Monday, March 12, 2012

Mayberry Mondays #32: “Mike's Birthday Party” (10/27/69, prod. no. 0206)

With this week’s installment of Mayberry R.F.D., we begin a short hiatus without the pleasure of Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor’s (Frances Bavier) company…and coming off the bench for Aunt Bee is her faux BFF Ella (Renie Riano), with whom we first became acquainted in the first season episode, “Aunt Bee and the Captain.”  A curious installment, to be sure: we are supposed to believe that she and Aunt Bee are close pals despite Ella never having been glimpsed on any episode of The Andy Griffith Show.  Everyone knows that Bee’s best bud is resident snob and practicing Wiccan Clara Edwards (Hope Summers), whose sudden disappearance from the show can only be attributed to her having been burned at the stake in the Mayberry town square for having turned village idiot Goober Pyle (George Lindsey) into a newt.  (Well…he got better.)  Actress Riano made a myriad of films and TV guest appearances (often as a housekeeper or maid, so she’s certainly got the necessary experience for this week’s show) but she’s best known as domestic Effie Schneider in the Nancy Drew movie series cranked out by Warner Brothers in the late 1930s.  (She also starred opposite Joe Yule—father of TDOY bête noire Mickey Rooney—in a short-lived Monogram series of Bringing Up Father movies, based on the George McManus comic strip.)

So let’s get underway—and you can follow along thanks to the magic of YouTube!



We find that poor-but-honest dirt farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry) has just polished off a hearty country breakfast, because he will need all the energy he can muster to spend the entire day neglecting his farm and hanging out at the shop of resident fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman).

ELLA: How’s the coffee, Sam…?
SAM: Hmm?  Oh, it’s great, Ella…just great…
ELLA: Good!  Bee told me how you liked it…
SAM: Yeah, well—it’s perfect!  Oh Ella, I sure appreciate you filling in for Aunt Bee while she’s away…
ELLA: Oh, glad to do it, Sam…I’m enjoying every minute of it…

“Otherwise, it’d be just another day picking up highway trash on the county work detail…”

ELLA: I just hope Bee’s sister gets to feel real well soon…
SAM (back to his paper): Yeah…now that Aunt Bee’s with her, you know she’s getting the best of care…

I just got a mental picture of Aunt Bee’s sib opening a silver service tray and finding a cooked rat underneath.  Ella then announces that she has to get Mike off to school…and yes, though you probably were clued in when you read the episode’s title, Sam’s cretinous son Mike (Buddy Foster) is the subject of today’s drama.  (The short bus will be by to pick him up shortly, so I hope Ella gets a move on.)

Topping off some of that fine Sanka (little shout-out to General Foods), Sam hears a truck pull up outside and glancing out the window, proceeds to walk over to the back door when former newt Goober Pyle, carrying a wrapped gift, opens up the door and sticks his head in:

GOOBER: Sam?
SAM: Yeah?

“I think I may have killed Emmett…oh, God…there was blood everywhere!  Everywhere!”  No, as I have stated here often in the past—we simply aren’t that lucky…though Emmett is AWOL in this episode, so make of that what you will.

GOOBER: Is Mike around?
SAM: Well, he’s getting ready for school…why?
GOOBER: I brought over his birthday present…didn’t want him to see it too soon…
SAM: Ohh…well, here—I’ll put it in the closet…
GOOBER (hiding the gift behind his back and grinning stupidly): Betcha can’t guess what it is…
SAM: I can’t, Goob…
GOOBER: Oh, guess one…
SAM: No, I haven’t the slightest idea what it is, Goob…
GOOBER: Come on!
SAM: Well…uh…a magic set?  (Goober is crestfallen) It is a magic set?  Oh, Goob…I’m sorry…well…well, Mike’s been hinting about that for so long—he’s gonna love it…he’ll…he’ll really love that…
GOOBER: You wanna see it?
SAM: Oh, no…it’s all wrapped and everything…
GOOBER: Oh, this’ll come off easy…come on…
SAM: Oh, you don’t have to do that…
GOOBER (unwrapping the present): I had to take it off to show Howard…I had to take it off to show Emmett…then the mailman

Oh, stop snickering…it only sounds dirty.  With the present unwrapped, Goober beams at all the “tricks” contained in the collection including the magic wand.  “It don’t do nothin’…but it makes it official,” he informs Sam.

