Equal Time (well, not quite) for Andy Taylor's other Deputy Sheriff on The Andy Griffith Show

Aunt Bee Takes A Job
original airdate: December 6, 1965


As Andy reads the newspaper, Aunt Bee mentions that an acquaintance, Clara Cartwright, recently started working part-time at a bakery. Cartwright is seven months older than Aunt Bee and, like Bee, was growing bored with the diminishing duties as a homemaker to a family that is growing up. When a less-than-attentive Andy mumbles that he thinks it is a good idea, Bee announces that she plans to apply for a job advertised in the classifieds. Andy is doubtful about Bee's abilities to work outside the home and even more skeptical when he learns the job is at the address of an old, vacant print shop that has never seen success.

Aunt Bee is adamant and arrives at the business for an interview. She encounters a young, stuck-up Violet Rose Shumaker who is also answering the job listing. Shumaker dolls herself up and enters the interview room very confident. Feeling inadequate, Bee powders her face and even pinches her cheeks as she waits. When it is her turn to be interviewed, Bee is brutally honest about her lack of experience in the business world. That does not seem to matter as, in the next scene, she rushes to the courthouse to tell Andy the news that she has been hired. Warren is also there and gives Andy a playful nudge when Aunt Bee proudly announces she beat out Violet Rose Shumaker [obviously the infamous town snob]. When Bee leaves, Andy reiterates to Warren his doubts about the print store's prospects. Warren points out that mismanagement may have been the cause of past failures and that "a good printing shop can be a money-making thing."

Nudge, nudge
Nudge, nudge, say no more.

In the next scene, Bee's new bosses demonstrate that they agree with Warren's forecast...literally. Mr. Kingsley holds up a perfectly produced $10 bill Mr. Finch just printed. Meanwhile, Andy decides to pay Aunt Bee's new employers a visit. During this encounter, a nervous Kingsley and Finch learn that Andy is Bee's nephew. No problem, so thinks Kingsley; with the aunt of the sheriff working for them, they would never be suspected of any wrong-doing. Bee certainly doesn't notice anything amiss when Mr. Clark, a shady-looking stranger about her age, comes to the shop for his "wedding invitations."

Andy, however, learns that trouble is brewing when Warren brings him a telegram informing him that counterfeit bills were found in Raleigh and may be headed for Mayberry. No worries, as Warren explains, he was trained to spot bogus bills at the Sheriff's Academy. Warren then makes his rounds to warn local merchants when he stops by the print shop, interrupting Kingsley and Finch counting He informs them of counterfeiters in the northern part of the state and to be alert for any bills "that might look the least bit phony, huh" [Note: excellent acting by Jack Burns in this scene, especially when his eyes widen when he says the word "phony"]. To put their minds at ease, Warren explains that his eyes are "specially trained" to spot fake bills. A $10 bill falls to the floor and Warren snags it. He points out the shading under Alexander Hamilton's eyes as the most common indication of a bill's validity. The counterfeiters are relieved when Warren leaves. Meanwhile, Andy learns that the bogus $10 bills are moving closer to Mayberry and tells an eager Warren that there is nothing they can do but wait.

I got my eye on you
"My eyes, they're specially
trained for that type of thing."
eye shading
Warren shows the counterfeiters
how to spot a counterfeit bill.

They do not have to wait long. Aunt Bee admires her first paycheck when the same shady customer who bought "wedding invitations" comes in for "birth announcements." He eases Aunt Bee's sensibilities by telling her "we adopted a kid." The banks are closed so Bee asks the man if he would cash her $30 paycheck. He gives her three $10 bills which Bee uses to buy a dress at Weaver's department store, a football for Opie at the sporting goods store, groceries to celebrate, and business cards for Andy printed, of course, by her employers. Upon receiving the cards, Andy finds it odd that they are printed in "green ink."

Just then, Andy gets a call from Mr. Weaver that he received a fake $10 bill. Andy rushes to the courthouse where Warren has mapped out all the businesses hit by the fake bills which include Foley's grocery store and Johnson's sporting goods. Mr. Weaver is frantic but Andy does not know what he can do, rejecting Warren's idea of a two-man ring around the town.

