Basketball Regional or Bust

An Andy Griffith "Lost Episode" By Joe Gritton

Copyright 12/2000

Opening Scene--The bench in front of Floyd's Barbershop

Floyd, Goober and Andy are out in front of Floyd's Barber Shop. Floyd is seated on the bench while Goober and Andy stand at either end. In the background, two High School girls put the finishing touches on a hand-painted window sign that says "Go Bears--Win State".

Goober grins broadly as he clutches a basketball and playfully tosses it to Andy.

Goober: Boy it shore is excitin', ain't it!

Floyd: The Mayberry Union High School Bears playing for a chance to go to the North Carolina State Finals.

Andy: It sure is special. Mayberry ain't won the Sectional championship in a long long time. I don't remember when it was we last went to the Regionals at Mount Pilot. If we win two games there, it's on to Raleigh for the State Finals.

Goober: I think we're gonna win it all! The boys are playin' great.

(as he receives the basketball back from Andy, Goober mimics some basketball moves and makes a fancy pass behind his back to Andy)

Floyd: Do ya really think we got a chance Andy? There's some big schools, ohh and biiiiig boys gonna be over there at Mount Pilot for the Regionals....Biiiig boys.

Goober: Stretch Hollister is six foot three and a hafe. His momma says, he still growin' too.

(He holds up his hand about 18 inches over his own head, exaggerating the boy's height)

Andy: Well....., I think we've got as good a chance as anybody. They can only put five boys at a time on the floor and I think we got five pretty good ones. (smiles broadly)

Floyd: That's right (holds up one finger to indicate good point)

A siren is heard, and then the familiar squad car comes into view as Barney pulls up in front of the Courthouse with passengers. A lanky African-American high school lad steps out of the passenger seat wearing shorts, tennis shoes and a basketball tank top. Opie and another boy, Howie, get out of the back seat. They are also wearing short pants and sneakers with a numbered T-shirt. Barney scoots across from the driver's side and follows the boy out.

Barney: Alright Charlie, you go to the grocery and get the milk and cake mix for your Ma. I'll go over to Walkers Drugs to get your Pa's medicine to save a little time. We'll meet back here at 16:10, plus or minus five.

Andy: Barney, What's going on? Are you giving the basketball team police escorts to run to the store?

Floyd: Hey It's Charlie Sparks, leading scorer AND rebounder for the Bears! (louder) Hello Charlie, ready for the big game?

Goober: Hey Charlie, It's me Goober. I just greased your Daddy's car so's he could get to the Regionals on Saturday! We're all gonna be cheerin' for ya! Are ya ready?

Charlie: Uh Hello, Yeah I guess I'm ready, Thanks (shyly walks on, as Opie and the other boy follow, mimicking the tall lad's every action including trying to take his long strides)

Barney (lecturing Goober and Floyd) Don't you townspeople know that these boys need to be left alone? WE FEEL that if everyone keeps asking them about the "Regionals", they're going to get all nervous!

Andy We? ....... Who's we?

Barney Well, uh ......Coach Smith mentioned it. He told the boys to act like this was a regular week of practice, and pretend we were just playing Greendale, or somebody like that...He said he didn't want any distractions...and then he looked RIGHT at me. I think he was seeing if I agreed and I nodded yes. I also got the message that he wanted me to look after the boys when he wasn't around.

Floyd: How did you get that message....did he pass you a note Barney?

Goober: Did he write it on that chalkboard in the dressin' room? (bounces ball to himself)

Barney: No no no, Nothing like that. It was more Tele-pa-thetic.

Andy: So he didn't come right out and tell you that. It was....... what did you say?

Barney: Tele-pathetic, you know, when the minds of two parties are thinking the same thing, and the mind of the first party communicates with the mind of the second party without even uttering a word. In can happen across a room or across the ocean as long as the minds are synchronized in a subject area common to both parties. The are well documented case of...

