Monday, July 16, 2012

Mayberry Mondays #49: “The Mayberry Float” (03/23/70, prod. no. 0221)

Of the handful of Mayberry R.F.D. episodes that I can honestly admit I’d watch a second or third time, this week’s Mayberry Mondays installment, “The Mayberry Float,” would definitely be on the list.  It’s not the falling-down funniest of the sitcom’s seventy-eight episodes (a distinction I would probably assign to either “Howard’s Hobby” or “The Caper”), but it has a fun physical comedy climax…and the somewhat twisted camaraderie between the show’s characters is at its strongest here than in any other entry.  I’d have no hesitation about showing it to someone with only a passing familiarity with the series.


It begins with pedantic county clerk Howard W. Sprague (Jack Dodson) in his native work surroundings…and maybe I’ve just noticed this, but that office of his is pretty spacious for someone who’s not required to do a whole hell of a lot (as witnessed by the copious free time he has on his hands).  Howard has just finished doing a little typing when he gets a visit from poor-but-honest dirt-farmer-turned-city-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry)…whose office is even larger than Howard’s, and yet he does pretty much the same amount of goofing off.

SAM: Hey…have you got a…have you got a few minutes for some town business?

See?  This episode is already promising to be loads of laughs.

HOWARD: Well, you know my feelings about town business, Sam…as an employee of Mayberry, one of the worker bees in the hive—town business always gets top priority…

I’ll remember that the next time you’re over at Emmett’s playing Chutes and Ladders with Goober, Howard.

SAM: Fine…
HOWARD: So as we say in the hive…what’s buzzin’?

For more on the comedy stylings of Mr. Sprague, I refer you to the TAGS episode “Howard the Comedian” (03/20/67).  (I also recommend that you not try the veal.)

SAM: Well…I, uh…I got this letter this morning from the…Mount Pilot Historical Society…they’re getting ready for their big parade again and they want to know if Mayberry’s going to enter a float this year…
HOWARD: Ohhhhh…it’s that time of year again…
SAM: Yeah…yeah, and I was just wondering if we should take another shot at it… (He goes over to the water cooler to get a cup of H2O)
HOWARD: It sure would be nice to have a Mayberry float in the winner’s circle…lot of prestige goes with it…

I think the amount of money awarded is commensurate with that of a MacArthur Fellows grant.  But I could be mistaken about that.

SAM: Yeah…never mind the winners’ circle—it’d be nice just to have a float in the parade…but after the luck we’ve had these past couple of years…
HOWARD: I know…like last year…I think we had a great theme, too…Lucky Lindy, about to take off…
SAM: Oh, yeah…yeah…I remember that…you…you were going to be Lindy, weren’t ya?  Hmm?


While he’s saying this line, Berry crumples up the paper cup he used to get his water and throws it toward the floor…presumably he’s depositing it in a trash can, but it’s certainly not indicated as such on the soundtrack.  So the thought that he’s littering Howard’s office freely got a small chuckle from me.

HOWARD: Yeah…with my arm up against the plane…helmet and goggles…looking up, challenging the sky…’course with that plane that George Selby designed…when the rain hit the crepe paper, that was that…
SAM: Yeah…
HOWARD: Some folks wanted me to ride on the float anyway…holding two sandwiches?  I guarantee we would have been laughed right out of the parade…

But they would have laughed harder at you than at that lame sandwich joke, Howard.

SAM: Yeah— actually, I think we would have stood a better chance the year before that…that, uh, Washington crossing the Delaware, you know?  Gee, that was a darn good looking float…with the boat and the waves all around it…
HOWARD: Yeah, but Emmett was playing George Washington…and he kept losing his balance and falling down in the boat…
SAM: Well?  What do you think, Howard?  Should we enter one this year or not?
HOWARD (after a pause): Let’s give it another whirl, Sam…why not?  Let’s show these other towns around here that Mayberry still has the old spunkeroo!

If you had taken the time to get vaccinated, that would not be a problem, Howard.  So the town’s Spunkeroo Committee gets together to discuss the float…and in addition to Sam and Howard, we have bakery doyenne Millie Swanson (Arlene Golonka), resident blue-blooded snob Clara Edwards (Hope Summers), village idiot Goober Pyle (George Lindsey) and fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman).  For those of you keeping score, Emmett does not attempt to fix anything in this episode.  He will, however, be called upon to build the float…but none of that is shown in the copy of the episode I watched—though it’s possible some of those preparations were snipped for syndication.