Meanwhile, Aunt Bee tells her employers about the counterfeit currency in Mayberry. Their handiwork now a bit too close for comfort, Kingsley and Finch rush out with their printing press announcing they are going out of business. A distraught Bee begs them to reconsider. On a mission to warn the merchants about the fake $10 bills, Warren bumps the squad car into the crook's getaway car, locking the bumpers together. Aunt Bee informs Warren that the printers are leaving due to a business slump. Warren, while helping them dislodge their bumper from the squad car, explains that "if you don't advertise you can't expect to do business."

locked bumpers
we, uh,
locked bumpers."
Dislodging the cars
Helping dislodge the cars
while explaining the
importance of advertising.

By this time, Andy has connected the grocery store, sporting goods store, department store, and green ink to one sure suspect. Their car finally broken free, the crooks attempt to make their escape. Andy pulls Warren's gun from his holster and fires a single shot into a tire of the getaway car in front of a shocked deputy and Bee. The men are frisked and taken to jail.

In the closing segment, Warren berates the counterfeiters, "You think we wear these uniforms for our looks?" [Warren needed no help in the looks department]. He gives them sandwiches and demands 60 cents. They give him a $10 bill with the remark "keep the change." An appreciative Warren offers to be their gopher ("You want some coffee or pie? I'll run down to the store and get it for you, anything you want") until Andy tells Warren to take a look at the bill. Warren smugly responds that he is just playing along: "You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull the wool over this kid's eyes." He never gets his 60 cents.

"Ah, say Andy, you know
I was just..."
aim, fire!
"...talking to
those fellas---"

"You think we wear these
uniforms for our looks?"

Yes, you read it right. Warren Ferguson is often criticized by TAGS fans for using his "huh-huh-huh" gimmick too much, so the people at The Revenge of Warren Ferguson (actually, just the one person) have counted EVERY SINGLE "huh?" Warren said during each of his 11 episodes on TAGS to finally set the record straight. Every "huh?" is counted whether it follows a question with the rapid-fire "huh-huh," "huh-huh-huh", or the rare "huh-huh-huh-huh", or whether it is used as part of an observation or conversation (i.e. the sentence "You must think we're real idiots, huh?") Only if it is part of the word "uh-huh" was a "huh" not counted. Did Warren say too many "huhs"? Check the counter and decide for yourself.

10 Huh?s

Note: The above includes 2 authentic "huh-huhs" and 1 legitimate "huh-huh-huh." Rest assured, none of Warren's "huhs" were "the least bit phony."


The Counterfeit Bill

Much fun was made of Warren via the laugh track when he, with his "specially trained eyes," did not detect the two bogus bills that he held in his hands. It is important to note that no individual, including Andy, noticed the fake money. The clerks obviously took Aunt Bee's bills with no suspicion (none that Aunt Bee noticed anyway) and Andy only figured out the case because he was able to connect the businesses that were hit and the business cards only he and Aunt Bee (and perhaps Opie, who does not make an appearance in this episode) had seen. Only when the bills made it to the bank were problems found. The bank probably used special equipment to find inconsistencies not detectable to the naked eye. Fraudulent currency was probably more difficult to spot in the 1960s, hence the new currency designs that have been developed since. Perhaps Finch was a counterfeit virtuoso who got the shading under Alexander Hamilton's eyes just right. Crooks usually stay a step ahead of law enforcement and had probably advanced beyond the class Warren took at the Sheriff's Academy. Maybe, after this experience, Warren returned to his alma mater to teach a refresher course.

Warren Steals the Show

Good Looks
With good looks like his,
Warren can't help but steal the show.

As the title indicated, this episode featured Aunt Bee or, at least, appeared to at first. Andy was skeptical about Aunt Bee taking a job not solely because he thought the print business was a lost cause but also because he questioned Bee's ability to do outside work pointing out to his aunt, "You don't have any experience in the business world." Aunt Bee replied, "Andy, we're often unaware of the capabilities of those closest to us." If one predicted the plot from this point, one would probably expect Aunt Bee to prove Andy wrong and bust out from the bonds of the home to find she has unexplored talents. The storyline, obviously, did not go in that direction and Aunt Bee never proved anything to Andy. She was not even in the final segment in an episode with her name in the title. The character who stole the show in the end, of course, was Warren. It was Warren who gave the closing joke when Aunt Bee was nowhere to be seen. Aunt Bee will try future endeavors such as learning to drive, running for town council, and opening a Chinese restaurant; but, in this Bee-featured episode, she was over-shadowed by the great character, Warren Ferguson.