Andy, smiling, pulls Barney into the Courthouse while Goober and Floyd continue to talk out front.

Floyd: Ya know Goober, I'm running a special in honor of the Regional game with Mount Pilot. I call it "Clip the Mounties Special" 50 cents off a haircut.

Goober: Hey that's a good idea Floyd! I hear Foley's is sellin whip cream for hafe-price...ta "Cream the Mounties" in the Regional.

Floyd: Oh oh that's funny. Cream the Mounties! Whip cream half-price.

Goober: Maybe Wally orta run a special too, ta get in on the excitement. Two cents off a gallon of gas... to "Gas the Mounties".

Floyd: Ohh no, don't say that, don't say that...Gas the Mounties, No. that sounds evil. You know, like the gas chamber.

Goober: Well, I didn't mean THAT, Floyd! OK, how about. Mayberry Union Bears, play like greased lightnin'! Get you car greased at Wally's.

Floyd: Oh I like that better... Greased Lightnin! You gonna knock two cents of f a Lube Job?

Goober: We yeah at least..... Maybe 50 cents off!

 Floyd: 50 Cents off! I said that first! "Clip the Mounties Special'! 50 cents off ... I like the sound of that. (Floyd smiles, raising one hand slightly in a familiar gesture)

Scene cuts to inside the Courthouse. Andy and Barney are still talking. Barney is pretending to dribble around the room as Andy talks.

Andy: Now LOOK Barney! The last thing those boys needs is extra people hanging around to distract them. You've been over at that school about every day for practice, haven't you?

Barney continues to fake dribble and then pulls up for a fake shot

Barney: It's Good! (he yells, as if he is an announcer, then smiles and looks at Andy) OK Ange, I'll make sure nobody bothers the players. I already told you I would do that.

Andy: Uhh we're not exactly tele-pathetic here. I'm talkin' about YOU Barney! You're shouldn't be runnin' Charlie around in the squad car, and you shouldn't be hangin' around practice. You're a Deputy, not an Assistant Basketball Coach.

Barney: OK Ange, no problem. I've just been stopping by the school in the afternoon to have a little Look-see at that possible vandalism and I usually just happen to go by the Gym and...

Andy: What possible Vandalism? I didn't know about any vandalism!

Barney: (looking down speaking softer) Well, you know, somebody colored all the windows with signs like Go Bears, Win Mayberry Union, and all that, I just wanted to make sure they were authorized, and it wasn't a prank.

Andy: A prank?

Barney: Yeah, what if somebody was to paint "Bears Stink" or "Lose Mayberry" Don't you think THAT would make the players nervous?

Just then the door burst open. Opie and the Howie come running in.

Opie: Hey Paw, Can me and Howie go to the shoot-around tonight. Barney said that it was for authorized personnel only, but we're authorized water boys and ball chasers. Can we Paw, huh, can we?

Andy: Let me find out if your "authorized" by the coach. I'm not sure if Barney is "authorized" to say who can be in the gym durin' practice.

Opie: But Paw, Barney says he's the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Gym, cause he stands guard at all the home games. (Barney looks over troubled, making a face and wishing Opie would be quiet.) One time he even threw out ole Clyde the Janitor, just cause he wanted to start sweepin' before practice was over.

Barney: (interrupting) OK Opie that's enough now, Why don't you boys go see if Charlie is about ready to head back to the school.

Opie: Can we go paw, please?

Howie Its OK with my mom Sheriff,

Opie: We can pick up towels, and fill water bottles and stuff with Barney.

Barney: Yeah, Can we Andy? The coach asked us to help and we promise not to cause any trouble.....I mean they.... I'll make sure they, uh the boys ... stay out of the way.

Andy: OK, but I better not find out from the coach that there's been a problem...and that goes for you too Mr. Sergeant-at-Arms. I'd hate to see ole Clyde whip ya with one broom tied behind his back.

