Monday, July 31, 2023

TV Quote of the Day (‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ In Which Barney Reveals His Knowledge of American History)

[Claiming history to be his specialty, Barney asks Andy to test his knowledge, so Andy asks him about the Emancipation Proclamation, and it quickly becomes evident that Barney has no idea of its meaning.]

Sheriff Andy Taylor [played by Andy Griffith]: “Go ahead. I'm all ears.”

Deputy Barney Fife [played by Don Knotts] [under his breath] “Yeah, you always was.” [Then, more loudly]: “Well, the Emancipation Proclamation...”

[clears throat]

Barney: “...uh, was a proclamation, is what it was.”

Andy: “Mm, what was is about?

Barney: [testily] “Was about emancipation! What do you THINK it was about? ‘What was it about?’ Use your head, man. It's common knowledge. It was these folks - and how else was they going to get themselves emancipated unless there was a proclamation? So, they got themselves a proclamation and they called it ‘The Emancipation Proclamation.’"

Andy: “Yep?”

Barney: “Yeah, and I'm surprised at you for not knowing that, Andy! And I'll tell you something else: I'm even more surprised that you think that I don't know about The Emancipation Proclamation.”

Andy: “We're still waitin' for you to tell us about it.”

Barney: “Well, if you get so smart-alecky about it, maybe I'm not even GONNA tell you!”The Andy Griffith Show, Season 3, Episode 23, “Andy Discovers America,” original air date Mar. 4, 1963, teleplay by John Whedon, directed by Bob Sweeney

Once again, Barney shows why his friend Andy calls him, with an amused smile, “a bird in this world.” But at least Barney hasn’t volunteered to write standard materials that youngsters should know about slavery, so you won’t hear him talking about the “skills” slaves learned.

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