Lost Episode--An Unforgettable Christmas
by Joe Gritton

(This is a story written by a fan of the Andy Griffith Show in 1999. It is intended as enjoyment for other fans of the show, who know the characters so well, they can imagine seeing it as they read .)

Scene 1
Out in front of the Courthouse

The show opens to a strange sight…SNOW on the streets of Mayberry. Background Christmas music and sleigh bells sets a festive tone. Cars can be seen driving slowly on the snow-covered street. A child being pulled on a sled is visible on the sidewalk. Pedestrians are bundled up in winter clothes and one shopkeeper is shoveling snow.

A small crowd has gathered just outside the courthouse. They are peering upward as Gomer and Goober are working to secure a string of Christmas lights above the street. Goober is in long coveralls and his beanie with earmuffs over it. He is hanging over the edge of the roof.

Gomer has on a USMC jacket and a furry hat with earflaps that snap under his chin. He is standing high on a ladder.

Pop!. Pop! Pop!..three light bulbs crash to the ground.

Gomer: Oops, sorry folks.Goober didn't mean to do that

Goober: (angry, sarcastically) Goober didn't mean to do that! What do you mean, Goober didn't mean to do that!

Gomer: I was just aplogizin for ya.

Goober: You don't need to apologize for me, 'cause I didn't drop Nuthin. You was suppose to hold those while I…..

Gomer: Oh, so I'm just the holder (sarcastically) What does that make you the light bulb sar-gint

As Goober turns quickly in anger to respond, two more bulbs crash to the ground. Andy walks up looking up, toward the two and smiling.

Andy: You boys having trouble workin' together up there

Floyd: (laughing) How many garage men does it take to screw in alight bulb, Andy

Andy: Maybe three, because SOMEBODY needs to clean up this mess of glass before it freezes in the snow.

Goober: I thought the Marines was supposed to teach a fella how to work with others not criticize your kin.

Andy: That's enough boys. Why don't you come down and take a break. Let's go get some coffee. I'm buyin. I'll go in and see if Barney wants to go

Scene 2
Inside the Courthouse.

Barney is in front on Cell number 1 arguing with Otis.

Barney: I did it last year, and everyone thought I did fine. I've been practicing my Ho Ho Ho and everything. It is my job until I decide to give it up and when and if I decide to give it up, I will not give it to a town dr…..

Otis: (Interrupting) You don't look anything like Saint Nicker. nothing link Naint Sickola. Not a bit like Santa. And besides, Mr. Masters said I fill the suit the best!

Barney: Oh you'd be good! Explain that to the kids. A Santa that can't talk without slurring his words, whose breath smells like a brewery.

Otis: I represent that statement. Of course I'll be slober in time for the Christmas Eve party. And who's ever heard of a skinny Santa I have the right profile, and I'm prefect for the part.

Barney: Yeah, you got the profile alright, but that's nuthin a few feather pillows can't correct. Just because a fella's a bit lean, that don't mean he can't be jolly!

Otis: A bit lean!!! You're a beanpole!

Barney: And You're a drubby chunk ! I mean a chunky drub! (shakes head) A Chubby Drunk!

Otis: ( taunting song-like) Bar-ney's a beanpole, Bar-ney's a Beanpole, Barney's a beanpole, Barney's..

Barney's face gets red, his eyes bug out and he's about to lash out when Andy interrupts.

Andy: Barney! Lets-uh simmer down. I'm taking the Pyle boys to coffee at the Diner. Wanna go along (smiling) You're already steamed up, I see.

Barney stomps to the back room to grab his coat, looking down and mumbling just loud enough to be heard.

Barney: Work all year on Santa Claus and now they want to replace ya with the town drunk. That's gratitude for ya! Maybe I should'a spent my time practicing to be Mr. Scarecrow or the Tinfoil man in that there wizard show.

Andy: Well, he does have the Santa profile . Why don't you wait and see if he's sober. If he is, he gets the part. If he's lit up (smiling) he can be your red-nosed reindeer!

Barney follows Andy out the door. Otis can still be heard in the distance (Barney;s a beanpole, Barney's a beanpole..)

Barney: Oh, your real funny Andy. Why don't you get one of those handshake buzzers and go over to the bank and zap Asa with it while he's sleepin and watch 'em jump.

Scene 3
Gomer, Goober, Andy and Barney are sitting at a table having coffee at the Diner

Andy: So how long is your Leave, Gomer: Do you have to go back to Camp Henderson before New Year's

Gomer: No, I got two weeks but (looking dejected) I may go back sooner if I can't find a friendlier place to stay.

Goober: Well that's just great! I give you the couch out by the TV, and my heaviest blanket and yer still cranky!

Barney: You think that's gratitude, I was Santa Claus last year and planned on doing it again this year but do YOU know who John Masters asked Otis Campbell! Just because he fits the jolly profile.