SAM (handing out paper and pencils): So…it’s going to be up to us on the council to discuss your ideas and come up with a theme for the float…
HOWARD: Yeah…but let’s remember, it’s a three-mile ride—so let’s come up with something that’s not too complicated…
SAM: Yeah…has anybody been able to think of any ideas? (Seeing that Goober has raised his hand) Goob?
GOOBER: Washington crossin’ the Delaware!
SAM: But, Goob…we already…
GOOBER (interrupting): I found a way to prop him up!  Run a two-by-four up his pants leg for him to lean against!
EMMETT: Are you crazy?  Did you ever have a two-by-four up your pants leg for three miles?

Something tells me I don’t want to know why Emmett knows what this feels like.

SAM: Hey, Goob…let’s just forget Washington, huh…?
GOOBER: I’m just tryin’ to be helpful…
SAM: Yeah, I know…I know… (Seeing Clara’s hand) Clara, did you have an idea?
CLARA: Betsy Ross…sowing the American flag…now she doesn’t have to be standing…she could be sitting in a rocker or on a bench or something…
SAM: Hmm…not bad!
CLARA: And fortuitously, I just happen to have a dress of that period…that I wore once in a pageant…

I’ll bet she even loaned it to Betsy at one time.

MILLIE: Well, I-I-I think that’s a great idea, Clara, but…it seems to me that we ought to have a float that would show something about Mayberry…its pioneers or something…
HOWARD: Exactly!  My feelings exactly!
CLARA (snippily): I thought we were looking for something original
HOWARD: Well, we are, Clara…but…you know, I think I might have a new slant on this pioneer angle…I spent last evening in the library, looking up Mayberry’s background, and I came across a very interesting fact…

“I have no life whatsoever.  Seriously, gang, my very existence is wretchedly and utterly pathetic!”

HOWARD: Did you know that the outstanding pioneer settler in this valley was a woman? (The others ad-lib negative responses in amazement) A woman by the name of Martha Flog…she has a little cabin right over here at the base of the mountain…
SAM: Hey!  You might have something there, Howard…
HOWARD: Think so?
SAM: Let the float depict Mayberry’s courageous pioneer woman…
(The others ad-lib affirmative responses)
CLARA: …and it just so happens that my great-great-grandmother was one of the first settlers here, too…

“…before she was burned at the stake for witchcraft…”

CLARA: …why, she might have even known Martha Flog…
SAM: Yeah…yeah, well, are we all agreed then?  Mayberry’s pioneer woman…
EMMETT: Yeah!
GOOBER: Agreed!
SAM: Good!  I’ll get on the phone and I’ll call Mount Pilot and tell ‘em we’re in…oh, Howard…you and Millie seem to have a nice feel for this thing…why don’t you two get together and design this float, huh?
HOWARD: Well, I’d consider it a distinct honor!
MILLIE: Maybe just a…a simple little cabin with trees and flowers and our pioneer woman standing in front of it…you know, kind of alone in the wilderness…
GOOBER: And if we could get a wolf…to show the danger!
EMMETT: Are you out of your mind?
GOOBER (through clenched teeth): You knock down every suggestion I make!
EMMETT: Because they’re no good, that’s why!
GOOBER: Sam…is he allowed to talk to me this way?

Girls, girls…you’re both pretty.  Sam, Solomon-like city council head that he is, is able to smooth things over between these two numbnuts: “I was counting on you two fellas to work together and build this float.”

EMMETT (to Goober): I apologize…
GOOBER (grinning idiotically): That’s okay…

“Don’t you think we should be discussing who’s going to ride on this float?” asks Clara, as if she had no agenda whatsoever.  But it’s decided that the “floatee” can be chosen after the float preparations are completed, and since Howard asks Millie to meet with him later to “huddle on the design of this thing,” it’s not long before the blueprint for “The Mayberry Float” is complete and being looked at by Sam, Goober and Emmett in the city council office.



