TV & Showbiz

Andy Griffith Show Christmas Special to Air in Color

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CBS is planning a Christmas special for The Andy Griffith Show with a pair of colorized episodes.

First, it was I Love Lucy. Now, it’ll be The Andy Griffith Show.

CBS is planning a Christmas special that will include two classic episodes of The Andy Griffith Show colorized from their original black and white.

The show focused on Mayberry, North Carolina, where rural Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Griffith, raised his son, Opie, with the help of his Aunt Bee, while trying to maintain law and order in a town of odd characters. It originally ran from 1960 to 1968 on CBS. During its first five seasons, it co-starred Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife.

After five seasons, Knotts left the program to pursue a film career, thinking Griffith had planned to only stay five years himself. The sixth, seventh and eighth seasons were in color, but for many fans, they pale in comparison to the first five.

The one-hour special combines the episodes “The Christmas Story” and “The Pickle Story,” the latter being one of the all-time favorite episodes of fans.

In “The Christmas Story,” a local merchant who seems uninterested in the Christmas spirit changes his mind after getting a dose of it Mayberry style. “The Pickle Story” is about the family’s efforts to find a way to consume a batch of Aunt Bee’s awful homemade pickles without hurting her feelings.

Of course, since the program did air for part of its original run in color, we already have an idea of what Mayberry looks like in color. But we never saw those episodes before. And since The Andy Griffith Show is still one of my all-time favorite sitcoms, I’ll be watching this one.

It airs Christmas night at 8:00pm.

This colorizing thing was big a couple of decades ago, though the technology was not necessarily ready for prime time back then.

However, over the past couple of years, CBS has offered a one hour Christmas special consisting of two colorized episodes of I Love Lucy with much better colorization technology. The first episode was a rarely-seen Christmas show. (It was rarely seen because it was originally excluded from the syndication package because syndicators didn’t think people would want to see a Christmas episode popping up in months other than December.) The second featured the late George Reeve as TV’s “Superman.” The next year, CBS combined Lucy’s Christmas show with the famous episode in which she steps barefooted into a vat of grapes for old-fashioned Italian wine making.

This year, CBS will combine the Christmas show with the classic episode, “Lucy Does a TV Commercial,” in which she attempts to be a pitchwoman for a concoction called “Vitametavegimin.” If you’ve never seen it, you should.

The Lucy special, incidentally, airs on December 23rd at 8:00pm.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.