Just then Aunt Bee walks in and comes directly to Andy's table obviously upset as she rips off her scarf and gloves.

Aunt Bee: Andy! You remember we talked about having ham this year for the Christmas party, and how I order 3 hams from Mr. Foley

Andy: Yes, I remember you talkin about that.

Aunt Bee: Well! Clara Edward says she didn't hear of any meat plans so she ordered 3 turkeys for the party and she's already got them thawed out! She was supposed to bring potatoes, not the meat. I've got the meat and it's THREE HAMS!

Andy: Wow, that sounds like a problem.

Aunt Bee: Well it wouldn't be a problem if Clara Edwards would stop thinking she is Queen of Christmas Dinner and not checking with me about the meat.! We already decided. It's THREE HAMS!

Barney: Yeah, and John Masters never checked with me about Santa Claus. He never has like me ever since I sang in that Chorale! He still thinks I obtrude on good performers!

Andy: Now, Now, Now. Everybody is getting as would up as tight as a wet fiddle's highest string. I thought this was supposed to be the season of joy, A time for Love and Giving. A time to Care for others. From what I've heard so far today, most of you would Love to Give somebody a black eye..and you wouldn't Care who else was effected. Lets all take a deep breath and put things in perspective. It's two days till Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and we're gonna have a little party at the Armory with a few friends. We've got enough food, and well surely have a Santa Claus. What could be so bad

All nod in half-hearted agreement, but still appear to be seething a bit.

Scene 4
Next Day at the Courthouse

John Masters, Rafe Hollister and two ladies are dressed as old fashioned Carolers. Rafe has a tall stovepipe hat and a green vest over his overalls. John has a similar hat and a long scarf over a dapper suit. The ladies are dressed in long dresses with ruffled blouses and muffs for their hands. They sing a chorus in four-part harmony.

Andy applauds. He hands them the kettle to collect money on the street that they had come to pick up..

Andy: Ben Weaver said you could sing out in front of his place. It's probably the busiest spot in town today unless Gomer and Goober start dropping lights again. (they all chuckle)

Just as the carolers head for the door Barney walks in.

Barney: Well if it ain't John Masters the head Santa picker.

John: Barney, I've been meaning to talk to you.

Barney sticks his thumbs in his belt and leans back.

Barney: Well It's a lit-tle late for that Mr. Masters. I've already heard from your first choice St. Nick. I hope you don't mind a little red-eye ta go with your red suit!

John: I'm sorry about the timing Barney, but I do have something in mind for you to make the best use of your talents. I'll be back to talk to you in a few hours.

Barney: Well I may be here, and then again I may not. You can't toy with us high-strung performers ya-know. We got feelings too!

The carolers leave and Barney walks over and plops in his chair. He looks at Andy who is already reading something.

Barney: You know what John Masters is?

Andy: A Santa-picker

Barney: An Ego-menerac! Thinks he can just boss all us performers around. Who made him Director anyway

Andy: City Council, I think.

Barney: Well that doesn't mean he can toy with a high-strung performer's emotions. Ego-meneracs are all alike!

Andy: Santa Pickers?

The door burst open and a woman rushes in crying. It's Ellie Walker.

Ellie: Andy, they need help! A semi trailer skidded off Turner's grade. The truck rolled , caused a minor avalanche, and fell into the trailer park in Kelsey's Valley. One trailer flipped on top of another and then the truck. They're half covered in snow! Power lines are down and people are trapped inside. They need help!

Andy and Barney spring into action.

Andy: I'll get on the radio and call the County Rescue Squad. Barney, you go sound the alarm and see how many of the Civil Defense boys you can round up. Ellie, Can you man the phone here a little while and call the hospital in Mt Pilot (Ellie nods) Tell them we got trouble, and stay near the radio, OK.

Scene 5
The Accident Scene

As Andy and Barney pull up, the scene looks grim. A fire truck is already there with lights flashing. The semi trailer and the two house trailers are piled up like toys with all but a corner of the bottom trailer buried in snow. Goober and Gomer pull up in a tow truck that is dwarfed by semi's size. Volunteers begin to show up in cars. Barney pulls out the bullhorn as Andy scurries down the hill to aid the victims

Barney: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of your neighbors. Please bring all shovels, ropes, crowbars or medical equipment you may have in your possession. If you own a tractor or any heavy equipment, please go get it and bring it here.

Andy is able to talk through a small hole to the Corbin family who is trapped in the bottom house trailer and through a window to a lady in the top trailer.

Andy: Were gonna get you out somehow, Just hang tight now.

He turns to look up the hill and calls to Barney.