GOOBER: Well, Howard and Millie designed a great plan all right…but I don’t think we’re gonna make it if we can’t find a bigger truck
SAM: Oh…
EMMETT: The biggest one you could come up with is Chester Blanton’s?
GOOBER: Yeah…you’ve seen it, haven’t ya?
SAM: Yeah, I know the truck…yeah…
EMMETT: Well, this thing’s never gonna fit on there…
SAM: No…I don’t see how…
GOOBER: Of course…we might put the cabin on the front of the truck…but then that wouldn’t leave no room for the trees and bushes and all that…
SAM: No…that wouldn’t work at all…
EMMETT: Maybe we can build the cabin on the back part…
SAM: Well, then where could put our pioneer woman?
GOOBER: She could sit on the hood

Every episode.  One laugh-out-loud moment.

SAM: Hey, what about that one we were going to use last year?
EMMETT: Oh, that was a special kind of a rig…it belonged to Clara’s nephew…
SAM: Oh, yeah…yeah…Jason Edwards…I wonder if he’s still got it?

Well, consider his Aunt Clara gave it to him in the first place, I would assume…oh, you guys are still talking about the truck (like you thought I wasn’t going to go there).

GOOBER: Well, even if he does, I’m not so sure he’ll lend it to us…claimed we bent the axle in it last time…
SAM: Hey…maybe Clara could ask him!  You know her, with her civic pride…I bet she could swing it!
GOOBER: Hey, yeah!  That’s right!  Yeah!
EMMETT: Yeah, ‘cause if we don’t get the right truck we won’t be in the parade again this year…

So it’s decided that Sam should be the one to soft-soap Clara into obtaining the truck, and while he’s asking Sara to put him through, Goober and Emmett have this gem of a conversation:

GOOBER: You know, another thing I was thinkin’ of…we might hang a bearskin on the outside of the cabin…
EMMETT: Hey…that’s a very intelligent suggestion!
GOOBER: It is?
EMMETT: Yeah!  It’s a good idea!
GOOBER (beaming): Or maybe we could even get a live bear and chain him right… (His voice trails off, as even he realizes he’s said something moronic)

Another laugh-out-loud moment.  Well, back to the phones:

SAM: Listen, Clara…we’re here working on the plan for the float…and we were wondering…uh…if your nephew might be willing to let us use that rig of his again…uh…it would be an awful big help, Clara—and we’d take real good care of it this time…
CLARA (on the other end): Yes!  Yes, I’ll be more than happy to ask Jason…I feel it’s my duty…you see, this entire thing is far more than just a float…I see it as the unveiling of Mayberry’s glorious pioneer woman!  Yes…yes, I’ll let you know what my nephew says…yes…goodbye, Sam…


Clara hangs up, and from the look on her face it’s readily apparent why Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (Frances Bavier) is not in this episode.  I don’t think there’s enough room in 22 minutes to cram in that much evil.

SAM: Well…from the way she talked, there’s not going to be any problem at all…

You silly, twisted boy.  Sam tells Emmett and Goober that he’s going to leave it in their hands (yeah, he’s been hitting the crack pipe again) because he’s got “some things to do over at the office” and as he prepares to leave, he runs into Howard and this gentleman, who’s definitely a familiar face to Mayberry Mondays fans.


It’s character actor Herb Vigran, whom we last glimpsed in the classic R.F.D. outing “The Caper.”  You may remember in that episode, Herb played a Greensboro man who expressed an interest in moving to Mayberry but talked himself out of that silliness upon learning that the only police protection in town was supervised by the local garage mechanic…whose mental faculties have been seriously impaired by prolonged exposure to gasoline fumes.  I said at the time that since we would encounter Vigran again in this episode, he may have changed his mind about moving to Mayberry despite the eminent danger to him and his family…but it’s never specifically stated that he lives in Mayberry—he could have relocated to Mount Pilot or Siler City or other environs.  (And he’s never thought twice about his decision.)

“You all know Herb Mooney, don’tcha?” Howard asks all those in attendance, prompting a quick meet-and-greet between Mr. Mooney and the rest.  Howard informs everyone that Herb’s in charge of the parade this year and wants to know how the float is going.

EMMETT: Well…huh….so you’re in charge of the parade, huh?
HERB: That’s right…one of the judges, too…
GOOBER: Hey… (He laughs goofily) Wanna a bottle of pop?
HERB: No, thanks…I just came over to check on how Mayberry’s float is comin’ along…

Herb is a very no-nonsense guy, in direct contrast to the other boobs in Mayberry.  He’s there to make sure the floats are all ready in time, and even though Emmett tells him and Howard that they had to call a truck audible in favor of Jason Edwards’ rig…everything is “under full sail,” as Howard puts it.

