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"Mayberry Founders' Day: May Mayberry Never Founder"---Warren Ferguson
on February 14, 2006
Season 6 saw major changes to The Andy Griffith Show. The main changes were that the shows were aired for the first time in color, Barney Fife was no longer a regular character, and characters Warren Ferguson (briefly) and Howard Sprague (`til the end of series and Mayberry RFD) would make their entrance. Many fans do not prefer the color seasons (some even refuse to watch them). I want to use this review and the reviews for seasons 7 and 8, to stick up for these seasons. For this review, I want to particularly defend a character who is often maligned: Deputy Warren Ferguson. He replaced Barney Fife for 11 episodes in season six until he was written out of the series (with no explanation) and never replaced. He was played by a very underrated actor, Jack Burns, who went on to be a variety show staple through the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of the comedy duo Burns and Schreiber (having their own show in 1973), and later was head writer for The Muppet Show and script supervisor and co-producer for Fridays in the early 1980s. I thought his Warren character was an excellent addition to the cast and had a main role in a few of my favorite color episodes (A Warning From Warren, Aunt Bee Takes a Job, Girl-Shy, and Otis the Artist). He was also very easy on the eyes for us female fans. The criticism about his "huh-huh-huh" gimmick (used in his routines with Avery Schreiber) is blown up a bit as he didn't say it that often on TAGS. He used it the most in his first episode The Bazaar, where his character was being introduced. If you do a web search for "The Revenge of Warren Ferguson," you will find a tribute I created for him. Give Warren a chance. Now for the season six episodes:
"Opie's Job": Another season begins with an Opie ep. Opie competes with another boy for a grocery job. Andy is disappointed when he finds out his son gave up on the job, until he hears Opie's reason.
"Andy's Rival": It is time for Andy to be jealous for a change. Helen begins working with a handsome teacher who seems the superior to Andy in every way.
"Malcolm at the Crossroads": The last episode for Malcolm Merriweather and Ernest T Bass (I'm not a Ernest T fan, so this was OK by me). When the bicycling Englishman takes Bass' crosswalk job, Ernest T wants to fight him.
"Aunt Bee, the Swinger": Bee wants to impress an old beau who became a politician, and runs herself ragged trying to keep up with, what she believes, is the fast pace he is used to.
"The Bazaar": Warren's first episode. Warren arrests the ladies' auxiliary for illegal gambling (bingo) and the husbands are angry with Andy because who's going to fix them dinner? (can you believe that?! It's called cereal, milk, a spoon, and a bowl).
"A Warning From Warren": Warren believes he has ESP and senses danger lurks for Andy and Helen's planned picnic at Myer's Lake.
"Off to Hollywood": Andy gets a $1,000 check for a movie that is being made about his sheriff without a gun story. Aunt Bee, Opie, and Helen convince him to use the funds on a trip to Hollywood and the townsfolk keep asking Andy for favors (autographs, etc.).
"Taylors in Hollywood": One of the funniest color eps. On location in Hollywood, Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee watch the filming of the movie about them and, Aunt Bee is not pleased with how they and the town are portrayed. Gavin McLeod (Love Boat Captain) plays Andy, and boy is he funny!
"The Hollywood Party": A Helen blow-up episode. Helen sees a publicity photo of Andy (still in Hollywood) and an actress and goes off.
"Aunt Bee on TV": Aunt Bee is a winner on a tv game show while in Hollywood and, when she gets back to Mayberry, her friends get tired of hearing about all the prizes she won.
"The Cannon": A state mobile museum comes to Mayberry for Founders' Day. Warren is in charge of guarding it, but is more interested in the old town cannon nearby.
"A Man's Best Friend": Maybe the silliest TAGS ep. Opie and a new friend (a real sarcastic kid) use walkie talkies to convince Goober that his dog can talk.
"Aunt Bee Takes a Job": Aunt Bee gets a job at a print shop and doesn't realize her employers are counterfeiters. This is one of my favorite color eps. Mr. Clark is a very funny villain ("we're adopting a kid") and Warren trying to dislodge the getaway car from the bumper of the squad car while explaining the benefits of advertising-that's classic!
"The Church Organ": After the church organ goes flat during her rendition of "Love Lifted Me," Clara refuses to play the old organ and Andy, Warren and a group of businessmen try to put a fund together to buy another organ. Things hit another sour note when Andy can't collect on the pledges.
"Girl-Shy": Another classic Helen blow-up episode. Warren is shy around women until he is sleepwalking. In a somnambulistic state, he gets fresh with Helen. Bad move! Hell hath no fury like Helen!
"Otis, the Artist": Another favorite of mine. Warren thinks mosaics might be an appropriate safety valve for Otis to stop his drinking. Give Warren credit; his plan almost works but, for once, Andy gets in the way of success.
"The Return of Barney Fife": Don't worry, Barney appears in this season! In fact, Don Knotts won an Emmy for this episode. He returns for a class reunion and learns something shocking about Thelma Lou.
"The Legend of Barney Fife": Warren thinks Barney is a living legend but his hero worship is put to the test when Barney appears a coward when a convict he managed to capture escapes.
"Lost and Found": Aunt Bee loses an antique brooch and collects on the insurance, only to end up finding the pin. Jack Dodson (later to play Howard Sprague) appears as the insurance man.
"Wyatt Earp Rides Again": The last appearance of Warren. A fellow claiming to be a descendant of Wyatt Earp along with his big-mouth promoter comes to Mayberry and teaches the kids that "the man who can fight is the man who is right," much to Andy's chagrin.
"Aunt Bee Learns to Drive": Andy is worried when Aunt Bee is bent on learning to drive, especially with Goober as her instructor.
"Look Paw, I'm Dancing": Opie dreads going to a school dance because he's got two left feet (so to speak). Unbeknownst to him, this problem was passed down from his father. Watch this episode to hear some REALLY bad music!
"The Gypsies": A gypsy curses Mayberry with a drought after Andy forbids them to sell their wares in town (how often did it rain in Mayberry, anyway? In "Quiet Sam" and I remember Ernest T's "Sweet Romeena" mentioned it had rained during Mrs. Wiley's party).
"Eat Your Heart Out": Goober has a crush on Flora, but Flora has her sights on a certain sheriff.
"A Baby in the House": Aunt Bee takes care of a baby and is saddened because, every time she holds the baby, it cries (maybe the baby knows something about Aunt Bee that we don't).
"The County Clerk": Enter Howard Sprague. Andy and Helen try to fix Howard up with a date but his overbearing mother does not approve. One of my favorites. I like the eps with Howard's old bat mother.
"The Foster Lady": Aunt Bee becomes the Foster Furniture Polish Lady. Trivia: Actual TAGS crew members are members of the commercial crew.
"Goober's Replacement": Flora fills in for Goober at the filling station and her feminine charms increase business.
"The Battle of Mayberry": Opie tries to get info on the famous town battle and, of course, everyone thinks their relatives were the heroes. What really happened was not near as heroic.
"A Singer in Town": Aunt Bee and Clara write a poem "My Hometown" that they try to get set to music.