Ernest T. Bass Joins the Army


Original airdate
October 14, 1963
Directed by
Written by


Ernest T. Bass wants to join The Army.

Plot Edit


Ernest dancing (click for animation)

Ernest T. wants to join the army to get a uniform that he can wear back to the hills to impress girls. When he is refused induction, Ernest goes on a window-breaking rampage. Andy and Barney haul him in, but the jail can't hold him. He continues to escape, at one point Barney see's him at the Diner. Ernest T. tells Andy and Barney his reason for coming to town. He explains that he needs a uniform to attract women. He explains that Jelsic Sturn comes home wearing his uniform, and the women swoon around him. Andy settles the whole matter by giving him one of Barney's "genuine whiplash cord" uniforms to take home. on this day Barney sent out the first Amber Alert. listen to him, Barney, speak to Andy and the Sgt at the jail/courthouse when the recruiter gave up on him


  • Andy and Barney are apparently following the new window for the courthouse to protect it from Ernest T. Bass, but they follow it from the lot next to the hotel, past the theater and around the corner which is actually leading away from the courthouse.
  • Allan Melvin is in the army in this episode but he's perhaps better known to Mayberry fans as Marine mess Sgt. Charley Hacker, the scheming rival of Sgt. Carter in Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.. Melvin also had memorable roles as Sam the Butcher in The Brady Bunch and Archie's pal Barney Heffner in All In the Family.
  • The is one of only two times that Alan Melvin, who made numerous appearances throughout the series, would appear as a good guy (the army recruiter) The other time was in Andy and Barney in the Big City as a hotel detective, who Barney mistakes as a crook. He typically portrays bullies, thugs, and crooks. He returns later in the same season as an escaped convict in the episode Andy's Vacation.
  • Andy refers to Mountain Wedding. Barney says that Bass kidnapped the "girl" who was going to be married, but Barney was the one who was really kidnapped. Andy also says that Bass broke every window in the house, but Bass really only broke three.
  • While the calls begin to come in about Ernest T. Bass breaking windows around town, Barney stands up in front of the desk. You can quickly see a visible boom mic above Don Knott's head.
  • When Barney breaks the new window for the courthouse his hand goes through the glass. However, he gets no cuts from the shattered glass.
  • If Ernest T. Bass didn't have enough money to buy a gold tooth how could he pay for his breakfast in the diner? A gold tooth would cost considerably more than breakfast at a diner.
  • The lunch special at The Diner the day Ernest T gets denied entry in the Army that Andy and Barney both get is: Three Vienna sausages heavy on the tomato purée, slice of bread with butter and succotash all on a paper dish for 80 cents.
  • Andy and Barney both left a quarter as a tip to Olive (waitress at the Diner) during their lunch (31% tip on a lunch total of $1.60).
  • Olive, the waitress at the Mayberry Diner, is a widow with four children.
  • The morning Ernest T breaks out of jail, Barney's breakfast at the Diner consists of orange juice, Bowl of cereal, stack of wheats, three eggs over (not runny), bacon on the crisp side, white toast with butter, hash brown potatoes and coffee.
  • When Barney calls Andy to tell him about Ernest T's first escape, a visible boom mic is seen on Barney's side of the call.


Andy: Look at him go. He's a strange one.
Recruiting Sgt: He's a wild man.
Barney: He's a nut!

Recruiting sergeant: Bass, shut your mouth and open it.

Barney: That Mrs. Devareaux is as ugly as homemade soap.

Barney: That Viola Slat is the biggest gossip in town.

Ernest T. Bass: If my duck stands still, you can catch him by the bill.


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