GOOBER: I always wanted one of these when I was a kid…
SAM: Well…better late than never!

Oooh, snap!  Goober is about to demonstrate how the “disappearing coin” works when the two men hear Sam’s son caterwauling in the next room.  Goober scoops up the magic set and the wrapping and hauls ass out the back door, but when Sam turns back toward the kitchen table he notices Goober forgot to grab the magic wand.  In an amusing bit of physical comedy, he takes the wand and shoves it in the breadbox just as Mike and Ella enter.


MIKE: Pa?  Can I have a birthday party this next Saturday with ice cream, games and cake and stuff?  Aunt Ella says it’s okay with her if it’s okay with you…
SAM: Oh…well…sure, Mike, sure…I don’t see why not…
MIKE: Gee…thanks, Pa…how many can I invite?
SAM: Well…uh…how many friends do you figure you have in your class?
MIKE: Oh…I’m friends with about seven or eight of the kids…

“Bwhahahahahaha…no, seriously…how many do you figure?”

MIKE: Can I invite some who are not my friends?
ELLA: Well, what’s the point of that?
MIKE: You get more presents that way!

There isn’t room enough on Sam’s multiple acre estate for the kids who aren’t Mike’s friends.  By the way, I don’t know if you noticed this…but get a gander at that kid’s hair.  There’s an anecdote (I think I mentioned it one other time on the blog) that young Buddy Foster once asked R.F.D. writer-producer-creator Bob Ross in 1970 if he could let his hair grow out and Ross fired back: “In Mayberry, boys don’t wear their hair long. Cut your hair. Period.”  (They also don’t smoke marijuana or take their trips on LSD…though I might have that confused with Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.)  This should provide solid proof that Sam has been neglecting that kid—he needs to take the little hippie freak down to whomever’s running the barbershop P.D.Q.

After explaining to Mike that the purpose of throwing a birthday shindig “isn’t just to get presents,” Ella decides she’ll be the party planner and set the agenda.

ELLA: Now, let’s see…uh…we’ll need some paper hats…and noisemakers…
MIKE: Heck no, Aunt Ella…that’s kids’ stuff…we’ll be playing games, mostly…

Okay, 1) What’s with this “heck no” business?  That kid has been clearly hanging around Mayberry’s poolroom again, and that’s trouble with a capital “T.”  2) Despite his term of endearment, Ella is not to the best of my knowledge Mike’s “aunt.”  She’s as related to him as…well, as “Aunt” Bee.  (I point this out only because she’s credited as “Aunt Ella” at the always reliable IMDb.)

ELLA: Oh…of course…well…then I’ll get some prizes…we’ll have jacks for the girls…
MIKE: Girls???

Cootie alert!

SAM: I think you said a naughty word, Ella…
MIKE: I don’t want any girls at my party!  They’re no fun!
SAM: Gosh no…gee whiz, Aunt Ella…

Apparently Sam’s been sneaking away from Emmett’s to shoot a little pool, too.  (I really apologize for the harsh language in this episode—it did stir up a good deal of controversy at the time of its original airing.)  Besides, Ella—if you bring in the female element to Mike’s bash, you can forget all about Spanky, Alfalfa and the rest of the He-Man Woman Haters Club showing up.