HERB: Fine…uh…what’s your theme?
HOWARD: Are you ready for this?  (He directs Herb over to the table where the float plans lay) The pioneer woman!
HERB (stroking his chin): Not bad…might stand a chance…most of the floats are featurin’ girls this year…
EMMETT: Girls?
HERB: Yeah…the Siler City entry is gonna be “The Landing of Columbus”…they’re goin’ to use about half-a-dozen of those pom-pom girls from the college wearin’ bathing suits…the High Kickers, I think they call them…

Siler City has a college?  The mind boggles.

HOWARD: Well, what do girls in bathing suits got to do with the landing of Columbus?
HERB: Accordin’ to the Siler City folks, they’re going to be there on the beach to greet him…
EMMETT: They’re not very fussy about history, are they?

Well, we’ve managed to keep the real story of Columbus’ “discovery” under wraps all these years…I guess a little more historical revisionism can’t hurt.  (Enough to get into the University of Siler City, anyway…)

HERB: The Mount Pilot entry is goin’ to be the invention of the electric light bulb…they’re going to use those drum majorettes…uh, you know—The Ice Cream Cuties…wearin’ tights and little spangly outfits…
GOOBER: For the invention of the electric light bulb?
HERB: They’re going to represent…sparks or something…

“Heh heh…sounds like this parade’s gonna be easy on the eyes,” Howard cracks.  Herb is still intrigued by the high concept of the Mayberry float: “Pioneer woman…well, it’s gonna take some doin’…”  And with that, Herb takes his leave of the Three Stooges, leaving them to ponder the notion that with regards to this year’s parade o’history: sex sells.



EMMETT: Well…
GOOBER: Yeah…
EMMETT: Looks like we gotta be mighty careful who we pick for the pioneer woman…
HOWARD: Yeah…if we don’t have a good looker up on that float we might as well stay home
GOOBER: Well, that’s what it’s gonna take to win, all right…

Let’s see.  Who could we get that’s drop-dead gorgeous…has extensive modeling experience…and was once crowned “Miss Farmerette”?

EMMETT: Hey!  What about Millie?
GOOBER: Hey, yeah!  She’s the prettiest girl in town…and she’s got a great shape, too!

“And she has these…huge tracts of land…”

HOWARD: Yeah!
EMMETT: I wonder if she’ll do it?

Oh, she does it, all right.  Just ask Sam.

HOWARD: Oh, I’m sure she would—I don’t think Millie’d let Mayberry down at a time like this…

Let’s not keep anyone in suspense any longer…

MILLIE: Oh!  I’m really flattered that you asked me!  I’d love to do it!  Uh…what should I wear?
HOWARD: Uh…well…huh…yeah…how would you fellas describe what we had in mind?
MILLIE: Well, I’ve got a long, old-fashioned gingham dress…I wear for square dances—how’s that?

“We were thinking of something more along the lines of gingham pasties…”

HOWARD: I seem to recall an eye-catching little outfit that you wore when the Mayberry Players did Hiawatha?

“And that I saw you changing into when the curtains in your bedroom just happened to be fully drawn…?”

GOOBER (grinning): Yeah…when you was an Indian princess…that was really somethin’…remember that, Emmett?

“Remember it?  I’m still makin’ payments on the pacemaker!”

EMMETT: It stopped the show!
MILLIE: Oh…but isn’t that a little skimpy for pioneer days?

“Oh, no no no no no no no no no no no…yes.  Yes, it is.”

GOOBER: We could say you was a modern pioneer…
HOWARD: Yes, this is a case of fighting fire with fire…
MILLIE: What?
HOWARD: It’s our competition…I mean, we’re going to be up against the full impact of the Mount Pilot Ice Cream Cuties!  In abbreviated costumes!  To say nothing of what Columbus discovered when he landed in America!

From now on, I’m going to try and work in “abbreviated costumes” any time I get the opportunity.  Now, Millie—for all intents and purposes—should be offended at these three lechers’ attempts to talk her into being cheesecake for this stupid float of theirs.  But fortunately for them, Millie is a good sport and an expert on cheesecake (well, she does work in a bakery).

MILLIE (laughing): I get the message…okay, you can count on me…

Aw, Millie me darlin’…you’ve just made three perverts very happy.  As the scene fades out, Goober asks her if he “can have one of these cookies with jelly in ‘em,” which was good for a chuckle.  Flush with their success, the three bozos report back to the Head Bozo.  (Actually, I think we’re all bozos on this bus.)