Barney steps out of the courthouse to see that Charlie is waiting in the passenger seat of the squad car. The boys hop in the back seat. As Barney runs around to the driver's door, Charlie speaks. Floyd, Goober and other bystanders (played by Tom Jacobs and Joe Hamilton) watch.

Charlie: Did you get that medicine Deputy Fife?

Barney, realizing he's forgotten the medicine, slams the car door he's just opened and instinctively runs out into the street to cross. The sound of a small bell is heard, and then a bicycle collides with Barney sending him sprawling in the street. Barney gets up relatively uninjured but startled.

Barney: What hit me? What hit me? Did anyone get the plate number?

Barney looks over to see a little old lady still astride her bicycle, straightening her hat, which was knocked sideways on her head.

Lady: I'm sorry officer, but you just RAN out in the street without looking, I couldn't stop.

Goober (from the sidewalk) You OK Barn?

Floyd (laughing) You gonna arrest her for speeding Barney? I'll bet she was doing oh... 6..8 10 miles an hour. (The other men .laugh heartily)

Barney: You're real funny Floyd! Why don't you go shave a gorilla for just for kicks! Then you can make hair pieces out of the fur for your friends when they go bald!

Lady: We'll! If you're NOT going to apologize, I guess I'll be on my way.

Barney: Me Apologize? You better just watch it sister. Next time I'll write you up for striking an officer. You're just lucky I'm in a .hurry! I gotta get some medicine.

Bystander (Joe Hamilton in white hat) Hey Barney, you're just lucky she wasn't in her truck. You'd have to pick some crutches too!

All those standing on the sidewalk including Andy now (who heard the commotion) chuckle amongst themselves as Barney brushes himself off and he is shown, from the back, stepping quickly and resolutely on across the street to Walkers Drugstore.


Scene 2 The School principal's office.

The principal is played by Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley on Dick Van Dyke) The principal is behind his desk. Andy, Mayor Pike, Goober, Mr. Foley and Aunt Bee sit in chairs across from him.

Principal: OK then, we'll have the community breakfast at the Firehouse at 7:00 AM Saturday morning.

Aunt Bee: We've prepared the menu Mr. Burns. It's going to be a pancake breakfast with lots of fruit and juices for the boys. We'll have some fried potatoes also and lots of coffee...Oh and milk we'll need milk for the team and for the kiddies.

Mr. Foley: I ordered in extra oranges like you wanted Miss Bee, Pancake mix and syrup and I can still get extra milk, OK.

Principal: OK good, good. Then we'll have the school bus come pick up the team at 8:15.

Goober: I'm gonna have the bus in the shop tomorrow and get it all tuned up. Clyde said there was an oil smell, so I'll put in fresh oil and check into that so the boys don't get sick smellin oil.

Principal: Fine, Fine. Thank You.

Goober: (Looking at Andy) There's nothin worse than an oil smell when you're tryin to think about basketball. That's what I always say (Andy nods approval)

Mayor: As soon as the bus comes up, we'll start lining up the cars for the caravan. I'll be first in line so I can decide when we all start blowing our horns.

Principal: What about the squad car?

Goober: You got an oil smell in the squad car too?

Andy: No Goober, the squad car is fine. We'll start out in front of the bus. Well turn on the lights and siren to get everyone fired up. When we get to the state road, we'll pull off and let the caravan pass. We'll bring up the rear so we can make sure no-one breaks down and gets stuck or anything. Everyone should have their lights on.

Principal: Ok Fine. And the trip should take about what? An hour and a half?

Mayor: That's right. The team will get there just in time to change for warm-ups. The fans will all park and we'll have a little community pep rally on the school steps. We're gonna have signs, and maybe some horns and drums. There could be TV cameras there, so I'll be ready to speak on behalf of our proud community of Mayberry. We'll have a picnic in the city park between the early games and the final game that night.

Principal: Um Sheriff, if you're in the squad car...Where will um...

