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(This episode was voted by fans as their favorite of the entire series).
A manicurist (Barbara Eden) sets up shop in Floyd's barber shop, but ends up unintentionally causing trouble when the men of Mayberry start flocking to her for manicures, making their wives jealous. Andy and Barney get involved in the pursuit of a jewel thief while on a business trip to Raleigh. Howard Jackson (Roy Roberts), a big-city newspaper publisher uses his attractive reporter (Ruta Lee) to manipulate Barney to get Andy charged with malfeasance to get back at him over a traffic ticket.
Rafe proves him wrong when his performance at the show receives a positive reception. Andy's advice to Opie and his schoolmates about history homework gets him in trouble with the new schoolteacher, Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut), so he tells Opie and his friends a story about Paul Revere's ride to resolve the situation. In 1997, TV Guide ranked this episode #24 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes.
The Darlings ask Andy to help them deal with wild mountain man Ernest T. A visiting preacher (David Lewis) encourages the congregation to relax and enjoy life – which is not as easy as they thought, as they frantically rehearse the town's out-of-tune band and try to repair the broken bandstand and worn uniforms.
William Christopher plays the IRS agent who visits the Taylors to collect taxes on the prizes.Two fun-loving but overbearing women from Mount Pilot cause problems by being amorous to Andy and Barney, which makes Helen and Thelma Lou jealous. Barney discovers a file of an old forgotten assault case between Floyd and grocer Charles Foley (Frank Ferguson) that was never resolved.Barney reopens the case and his actions cause old feelings to flare up.This is the only Christmas episode in the eight-year series.Aunt Bee sets out to prove that men are bigger gossips than women.