DVD Review: The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Special

There’s no place like home for the holiday season. If you can’t get there, the next best thing is Christmas at your favorite TV homes. TV Christmases are a bit more special since there’s no annoying questions about your personal life or anxiety that your gift won’t be appreciated. Your favorite show will never let you down since it’s the same reliable rerun that will warm your heart and give you good cheer. The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Special brings together two episodes and festivally colorizes them.

“The Christmas Story” reminds us that even behind bars, you can feel the warmth of the holiday. Even in a small town like Mayberry, Andy Taylor (Matlock‘s Andy Griffith) can’t get Christmas Eve off. Local businessman Ben Weaver shows up with a moonshiner in tow. He demands Andy lock the guy up. While Andy has to do his job, he doesn’t have it in him to ruin a family’s Christmas so he figures a way to bust the entire family so they can share a cell for the night. Andy also brings in Opie (Happy Days‘ Ron Howard), Barney (Three’s Company‘s Don Knotts), Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier) and Ellie (Father Knows Best‘s Elinor Donahue) to make it the bootlegger family’s best Christmas ever. Is the business owner going to going Atomic Scrooge when he finds out that people aren’t being punished behind bars? One of the bootlegger’s daughters was the model for Disney’s Tinkerbell.

While “The Pickle Story” isn’t an outright Christmas special, the episode did air the week before Christmas in 1961. This is a classic episode where Aunt Bea makes more of her famous pickles. They’re famous because they are toxic to taste. To save their tastebuds, Andy and Barney pull a switch and place store bought pickles in Aunt Bea’s jars. Trouble brews when Aunt Bea declares them her best pickles ever and wants to enter them in the fair. Can Andy real let her enter bogus pickles in the competition?

This double feature was part of a colorized holiday special that CBS ran last year. The colorizing is done with the feel of hand tinted photographs from the fifties. The Andy Griffith Show was not always in black and white. The last three of the eight seasons had Mayberry were in color after CBS finally accepted the future. So it’s not a complete shock to see the characters with a touch of hues. The black and white versions are also included so you can have your pick of how to celebrate Christmas Mayberry-style.

The videos is 1.33:1 full frame. The colorized image looks sharp with its tints adding to the vintage Christmas feel. The black and white versions look sharp. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You will hear clank of the jail’s steel bars. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

CBS DVD presents The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Special. Starring: Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard and Elinor Donahue. Running Time: 45 minutes. Released: October 4, 2016

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