Andy: You're worried about Barney, my deputy. He'll be with me. I'll try to keep him out of the coach's way and out of the team's way (grinning).

There is a knock on the door, and Coach Smith walks in. He is a young man with deep-set eyes. His firm jaw line and neat appearance gives him a serious presence. He shakes hands with all in the room. Goober is awestruck and his mouth hangs open.

Coach: Hello, I'm Dean Smith, pleasure to meet you. Sorry I'm late.

Principal: Thanks for coming coach. We've already got the plan set for breakfast and we were just discussing the caravan. The sheriff is going to take the squad car, and he was just saying that Deputy Fife could ride with him.

Coach: Well actually Sheriff, I was thinking that it might be good to have an officer on the bus, if Fife is available. That way if we get into traffic in the city, he could hop out and direct traffic to get us and the caravan though.

Andy: You WANT Barney on the team bus?

Mr. Foley: You want BARNEY on the team bus?

Mayor: You want Barney on THE TEAM BUS?

Goober: I think you'd be better off with an OIL SMELL on the team bus.

Coach: Well, if that's gonna be a problem, I guess....

Andy: Well-sir, if that's what you want, then I know Barney will be glad to oblige.

Aunt Bee: (puzzled looking. speaks softly) They want Barney on the team bus. Who would have guessed?

Goober: Barney would. He's tele-pathetic with the coach.

Principal: Well, are we all set then? (All nod in agreement)


SCENE 3 --Floyd's Barbershop (next day)

Andy, Barney, Floyd, Goober, Mr. Schwamp, Jud, and Mr. Foley are sitting around the barbershop talking. Floyd is sitting in the barber chair with a newspaper.

Floyd: I can't believe the Regional championships are day after tomorrow. This is going to be a great day for Mayberry!

Goober: It is if we win both games. If we loose it, will be a sad day.

Andy: Well, I don't know. Either way it's a big event just to get to this point. Look how excited the community has been all week. I can't remember when there was something like this, that young and old, town and county folk are all rallying around. Win or lose, it'll be a great experience. I don't know if anyone will be left in town, except for maybe Sarah, the Fire Chief, and Laura Lee Hobbs if she's still ailin'.

Floyd: You're right Andy, win or lose it's a great experience.

Goober: That's right, Win or lose, we can all be proud...but I hope we win

All nod and mumble in agreement just as the door opens and a man comes in. He is wearing a uniform similar to Andy's. The actor is Allan Hale (Jeff Pruit..Skpper of Gilligan's Island). His name is Skip Armstrong, and he is a deputy for the Mount Pilot Sheriff's Department.

Andy: Well Hello Skip, What brings you to Mayberry? (Andy shares a hearty handshake with the man)

Skip: Hey Andy, How ya been ole buddy? It's good to see ya. Well, actually, I'm here on official business.

Andy: Oh, and what would that be? Did one of our chicken thieves sneak over to your county? (All laugh)

Skip: Well maybe, I don't know about that, but we hear you are bringing a caravan of cars over to Mount Pilot for the Regionals, and the sheriff wants me to get together with you on that.

Andy: Well, of course. That's a great idea. I should've called you first. You wanna go over to the courthouse and look at the map and make some plans.

Skip We could do that, but I can just tell ya here what we want you to do. Boy its gonna be great playin Mayberry Union again for our trip to the State finals, just like we did back in 45.

Goober: Now just wait a minute, how do you know that it just won't be arrr (our) trip to the state finals.

Skip (Chuckles broadly) Well I suppose that IS possible but it's NOT likely. Don't you remember what we did to you back in 45 when I was playing? Andy, you remember. You were there.

Andy: (grimly) Yes I remember Skip. I will never forget that game.

Skip: (chuckles again) Neither will I. It was kind-of a physical game and that worked to our favor.

Andy: (a bit agitated) What it was, was football!

