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

The Church Organ
original airdate: December 13, 1965


There is a crisis in Reverend Tucker's congregation at the All Souls Church. Clara Edwards (a.k.a. Johnson), who is already known as a perfectionist when it comes to homemade pickles, reveals herself also to be an anal organist. After the church's worn out instrument fell flat during her latest rendition of "Love Lifted Me," an inconsolable Clara announces to Warren, Andy, Helen, and Aunt Bee at the Taylor residence that she will never play the old church organ again. Warren, who already let the others know that he believes the organ is "too far gone" to be repaired, inquires as to the state of the church treasury. Andy figures the church has $1,200 and suggests a committee be set up to look into buying a used organ. Warren volunteers to head the committee and Helen immediately offers to help him. [Now what woman wouldn't jump at the chance to work closely with Warren? I bet Helen was more interested in making beautiful music with the handsome deputy than in finding an instrument to make beautiful music with at the All Souls Church].

after church
Warren, Andy, and Helen
try to console Clara.

In the next scene, Warren enters the courthouse to give Andy his first committee report. He and Helen found an ad in the Mt. Pilot Times for a 19-peddle organ for $2,000. Andy is immediately put off by the price but Warren explains that, in the business world, there is an "asking price" and a "selling price." Warren earned his business moxie through over three months experience in the wholesale fish market, an industry nearly as big as steel and plastic but much tougher to succeed in because it deals with a perishable product: "If you don't make your deals quick enough, nobody has to tell you when you're taking a loss, you can smell it." Although still skeptical that the owner of the organ will go down that much in price, Andy agrees to drive to the Mt. Pilot farm to talk to the owner. Warren proposes to take control of the bargaining end of the meeting, but Andy declines his deputy's offer.

Warren gives Andy his first
church organ committee report.

In Mt. Pilot, Warren and Andy meet Harlan Robinson, the owner of the organ who looks exactly like the married butter-and-egg man Aunt Bee pretended to be dating in Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau. As Andy tries out the organ, Warren exaggerates its flaws in the hopes of diminishing its value (the finish is shot, the tone is tinny). Andy, as always, is up front and tells the farmer they only have $1,200 to spend. Harlan holds steadfastly to his price as he is planning on using the money to build a new barn. Andy gets him to promise to hold the organ for 24 hours to see if they can come up with the rest of the money.

wheeling & dealing
"I appraise this baby at $1,200."

Andy calls the leading businessmen in Mayberry to the courthouse to raise the $800. The men seem reluctant so Warren helps to move things along by suggesting they each make "pledges." After a few wimpy commitments, Warren (a "salaried man") pledges $125. Warren's enthusiasm gets the ball rolling. Andy and Warren then persuade the others to each pledge $150. With these pledges, Andy is able to have the organ set up and running in the church for the next service. Clara enjoys it as do the other churchgoers, including Warren who sings along to "Bringing in the Sheaves" joyously.

When the time comes to collect the pledges, however, things are no longer joyous. Warren is the first to renege. Although he "pledged that money in good faith," he admits to being "swept up in the enthusiasm the other day and went in over my head." He had forgotten about the rent being due, television payments, and "a very large laundry bill." He needs more time to honor his pledge; time which, as Andy points out, they do not have. Andy is not too understanding of his over-enthusiastic yet well-meaning deputy: "But what if everybody else were to do what you're doing? Where'd we be then?" Of course, Andy foreshadows exactly what happens. One by one, the businessmen do not honor their pledges; each one has a different excuse: the foreign exchange rate is hurting business, a hot water heater is on the blink, a kid needs braces and, the worst excuse of all, a wife buys a new outfit. Even Opie cannot honor his 60 cent pledge.

pledge drive
Warren swept up in the enthusiasm.

Explaining his "very large laundry bill"...
...and receiving a lecture from Andy.

A distraught Clara cannot give up the organ lamenting, "I've never enjoyed playing anything as much." Trying to comfort the weeping woman, Warren pays her a compliment, "And if I may say so, Miss Edwards, you played it beautifully." Andy does not think Warren is helping and glares at him. Clara insists she come along to the Mt. Pilot farm when Andy and Warren return the instrument.

A tearful Clara meets Harlan and, upon discovering that he is a bachelor [now, if such were the case with the butter-and-egg man, there wouldn't have been such a fuss], changes her rueful demeanor. She asks to play the organ one last time and begins to play (and sing) "Some Enchanted Evening." Andy and Warren are not sure what to make of the performance, but Harlan appears very moved. In the next scene, the organ is back at the All Souls Church and Clara is plunking away at "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" with Warren and the rest of the congregation singing with much gusto. Among those in attendance is Harlan Robinson, not in a big rush to build his new barn after all.

awkward moment
Everybody's a critic:
Listening to
Clara's siren song.

The woman next to Warren is no doubt
one of those "desperate female hunters"
Andy once warned Opie about.

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.

3 Huh?s

Note: And the lord sayeth there shalt not be a single "huh-huh-huh" in the episode The Church Organ; and so it was sayeth the lord.


Taking Chances

Chance Taker
Warren: the stuff Old Spice
commercials are made of.

Warren was one of the characters who was instrumental (so to speak) in bringing the source of music back to the All Souls Church, but Warren's plans to buy the Mt. Pilot organ almost did not come to fruition. Admittedly, it was Clara's flirtation with the bachelor Harlan Robinson that sealed the deal; however, if it were up to Andy, this organ would never have been pursued. Andy saw the financial discrepancy and did not think they had a chance. Warren persuaded Andy to take the drive to Mt. Pilot. Once there, Andy was not even willing to haggle the least bit over the price. When Andy brought up the subject of the asking price, Harlan was willing to listen. He asked Andy, "What did you have in mind?" Now, if he believed it would take "every bit of $2,000" to build a new barn as he later asserted, why would he even entertain the idea of going lower? $1,200 was too low, but he still may have gone down a little in price which may have made it easier to collect the remainder from the businessmen. Andy did not even try to make a deal.

It was also Warren's idea to make pledges when the businessmen seemed inconvenienced to pony up the funds immediately. Yes, Warren was the first to renege but, as he mentioned when making the pledge, he was a "salaried man." The businessmen were in a much better position to donate the money. Floyd seemed disinterested when Andy came by to collect his share and his claim that business was down because of the foreign exchange rate having an adverse impact on "luxury items" seemed a bogus excuse made up on the fly (pretty impressive, though, for Floyd). The guy whose wife bought a new outfit had an even weaker excuse. He should have just ordered his wife to return the clothes (this was Mayberry in the 1960s, after all). This episode presents another example where the opportunistic Warren sees a chance that Andy would've let slip by.

Trivia for the Obsessive Warren Watcher

Where's Warren
Where's Warren?

We all know the game "Where's Waldo?," so how 'bout a game of "Where's Warren"? Find him in the first church scene. Warren is sitting on the left side, the opposite of the Taylors (the right side of the screen from the viewers perspective). He is visible (well, the back of his head, anyway) in the second row behind a lady with a funky pink hat when the camera moves from the back toward Rev. Tucker. You can also spot him when the congregation opens its hymn books (actually, this brief scene can only be seen in widescreen; fullscreen cuts him out). He is not seen during "Love Lifted Me," but can definitely be heard singing. After the service, he is seen on the right side of the screen behind Mr. Schwamp and then joins up with the Taylors and says softly, "Andy, we've got to do something about that, get a new organ." Leaving with the Taylors, he puts his left hand on Opie's shoulder (how cute).

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

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