Convicts at Large


Original airdate
December 10, 1962
Directed by
Written by
"Maude.. Al.. If those hamburgers are ruined.. I won't be responsible!"


Barney and Floyd run out of gas while coming home from a fishing trip. While looking for a telephone they are captured by three female escaped convicts.


Barney and Floyd are held hostage by a gang of escaped female convicts who have been hiding in O'Malley's cabin outside of town. Andy, who spots Floyd in town buying groceries (with one of the convicts), thinks they have a little party going on until O'Malley arrives back in town on the bus. Andy and O'Malley engineer a clever scheme and capture all but the ringleader, Big Maude, whom Barney manages to tango out the door and into the handcuffs.


  • This episode is a satire of the 1953 best selling book, 1954 Tony award winning play starring Paul Newman, and 1955 movie starring Humphrey Bogart, "The Desperate Hours". The film was also remade again in 1990. The book, play, and first movie were about a nationally well known real life 1952 prison escape of 3 male convicts and their invasion of a Pennsylvanian suburban home and kidnapping of the Hill family. The book, written by Joseph Hayes, was  directly influenced by the Hill family's ordeal in which they were treated well by the convicts, but held for 19 hours. The cons were caught after leaving the home. The book was a best seller which is why a Broadway play was made titled the same and also based on incidents similar to the hill Family, but in the play version, the family experienced fictional sexual and violent acts at the hands of the convicts. The play won Tony awards and did quite well which is why a movie version was also done. The '55 movie did not include the sex and violence like the play did. So all of this is what "Convicts at Large" satirized , but this time the cons are women, which was considered to be funnier.
  • This is the last appearance of Howard McNear (Floyd the Barber) before the actor suffered a stroke and left the show. He would return in season four but his character would be very different, nearly immobile from the damage caused by the stroke. He would stay with the show until his death following the seventh season.
  • The phrase "Acka Backa", spoken by Big Maude, refers to a children's nursery rhyme: "Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo! Acka backa soda cracker, out goes you!"[1]
  • Jean Carson who plays Naomi is also seen as one of the "fun girls" in two other episodes.
  • Due to his likeness to another man, Sally refers to Barney as "Al". Floyd calls Barney by the name "Al" for the rest of the episode.
  • Barney talks Pig Latin to Andy on the telephone: "Onvicts-kay ere-hay!"
  • Actress Reta Shaw who played Big Maude Tyler would later play Barney's singing teacher Eleanora Poultice in Season 4.
  • The inside of Mr. O'Malley's cabin closely resembles The Darlings cabin. Chances are the same interior sets were used.
  • This is one of only three episodes where a female is shown smoking (Sally).  The others are Prisoner of Love and The Farmer Takes A Wife.
  • Floyd's car is a 1934 Pontiac 2 door sedan.
  • The grocery list Big Maude Tyler gives Floyd when he and Sally go in to town consists of 1 pound of sugar, 2 pounds of coffee, 4 dozen eggs, 4 loaves of bread, ketchup, fruit and 4 pounds of hamburger.
  • It is revealed in this episode that Barney likes his hamburgers cooked medium rare.
  • Convicts at-Large is one of the two highest-rated episodes on iMDb, with a 9.4 rating, tied with The Pickle Story.


Naomi: Don't worry. Maude's a very clever woman. She'll think of something brilliant. Just watch.
Maude: (shouting out to Barney & Floyd) There's nobody here.(Naomi and Sally roll their eyes at each other.)

Barney: (Floyd and he have run out of gas, and in walking about looking for some have arrived at a mountain cabin belonging to Mr. O'Malley.) "O'Malley! Charlie! It's me, Barney Fife!"
Floyd: (Appalled) "You shouldn't call a rich man by his first name!"
Barney: "The bigger they are, the nicer they are." [shouting] "Hey, Chuck!"

Maude: “Al here will make a phone call to straighten things out, right Al?”
Barney: “I’m not Al, my name is Barney.”
Maude: “Make the call! Just say you’re up here with O’Malley and he’s asked you to stay the night.”
Barney: “Suppose I refuse?”
Floyd: “…. Better phone him Al.”




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