Art is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Andy may not like Otis’ cow mosaic but I would hang it over the fireplace in a second! The sixth season episode of The Andy Griffith Show is entitled Otis, the Artist. Sheriff Deputy Warren believes interesting Otis, the Mayberry town drunk, with a hobby might sway him from getting drunk every weekend and ending up in jail. So Warren interests Otis in his own hobby, mosaics, and Otis takes right off with it – and stops drinking to boot! His first original art work, though, is a pastoral scene of a cow that nobody likes except Warren. When Warren hangs it over Andy’s fireplace to boost Otis’ confidence, well, Otis is thrilled but Andy and Aunt Bee are fit to be tied. When Otis eventually learns that Andy has taken down his artwork and put it in the closet he is devastated and returns to drinking. The twist at the end, of course, is that Otis is still making mosaics and they are beautiful – as long as he makes them when he is drinking! It all makes for a not-so-subtle comment on the 1960s art scene.
Otis: I find I do my best work when I’m just a little gassed.
Deputy Warren: Oh, Otis.
Otis: Oh, don’t act so sad. Now I’ve got two hobbies.
The Andy Griffith Show episode Otis, the Artist originally aired on 3 January 1966. Catch the episode if you can. The faces Andy makes behind Otis’ back during the unveiling of the cow pastoral mosaic are worth seeing.
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