Skip: We got ole Ralphy Haynes all flustered, because every time he would try to shoot, we would give him a little nudge, and the refs allowed the physical type of play.

Andy: What it was,.....was football Skip,...pure and simple.

Skip: (giving Andy a strong slap on the back) You're not still sore are ya Andy? We won fair and square.

Andy: Well...uh-good luck to both teams, and may the best win.

Goober: (stands up) And that's gonna be the Mayberry Union Bears!

Andy: Skip what did you want to work out on that caravan?

Skip: Well Andy, the sheriff thinks that anything over 20 or 25 cars will jam up the city traffic. So if you want to bring more than that at once, you need to go through Stokes county and come down from the north so you can get to the school without going through town.

Andy: But that's 30 minutes out of the way! We already have to leave early in the morning. How can he expect us to do that?

Skip: It's either that, or 20-25 cars at a time. You're the sheriff of Mayberry. You work it out. Well I'll see ya at the game boys. (He walks out the door with another chuckle)

Floyd: Well, of all the nerve! Come in here and talk like that.

Goober: It's a good thang he left when he did. I thought me and Andy was gonna have ta throw him out.

Andy: I can't believe that... Well maybe we can settle it on the basketball floor.

Floyd: That's right! .. Let's annihilate um. Let's smear um!

Goober: Lets kick em in the britches, those no-good big city fellers. (The other men mumble in agreement)


Scene 4 The inside of the Mayberry Gymnasium.

The gymnasium features tightly closed end walls that are barren except for padding. On one side of the room, about 12 graduated rows of permanent wooden seats are mounted in the concrete. A few windows and a couple banners are visible above the seats. A mechanical scoreboard hangs on the opposite wall. The baskets at either end dominate the room, hanging well below the round dim lights and casting a faint shadow off the polished wooden floor. One can almost smell the sweat and hear the cheers of the many years history of Mayberry Union basketball that has taken place in this cracker-box arena.

5 boys in dark tank-top shirts scrimmage against 5 boys in white shirts. There is no speaking for the first few seconds. The constant sound of sneakers squeaking across the floor is punctuated only by the occasional bounces of the basketball as the white team passes the ball around looking for an open shot. The ball is erroneously thrown high, striking the wall out of bounds. The boys all grimace expectant of the next sound.

Coach: MUUU-LIK! concentrate! What do you think you're doing? Everybody on the line! Two lengths!

The players meet at the baseline, and at a short whistle, take off sprinting to the other end. As they reach the other end of the floor, the feet of a lone figure can be seen standing, as if inspecting the baseline at the other end to see that they all touch it. It's Barney Fife, clad in baggy shorts, a sweatshirt that says "Sheriff's Department" with long white knee socks and loafers. One of his barely visible knees is bandaged (due to a recent collision). A whistle hangs around his neck, and a clipboard rests in his hand. As the players all turn to face the other end, he gives his whistle a tweet, and they all sprint for the other end. They pause briefly, gasping breaths and expecting the next command.

Coach: Lay-ups! Left side! (The players sprint into position.) Fife!

Barney stands admiring the players discipline, unaware that he has just been addressed.

Coach: FIFE!

A startled Barney drops his clipboard, which echoes loudly in the gym

Barney: Yes coach! (He mutters with a cracking voice)

Coach: More water!

Barney hustles over to a rack of water bottles and hurries out the door to fill them.

As the players go through the lay-up drill, the Griffith Show theme song plays in the background at a hearty pace.


Scene 5--The Community breakfast at the Firehouse

People file in and out of the Firehouse. The School Bus sits on the street in front of a line of cars. It is decorated with signs, and crepe paper streamers. People can be seen far down the street putting picnic baskets in cars, and moving cars in line to extend it even further. Charlie Sparks and another player climb on the school bus with their gym bags.

The scene shifts quickly to the inside of the courthouse where Andy has a group of men huddled around a large map.

