In all of The Andy Griffith Show’s eight seasons, only one Christmas episode aired—and it remains one of the best holiday stories to ever grace classic TV.
The installment, called Christmas Story, hit TV during the show’s freshman season on December 19, 1960. The plot featured a Scrooge-like character named Ben Weaver, who hated the Yuletide spirit. Ben was a successful department store owner who valued money over everything, and he had no tolerance for shenanigans.
One Christmas, he caught a man named Sam Muggins selling moonshine, and he demanded that Sheriff Taylor immediately put him behind bars. Andy couldn’t stomach the idea of Ben spending Christmas alone, so he “arrested” the entire Muggins family to keep them together. Then he threw a holiday party for them and invited Aunt Bee, Opie, Barney, and his girlfriend, Ellie, to join.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Christmas Special Had a Wholesome Twist
The party ended up being a wholesome time filled with singing, dancing, and happy tears, which Ben watched from afar. The crotchety man spied the festivities through the Mayberry jail window and caught the holiday spirit. It became obvious that Ben wasn’t actually a bad guy. He was just lonely, and he didn’t want to be alone anymore. So he tried to get himself arrested, too.
After Ben committed a few minor misdemeanors, Andy realized what was happening. So instead of slapping on the cuffs, he invited Ben to join the fun. Ben happily obliged, and he brought a giant suitcase of gifts along. The Muggins family appreciated the sentiment but made it clear that he was welcome either way, proving that understanding, forgiveness, and love were at the core of the holiday.
It’s not clear why The Andy Griffith Show never aired another holiday episode. Perhaps the writers figured they’d already bested themselves, and they may have been right. To this day, Christmas Story still holds a 9.2 rating on IMDB, and it serves as a holiday viewing tradition for fans across the country.
If you’d like to add Christmas Story to your holiday watch list, the entire series is available on Paramount+.
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