ELLA: All right, all right…well, I’ll just get the prizes for the boys…now—let me know how many you’re going to invite, because we’re going to have to send out the invitations…
SAM: Yeah, and you probably oughta do that today, too…because there isn’t much time if the party’s gonna be Saturday, huh?
MIKE (disgusted): Girls
SAM: Yeah…

Ella puts down her stationery momentarily to place the remaining bread she used at breakfast back in the breadbox…and there she finds the magic wand to the magic set.  Goober then comes back in the back door and asks her “Have you seen my magic wand?”  Ella hands him the wand with a still puzzled look on her face and Goob is most grateful.  “Thanks…I thought I’d lost it…”  (There’s always one stupid thing in each R.F.D. episode that makes me laugh out loud…and this was pretty much it.)

We are then whisked to the interior of the Mayberry post office, where we find up-at-the-butt-crack-of-dawn postman George Felton (Norman Leavitt) in a change-of-scenery—he’s manning the front desk at the P.O.  (Well, when you deliver mail that early each day I suppose you have to find something to occupy the remaining hours on the time clock.  By the way, Leavitt’s identified in the show’s credits as “Postman” but Mike says to him “Thank you, Mr. Felton” as he goes on his way, so…there you are.)  Having mailed the invitations, Mike is exiting the building when he passes by a young girl (Christine Matchett) identified as “Sally.”  Sally is the villainess in this piece, and not because she is a carrier of “girl germs.”  She, too, has business before Felton:

FELTON: Hello there, young lady!
SALLY: Hi!  Could I have some stamps, please?  About a dozen…
FELTON: Sure can…say, I don’t think I know you…

“I’m going to have to see some ID before I sell you these…and there might possibly be a full body cavity search involved…”

SALLY: Oh, I’m Sally Woodland…we’ve only lived here about a month…
FELTON: Oh, yeah…the old Peterson place…

“Bet it was a real chore gettin’ all the blood cleaned off the walls, huh?”

FELTON: I was sure glad to see them go…you know, they had a mean dog—he never barked, he just sneaked up on ya…

Well, what do you expect if you’re milling around someone’s house delivering mail before sunup?

FELTON: Say…these look like invitations
SALLY: Mm-hmm…I’m having a birthday party…next Saturday…

And as the sad music swells on the soundtrack, Felton blissfully completes Sally’s transaction…unaware of the lives he will throw into complete upheaval.  (Well, he’ll get a handsome pension out of it, I suppose.)

The scene shifts to the hallowed halls of Mayberry Middle School (“Home of the fighting to-be-announced-later…”), and after a brief snippet of conversation between two girls about swapping peanut butter for liverwurst at lunch, the stillness is broken by child pugilist Richard S. “Fishface” Steele, who in his role as Mike’s lisping pal Harold, comes running up to his buddy and a few other kids to announce news that could threaten the very foundation of Western civilization:


HAROLD: Hey!  Did you guys get invited to Sally’s party?
TOMMY: Yeah…
MIKE: Just like a dumb girl to have a party on the same day as mine
RICK: Yeah…boy…
MIKE: You guys are comin’ to my party, aren’t ya?
HAROLD: Heck ya!  Who wants to go to a girls’ party?


Language!  I swear, ever since Andy Taylor moved out of Mayberry that town has gone to H-E-double hockey sticks in a handbasket!  Oh, by the way—I’m sure this little moppet in the middle needs no introduction.  It’s Danny Bonaduce, in what is his R.F.D. swan song.  (His character’s name is Rick, and I think that’s because CBS decreed the “P” had to be silent.)

RICK: I heard they might have dancing
(All the boys express disapproval)
HAROLD: If you want to hear something really awful, my big sister had kissing games at her party!
(More disapproval)
MIKE: Guess I’d better tell Sally I won’t be there…
HAROLD: Me, too…


The bell rings, and the boys sprint down the hallway so as not to be late for Coach Sandusky’s P.E. class.  (Yes, I did wrestle with whether or not that was appropriate…and I lost.)  On the walk home from school, Sally meets up with the two girls who had plans to swap lunch—one of them (Janet, the brunette with the glasses) is played by Pamela Cooper in a shameless display of rank nepotism (she’s the daughter of series director Hal) and the other by Patti Cohoon-Friedman (as Cheryl).  Now, because my mind has become a dumping ground for useless TV trivia, I remember Cohoon’s moppet acting quite well—she was one of the kids in the short-lived Apple’s Way (a series my sister Kat liked because of her lifelong love affair with Kristy MacNichol), and I also recall seeing her in several episodes of Here Come the Brides.

