Deputy Barney Fife says to Nip it in the Bud!

Via classic_film on Visual Hunt

With his zeal for combatting crime in Mayberry, Deputy Barney Fife considers jaywalking as serious as theft. Of course this fits with his philosophy to nip crime in the bud, especially when there’s a new boy in town causing trouble for Opie and his friends . . .

“They’ll take over the whole town in a reign of terror. . . .
Today’s 8-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers.
I say this calls for action and now.
Nip it in the bud!
First sign of youngsters goin’ wrong,
you got to nip it in the bud. . . .
Nip it. You go read any book you want on the subject
of child discipline and you’ll find that every one of them
is in favor of bud-nippin’.”
–Deputy Barney Fife

So wherever Barney is, there’s plenty of bud-nipping.

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 of my trip to Mount Airy, North Carolina, the town that inspired Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. Then rejoin me here.

Down Main Street, four blocks from Floyd’s Barbershop, is a replica of the Mayberry Courthouse, complete with Andy’s desk, typewriter, and gavel—all replicas. The original objects are in the museum, except for the pickles. At least you can get a feel for small town life as Sheriff, Deputy, or Justice of the Peace.

Sit in Andy’s chair. Use the gavel. Type a report. Pick up the phone and ask Sarah to connect you with the mayor, Thelma Lou . . . or Juanita.

While sitting there, it’s not hard to visualize these Mayberry Courthouse scenes. In full force, Barney circles the room, shaking his finger. He warns Andy about the flagrant dangers all around that Andy seems oblivious to. No mollycoddling will do. Not for these troublemakers. (Watch the scene from 12:34 to 13:20.)

Bud-nipping is important in one’s personal life, too. Barney generously imparts this sage advice to Andy after Andy starts dating Peggy.

“I hate to have to tell you this 
but you’re gonna have to give her up. 
Forget about her. Nip it. Nip it in the bud . . .  
From the minute they’re born with that 
silver spoon in their hands . . .”
—Barney Fife

Imagine Barney charging through the door at wit’s end, whether he’s searching for the dynamite-loaded goat, investigating robberies at Wally’s Filling Station, or griping about a local farmer who picked Thelma Lou for his girlfriend.

“Jaywalking is rampant.” –Deputy Fife

Just as much passion goes into refusing to tear up the governor’s parking ticket, leading a search party to the cave, or playing matchmaker for Andy. Barney is ever bumbling from one crisis to the next. He reopens the case between Floyd and the grocer, starts rumors about Andy and Helen being engaged, gets duped buying a lemon of a car, and gets evicted from his rooming house for cooking.

On top of that, things get out of hand whenever Barney has to fill the sheriff’s shoes. One time when Andy was gone, Barney made arrests left and right–even arresting friends.

“Oh, don’t joke, honey! He’s liable to send you up to state prison.”
–Aunt Bee to Opie

It’s one thing to lock friends up. But Barney manages to get himself locked up, too. Regularly. By accident. One time, it happens right after giving the troublemaking boys a speech about how bad behavior leads to incarceration. Or is it inarculation?

Then there’s Otis, a Saturday night regular. He voluntarily shows up to lock himself in the cell to sleep off his drunken stupor. Once Barney even tries to give him a sobriety test, but claims, “I couldn’t give him the test last night! . . . He was too drunk.”

Inside Otis’s jail cell, I sat on the bed and in the rocking chair, taking in the scenery from Otis’s point of view.

Next door is Wally’s Service Station, built in 1937, now the Fruit Basket Gift Shop. The 1960s squad car is ready to take visitors on tours around Mt. Airy. The $40 cost for one to five people seems reasonable for multiple tourists, but since I was alone, I opted to spend my money on a few souvenirs. Due to my love for supporting local artists and craftsmen, I bought a hand-painted tin and illustrated greeting cards. Other tourists began their squad car tour by heading up Main Street, siren wailing.

Just another lazy day in Mayberry.

Walking back up Main Street, I stopped to take a picture of the granite post office when out walked a man, exuding friendliness. He invited me to Friday evening’s annual Mayberry Farmfest Parade, where kids are encouraged to join in on bikes, toy cars, or tractors. Craig’s role is riding in the patrol car as Ernest T. Bass, after touching up his beard later today. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for that.)

On Renfro Street is Donna’s Barbershop, aptly known as Pink Floyd Barber Shop, the female version of Floyd’s. Donna is a niece of Russell Hiatt and worked for her uncle eighteen years before opening her own place. (Read more about Floyd’s Barbershop here.)

If you’re interested in a Pink Floyd T-shirt, contact Donna on Facebook. Give her your size, phone number, and address. T-shirts are $20.

Next stop on Main Street: Walker’s Soda Fountain, inspired by Walker’s Drugstore in Mayberry. Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue), a pharmacist who assisted her uncle, was in twelve of the first season’s episodes and became Andy’s girlfriend. She succumbs to giving a placebo sugar bill to an older town resident, runs for town council against the menfolk, and does a makeover for a disheveled farmer’s daughter. In “Cyrano Andy,” Andy needs Ellie’s help to bring Barney and Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn) back together after being designated as a rival to make Barney jealous.

