"The Pickle Story", "Keeper Of The Flame", "Barney's Replacement", "Crime-Free Mayberry", "Barney And The Choir", "The Jinx", "Aunt Bee, The Warden", and "Andy On Trial" are just a few of the standout episodes featured in this great 5-Disc DVD collection of "The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Second Season".
This second year of "T.A.G.S." is really, really good. In addition to the episodes I mentioned above, there's also "The Manicurist", which is also one of my favorites. It features future "I Dream Of Jeannie" star Barbara Eden guest-starring as manicurist "Ellen Brown", who inadvertently stirs up a hornet's nest in Mayberry by just being her sweet (and ultra-fetching) self, causing a tad bit of jealousy among the wives of the barber shop-lounging men of Mayberry, who can't seem to take their eyes off of Ellen's obvious ... er ... curves. :-)
That episode also has Andy's terrific dialogue as he talks to the lovely fingernail-trimmer -- "Nature has been good to you, Ellen. I mean real, real, REAL good! I can't remember when I've seen nature spend so much time on any ONE person". (LOL!)
Luckily, the CBS censors weren't being too picky that week. Otherwise, that finely-tuned, roundabout sexual innuendo regarding Miss Brown's (Eden's) curvaceous shape just might not have been allowed to go over the early-'60s airwaves. :-)
Another very pleasing Season-Two 'Andy' entry is the episode called "Wedding Bells For Aunt Bee", which is one of the few tear-jerkers in the whole eight years the show was on the air. Aunt Bee becomes convinced she's hampering Andy's efforts to re-marry, so she decides she's going to marry the local dry cleaner (Fred Goss) in order to get out of Andy's hair.
"Wedding Bells" offers up some fine acting by Frances Bavier ("Aunt Bee"), and yields one of the most truly heartfelt and tender moments of any "TAGS" episode (when Andy finally catches on and thwarts Aunt Bee's plan).
Like the excellent first-season set, Paramount Studios has again hit a home run with this second-year Andy Griffith DVD boxed set. The video quality is very good, with each of these 31 black-and-white episodes (which were shot on "film" and not "videotape") coming through crisp, clean, and clear. Just beautiful. Or, as Andy Taylor might say -- "These shows look goooo-oooood!"
Video is the standard TV ratio (1.33:1), of course, just as initially shown on network TV back in 1961 and 1962. Audio sounds just fine through the Dolby Digital soundtracks used here (in 2.0 Mono; English only).
Unlike the first-season "T.A.G.S." set from Paramount, this Season #2 collection does contain some "Bonus" features -- all in the form of "Original Sponsor Spots" (i.e.: original commercial advertisements featuring the show's cast members).
And you might be surprised (pleasantly so), as I was, when you find out that nearly every one of these second-season episodes contains a different, original commercial ad (30 of the 31 shows have an ad included)! Very nice bonus indeed -- especially when considering the fact that Season 1 had no supplemental features at all.
Holy Mackerel! I hadn't even realized until watching these Digital Discs that Andy & Company actually filmed a totally-new and different commercial for the sponsor EVERY single week (at least for this second season of the series at any rate)! Can you imagine that?! I'll just be flat dogged!! :-)
None of these commercial ads have been "integrated" into the episodes themselves, however. To view them, you must select "Original Sponsor Spots" from the Main Menu on each of the five DVDs. There is, however, a "Play All" feature available for the Sponsor Spots; so you can watch all of them back-to-back if desired (there are five, six, or seven ads per disc, with each of them running approximately one minute). So, when you add 'em all up, there's approximately a full half-hour of bonus material on these discs! Not bad at all.
Products being pitched by Andy, Opie, Barney, and Aunt Bee include: "Sanka" coffee and various "Post" brand breakfast cereals ("They're goooooood!"). These advertisements are also "linked" to that episode's story line, which adds an extra level of entertainment value into these "Sponsor Spots".
These commercial spots also exhibit very good video quality too (pert-near as good as the episodes themselves, if not just exactly as good). There was obviously the same clean-up and/or restoration effort undertaken for these thirty commercial spots as was done for the full-length "Andy" episodes. Audio for all these sponsor ads is in Dolby Digital 2-Channel Mono.
Andy Griffith (as "Andy Taylor" in these ads) was a very good "pitch man" for the products he was endorsing. He makes me want to go and buy some Sanka coffee right now ("It's 97% caffeine-free, and you can drink as much as you want, any TIME you want!"). These are some of the best-written "cast member" sponsor plugs you're likely to ever run across. Really fun stuff here!
I applaud Paramount Home Video's TV-On-DVD division for electing to include a lot of these fun-to-see old-time CBS-TV commercials in this DVD set.
There are some other "ads" (of sorts) included on Disc 1 of this set -- those being: six different "Trailers" for other Paramount TV-On-DVD products (total run time of about 6 minutes; 6:10 to be exact). Only the first disc contains these DVD ads. I'm not thrilled about the fact that the "Menu" buttons on the DVD Player's remote control have been 'locked-out' during the playing of these trailers (which start up automatically when you load up Disc #1).
However, these trailers/ads CAN be very easily bypassed -- you're NOT "forced" to watch these six ads. To skip past them, press "Skip"/"Chapter Advance" (which is a remote button that has not, thankfully, been "locked" out) multiple times consecutively (six times precisely) to get to the Main Menu screen. A bit of a pain in the rump, true. But six quick keystrokes are better than being forced to watch the 6 minutes of DVD ads.