JANET: Sally, wait a second!  I got your invitation…I can come to your party!
SALLY: Oh, wonderful!
CHERYL: She’s inviting boys
JANET: Really?
CHERYL: I hope Randy’s coming!
SALLY: Yeah, he’s cute…he’s always tripping me…

All three girls giggle at this moment of sharing, and then the real catches in that school arrive on the scene:

SALLY: Did you get my invitation?
MIKE: Yeah…but I can’t make it…I have a previous engagement…
HAROLD: Me, too…
SALLY: Can’t you get out of it?
MIKE: It’s my birthday party!
SALLY: Oh…
MIKE: I’d invite you because I’m just having guys…

Yeah, I’ve listened to that last line a million times and it makes so sense to me, either.

CHERYL: Is Randy going to your party?
HAROLD: Sure!  All of the guys are!

Well, heck fire…now Sally’s going to have to hire a professional tripper for her soiree.

SALLY: Why can’t you have your party some other time?
MIKE: Because it’s my birthday…and I sent out all the invitations…I’m definitely having my party this Saturday…
SALLY: Well, so am I!
MIKE: Well, thanks for the invitation anyway…sorry I couldn’t make it…see ya!
HAROLD: Yeah, see ya!
(Both Mike and Harold turn and walk away)
JANET (discouraged): What can you do?  They’re all going to Mike’s party
SALLY: Maybe


Oh, man…girlfriend’s got a scheme working!  What a shame that the one woman in Mayberry who could help her carry out such deviltry is in West-By-God-Virginia torturing…er, I mean, taking care of her sister.  Well, since pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) sat out last week’s episode—coming into Sam’s office, he asks his friend with a straight face if he’s “interrupting anything”—let’s eavesdrop on what I’m sure will be a riveting conversation:

HOWARD: I was just wondering what Mike would like for his birthday…

“I’m thinking about taking the little ‘mo over to that cathouse in Mt. Pilot and getting him laid!”

SAM: Oh…gosh, Howard…you don’t have to get him anything…
HOWARD: Well, I think I do…he’s been calling me “Uncle Howard” all week…
(The two of them laugh)
SAM: Well…uh…you know…sports stuff is always good…
HOWARD: Yeah!  Yeah, okay…

“Where might one buy this…’sports stuff’?”  As the conversation continues, Howard mentions to Sam that’s he heard about the scheduling conflict between Mike and Sally’s respective parties.

HOWARD: Mike gonna lose some guests?
SAM: No…I think it’s the other way around…Sally asked some of the boys to come, but I think they’re all coming to Mike’s party…
HOWARD: Aw, gee…that’s too bad for Sally…
SAM: Yeah…but…boys don’t care much for mixed parties at Mike’s age…
HOWARD: No…but girls do…they start getting their hooks out early, huh?

To rescue us from having to listen to Howard philosophically drone on for the rest of the day, Goober races into the council office to demonstrate incredible feats of prestidigitation!

GOOBER: Hey, Sam!  Sam!  I can do it!  I can do it!
SAM: Do what?
GOOBER: The imp bottle!
SAM: What bottle?
GOOBER: The imp bottle!  From Mike’s magic set!
SAM: Oh!  Oh…
GOOBERL Okay…just watch this… “Can you make this magic imp bottle lay on its side?  No…but The Great Goober can…hocus pocus dominocus…east wind blow…west wind blow…lay down…imp bottle!