SAM: So…Millie’s gonna be the pioneer woman, huh?
HOWARD: Yeah…Herb Sweeney filled us in on what we’re gonna be up against, so we decided to go all out…

Continuity has never been a particular strong point in the Mayberrys of both R.F.D. and The Andy Griffith Show.  But this is the first time that I’m aware of a character’s name changing in mid-episode (Howard previously introduced Vigran’s character as “Herb Mooney”).

SAM: Fine…looks like we’re in good shape, huh?
GOOBER: You can say that again…
(The others ad-lib agreement)
EMMETT: We’re pretty well-organized, all right…we got Millie…Clara’s gonna get the truck… (Pointing to the paper) And Goober and I’ll start buildin’ the cabin right there…

Things are going entirely too smoothly in this episode, so we should introduce some conflict.  And that’s Clara’s cue to sail on into the council office…though I have been told by some people there is an unedited version of this episode in which if you listen very closely, you can detect a few bars of the music they use to introduce the arrival of Elvira Gulch in The Wizard of Oz.

SAM: Hey…did you talk to your nephew yet?
CLARA: Yes…and he’s agreed to lend us his truck… (The others ad-lib “Hey!” and “Great!” in response) But…Jason had one small stipulation…
SAM: Oh?  What’s the stipulation?

“You gentlemen will have to get him laid.”

CLARA: Authenticity
SAM: What?
CLARA: Jason felt…that if our float were to have real authenticity…then the one who was portraying the pioneer woman…should have something of that background


I don’t know if you can tell from this screen cap, but I love Howard’s expression in the background.  (“We’re definitely boned…”)

CLARA: Uh…Jason said that…since I was a direct descendant of the…original Edwards family, who were amongst the first settlers here…well…Jason felt that…uh…I should be the…
HOWARD: Pioneer woman?
CLARA: Well…
SAM: Uh-huh…
CLARA: …Jason’s always been so proud of our family…
EMMETT: Yeah, he would be…
GOOBER: Ownin’ that big truck and all…

I know there are a lot of you out there who respond to Goober the way one might react to finding a slug in your breakfast cereal…but he’s really on a roll in this episode.

CLARA: Well, gentlemen…shall I start on my costume?
EMMETT: Sam…you’re in charge of this thing!
HOWARD: Yeah, Sam!
GOOBER: Yeah…Sam…right in charge!

I can just see the headline in the Mayberry Gazette: “Local faux farmer and city council head thrown under bus”…

SAM: Well…uh… (After a long pause) Yeah…Clara…fine…and it sounds fine to me…
CLARA: Then it’s all settled!
SAM (quietly): Yeah…
CLARA: I’ll tell my nephew that you’ll pick up the truck!  Good day, gentlemen!

They wait until Clara has left the office.  And then…

EMMETT: You sold us down the river!
SAM: Oh…what are you talkin’ about?!!  We have to have that truck, don’t we?!!
HOWARD: Yeah, but that truck and the cabin and the whole thing won’t mean anything now!
EMMETT: Not with Clara Edwards standin’ up there!
GOOBER: All these years we finally got a traitor in Mayberry!

None dare call it treason…but we will dare to call it a commercial break.  And after shilling for General Foods, we return to an interesting tableau in which Goober, Emmett and Howard are seriously starting to question Sam’s judgment as a legislator.

EMMETT: Well, this certainly beats everything…
GOOBER: It sure does!
HOWARD: Telling Clara Edwards she could be the pioneer woman…
SAM: Well, what was I supposed to do?
EMMETT: You just had no right to tell her!
SAM: Well, somebody had to say something!  All you guys did was stand around and grunt!

It’s chatter, Sam.  Pigs grunt…chimpanzees chatter.

GOOBER: Well, why didn’t you just grunt, too?  You could have said, “We’ll think it over”…
SAM: Look…you know she would have told Jason not to lend us that truck…
HOWARD: Well, maybe we could have found another truck someplace…
SAM: It’s the only truck like it around here and you know it…now, look—if you guys want to call this whole thing off, it’s all right with me…
HOWARD: We can’t call it off now—everybody’s all keyed up!
EMMETT: Yeah…with Millie we might have had a chance!
GOOBER (at Sam): You just had no right to take matters into your own hands!  We don’t want no dictatorship in Mayberry!

