Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Andy Griffith Show - Season Four, Episode Two - The Haunted House - First Aired October 7, 1963

This is one of my favorite episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.  This episode, as many others do, stars Andy Griffith, Ronny Howard, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors and also costars Hal Smith and Nestor Paiva.  This episode was directed by Earl Bellamy, produced by Aaron Ruben and the makeup was done by Lee Greenway.  It was filmed at Desilu Studios and the executive producer was Sheldon Leonard.

The story starts as Opie (Howard) and Arnold (Ronnie Dapo) are walking along talking about baseball.  The two stop on the street and Arnold attempts to demonstrate his curveball and pitches the ball to Opie who swings and hits the ball through a window in the old Rimshaw house, a supposedly haunted house in town.  When they walk up to the house to try to get the ball some noises scare the kids away and they run right to the courthouse to tell Andy (Griffith) what happened.  Opie tells Andy that "the house is full of ghosts".  Arnold helps Opie describe what happened ("they went Oooooooo").  Even Otis the town drunk (Hal Smith) thinks everyone should stay away from the house because of the strange stories.  Of course Andy and Barney try to assure everyone that there's no such things as ghosts.

When the kids ask about the ball Andy decides to send Barney up to the house to retrieve it.  Of course Barney's not too happy about the idea so he recruits/tricks Gomer (Nabors) into going with him ("That way both of us can show'em there's nothing to be afraid of").  Barney and Gomer get scared away just like the kids did, so it's Andy to the rescue as he accompanies Barney and Gomer back to the house.

This is when the laughs really start.  Andy, with Barney and Gomer literally stuck to him like glue go into the house looking for the baseball, and then begin an investigation when Andy finds a few clues that make him think that maybe all the activity in the house isn't related to the supernatural.  While the trio start to look around and then get separated at one point there are a lot of really funny moments.  One of my favorites scenes begins when Barney and Gomer find a painting over the fireplace that prompts the following exchange:

Barney: "That's old man Rimshaw himself"
Gomer: "Rimshaw? Ain't he the one that put chains on his hired man...  and then done away with him??
Barney: "With an axe"
Gomer: "An axe !!  Shazam ..."

It just cracks me up me every single time I watch it.  I don't think there are many people better at acting scared than Don Knotts and Jim Nabors.  As a matter of fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a more talented and beloved cast from any series in television history (I know, I know,  there might be a couple).

The final two or three seasons (color episodes) didn't seem to entertain me as much as the previous seasons did due to the changes in the cast,  or maybe it was that I was just so used to watching the show in black and white, or the storylines just seeming to get a little silly at some points.  Any episode in the series is still fun to watch, but like many other television shows there are some episodes that standout in your mind.  For me, The Haunted House is one of those episodes. 

Here's a little info about some of the folks involved with the show.  Hal Smith's voice was featured in many animated shows and feature films including the voice of Phillipe from Beauty And The Beast (1991), and he was also the voice of Owl in the Winnie The Pooh cartoons.  Earl Bellamy directed over 1,600 episodes of television in his career (info courtesy of  If I remember correctly, I believe during one of the Andy Griffith Show reunion episodes Andy stated that Lee Greenway (makeup) was a banjo player in one of the episodes featuring the "Darling family", who were played by The Dillards, a bluegrass group.  Sheldon Leonard was a great producer/director/actor and was involved with and appeared on The Danny Thomas Show (1953-1963) and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) as well as appearing in many films throughout his career, usually as a gangster or underworld character.

Once again this is great, wholesome, family entertainment and a must have episode for collectors and fans of the series.


  1. Good review! I agree the early seasons had so many great episodes. As the show went on, it seemed to lose some steam. This episode sounds great -- along the lines of a classic Bowery Boys movie plot!

    1. Gilby -

      This is one of my favorite episodes from the series. A couple of my other favorites are "Citizen's Arrest" and "Gomer The House Guest", both of which also happen to be from Season 4 ... Thanks for stopping by ...