Andy: OK when we get to the city limits in Mt. Pilot...Hal, you take your 25 cars turn left and go all the way down to 9ths street and turn right there. Jack, you and Aneta take the next 25 and go left to 7th and then you turn right. Howard you take the next bunch one block left to 4th and turn there, and Frances you go right to 1st street and make a left toward town. I'll follow the bus down 3rd Street. Now everybody honk your horns all the way through town so they can hear us from one street to the next. Skip wants us in 25-car groups, that's the way he'll get us....all over town. They all nod and chuckle as they turn to walk out the door.

The scene shifts back to the caravan and the school bus. Barney stands at the bus door with a clipboard checking off players as they step on the bus.

Barney: Hollister..... present! Sparks...present. got yer shoes Paul?

The boy fumbles frantically through his bag as his mother comes running down the sidewalk with sneakers in her hand. He stuffs them in the bag, embarrassed, and gets on the bus.

Barney: (continues) Becker...present Beasley.... present , Browning present, Bullock..... Bullock?

The shortest boy comes running up as he finishes a jellyroll with a telltale Jelly mustache.

Barney: Wipe your mouth off Harvey, and hurry on the bus....Bullock present!

Barney's voice is drowned out by the noise of the bus engine starting. As Barney checks off the last few boys he hears the bus make strange noises and looks down at his feet to see that he is standing in a pool of oil. The bus engine lurches to a stop and smoke begins coming out from under the hood.

Barney: GOOBER! Somebody find Goober Pyle!

A crowd gathers around the calamity including Andy, as Goober drives up in his truck.

Goober: What's all the commotion about Barn? (He asks innocently)

Goober follows everyone's eyes to the ground and his face turns to horror as he sees the pool of oil.

Goober: I... I... I don't know what...Wa-ell...its fresh oil (he forces a smile) and it don't sma-ell.

Barney: Goober! Do you know what you've done to us? Do you know how important this game is? Do you know how many people are counting on us to....

Andy: (interrupting) There's no use frettin about it now. We gotta figure out a way to get these boys to the game... and fast.

A farmer in coveralls speaks up.

Farmer: I got my dump truck with the cover on it, they can all ride back there.

Andy: No no, that wouldn't be safe. We could put them in a bunch of cars I s'pose.

Barney: But the coach was going to talk to them on the way! We planned to cover the game plan on the way there!

As Barney is talking, a commercial bus with the name Macon on the front pulls up and stops in front of the caravan. Barney, now a bundle of nerves, lashes out as he walks toward the bus, and a few passengers step out.

Barney: You can't stop there! Can't you see we've got a caravan about to take off here!

Andy: Hey wait a minute, wait a minute Barn. (He steps to the open bus door to speak to the driver through the door) Where you headed?

Driver: Next stop Mount Pilot.

Andy steps up into the bus to see that it's nearly empty.

Andy: If um, we was ta give you about 12, 13 or so passengers, could you make a stop over at the school there in Mount Pilot?

Driver: (looks at watch) Sure, we could do that, Bring 'em on.

Barney runs toward the school bus, waving his arm wildly to signal the players to come. The coach steps off first, and the team follows, bags in hand, as they board the other bus to the cheering crowd. A relieved Goober walks over to Barney and Andy.

Goober: You know what I think happened? Barney, you was talkin to me when I did that lube job.. You was tellin me about practice and everythang and I think I musta forgot to tighten the oil plug.

Barney: Goober! Don't try to blame in on me. (Barney's eyes bug out and he enunciates each word) When you're doin a job you do it RIGHT, and you DON'T' become distracted and you DON'T lose focus on the job your supposed TO DO!

Barney steps on the bus, the door closes. Goober notices the rack of water bottles still on the ground where Barney was standing. He picks it up, as the bus starts to move and yells at Barney in the moving bus. The bus stops and the door opens. Goober hands the water to Barney, but can't resist a jab.

