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The Education of Ernest T. Bass

Season 5, Episode 4


Original airdate
October 12, 1964
Directed by
Written by


Ernest returns to school to win a girl's affection.


Ernest T. is back in Mayberry to get his diploma. He is so determined that Andy convinces Helen to allow him to attend class. E.T. is so out of control, she has to slap him across the knuckles to get his attention. Helen's discipline causes Ernest T. to fall in love with Andy's girl. Exasperated, Andy explains to Ernest T. that he loves Helen because she represents his "mother figure." Once that's all sorted out, Andy manufactures a diploma that Ernest T. receives in a touching graduation ceremony, in which our favorite Deputy shows his sensitive side and cries.


  • Ernest T. finally gets the gold tooth he dreamed about getting in an earlier episode Ernest T. Bass 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.
  • At the end of this episode Ernest T. throws another rock through the courthouse window meaning things didn't go well with Ramona. However, in Malcolm at the Crossroads he is trying to raise money for their honeymoon.
  • Frances Bavier doesn't appear in this episode.


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.
Andy: Ocean.
Ernest T.: Old Man Kelsey's ocean!

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.

Helen: Alright. "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.

Ernest T.: No hunt beware open & close no Credit!..No hunt beware open & close no Credit?


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The Family Visit Aunt Bee's Romance