The Andy Griffith Show‘s only holiday episode is perhaps its most popular, so it’s no wonder that Griffith also released a Christmas Album. Though released in 2003, The Christmas Guest certainly plays up Griffith’s Mayberry image.
The album features a delightful blend of short stories and Christmas songs, accompanied by Griffith’s skillful guitar playing. It’s a charming piece of Christmas memorabilia that invites you to relax and envision a snowy night in Mayberry.
The Christmas Guest boasts some serious Country Music credentials. Griffith was backed by Opry mainstay Grandpa Jones. It was also produced by Country Music hitmaker Marty Stuart. The album received a nomination for Country Album of the Year at the 35th GMA Dove Awards in 2004.
It’s no wonder the album was such a success. Perhaps one of the most memorable musical performances on The Andy Griffith Show is from “Christmas Story”. Of course, the iconic moment is Griffith and guest star Elinor Donahue crooning “Away in a Manger.”
Andy Griffith’s Christmas Album Pairs Nicely with the Most Beloved Episode of Mayberry
Among fans of The Andy Griffith Show, the episode “Christmas Story” holds a special place as one of the most beloved. According to the esteemed movie data site IMDB, it is even considered the best episode of all time. Out of the 249 episodes produced in the series, this was the sole one dedicated to Christmas. It originally aired on December 19, 1960.
Surely, you recall the plot: A stern businessman named Ben Weaver insists that Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Fife arrest Sam Muggins for selling moonshine. Despite Andy’s ingenious schemes, Weaver remains unyielding, until Andy finally gives in, incarcerates the Muggins family, and brings the spirit of Christmas to the jail. The episode even has a touch of the timeless classic, “A Christmas Carol.”
As mentioned earlier, a standout moment in “Christmas Story” was a duet performed by Andy Griffith and Elinor Donahue. She portrayed Ellie Walker, the pharmacist often referred to as “the lady druggist.” Ellie was Andy Taylor’s first girlfriend on the show, but their relationship only lasted through the first season.
Subsequently, Ellie vanished, and various other women attempted to capture widower Andy’s affections until teacher Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut) succeeded. However, on Christmas Eve, Donahue took the lead and sang “Away In A Manger”. Meanwhile, Andy accompanied her on the guitar, resulting in a harmonious performance. Both actors later confirmed that Donahue indeed performed her own singing.
Of course, “Away in a Manger” also features on The Christmas Guest.
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