Nick Nolte’s character in Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978) has one of my all-time favorite movie lines: “All my life I’ve been taking shit from inferior people.  No more.”  And if Sam could have said that on TV in 1970, he would have, because Goober’s crack has buried the camel in a big straw stack.

SAM: Oh…all right…all right…that’s fine with me…from now on, Goober—you are in charge because I resign!  You take over, you make the decisions…you’re the head man!
GOOBER: Me?
SAM: Yeah, you!  (He thrusts the plans for the float into Goober’s hands and heads for the door)
EMMETT: Are you kiddin’?  Goober couldn’t take charge!
SAM: All right, all of you be in charge…because I’m washing my hands of this whole thing!  If you don’t want Clara Edwards on that float, then you tell her…I’ve got nothing to do with this from now on!

“I’m going home and…and…do some farming!”  Sam storms out of the council office, leaving his idiot friends looking like idiots.

EMMETT: He’s certainly acting peculiar…
GOOBER (after a pause, to Emmett): Whaddya mean, Goober couldn’t be in charge?!!
EMMETT: Look—if it was up to you, you’d have a two-by-four up my leg!
HOWARD: Wait a minute, fellas…wait a minute…fighting amongst ourselves isn’t going to solve anything…

Neutral corners, everyone!

EMMETT: If we could only find some way to convince Clara Edwards she doesn’t belong on that float with all the competition we got!
HOWARD: Yeah…but I don’t know how without losing the truck!
GOOBER: At least if we could get Millie up there, too…
EMMETT: You mean two pioneer women?  Are you crazy?
HOWARD: Wait a minute…wait a minute…I think he said something…
GOOBER: See?

Howard gets the ol’ grey matter to workin’, and comes up with a plan:

HOWARD: What if Millie could be the pioneer woman’s daughter?
GOOBER: Hey, yeah…yes!
EMMETT: Ah, no…Clara’d never buy that…
HOWARD: I’m not so sure…it may depend on the way we present it to her…

“All we need to do is lie our asses off.”  “Okay, Howard,” says Emmett resignedly.  “I’m game for anything that’ll put Millie on that float.”  So Howard and Emmett are elected to pay the Widder Edwards a social call, and the first time I saw this episode I thought Clara was running to the door carrying a broom…so naturally I had plenty of jokes at the ready.  Sadly, the object is not a broom…it’s some sort of musket.  (Damn it.)

CLARA: I just got this out of the storeroom—I thought it might give greater scope to my portrayal… (Snapping to attention) Ready to defend my home against the terrors of the wilderness…
EMMETT: Ah…look…Clara, you see…
CLARA: I haven’t quite decided whether I should be… (She brings the gun up in Emmett’s direction, prompting him to flinch) …pointing the gun at some unseen intruder…or just stand poised…indicating readiness…which do you think would be the more effective?
HOWARD: Oh…well…I-I-I like them both…how ‘bout you, Emmett?
EMMETT (after getting a nudge from Howard): Oh, yeah…both!
HOWARD: A-A-Actually…actually, Clara…the reason we dropped by… (He clears his throat) We thought it might be a good idea if we were to…expand your image as the pioneer woman…you know…give it greater dimension?
CLARA: Well…well…that’s a very exciting idea…expand in which direction?
HOWARD: Well, get this picture, Clara…instead of the lone pioneer woman…you’re also…a mother image

Howard apparently picked up a couple of things the time he was trying to sell that Hollywood producer on the idea of a B-western cowboy’s comeback, told previously in “Palm Springs Cowboy.”

CLARA (in a reverie): A mother image…I like it!  I like it!
EMMETT: It really grabs ya…huh, Clara?
CLARA: Yes!  But just how should I include this mother image in my portrayal?
HOWARD: By having your offspring right there on the float with you!
CLARA: Wonderful!  A boy, possibly…a young boy…
EMMETT: Well, we thought…
HOWARD (to Emmett) Ahem!  Uh…uh…we gave that a lot of consideration, Clara…and…we thought a daughter might be better…
EMMETT: Yeah…we figured the average pioneer family would have more problems with a daughter than with a son…
CLARA: Yes…yes, it would definitely add to the drama…
HOWARD: It’s all right with you, then?
CLARA: Why, it’s just beautiful…but we must be very careful in our selection of my daughter…I think she ought to have a lovely…wispy quality…
EMMETT: Wispy, yeah…I remember when we did Hiawatha

After Howard punches Emmett in the arm, he informs Clara that the two of them have to be running along but that they will take care of everything…which translated loosely means, “Millie’s going to be on the float because she’s built like a burlap sack full of bobcats.”  The day of the parade has arrived, and as Sam and Millie get out of Sam’s car and make their way to Mayberry’s float, Sam keeps repeating one of those lines (“I had nothing to do with this”) that becomes funny in and of itself because of the repetition.  Clara sees the two of them approaching.



