After seeing a travelogue about island life on TV, Howard quits his job to become a beachcomber in the Caribbean.



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Episode cast overview:
Opie Taylor (as Ronny Howard)
Sir Lancelot ...
Mark Brown ...
Sam Greene ...


After watching a documentary on television, Howard decides to pack it all in and move to a Caribbean island and take up the life of beachcomber. Most people think he's gone off his rocker but some think he's taking a brave step and hope it all works out for him. He quits his job as County Clerk and soon sets off. He finds a beach front property and is soon lying in a hammock all day, enjoying the view and the beach. He also meets others who have taken up residence there but doesn't exactly find a kindred spirit. He dreams of what he may be like in a few years time and in doing so, scares himself into going back to Mayberry. Written by garykmcd

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Comedy | Family






Release Date:

18 December 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Opie goes into Howard's office there is a large sign on the wall indicating the office is the License Division for Mayberry Township. Howard later tells Opie "someone has to keep up with the city's documents." However, Howard is the County Clerk and would not be processing licenses or anything else for the township. Municipalities have their own City Clerk's offices separate from the county. See more »


Howard Sprague: Wanna buy a boat in a bottle?
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User Reviews

One of the Oddest Episodes of the Entire Series...
7 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The premise of this installment- "leaving it all behind to escape to a tropical paradise"- is certainly a popular one, and is as relevant to today's audiences as it was back then.

And, despite all the flack he gets from us TAGS fans for playing a "dull" character that can't match up to Barney Fife's level of comedy- which is, let's face it, a somewhat unreasonable expectation- actor Jack Dodson was very good at playing "quirky character" comedy when given the right material to work with (as he does in this episode), resulting in a fun performance for the audience.

Having established all this, a good lead performance by Jack Dodson & a few solid laughs (which "Howard's New Life" delivers) cannot totally save this episode from being overshadowed by two glaring (and major) issues:

First of all, can a 30 minute show that centers & revolves around Howard Sprague- all by himself & on his own, starting a new life thousands of miles away from Mayberry- really be considered "The Andy Griffith Show"? It certainly doesn't seem that way, and the episode feels more like the pilot episode of a separate spin off series than TAGS we've come to know & love. It's not bad, it's just...weird & unfamiliar. Maybe if Andy Griffith was the one "getting away from it all", things would have clicked better within the context of the entire series, but the Howard Sprague character didn't even arrive on TAGS scene until nearly the end of Season 6, so devoting an entire episode to his life away from Mayberry is strange, especially for a TAGS character that we haven't known all that long.

Second- and even more distracting for those fans that appreciate series continuity- it seems like the writers were in such a hurry to get Howard out of Mayberry & on that island inside of 30 minutes that they completely threw out/ignored the "playbook" on Howard Sprague that had been built up over the last two seasons, creating with this episode two huge plot holes:

1. What happened to Howard's extremely vocal, possessive, domineering mother, the one he lived with that used to freak out if Howard was 10 minutes late calling in/coming home? Howard's suddenly moving away forever- on the spur of the moment- and Mom is nowhere to been seen. Has she suddenly decided to keep quiet? Is she at home sulking? Has she mysteriously disappeared? Even more perplexing, Howard- in this episode- conveniently goes from being a mama's boy who is ALWAYS talking about "mother" to never mentioning her at all. This doesn't make any sense. with what we've learned about Howard up to this time.

2. And speaking of disappearing acts- what happened to Millie? After being in love & engaged just three episodes ago, now she has vanished off the face of the earth. OK, maybe they broke up off camera, but Howard's leaving Mayberry forever and she doesn't even come to the bus station to say good-bye and wish him well??? Here again is another unexplained break in established character plot lines.

The aforementioned blatant disregard of established character backgrounds & series continuity should result in this episode receiving a lower rating (shame on you, naughty writers), but I have to give it a 6 because of a strong (and funny) performance by Jack Dodson (perhaps his best outing in the series)- and for a very brief but funny appearance by legendary character actor Harry Dean Stanton ("Alien", "The Green Mile") as the nearly comatose proprietor of the island trading post.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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