Andy: Barney , Have Gomer and Goober rope off that power pole. That line may be live. Have Ellie call Charlie Phelps at the Power Company. Call the sheriffs in Davis and Jefferson counties and see if they've got any equipment they can send us and hurry, were running outa daylight.

The State Police and County Rescue Squad are successful at extracting the semi driver who is virtually unhurt. The large man (played by TAGS vet Allen Melvin) is in tears with remorse. Barney walks up to the crowd around the man.

Barney: Name please, and lets have your license and registration.

Truck Driver: I'm sorry officer. The names Green. Everett Green. I was only doing 40 coming up Turner's grade there. I hit a slick spot and it jack-knifed on me.

Barney: Just have a seat in the squad car there, in the back.

Mr. Green: Could I help with the rescue Deputy I really feel awful about what happened there

A State Policeman nods to Barney as he ponders.

Barney: OK, but stay where I can see you. If you run away, I'll slap the cuffs on you. You're being held for irrigation.

Darkness is setting in quickly. Blowing snow makes visibility very poor. The semi trailer has been removed and now the rescuers use two tractors to try to pull one house trailer off the other.

Andy talks to those around.

Andy: Hold up for a minute. We need to pull er south, but it's too dangerous to put a tractor on that hillside. It may roll. How can we get her moved about 30 feet that way

The crowd pauses to ponder a moment. A faint noise can be heard coming up the road. From a distance it sounds like a cowbell and a deep male voice can be heard also. A bright light glares in the snow as the sound gets closer. Andy moves up the hill beside Barney.

Barney: It is Otis on a cow again

Andy: Sounds like it but it's a team of oxen! Two strong oxen! and Briscoe Darling! And the rest of the Darlings.

As the entourage nears, it becomes clear that Briscoe is riding on the hood of the Darling truck. Rodney is driving with his head hung out the window looking ahead. Charlene is hanging out the other side peering into the blowing snow ahead also. The truck headlights illuminate the sturdy animals lumbering ahead. Briscoe is holding the reins of the oxen team driving them forward. His deep voice bellows commands to the ox team as it turns into the valley and heads for the trailer. While Andy and the gang stare in amazement, the Darling boys have the house trailer chained and hitched to the ox team. With one loud Hyah!!! from Briscoe, the team pulls the large trailer as directed and the door of the bottom trailer is cleared. After a big cheer, rescuers rush up and escort the Corbin family of 7 from crumpled home.

Andy grabs Briscoe's hand with a grateful handshake.

Andy: Thank You Mr. Darling! The county thanks you and your family so much.

Briscoe: Tweren't nothing any mountain man wouldn't do for his neighbor. It's the code of the hills.

Andy: And the boys.. I've never seen them work so hard!

Briscoe: Most people ain't never seen em work, period. But theyknow the code of the hills. They can be a he-man crew when they need to.

Andy: What is this Code of the Hills You're referring to

Charlene: Drink your squeezings eat your grub At least once a month, get in the tub. Play music and sing whenever you can But chuck it all for your fellow man:

Andy: Well that's right nice.

Barney walks up to the crowd that has gathered around patting the Darlings on the back.

Barney: Thanks Everyone . You may now return to your homes or places of business. Have a nice Holiday.

State Policeman: Hold on there Deputy. The state road out of here is now snowed shut. Power wont be restored in these parts for at least 24 hours.

Andy: We still got power over at the National Guard Armory

Civil Defense Guy: Yes, we do. It's already been designated as the Mayberry Emergency Shelter. It's being set up with cots, tables, food, the whole works.

Andy: sounds like were gonna have a bigger Christmas Party than we thought. Everybody come on over.. The more the merrier!

Scene 6
The Party at National Guard Armory

This is a new set created by the author. This large building includes a huge fireplace on one end, several tables set up for a meal, and cots lines up along the other end, and a huge kitchen with a serving window into the main room. In the kitchen Aunt Bee, Clara, and other ladies are putting the final touches on a huge meal of potatoes, corn, bread, turkey, cider, coffee, various pies, and of course three hams. There is a box truck parked out back. Inside Goober, Ellie, and Gomer are helping Ben Weaver sort and wrap toys that he has donated for the party.

Ellie: Ben, this is sure nice of you.

Ben: What good's a fella's money if he can't share it with his friends After last year, I changed my ways. You folks showed me what Christmas is all about, and I'm bound to be a Giver the rest of my days

Goober: OK, that's the last one I think. Let's stuff em in the bag for Santy-Claus (Goober grins)

Gomer: Shazam, I think Santy is gonna have to have about four bags.

Ben: That's alright. He can bring em in one at a time.

In the Kitchen

Aunt Bee: Clara, I'm so glad we have Turkey AND Ham. We'd have never been able to feed all these people.

Clara: Well, thanks to you Bee, we have all the side dishes and deserts that you planned. It all worked out nicely.

