Who doesn’t have a soft spot in their heart, if not their DVD collection, for The Andy Griffith Show? The denizens of Mayberry have been with many of us our entire lives. For most of America, The Andy Griffith Show has become the template for any small rural town. The characters stand as prerequisite citizens in any said town. The town drunk, the local barber, the motherly little old lady, and the corner mechanic all look like Otis, Floyd, Aunt Bee, and Goober to most of us now. Griffith himself brought fine qualities to his role of Sheriff Andy Taylor, but it was Don Knotts as the incompetent but lovable deputy Barney Fife who stole the show. And who was that sweet little boy? He grew up to be a first class filmmaker with plenty of Oscars on the shelf. No question that The Andy Griffith Show started something back in 1960.
Sheriff Taylor (Griffith) is a widower with a young son, Opie (Howard). His extended family includes lovable doting Aunt Bee (Bavier). His deputy, Barney (Knotts) appears to be a few trout short of a stocked creek. They live in the small southern town of Mayberry.
You just can’t expect anything more from a 1960’s sit-com than the decent Dolby Digital mono track provided. Great care and effort is evident in this modest presentation. There’s some hiss. Some of the higher ranges are distorted at times. Still … for its age this is a pretty clear and enjoyable soundtrack. Dialogue is always audible. I was too young to catch this stuff when it originally aired, but I’ll bet it never sounded this good over rabbit ears and 2 inch TV speakers.
Again, the age of the piece is undeniable in this full frame presentation. We’re also talking black and white. Contrast is remarkable when you consider the age of the episodes and the equipment originally used to film them. There’s plenty of film speck to complain about if you’re picky. Some episodes show a great more wear than others. A couple seem to have blur spots that I can’t account for. Again, I venture to guess the show never looked better.
Having some of the original advertisements from the initial airdates is a very pleasant touch. Most of them feature the cast selling the standard 1960’s products. This feature certainly helps to put this show in perspective as to time. It’s also the first time in over 40 years the episodes have been seen uncut. There are far too many trailers you need to skip through on the first disc.
As much as I believe we all have that soft spot for the show, these DVD’s are certainly not for everyone. We’re used to a higher standard of video and audio today from even the lowest budgets. While I certainly love the technological advances in the media, a part of me is sad that many will pass such classics by because of the quality of the presentation. This set is not for you if a faded black and white image distracts from your enjoyment. This set is not for you if you require constant action and swift pace from your entertainment. This set is not for you if a sitcom’s quality is measured by the amount of sexual innuendo or potty humor. This set is not for you if you get angry when a show ends on a moral. If you’re just happy to have great entertainment from a simpler time, then you should pick up this set and just “sit a spell.”