Warren as Comedy Relief

So far, all the analyses on The Revenge of Warren Ferguson have been critiques on how Warren was regarded and treated on the show. Back to reality: Warren Ferguson was a television character and his worth was determined by his entertainment value. If Andy gave Warren the opportunities he deserved there would often be no story-line with which to work. Now, the question is, 'Was Warren entertaining?' Many TAGS fans would probably say, 'No,' even if they had not seen all his episodes. This site challenges those fans to watch all his episodes and, if they haven't seen them in years, to watch them again.

Generally speaking,
TAGS fans overwhelmingly prefer the black & white seasons over the seasons filmed in color (seasons 6-8). Barney Fife was no longer a regular character and, due to his absence, the series no longer had the slap-stick, physical comedy Fife provided. TAGS became more laid-back and story-line driven with a subtle charm rather than going for laughs, especially during the final two seasons. In season 6, however, it seems the writers were trying to follow the old TAGS formula with Warren replacing Barney as comedy relief. In many ways, Warren was similar to Barney. They were both by-the-books deputies who had confident, know-it-all demeanors that hid many insecurities (for Warren, these insecurities finally surfaced in Girl-Shy). Warren never had a chance to fully evolve into his own original character and, aside from his "huh? huh? huh?" gimmick, one can almost hear Barney saying some of Warren's lines (the episodes The Bazaar, A Warning From Warren and Otis the Artist were right up Barney's alley as he was in similar story-lines in previous seasons).

As comedy relief, Warren was very capable. He was a believable character and not the usual
TAGS goofball (Gomer, Goober, Ernest T. Bass), yet he could still be very funny and entertaining. Aunt Bee Takes a Job is the best example of Warren as comedy relief. Standing on the counterfeiters' bumper helping them dislodge it from the squad car while giving them tips on how to improve their printing business--that's just funny. In fact, the entire episode is one of the funniest of the color seasons (that character Mr. Clark was a hoot). Plus, as mentioned in the synopsis, Jack Burns really demonstrated his acting prowess here.

Jack Burns came into the series at a disadvantage. He was replacing a beloved character who was played by an actor who, by that time, had won three Emmy awards for the role. Burns was known more as a stand-up comedian and comedy writer and was very underrated as an actor. The only episode where his acting may have appeared a little mechanical was in
The Bazaar, his first episode on TAGS. But his character was much more of a strict legalist in this episode (it was one of only three episodes where Warren doesn't remove his hat, the other two being Aunt Bee Takes a Job and, of course, The Legend of Barney Fife--Warren wouldn't want his idol to be jealous of his thick, slick, dark, handsome head of hair) so Burns probably couldn't play it with the relaxed ease he exhibited from his second episode on. By A Warning From Warren, it appears he became more comfortable in the role (or, more likely, Burns's character wasn't given a script full of law enforcement principles to recite as in much of The Bazaar) and his performances got better and better. Warren also began fitting better into the flow of Mayberry culminating in, what I believe was, his best role in Otis, the Artist. Although it had a Barney-type story-line, Warren made it his own and proved a lovable character who interacted well with all the other main characters on the show. Plus, the episode started to establish a unique personality for Warren as did Girl-Shy. Unfortunately, Warren's stay would not be long enough for his personality to develop further.

Most people do not like change and Barney fans probably wouldn't have accepted Warren no matter what; but he was a funny character with a superb actor behind him and, if given more than 11 episodes, might have become a favorite regular (come on, wouldn't you rather see more Warren than more Goober?) and spared us all from Howard Sprague (just kidding, Howard was cool).

You want to check out the next episode, don't ya?
huh? huh? huh?
Sure ya do!

Previous Episode

Back to the Courthouse




Free Web Site Counter
Free Web Site Counter