Very impressive, Goober.  Unbeknownst to our amateur sorcerer and his newly acquired magical powers, the incantation he used to perform this cheesy trick has also inadvertently resurrected condemned witch Clara Edwards from the dead, along with her sisters—Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker.  (We’re seriously boned.)

SAM: Hey…that’s great, Goober…
HOWARD (unimpressed): Yeah…anyway, Sam…I remember my first boy-girl party…all the girls wanted to play post office!
GOOBER: Wait a minute!  That ain’t the whole trick, that’s just the come-on…now you gotta make it lay down…

Exasperated by Goober as is his usual wont, Howard grabs the bottle just as Goober empties something into his hand:

HOWARD: What did you take out of it?
GOOBER (quickly): Nothin’…
HOWARD: Well, what do you have in your hand?
GOOBER (miffed): Howard, will you just try the trick?

Howard attempts to replicate Goober’s feat, but he’s unsuccessful…much to Goober’s delight.  “Didja see that, Sam…he cain’t do it!”  When Howard dismisses this as merely the penalty one pays for associating with Mayberry’s resident Manchild, Goober becomes angry.  “Well, don’t you wanna know how the trick’s done?” he asks, still requiring attention.

“No!” Howard cuts him off sharply.  Goober storms out of the office after parrying with an equally devastating riposte: “Dope!”

There is then a quick cut back to the halls in the school, where Sally is attempting one last time to lure away the male invitees to Mike’s party to her own intimate affair, where there will be kissing and tripping and other displays of naughty behavior.  And I have to admit—she is good:

SALLY: Sorry you can’t come to my party…
HAROLD: Well…I got Mike’s invitation first…
RICK: Me, too…
SALLY: I understand…I just wanted to make sure we return the baseball mitts and everything…


Boinnnnnggggg!!!!

HAROLD: Baseball mitts?
SALLY: The prizes for the games…baseball mitts and footballs and transistor radios, too…
HAROLD: You were gonna give those things away free?
SALLY: Of course!
RICK: Your dad must be rich!
SALLY: Oh, he always wants me to have nice parties…but of course, if none of you boys are coming I’ll just take the prizes back…

Twisted and evil.

HAROLD: D’ya have to take them back today?
SALLY: Oh, I guess not…anyway, if you change your mind about coming to the party just let me know…

As Sally walks off to her next class, Harold and Rick look at each other as if they realize a moral dilemma is staring them in the face.  “We got a problem,” Harold sighs.

RICK: Yeah…what are we gonna do?
HAROLD: I’m thinking

Before Harold can will his synapses to start firing, Mike arrives on the scene:

HAROLD: How’s the party coming?
MIKE: Oh, just great!
HAROLD: Are ya gonna have prizes at your party?
MIKE: Sure!  Aunt Ella’s buyin’ ‘em today!
RICK: Sally was just saying…she’s gonna have baseball mitts and footballs…and a lot of great stuff…
MIKE: No kidding…?
RICK: Just thought I’d mention it…

Thanks…Dick.

HAROLD: Is your father as rich as Sally’s?
MIKE: Gee…I don’t know…

“It has been a while since he got that last F Troop residual check…”  Never fear, Mike assures his easily-bribed companions.  “Aunt Ella will get some real great prizes!”

Wait for it…


ELLA: …and some peashooters…squirt gun…
SAM: Oh…
ELLA: …whistle…and some tops!
SAM: Oh, the kids are gonna get a big kick out of these!
ELLA: And a kaleidoscope! (She holds it up)
SAM: Oh boy…
ELLA: I spent fifty-nine cents on that…so we’ll make it the grand prize

Cheese and crackers, Ella…you decimated the entire party budget!  Mike enters the kitchen via the back door, with the moronic Harold in tow.  Harold shamelessly accompanied Mike all the way out to the Jones family form to check out Ella’s hideously cheap Woolworth swag:

ELLA: Oh, Harold…you weren’t supposed to see them…
HAROLD: That’s okay…
MIKE (trying to make the best of it): Great, aren’t they, Harold?
HAROLD (can’t conceal his disgust): You got this stuff from the dime store, didn’t you…?
ELLA: Well, yes…yes, I did…

Harold, pampered child of privilege that he is, is uncomfortably learning two of life’s most painful lessons—that Ella’s Social Security check only goes so far, and that there is an enormous gap in the inequity between the haves and have-not-a-damn-thing.