Goober: "Don't be distracted! Don't lose focus!"

As the Macon bus continues to move forward slowly, Andy catches up, and passes the bus in the squad car with Aunt Bee in the passenger seat and Opie in the back. The siren wails, signaling the caravan to begin. One by one vehicles pass the stationary, now empty, school bus with a large sign that says "Go Mayberry Union". Families in small cars, farm couples in trucks, large cars full of white-haired people, car after car of men with white hats and smartly dressed women and back seats full of kids pass the disabled bus. A quick long shot shows the squad car and bus heading off in the distance with a long line of cars behind. The camera shot comes back to the school bus to show cars still passing. As the last car passes, the back of the school bus is shown with an ironically prophetic sign "Basketball Regional or Bust"

Scene 6, The Mount Pilot Gymnasium.

The Mount Pilot Gym appears much larger than the one at Mayberry. There are high rows of bleachers on either side, full of people. Cheerleaders with long skirts and white sweaters stand on one sideline leading the crowd in rhythmic cheers with large megaphones.

The action has already begun. The Mayberry players wear a large MU on the front of their jerseys. Their uniforms are simple solid colors, white tank tops with dark colored short shorts. Charlie Sparks pulls down a rebound for Mayberry. He throws a lead pass in to fast breaking guard who makes a lay-up as the Mayberry crowd cheers, and the scoreboard shows the score tied at 10.

Camera shots alternate quickly showing baskets, the scoreboard, players and the crowd. With each upswing the familiar Mayberry faces cheer wildly. With each momentum loss they slump quietly in their seats with looks of concern. As a Mayberry player dribbles the ball, he is mugged alternately by two large opposing players. A whistle is heard, and play stops as the two referees in gray pants and striped shirts look at each other with puzzlement. A Mount Pilot player points behind the Mayberry bench where Barney stands, in uniform, as he takes a whistle out of his mouth.

Barney: He was fouled! Can't you see anything? Are you gonna let 'em push like that?

Deputy Skip steps in front of the Mayberry bench extending his open hard toward Barney. Barney instinctively starts to unbutton his pocket to take out his bullet, when he realizes he is being asked to surrender his whistle. He whips the whistle strap over his head and hands it to Skip as the Mount Pilot crowd cheers. Coach Smith appears to apologize to the refs and then looks sternly at Barney who crumples to his seat. A loud horn signals halftime with the scoreboard showing Mayberry behind by 3 points.

The Mayberry fans cheer wildly as the team passes in front of them to go to the locker room. Barney, who walks off with the team, acknowledges the crowd as if they were cheering for him. He bobs his head, bows slightly at the waist and raises one hand in a half wave. Just as he reaches the door, Deputy Skip comes from behind and grabs Barney by the shoulder, and starts yelling at him. Andy, seeing the mismatch of the wiry Barney and the burly Skip, quickly steps down from the stands to join them.

Skip: Very Funny Andy! Splitting up your caravan and going down every street honkin' your horns. Do you know that I got complaints from the mayor's wife, the sheriff's wife AND my Aunt Bessy! Who do you think you are, comin' into town like that?

Barney: Well who do you think YOU are tryin' to tell us how we have to come into town? You can't make up rules like that! And where'd you get these referees? They don't even know...

Andy: (interrupting) Now lets all just simmer down. Barney, you go on your way. Skip uh, we're sorta sorry about that, but no harm done, we was just feelin' kinda ornery. You go on about your duties now.

As the game winds down to its final minutes, the score shows a 10-point lead for Mount Pilot. The Mayberry players look dejected and exhausted but the Mayberry faithful continue to cheer their every move and clap wildly, even as two are helped off the floor with injuries and the team hero Charlie Sparks fouls out of the game. The final buzzer sounds with Mayberry behind 50-41. The Mayberry Union Bears shake hands and walk off the floor proudly to what starts as a few murmurs but then crescendos louder and clearer. The fans are singing.