CLARA: Well!  (She holds up her musket)
SAM: Clara…
CLARA: Ready to defend to the last!
MILLIE: Wonderful, Clara…
CLARA: Sam?
SAM: Clara…I had nothing to do with this…

Clara then spots Howard and Emmett over by the float, and rushes over to where they are standing.

HOWARD: We’re ready to move out any minute!
CLARA: Well, I’m all ready…where’s the child?
EMMETT (after looking at Howard): Uh…we didn’t forget…
HOWARD: Hmm…no…no sirree…heh heh…only…I don’t think we said anything about a child, Clara…we…we mentioned a daughter… (Pointing in Millie’s direction) That’s gonna be Millie here…
CLARA: Millie!
MILLIE: Oh…I thought you knew about it, Clara…

This rather awkward scene is interrupted by the arrival of Goober, who tells the gang that the Miss Siler City “Keep America Beautiful” float is in position, which is their cue to get ready and get in line.  Millie, removing her long coat, has her skimpy Hiawatha costume on underneath.  “My daughter!” exclaims Clara incredulously.


“Well, that’s the way we see it, Clara,” alibis Howard as he and Emmett start helping Clara up on the float.  Millie is next, and Howard directs her to the front of the float on which a makeshift well has been constructed…she’s to sit on the edge and after a little hesitation, show a little leg.  Poor Clara, on the other hand, gets shunted toward the back of the float near the cabin, with Emmett positioning her behind some trees.

EMMETT: Here’s your spot, Clara…
CLARA: But…what am I doing behind this tree?
EMMETT: You’re hidin’ from the Indians!
CLARA: Why is my daughter down front there? (Millie is shown putting on her headdress)
EMMETT: Because she’s just a kid…she don’t know any better!

Clara is not a happy pioneer woman.  “But I’m the star of this float!” she wails.  Meanwhile, Goober pops his head out of the cabin door, and warns her that the door must remain open or otherwise he won’t be able to see where he’s driving.  Emmett and Howard carry the stepladder they used to put Millie and Clara on the float over to the side and are beaming with pride:

HOWARD: Well, Sam…looks like we finally got a float in the parade!
SAM: Good luck…that’s all I can say…
EMMETT (enthusiastically): Go, go, go Mayberry!

Clara, still miffed that the crowd won’t be able to see her behind the clump of trees on the float, decides to reposition herself and reclaim her mantle as “star” of the float.  Unfortunately, she’s blocking Goober’s view…and he winds up steering the truck…


… right onto a fire hydrant.  Sam rushes over to where Millie has been dumped off the well and is now getting drenched by the water:

SAM: Millie, are you all right?!!
MILLIE (angry): Oh, Sam—why did you let me do this?!!  I had a feeling there was going to be trouble!
SAM: Well, look…I didn’t have anything to do with this!  Howard, Emmett and Goober were in charge of the whole thing!
CLARA (being helped down off the wreckage): Well, Mr. Jones…I hope that you’re proud of all this!
SAM: Me?
CLARA: My opinion of you has certainly… (Her voice trails off with the rush of the water)
SAM: Clara, I had nothing….
GOOBER (interrupting): Well, I hope you’re satisfied!!!
SAM (yelling): Well, what did I have to do with anything?!!  You and Howard and Emmett were in charge of the whole thing!!!
GOOBER (also yelling): Well, that’s it—you had no right to put us in charge!!!  You know how stupid we are!!!

Ladies and gentlemen…there will never…ever…be a funnier line of dialogue on this show.  Honest to my grandma, I was crying with laughter the first time I watched this.  Sam wraps Millie’s coat around her so she won’t catch pneumonia, and the shenanigans come to a close.

Coda time!

Back at the council office, Sam has comically caught a cold after being thoroughly soaked by l’affaire parade float.  He feels a sneeze coming on, and Goober helpfully has a box of tissue at the ready.