In one corner of the big room while some are beginning to eat, the Darlings and others have their instruments out (yes they even keep them in the truck when it's snowing) County music fills the room with such country Christmas Songs as Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and Dooley Had the Christmas Spirit but he Didn't Know When to Quit.

In a different corner, children bring their plates and sit on the floor at the feet of Gomer as he reads the Christmas Story. Goober is with him.

Gomer: And they follered their family to Beth-LE-Ham to be Taxed But ever where they went, there was no place for them to sleep Because every place was full , Shazam!

Gomer: Then they went to another E-nn. Jofuss begged the innkeeper for a place to sleep because his wife Mary was ..with child. (whispers) I think that means she was in the motherly way.

Gomer: The innkeeper said that they could stay in his stable, with the animals (golll-lee)

Goober starts making animal sounds for sound effects

Goober: Mooooo, Oink Oink Oink, Ee-aw Ee-aw Baaah Bahhhhh

Gomer: Dog-gone how you do that! Yer gonna hafta show me how.

In front of the huge fireplace, people begin to gather around as they finish eating. The rumor is that a special visitor is coming. The Corbin family that had been trapped in the house trailer offer desert and a drink to Everett Green. The truck driver is overcome with gratitude and begins hugging them. Old and young, town folks and hill dwellers all intermingle in a festive community celebration. Andy feels a tug on his pant leg. It's Opie. Andy had been so busy caring for his community, He forgot that he hadn't spent any time with his son so far that evening.

Opie: Hey Paw, you've been awful busy. Did you have any of Aunt Bee's apple pie yet

Andy: Well I sure haven't. Can I have a bite of yours Where have you been young man (he picks up Opie to holds him)

Opie: I was back in the kitchen helpin Aunt Bee set out the pie plates and cider glasses, and I got to lick the extra fillin off the empty pie tins.

Andy: Well, you've been a big help then. Your Aunt Bee hates to waste good pie filling.

Opie: It's Christmas Eve night Paw. Are we not gonna get to read our Christmas stories and put out cookies and milk for Santa

Andy: Well Opie, I miss that because we do that every year, but you know what Tonight is gonna be a Christmas Eve that we will never forget. See, part of Christmas is about caring and giving to others.

Opie: Just Like God gave us Baby Jesus

Andy: That's right son. You are sooo right and today there was a big accident and lots of people could have gotten hurt, or been left out in the cold, but everybody has just pulled together to help one another out. It's like the whole county is one big happy family. Sometimes it takes a little crisis to make folks put aside the squabbles and work together.

The sound of a spoon pinging a glass quiets the crowd as Floyd stands up on the fireplace to speak.

Floyd: Now I asked you all to come here tonight so I uh (he laughs at himself and the crowd chuckles also). Well, we didn't plan this big of a crowd but things just happened and here we are. I just talked with the State Police and they said Highway 6 is still closed but a red sleigh was seen in the area. (a few gasps are heard through out the room.)

Everyone has joined the semi circle around the fireplace and a murmur arises when the sound of bells are heard. From the behind the crowd a voice is heard.

Santa: HO HO HO! Says the pudgy red-suited Santa (Otis) Claus HO HO HO he yells again, as if in anticipation. (Santa clears throat) I said HO HO HO!

Just then springing in from the back is a tall green-suited elf in the unmistakable profile and face of Barney Fife.

Elf Barney: Merry Christmas!!! shouts Elf Barney as the crowd roars with laughter.

As the duo continue their exchange of Ho Ho Ho's and Merry Christmas's, Santa begins handing out gifts as Barney Elf hops around in his green tights, Red and green jacket, green curly-toed shoes, and green and white pointed hat, passing out candy and trinkets.

The crowd begins to settle as Santa-Otis and Elf Barney disappear and the gifts have all been unwrapped. The sound of guitar chords quiet the crowd and the velvet-like voice of Ellie Walker fills the large room with warmth as she sings

Ellie: Silent Night, holy night…..

(the camera pans faces all around the room. Two of the Corbin children sit on Everett Green's lap, Ben Weaver smiles broadly, Aunt Bee and Clara embrace John Masters, Rafe and the lady carolers hum in unison)

Ellie: All is calm, all is bright

(Goober and Gomer grin at each other, Floyd sits in front of a crowd of familiar faces and new friends)

Ellie: Round yon Virgin Mother and Child

(The Darling family sits together and listens reverently. Otis and Barney step up behind them in street clothes)

Ellie: Holy Infant so tender and mild

Andy is playing the guitar with Opie at his side holding on to his leg.

Ellie: 'sleep in Heavenly pe-eace (now voices of others can be heard joining in)

Ellie: 'sle-eep in Heavenly peace.

Camera pans out showing the whole crowd in one shot. The familiar Fishing Hole whistling theme song signals the ending