.F.D. Bee-o-meter™ does as well, stalling at eight appearances in the series’ first season. But Bee devotees—worry ye not…she makes a triumphant return in next week’s Mayberry Mondays installment, “The Camper.” (Of course, Mike the Idiot Boy [Buddy Foster] is in this one, too…so it’s best not to get too excited.)

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8 comments:

Tom said...

The breadsticks suggest they are not at the diner, but at Morelli's in Mt. Pilot. At least, that's my guess!

rockfish said...

I love these recaps. You've done a fine thing for humanity here, Mr. TDOY. What i'd love to know is what you really think of this show -- i haven't seen it in eons and always couldn't get past the idea that Andy and Barney once shook up that shaky little burg... but it was always fine to pass the time there. Are you witty snarky asides your true feelings, or are you hiding a gentle, embraceable hankering for more Goobe and (the anti-Floyd) Emmett?

Linda said...

"Lassie’s interpreter during the penultimate season of that long-running drama..."

Actually, Ron Hayes was Lassie's interpreter during the penultimate season. Larry Pennell was the final one.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Actually, Ron Hayes was Lassie's interpreter during the penultimate season. Larry Pennell was the final one.

Believe it or not, I had written it that way in the original draft...and then changed it without bothering to consult a reference book. Serves me right for relying on my fast-fading memory...thanks for keeping me honest.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

The breadsticks suggest they are not at the diner, but at Morelli's in Mt. Pilot. At least, that's my guess!

And you're probably right...the only reason why I was curious is because I watched an earlier episode in which Sam, Millie and Howard were kickin' back at the diner and there were breadsticks on the table there--and because Howard announces he just came over for a cup of coffee, I assumed it was the Mayberry eatery (unless he wanted to drive around for that cuppa joe).

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

What i'd love to know is what you really think of this show -- i haven't seen it in eons and always couldn't get past the idea that Andy and Barney once shook up that shaky little burg... but it was always fine to pass the time there.

My favorite description of Mayberry R.F.D. comes from the TV Party! website: "Even if there was no whip behind the cream, before you realized it, you were soaking in it." As a whole, I'm sort of ambivalent toward the show--I don't hate it, but I wouldn't run anybody over to keep from missing an episode either.

Are you witty snarky asides your true feelings, or are you hiding a gentle, embraceable hankering for more Goobe and (the anti-Floyd) Emmett?

I'm going to try and flesh out a better answer to this when I reach the end of the first season in seven more shows--because I'll probably take a breather that week to recharge the batteries. As for Emmett being "the anti-Floyd"--that the funniest thing I've heard all week.

Stacia said...

I

LOVE

HOWARD

I love his goofy expressions and his cardigans and his coin collection and his black socks with brown pants and white shoes. The salami in his pants is just gravy. (Dig those crazy food metaphors.)

You're right about bootlegs, especially bootlegs from newbies on iOffer. They do silly things like use low DVD recording speeds or leave the TV display on for a few minutes while recording. Durrrr.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I know I rag on Howard quite a bit, but he is one of my favorite R.F.D. characters. The motorcycle bit in this episode literally made me laugh out loud...I thought, "You know, you rarely see someone in a sitcom do something that intelligent."