GOOBER: I’m sorry about gettin’ so mad at ya, Sam…
SAM: Aw…that’s okay, Goob…
GOOBER: It’s just that I was so worked up I had to take it out on somebody
SAM: Yeah…yeah…
HOWARD: Well, Emmett and I were wrong, too, in trying to put one over on Clara…
EMMETT: Yeah, Sam was right…we never shoulda put anyone on that float but Clara…then at least we woulda been in the parade…
HOWARD: When you get right down to it, it’s not who wins that counts it’s how you play the game…
GOOBER: Hey…that’s a good one…

Invest in a street organ, Howard.  Best moneymaking idea you’ll ever come up with.

SAM: Look…why don’t we forget this whole thing like it was a big bad dream, huh?  Hey—does anybody know whose float finally won it?
GOOBER: Yeah…Siler City
SAM: Oh…you mean the one with the Columbus landing?
EMMETT: Yeah, that’s the one…
SAM: Yeah…well, I guess it figured with all those girls in bathing suits there to greet him…
GOOBER: Well, I don’t think that’s the only thing that done it…it’s who they had playin’ Columbus
SAM: Oh?  Who?
GOOBER: That girl who dances in the Siler City Follies…
HOWARD: To me that’s reaching

So if I understand this right…Siler City has a college and a burlesque house?  Why the hell do you people still live in Mayberry?

As I already mentioned, Aunt Bee is a no-show this week…so Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Bee-o-meter™ stays put at ten appearances in the second season of Mayberry R.F.D…and a grand total of twenty-two show-ups for the show’s entire run.  We’re three episodes away from the end of Season 2, so Aunt Bee is really going to have to step it up…and not being in next week’s installment, “Aloha, Goober,” is not going to help matters much.  (By the way—that title is misleading…Goober does not end up dying, much to my disappointment.)  So be sure to return here next week for another wacky edition of Mayberry Mondays!

9 comments:

Dan in Missouri said...

Mayberry and reality don't normally co-exist, so I was surprised to see a Duckwall's store in the frame grab. In all my years of watching Mayberry RFD and the Andy Griffith Show I don't believe I ever saw a real store name.
Duckwall's parent company still is arround but the Duckwall's format was killed in 2010.
Dan in Missouri

Stacia said...

Duckwall's was owned by or partnered with Alco, I can't remember which. We had a Duckwall's in Crapville -- my opposite-of-affectionate name for the town I went to high school in. Oddly, looks like the Duckwall's is still there, but the Alco we had in Manhattan KS closed a few years ago.

Having lived in tiny towns in the Midwest, Howard's large office doesn't seem that out of place. It was common to have huge city hall buildings in towns which used to be 3000-4000 people but were now 500 or so, most everyone having moved off a generation prior. And I know Mayberry is supposed to be based on Mount Airy which has a pop of 10,000 people, but having lived in towns of 10K, 4K and 1K, Mayberry is a LOT closer to that 1K size.

Stacia said...

It’s chatter, Sam. Pigs grunt…chimpanzees chatter.

HA!

she’s built like a burlap sack full of bobcats

...wait a second, let me jot that down...

You know how stupid we are!!!

The coup de grace. My stars, that is hilarious.

I don't get the sandwich joke. My shame at not understanding a flight-based food joke was immediately mitigated by the hilarity of the one-two punch of the Spunkeroo Committee and Emmett's two-by-four in his pants.

basura said...

"This rather awkward scene is interrupted by the arrival of Goober"

Has there ever been an arrival of Goober that wasn't awkward.

I really thought we were going to get a wet hiawatha contest.

Rich

Tom said...

Just realized that this episode proves that one Sandra Bullock film was right: Hope floats!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Has there ever been an arrival of Goober that wasn't awkward.

Ba-zinga! Always bringing the Goober love, aren't ya? You'll flip for Monday's episode, btw..."Aloha, Goober."

I really thought we were going to get a wet hiawatha contest.

No more calls, we have a winner!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I don't get the sandwich joke.

I don't either, which may be why I editorialized on the lameness of it. It sure made the laugh track guffaw fit to beat the band...parts of it, anyway.

Chris Vosburg said...

According to legend, Lindy took off with nothing more than a couple of sandwiches.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

According to legend, Lindy took off with nothing more than a couple of sandwiches.

And it's Chris for the win! Nice to have an explanation for the joke. (It's still not very good, but at least now I know why.)