I also stopped by Opie’s Candy Store, a fun place named after Opie.

The Andy Griffith Museum has a section devoted to Betty Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou. She moved to Mt. Airy years ago and visits the museum on third Fridays of every month to autograph photos. Unfortunately, my itinerary wouldn’t let me stay until Friday, so I missed that opportunity.

Aneta Corsaut (Helen Crump) & Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou)

The museum ($8/adult admission), operated by the Surry Arts Council, houses a variety of Andy Griffith Show memorabilia donated by cast members, mostly collected by Emmett Forrest, a friend of Andy’s. (Photography is allowed at the museum.)

Items include show props, clothing, signs, and scripts, as well as pieces related to Matlock, movies, and Andy’s singing career. Incidentally, Don Knotts (Barney) played Ben Matlock’s neighbor and Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) was Ben’s secretary in the first season (1986).

Did you know about The Andy Griffith Show comic books? I had no idea! The comics below are from 1962-1963.

Unlike the replica Courthouse on Main Street, this is the real deal. These items were actually used on the show. Barney’s chair is now bronzed.

Andy Griffith had a prolific career with music, movies, and television. Push a button and hear him sing. Or catch the flavor of his comedic storytelling in his 1953 monologue of “What is Was, Was Football.”

Museum admission includes the Betty Lynn exhibit, the Mount Airy to Mayberry Photo exhibit, the Mayberry Mural in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, and the Siamese Twins room–another bit of unique Mt. Airy history.

The Mayberry photo exhibit shows various references to real places mentioned in the show. For example, in episode #154, Andy is reading the Mt. Airy News. In #28, a furniture factory is mentioned; Andy and his father had both worked at the Mt. Airy Chair Company. In #129, Andy checks the paper for news about the Mayberry Bears–same mascot as Mt. Airy High School team.

Many streets are mentioned. Though some can be found in Anywhere, USA (Elm, Maple, Willow, Spring, Pine, Main), a few are unique to Mt. Airy: Orchard Road, Woods Way, Rockford, and Haymore–Andy’s own street as a kid.

Local towns are mentioned: Fancy Gap (episode #17 & #155), Toast (#249), the location of a still in (#17). The Weiner-Burger where Andy takes Peggy (#67) was a real place in Mt. Airy, as well as Moody’s Funeral Home (#107, used to be Nelson Moody).

Underneath the museum is a room with a three-wall Mayberry mural, a fun picture-taking spot.

A couple of miles from downtown is Aunt Bee’s (Frances Bavier) room, housed at the Mayberry Motor Inn. It consists of thirty-plus of her personal items from the show. (I didn’t make it there.)

If you’re interested in a Mayberry visit and want more information about the highlights I described, go here.

The week of September 24 – 30 is Mayberry Days, an annual week-long event full of comedy and concerts sponsored by the Surry Arts Council. The Dillard Band will perform, too. The original Dillards played the parts of the Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show (more on them in 2 weeks). Mayberry Days festivities look like fun. Just be aware that many events require tickets from $10.00 to $65.00.

What is your own favorite Mayberry moment? Do you have a favorite episode?

I’d love to hear from you!

Ever musing,


P.S. Join me again in 2 weeks for a cruise through Mayberry’s Mirth and Music. Next week, meet artist Marie Scott, an artist whose palette mixes business with pleasure as she paints glimmers of hope for a broken world.

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10 thoughts on “Deputy Barney Fife says to Nip it in the Bud!

  1. This place is a treasure! I’ve read about it before but until your posts had no idea how they’ve preserved such a wonderful part of my childhood. I have too many favorite episodes, but I remember when I was quite young watching one when Andy is having woman troubles. I can’t recall which of his beaus it was, but she was angry with him and slammed her door in his face. I asked my mom why he didn’t arrest her (I was very offended on Andy’s behalf). She tried to explain the limits of his authority. I didn’t fully understand at the time. But it was my first civics lesson!

    1. Anita,
      I also had no idea that all of this memorabilia has been preserved! I think there may be another trip to add to the bucket list!

      Thanks for reminding us of these great memories!!

    2. Anita, that could’ve been any one of the women Andy dated. Seems there was always at least one big argument with each girlfriend. Glad that episode turned into a useful civics lesson! Like many of the episodes do.

    1. Do it, Darla! Mt. Airy is fun, and the entire area of western North Carolina is beautiful! Much to see and do.

  2. So was there a real Gomer? I loved him, so sweet and innocent.
    I didn’t always watch his spin-off, but I loved the episode where he did a duet with Carol Burnett. Loved it so much that my sister and I performed it every night while we was washed the dishes. Years later, I taught it to my girls and they performed it at a Variety Show, bringing down the house.
    Such memories!! 🙂

    1. I don’t think I saw that duet but the resulting performances sound like fun! Great fun to share the memory and have your kids enjoy it, too.

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