On my desk in my study, I have what is a called a “Hidden Jesus” plaque that looks much like the following on taken from www.worthpoint.com:
As I begin to focus my thoughts on my future writing career, I have now planned out several books. One of them that I am working on has the running title of “Christ in the Movies”. In it, I plan to explore how often and when and where Jesus is reflected in movies and television.
Continuing my thoughts from my last post on “The Andy Griffith Show”, I thought I would devote tonight’s blog to one such example of how Jesus can be seen in film.
Fans of the series will be familiar enough with the first episode of the third season, titled “Mr. McBeevee”. According to “The Andy Griffith Show Wiki”, in this episode:
Opie weaves the fabulous tale of Mr. McBeevee, a man who walks in the treetops, wears a silver hat, has twelve extra hands, blows smoke from his ears, and jingles when he walks as if he had rings on his fingers and bells on his toes. But other than those few quirks, Mr. McBeevee is normal.
Andy and Barney laugh it off, but when Opie brings back a quarter he claims was given to him by his friend, Andy is forced to call the stories to a halt. Faced with the threat of a spanking, Opie is still unable to betray the existence of Mr. McBeevee. Andy may have to accept the unacceptable in the face of Opie's insistence.
Later, when out for a walk, Andy happens past the very same tree Mr. McBeevee, a telephone linesman, is working in. Andy gets his own introduction to the man who walks in the trees and Opie is vindicated.
To “accept the unacceptable” is better grasped by the reviewing the actual script. As recounted by M. G. Piety, the two crucial scenes in the episode unfold as follows:
“Opie,” Andy says, “there comes a time when you have to stop the play acting and tell the truth, and that time is now, right now. Opie, I want you to be man enough to tell me that Mr. McBeevee is just make believe. That’s all you have to say and it will all be forgotten. But if you don’t, then something else is going to happen. I believe you know what I mean, don’t you.”
“Yes, Pa,” Opie mumbles without looking up.
“Alright,” says Andy, “I want you to say that Mr. McBeevee is just make believe.”
But Opie can’t do it. He tries, but he stops before he can complete the sentence.
“I can’t Pa,” he says trembling and looking directly into his father’s eyes. “Mr. McBeevee isn’t make believe. He’s real.”
Andy shakes his head sadly.
“Don’t you believe me Pa? Opie asks pleadingly, "Don’t you Pa?”
Opie, lower lip trembling, is on the verge of tears. Andy stares disappointedly into his son’s face. Then suddenly his expression changes. There’s a brief look of incredulity, not at what his son is saying, but at something else, something at which the viewer can only guess. He sighs resignedly, smiles slightly, and responds: “I believe you.”
When Andy comes downstairs again to Barney and Aunt Bee, he informs them that he has not spanked Opie after all.
“Well that’s good,” says Barney with obvious relief. “He learned his lesson. A good talking to is the best thing. Making him stay in his room…”
“I didn’t do that either,” says Andy, lighting a cigarette.
“Well what did you do?” asks Barney.
“I told him I believed him,” responds Andy.
“You told him you BELIEVED him,” Barney blurts out. “But Andy, what he told you is impossible!”
“Well,” Andy explains, “a whole lot of times I’ve asked him to believe things that to his mind must have seemed just as impossible.”
“But Andy, the silver hat, the jingling, the smoke from his ears, what about all that?”
“Well,” says Andy, “I guess at a time like this, when you’re asked to believe something that just doesn’t seem possible, that’s a moment that decides whether you’ve got faith in somebody or not.”
“Well how can you explain it all?” asks Barney.
“I can’t,” responds Andy.
“But you do believe in Mr. McBeevee?”
“No,” responds Andy. ”But I believe in Opie.”
More than one person has pointed out that before he became an actor, Andy Griffith gave some consideration to becoming a Christian Minister in the Moravian Church. As a singer, he also recorded and released numerous gospel songs. For this reason, it is not hard to see the Christian imagery intentionally embedded within this particular scene.
Opie has met an individual who comes down from above with the business of improving communication and relationships between people. This individual is good to Opie, who is turn wants others to come to know him as well. But Opie’s testimony about this individual and his many characteristics and abilities is not received well by others, who view Opie’s words with great suspicion.
One among them, however, chooses to believe the testimony despite the irrationality of it all. Later, when the time comes, this person (Andy) is rewarded by also coming to know the same wonderful individual from above.
The closing scene is particularly powerful. As Andy wanders through the woods, he walls out the name of “Mr. McBeevee” in utter desperation. To his great surprise, Mr. McBeevee actually answers. The script then puts it this way:
When he finally climbs down to the ground, the man says:
“McBeevee at your service. What can I do for you?”
“You walk around in the trees,” Andy says, grinning incredulously. “You’ve got a silver hat, and you jingle. You can make smoke come out of your ears, can’t you!” he says. (This, it turns out, is a trick Mr. McBeevee showed Opie where he exhales cigarette smoke into his cupped hand and then releases it after moving the hand to his ear.)
“I sure am glad to meet you!” says Andy, who then proceeds to shake Mr. McBeevee’s hand with a vigor that threatens to remove his entire arm from its socket.
Interestingly enough, names in Scottish beginning with “Mac” or “Mc” mean “Son of”. Therefore, “McBeevee” means “Son of Beevee”. I do not know definitively what “Beevee” means. But it may well be related to “Baigh”, meaning “from the upper part” (presumably of Scotland). If so, then the meaning of the name is simply “son from the upper part”.
As Christians, we also give testimony to an Individual Who is “the Son from the upper part”. He too has unique characteristics and abilities. He too came down from above to improve our ability to relate – both to our Father above and to our brothers and sisters here beneath. In the process, He too gives us good gifts. Therefore, He too brings us great joy once we meet and come to know Him!
To be sure, others may not believe our testimony about Him. And yet, we remain steadfast in our resolve to share what we have both seen and heard of Him! Hopefully, through our faithfulness to stand firm in our testimony about Him, others will eventually come to know Him as well!
In the fourth chapter of the New Testament Book of Acts, the Apostles Peter and John are arrested and dragged before the religious authorities of their day, where they are threatened if they do not stop testifying about Jesus Christ. In verses 19-20, we read their response: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard!”
Opie stood firm in his testimony about “Mr. McBeevee”, who came from above and blessed him personally. Peter and John stood firm in their testimony about Jesus Christ, Who also came from above and Who blessed all who encountered Him. We, too, must stand firm in our own testimony about this same Jesus, and about His ability to bless all who come to know Him!
Hopefully, if we do, the testimony of those we encounter will mirror that of Andy, when they also say: “Jesus, I sure am glad to meet you!”
PLAQUE PICTURE: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/jesus-optical-illusion-name-plaque-wood-sign-hand.
THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW (TAGS) INFO:
NOTE: I am clearly not the first person to recognize such a connection. See, for instance:
http://www.oocities.org/jamntm/opie.html.tmp; as well as
Soren Kierkegaard was a famous Danish theologian of the nineteenth century noted primarily for his emphasis on the necessity of a “leap of faith” for eternal salvation. Cf.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_of_faith#The_leap_into_sin_and_into_faith.
Several years ago, an official “Mayberry” Small Group Bible Study Series was released based on the Christian principles exhibited in “The Andy Griffith Show”.
It is still available at: https://www.christianbook.com/mayberry-bible-study-leader-vol-1/9780979125904/pd/125904.