MIKE: Hey!  Look at this squirt gun!  Neat, huh?  Boy, never seen anything like that before…
HAROLD (snorts): I did…

“Really, Michael old gasket…you don’t actually think I would have something as gauche as a plastic toy in my home, do you?  Mater thinks they’re quite common…”

SAM: Well…get a load of this kaleidoscope here, Harold…that’s really something, isn’t it?
ELLA (pleased): This happens to be a fifty-nine center!

“Yes…I’ve seen one at the beginning of Family Affair each week.”  Harold, clearly unimpressed with the caliber of swag that will be offered at Mike’s party, takes his leave of the plebian Jones family and rushes off before he’s late for his fencing lesson.  Mike is devastated at being deserted by his fair-weather friend.


Back from the General Foods break, Sam clearly didn’t get to be the model TV dad he is by not knowing that there is something bothering his son.  Bringing Mike a bottle of soda pop as the little mook sits forlorn on the front porch swing, he attempts to get at the root of the problem.

SAM (sitting down): Now…just…what do they say, exactly…?
MIKE: Harold and Rick say they have previous engagements
SAM: Oh…
MIKE: Billy Benton says he has a flat tire on his bicycle…and Tommy thinks he’s going to get a cold…

“And Lane’s little brother got his arm stuck in the microwave…so his mom had to take him to the hospital.  And his grandma dropped acid this morning, and she freaked out and hijacked a busload of penguins…”

SAM: I see…
MIKE: Some friends!  Just because the prizes aren’t good enough…
SAM: Well, that’s just…human nature, Mike…I mean, I’m not excusing your friends…

“Especially Rick…what an asshole!”

SAM: I can see where those prizes of Sally’s would be quite a temptation…

“I’m glad I kept my invitation!” 

Mike then asks his father: “I don’t suppose we could buy a few better prizes, could we?”  Sam tells Mike that they could—in fact, Ella suggested such a plan—but in the end, his progeny would simply be stooping to the same level as that bitch Sally…buying friendship with expensive swag.

SAM: …and what kind of friends would you have if you had to pay for them?
MIKE: Well…better than I’ve got now

You tell him, Mike…you don’t need that toady Harold or that buttmunch Rick…you’re a…um…well, you’re…oh…you could always…Sam—little help here?

SAM: I’ll tell you what…this year on your birthday, whaddya say we do something really special, huh?  How about if…if you and I and Aunt Ella all just…just go out and really have some fun, huh?  Just the three of us!  Whaddya say?
MIKE: Oh…great, Pa…great…
SAM: We’ll have a good time…we always do…
MIKE: Sure, Pa…sure… (He slowly walks off the porch in sorrow)

Sam…your kid is barely capable of being a competent actor on this show 99% of the time, so I don’t know why you’d think this would be any different.  (“How about a three scooper on that ice cream sundae, son?”)  In town, Goober continues to be the bane of Howard’s existence with his idiotic magic tricks:

GOOBER: What’s the matter with your ear?
HOWARD (raising his hand to his ear): What do you mean?
GOOBER: Well, you got somethin’ in it!  (He reaches up in the direction of Howard’s ear and starts to remove a series of silk scarves from his closed fist) Why, you oughta be more careful what you put in your ear!
HOWARD: Some trick…you had that wadded up in your hand!

“That’s just the start and the beginning, Howard,” Goober warns his pal and proceeds to put the scarves in his hand, promising to separate them.  He asks Howard to blow on his fist (Dodson’s exasperation during this is priceless) but when the scarves are still attached, Howard laughs.  “I guess I didn’t blow ‘er right!”  (Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.)

