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Hot Rod Otis

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Hot Rod Otis - The Andy Griffith Show season 4 - Don Knotts, Hal Smith, Andy Griffith
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Hot Rod OtisThe Andy Griffith Show season 4

Hot Rod Otis – Andy and Barney are horrified to learn that Otis, the town drunk, has just bought a new car. After he passes out one night after a party, Andy and Barney put him in his usual jail cell. Then, they pretend that he is dead to teach him a lesson. Little do they know that Otis may have already learned it. Original airdate: 2/17/1964

Otis bought a car?

Yes, he has. It’s a dream that he’s had for years. But Andy and Barney have the valid concern of what a drunken Otis might mean for the streets of Mayberry. And for poor Otis himself.

Drivers Test

Well-meaning Barney decides to have Otis do a “drivers test” at the courthouse with toy cars. Despite the fact that Otis already has a valid drivers license. Otis doesn’t take it very seriously, and plays with the over-serious Barney. Andy breaks it up, and Otis leaves. Now what?

Drunken Otis and well-meaning law officers

Ever-serious Deputy Barney tries to shadow Otis. Thinking himself an old hand at stakeouts, his ego’s deflated when Otis sees him hiding in a bush, and asks him to move a bike out of his car’s way. Despite the comedy, things get serious that evening, when Otis has spent hours in a tavern, and comes out drunk as a skunk. Due to Barney’s shadowing, he and Andy are there to help the unsteady Otis to his normal jail cell. But how to prevent Otis from drinking and driving?

Andy and Barney try to warn Otis

They decide to put on an act and pretend that Otis has died, in a drunk driving accident:

Barney Fife: [Barney and Andy are pretending that Otis has died in front of a locked up Otis] Why did I let him to take up driving? Why?
Andy Taylor: You mustn’t blame yourself! You tried to warn him.
Otis Campbell: [crying] If only I had the chance. If only I realized! [Otis blubbers a sob]
Barney Fife: [voice breaking] He was a good man, Andy. A good man. He never hurt anybody.
Otis Campbell: [sobbing] No.
Barney Fife: He never said a mean thing.
Otis Campbell: Never!
Barney Fife: [starting to cry] He was so full of life. He loved life… [Otis sobs. Barney’s emotions break forth]
Barney Fife: [crying] And he Wanted To LIVE!
[Barney runs to the other room, sobbing. Andy follows after him to comfort him. Otis tearfully looks on]
Andy Taylor: Don’t try to hold it back! Just let it all out of your system.

Kind-hearted Barney gets all caught up in his emotions, as if their friend had actually died. When Otis falls back asleep, Sheriff Andy wakes him with a pail of water …

The catch is …

It’s only afterward that Andy and Barney find out that Otis had previously sold the car, before entering the tavern! Relieved that that don’t have to worry about their friend killing himself by driving drunk, Andy cheerfully recites “Fi fi fo fun” to help the drunken Otis fall back asleep.

At the conclusion, Barney thinks of what it will be like when Otis is really gone. And works himself into an emotional tizzy, again, ending the episode.

Cast of characters


  • The Vacant Chair
    • Words by Henry S. Washburn, Music by George F. Root
    • Performed by Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Hal Smith

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