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Opie Taylor (1960-1968)
Barney Fife (1960-1965)
Sheriff Andy Taylor (1960-1968)
Helen Crump (1963-1968)
Ernest T. finally gets the gold tooth he dreamed about getting in an earlier episode "Ernest T. Joins the Army."
In this episode we learn that Ernest T. can neither read nor write yet he is somehow able to write the notes he attaches to rocks before tossing them through windows.
(Andy is teaching Ernest T. a little geography)
Andy: Now, here, here is a map of the United States.
Ernest T.: United States.
Andy: That's right. Now the United States is bounded on the north by Canada, on the south by Mexico, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by, uh, would, uh, you happen to know that?
Ernest T.: (thinks) Old Man Kelsey's woods.
Andy: No. All the way to the edge – big body of water.
Ernest T.: Old Man Kelsey's crick.
Ernest T.: Old Man Kelsey's ocean!
Andy: Pacific Ocean.
Ernest T.: Pacific Ocean.
Andy: Very good, very good.
Ernest T.: Yeah, I sure know my boundaries good, don't I?
Andy: You sure do.
Ernest T.: Just as long as they don't change 'em 'fore I take my test.
(Helen, Andy and Barney are in the courthouse discussing Ernest T.)
Andy: I got to tell you the truth: I just don't know what to do. I can't put him in jail – he keeps breakin' out. I can't make him understand he's got to leave Helen alone. I don't know what to do with him.
Barney: Well, you won't listen to me – you won't listen to your old dad. All I have to do is give him a couple of karate chops, flip him into a corner and he'd get up and head back for the mountains, never to be seen again.
Andy: He'd kill you.
(Barney looks annoyed)
Andy: Well, the easiest way is to satisfy him. He wants an education – we'll give him an education. We'll fix him up with a diploma and everything.
Barney: I still say: five minutes behind the barn!
Helen: He'd kill you.
(Ernest T. annoyed Helen all night; Andy, Barney and Helen are discussing it)
Andy: He won't bother you anymore. We got him locked up, now.
Barney: That's right. Slapped him in the ol' tin box. That'll cool him off.
Helen: I suppose he's a good soul. It's just that he's, well, he's a little strange.
Barney: Strange? He's a first-rate, grade-A, number one nut! He should have been in the laughing academy years ago.
Andy: He's made a lot of progress since the last time he was in town.
Barney: Oh, so he shaved the back of his neck. What's so great about that?
Helen: Would you excuse me a minute? I have to take this to the principal. Be right back, Andy. (she leaves)
Barney: Look, Andy. A sensitive, delicate situation like this has got to be handled a certain way. Now why don't I take him out in back of the jailhouse and kick him around a little bit?
Andy: He'd kill you.
(Ernest T. Bass comes into the courthouse)
Ernest T.: Howdy do to you and you! It's me, it's me, it's Ernest T!
(Ernest T. is in Helen's class; she writes a sentence on the board)
Helen: Allright. "The possum hid under the rock." Now, who can break this down for me and point out the preposition, the object, the subject and the verb?
Ernest T.: Why don't we break down that rock, find out what that posstum's doin' in under there?
Helen: Mr. Bass, we'll get to you in a minute. (To Sharon McCall) Sharon.
Ernest T.: Ain't no little girl gonna tell you nothin' 'bout a posstum under a rock. If you wanna really find out 'bout a posstum under a rock, you find a boy with dirt under his fingernails. You find a boy with dirt under his fingernails, you'll find yourself a boy that's been rootin' under a rock for a posstum.
Francis Bavier doesn't appear in this episode.
As Ernest T. is receiving his diploma, the background music is an arrangement of "Gaudeamus Igitur", the traditional University student song for over two hundred years. The standard Latin lyrics were written and published in 1781 by Christian Wilhelm Kindleben (1748-1785) to an already well-known melody. Johannes Brahms used the melody prominently in his famous "Academic Festival Overture" in 1881.
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