Howard and Goober then run into Ella, who is exiting the five-and-dime after having to return the birthday prizes (and she lost her deposit on the kaleidoscope, so she’s naturally pissed), and she gives the two of them an earful about how the party has been cancelled due to that conniving little schemer Sally’s competing social event.  In an ordinary sitcom, the credits would start to roll by now…but Goober and Howard are not ordinary mortals—they have a plan to win this thing at the last minute and bring home that trophy for good ol’ Mayberry!

GOOBER: Well, we heard about all them prizes at Sally’s and it just ain’t fair!
HOWARD: Yeah…not a very neighborly thing for new folks in town to be doing…
GOOBER: You can’t call off Mike’s party, Sam!  You gotta show ‘em!
SAM: Now, look…I’ve been through this with Mike already, and I’m not going to start vying for the best prizes…
HOWARD: Now wait a minute…wait a minute, we had a thought—what would be wrong about having some good entertainment at your party?

Now you’re talkin’, Mistah Sprague!  Hey, everybody—Howard’s hiring a stripper!  (I know, I know…never that lucky.)  No, Howard and Goober’s hare-brained scheme is to provide the entertainment themselves: Goober will perform magic as “The Great Goober” (“I bought a bunch of new tricks!”) and Howard will unspool his award-winning home movies of his trip to the Everglades (“I got raccoons, and alligators, and everything!  Full color—I even used my zoom lens!”)

So Sam runs this past Mike, who in turn presents the idea to his wavering comrades—Harold, Rick and Tommy (Stuart Lee).  I know you can anticipate what will happen from miles away, but since I’ve already transcribed the dialogue:

HAROLD: You’re gonna have a magician at your party?
MIKE: Yeah!  And movies, too!  Of course…if you guys have previous engagements…
HAROLD: Well…it’s still pretty much up in the air…

Ferchrissake…you are kids in Mayberry.  What the hell is he supposed to do, hire Criss Angel?

TOMMY: Where are you getting your magician from?
MIKE: Well…he’s kinda from around here…
HAROLD: Who is he?
MIKE (brightening): He’s called “The Great Goober”…
TOMMY: Goober?
HAROLD: You mean Goober Goober?

How many “Goobers” live in Mayberry, you little schlemiel?

RICK: With that dumb imp bottle?
MIKE: Yeah…but…he’s practicing a lot of new tricks!
HAROLD: What kind of movies you having?

Mike mentions that the “pretty exciting” films will consist of the Everglades, “with alligators and raccoons and stuff.”  Harold might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.  “You mean those corny movies of Mr. Sprague’s?”

Mike’s former school buddies are clearly not impressed…and announce that…well, maybe they’ll be at the party if things don’t pan out…like if someone sets fire to the Woodland’s. Alone and friendless, Mike is surprised to see the diabolically wicked Sally on her bike by the Jones family mailbox…

SALLY: Are you mad at me?
MIKE: I don’t know…
SALLY: You might as well be…everybody else is gonna be…
MIKE: What’s that mean?
SALLY: Well…I was coming by to see you to tell you something…I’m going to cancel my party…so you can still have yours…
MIKE: How come?
SALLY: ‘Cause my father said I can’t have all those big prizes I sort of promised…
MIKE: You mean you lied to everybody?
SALLY: No, I didn’t lie…not really…I thought I could have them…but my father said we can’t buy friends…
MIKE: My father said something like that, too…

And now for the reveal…Sam Jones is really Sally’s father!  No, I’m just kidding about that…but a tearful Sally expresses her wish that she and her family had never moved to Mayberry, and that’s when Mike magnanimously waves his “no girls” policy by suggesting that they combine the two parties at Rancho Jones.  “I guess having a party with girls is better than having no party at all.”  You’re a good kid, Mike.  Dumber than a sled track, but a good kid.