Other items, however, that appear when you first load up any of these discs -- e.g.: the Paramount logo screen and the proverbial FBI/piracy "warning" -- are NOT capable of being skipped quickly no matter what remote buttons you choose. So everyone is forced to wait until those things go by at their own speed. But those two things go by pretty fast; but it'd be nice if those, too, were skippable. But they aren't on this set.
I'm not wild about these DVD Trailers being included on Disc 1 (and the "Menu" button most certainly shouldn't have been disabled, IMO) -- but overall this is a very minor complaint, because this Andy Griffith set is fantastic in every (other) way.
BTW -- In case you're interested, the six TV DVDs being plugged on Disc 1 are: "The Brady Bunch", "Happy Days", "Laverne & Shirley", "Mork & Mindy", "MacGyver", and "Charmed".
To avoid the wrath of customers who hate these DVD ads more than Andy dislikes Aunt Bee's wretched pickles, my suggestion to Paramount for future "T.A.G.S." releases would be to place these DVD trailers in a separate section that can be accessed from the Main Menu (which is exactly how Columbia/Sony has presented ads of this nature on its DVDs). That way, the consumer can have the "choice" of viewing them (or not), rather than having the ads part of the automatic "load-up" each time you pop the disc into the DVD Player.
Here are some more of the particulars concerning this DVD boxed set..............
>> Number of Discs -- 5; All Single-Sided discs.
>> Episodes per disc -- Seven episodes on disc 1; Six episodes on discs 2-5. .... Episodes are laid out in "Airdate" order.
>> "Play All Episodes" option? -- Yes.
>> Chapter Stops included for each episode? -- Yes; 5 chapters per program.
>> Are the shows uncut/unedited? -- Yes; Running time per episode is between 25 and 26 minutes. All originally-aired "Epilogues" are intact on the DVDs. And the original "Fishin' Hole" whistling theme song is intact as well -- for both the opening and closing credits.
>> Menus -- Non-animated; No music; Main Menu doubles as the 'Episode Choice' Menu; A different background picture for all five discs (although why in the world a picture of "Deputy Warren Ferguson", who didn't join the cast until years later, has been used for the Disc-Three Menu is a bit of a mystery); Very user-friendly menu design, with quick response time when selecting from the menus; A "Sheriff's Badge" icon is used to navigate the various menu options.
>> Packaging -- The five DVDs are packaged inside three slim-style "ThinPak" plastic cases (two "double-disc" slim cases, plus one single-disc slim case). The three plastic cases then slide into a sturdy cardboard outer "slipcase" box.
This boxed set's physical "footprint" is really a space-saver. Those DVD collectors who don't like bulky TV-On-DVD collections should admire the dimensions of this set. It's just seven-eighths of an inch thick (approx.)!
I'm not real wild about the "Andy/Aunt Bee" (colorized) cover art used by Paramount for this DVD package. I think a better-looking front-cover image (or a series of composite pics) could have been used here. But, you can't have everything I guess. (I also have my doubts as to whether this cover photo of Andy is from the second season. I think it might be from a later season. But this cover-art matter is trivial and of very little overall significance.)
But, all things considered, I admire the look and design of this set's packaging a great deal. Each of the three slim cases features unique artwork, with Case #1 (which has Discs 1 and 2) showing us a picture of Andy and Barney drinking coffee; while Case #2 (which houses Discs 3 and 4) offers up a photo of Andy and Opie in front of a "Kids Back In School" sign (Opie, with schoolbooks in hand, doesn't look too pleased, which seems fitting here); and the third case (with Disc 5) depicts a guitar-playing Andy alongside one of his pre-Helen Crump love interests, "Mary Simpson" (played by Sue Ane Langdon).
There's an "Apple Pie" theme utilized throughout the packaging here, with the back side of each of the three plastic cases displaying the titles for each of the episodes contained within that case on a "recipe card" with the heading of "Aunt Bee's Apple Pie Recipe".
While the discs themselves feature a clever use of "disappearing" apple pie .... Disc 1 shows a picture of a nearly-whole pie (with just a single piece cut out of it); with discs 2 through 4 revealing less and less pie with each higher-numbered disc. By the time we get to Disc #5, the entire pie has been eaten, and all we see on this last disc is a picture of Aunt Bee's empty pie plate. A very charming and apropos disc design indeed.
More detailed episode information (including show descriptions and original CBS-TV airdates) can be located on the inside of each of the three cases. When a disc is removed from its holder, that disc's episode info is revealed underneath.
Overall, it's a first-rate, classy-looking, and nicely-done presentation for Andy's second season on DVD.
The debut season of "The Andy Griffith Show" was a true winner (IMO), and this follow-up second year of the series is every bit as entertaining and funny as the first (possibly even a bit better). And it's hard not to marvel at the outstanding work done by the Paramount team here, as they have provided fans of this TV series with the best possible quality for these 31 shows by releasing a DVD boxed collection that sparkles in every respect.
These episodes look so good on Digital Versatile Disc that even Aunt Bee's "kerosene cucumbers" seem good enough to eat. .... Well, er, uh, wait a minute. .... I take that back. I'm not sure even HD-DVD could perform that Herculean task. LOL!