Fans: Mayberry Union High

Victory is yours well nigh

We'll cross the line and score every time

The orange and blue will try, try, try, try

And when the game is done

You'll be our favorite son

Proud waves your banner in the sky

Mayberry Union High. (Words slightly adapted)

Andy leads the crowd off to the doors, his satisfaction only dampened by a glimpse of the gloating Deputy Skip who is rudely waving the Mayberry fans out the door.

The next camera view is a long shot of a country road at dusk. The squad car leads a seemingly endless line of headlights stretching through the darkness like an airport runway.

The following scene is that of the now-repaired school bus stopping at the gym entrance of the Mayberry school. The door opens and low camera angle shows players stepping off the bus one by one.

Scene 7--Back at the Mayberry Gymnasium

The following camera shot, still at a low angle shows the players walking quietly dejectedly into the Mayberry gym. Their feet drag slowly, and their bags swing slightly just inches from the floor as they walk, some still limping. This is the last time this season they will make this walk back to their little dressing room. It wasn't supposed to end like this.

Barney is the last to walk in, and he flips on the light switches. The players turn around, almost in anger, because they preferred the darkness.... but as soon as they begin to pivot around, they hear the thunderous noise of applause and look up to see the bleachers full of fans. The camera angle is now over the shoulder of Charlie Sparks. His deep brown skin and closely cropped hair reveal his identity from the back. He is amazed to see all the people whom he feels he has let down, there before his team, cheering them at their lowest moment. Some of the player's arms go up to their face, wiping away sweat, and hiding tears at the same time.

A cheerleader hugs two of the players...Principal Burns steps up to shake hands with Coach Smith. A hand painted sign is unfurled near the top of the stands that says. WE LOVE YOU BEARS. In the foreground Charlie's father and mother step toward him. His little sister, with her hair in braids and bows follows. As Charlie reaches one long arm around each of his parents, he buries his face in his father's shoulder, unable to withhold his emotions any longer. His body shakes as he sobs the bittersweet feelings of an appreciated hero who has given his all, but been disappointed, a son who has done his best, but come up short. Opie, Howie and a line of boys line up behind the parents with pen and paper in hand for autographs. The camera pans out showing the fans and players now all in a mob on the floor, exchanging pats, handshakes and hugs.


The final scene takes the story back where it started on the street out in front of the barbershop. Goober Floyd and Andy are commiserating with each other, while the same two girls paint a sign on the barbershop window that says "We're proud of You Bears, Sectional Champs".

Floyd: Well, we almost did it. We were close to 'em at the half.

Goober: Yeah, I though we were gonna make it to the state finals in Raleigh.

Andy thrusts his hands deep in his pockets.

Andy: Well...There's always next year.

Floyd: That's right. You know we only lose two boys to graduation.

Goober: And the B-team did pretty good this year too!

Andy: You never know. I think we'll get there one of these years.

The squad car siren is heard again. This time the car passes slowly with Barney driving and Opie and 6 or 7 other boys running behind in short pants. Barney stops briefly to step out. He is in his shorts and loafers again and his Sheriff's Department Sweatshirt.

Barney: OK boys two more blocks to the playground, and then we'll get a drink of water and do lay-ups. Then I'll show you some strength maneuvers. Basketball is a game of conditioning, skill, and strength. It's not like it used to be when ole Abner Doublemint nailed a couple apple baskets to the wall and started throwin' the ole rock in the hole. It takes practice and discipline, and lots of it.

He hurries back in the car, hollers out a "HIYUP" and drives forward with the young boys still jogging behind. Andy Goober and Floyd all look at each other and smile.

Goober: Abner Doublemint? Everbody knows he invented baseball.


(Credits Roll-whistling theme sing plays)

Written By Joe Gritton

Producer by Ronnie Howard (in my dreams)

Inspired by Harvey Bullock and all the other great "real" script writers