I’m going to cut to the chase on this one because what remains is mostly physical comedy with Goober performing his magic act at the party (though I love this reaction from Howard, who never fails to break me up…and that hat he’s wearing is, if you’ll pardon the pun, the icing on the cake):


…and then Ella brings out the iced cake, whereupon both Mike and Sally agree to blow out the candles together.  And lo, there was peace throughout the land of Mayberry…well, until Goober and Howard get into a disagreement when Howard insists on putting an end to Goober’s magic show and setting up the projector and screen for his latest production.  (He should have brought those movies he took of Millie [Arlene Golonka], who is also sadly missing this week…bow-chicka-a-wow-wow…)

Coda time!

Mike and Sam have a father-and-son chat in Mike’s bedroom, where Mike has decided that the birthday shindig was the best party he ever had despite the presence of women.  (Note to Stacia:  That is a cardboard spider next to Sam…but there is no need to panic.  We’re all here with you.)

MIKE: Can Sally ride over next Saturday and ride the horse?

I’m dying here.  Sam has one horse.  And why not?  He barely has a farm!


SAM: Well…yeah…yeah, I guess so…
MIKE: And can I go over to her house?  She just got a pool table…

Oh, I can’t wait for that episode!  “Sally hustles the school kids in Mayberry until acting Deputy Sheriff Goober Pyle runs her family out of town…”

SAM: Well…sure…sure…you…uh…kind of like her, huh?
MIKE: She’s okay…
SAM: Just “okay?”  Sounds like you two have quite a date planned together…
MIKE: Together?!! Heck, no…she’s going to be over here riding the horse while I’m over there playing pool!

Military school, Sam.  Don’t ask…don’t tell.

Well, we’ve already established that Aunt Bee is AWOL from this week’s episode, so according to Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Bee-o-Meter™ her official appearances in the series’ second season stand at three, with a total fifteen overall.  This episodes also marks the last time we see Aunt Bee’s faux BFF Ella…and though she is present in the uproarious Goober vs. Howard finale, the way these shows have been edited for syndication it’s possible that that the real reason why this is her swan song involves a tragic miscalculation on the part of Goob, who really thought he was far along enough in his studies to saw a woman in half.  (The kids present at that party will be in therapy until they’re sixty…thereby making this the best R.F.D. episode ever.)  Next week: a visitor to Sam’s one-horse farm and a cameo appearance by Howard’s “little black book” in “The Farmer Exchange Project.”

3 comments:

Stacia said...

They also don’t smoke marijuana or take their trips on LSD

This anecdote is relevant to my current interests. A couple days ago when I was looking up a 1969 event called the Mid Winter Pop Festival (and trying to figure out why the poster for said festival was being sold for several hundred dollars on eBay) I found an old article saying this event was CANCELED. By old white guys in California who BANNED ALL CONCERTS. Not even a joke, they passed ordinances to ban any outdoor concert of any kind because of "undesirables." Apparently, Johnny Winter and Jefferson Airplane were corrupting da yout'.

Was Aunt Bee actually in this show? I can't figure out why Bavier agreed to be in it when she so rarely appeared.

There’s always one stupid thing in each R.F.D. episode that makes me laugh out loud…and this was pretty much it.

Love this. There's always that one thing, even in a bad episode. Hubby and I were spacing off on some new Looney Tunes abomination the other day, disturbed by how truly naked Porky Pig looks nowadays, and they pulled the old disintegrating gun joke and we laughed without a trace of irony.

P.S. Buddy Foster is one freakin' irritatin' kid.

Stacia said...

Forgot to add that Mr Goofy Spider is missing about 5 legs, which is probably normal for Mayberry but not for the rest of the universe.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Forgot to add that Mr Goofy Spider is missing about 5 legs, which is probably normal for Mayberry but not for the rest of the universe.

I think that little sadist pulled some of them off, which is why I haven't walked back from my original statement that the kid should be in military school.