World Wide Web Fights presents

WWWF Logo by Dan Willis

The Setting

It's another sunny, schoolday afternoon and Richie Cunningham has spent the past several hours throwing down "pop" at the town's teenage watering hole, "Al's". Finding a moment between Ralph Malph's bad jokes, Richie gets up to play some pinball. Unfortunately, he doesn't see the fake vomit Ralph left on the floor, slips, and crashes head first into the jukebox. Unconscious for several minutes, Richie is finally revived with a snap of the Fonz' fingers.

"Hey, Richie? You alright?" asks a concerned Potsy.

"Yeah, I think so." Richie lays there confused. Not only is he still dazed from the blow, but he also remembers...

Later that day the phone rings in the sheriff's office of a small town. A shaky deputy answers. "Hello? Just a minute. Andy! It's for you!"

Two weeks later, Milwaukee District Courtroom. Opening statements are about to begin in the custody battle over Richie Cunningham/Opie Taylor. Andy Griffith will argue that he is the biological father and that, along with Aunt Bea, would provide a better home for little Opie. He will also accuse the Cunninghams of kidnapping and brainwashing Opie. The Cunninghams will argue that they are in fact the rightful and better parents. They will claim that Richie's flashbacks are artificial memories implanted from watching too much TBS as a child. Unfortunately, neither side can produce any concrete evidence such as a birth certificate.

Due to flu season, the judge pool is extremely depleted. The only available judge with child custody experience is King Solomon, who will preside over today's proceedings. To whom will the ever wise Solomon award custody? Under obscure state laws, joint custody or splitting Ron Howard in two are not allowable options.

Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show Howard and Marion Cunningham, Happy Days

Andy Taylor


The Cunninghams

The Commentary

STEVE: Well Brian, I'm afraid Mr. & Mrs. C are in for some disappointment. Richie is going to revert to being Opie Taylor under state law. There are many reasons for this. Of course there is the obvious biological father angle mentioned earlier which would probably be sufficient on its own. However, let's get to the important issues.

First of all, Andy Taylor raised Opie in his early childhood. He taught him all the basic lessons of life -- he made Opie the lovable child that he was. Who taught him to fish, skip stones, and whistle catchy theme songs? Who taught him not to fight with the school bully? Who laughed along side him when Barney locked himself in the jail cell? Who loved him even though he didn't get first place in the running race? Andy Taylor did! He was there. He was the best father ever, dammit!

And just because he's a single parent doesn't mean Opie wouldn't get the love and attention he deserves from a mother. Good 'ol Aunt Bea is there to comfort him and to cook him nourishing meals. (You know she has to be a good cook just by looking at the size of her.) And of course Barney Fife is always there to lend a hand and useful advice when it's needed (or even if it's not).

The Cunninghams -- well let's just say they're a bit shady, and Solomon would see right through their ploy. Mr. C runs a hardware store. Have you ever met an honest hardware store manager? I didn't think so. What about that mysterious older brother who we never see? My guess is that he's locked in the basement somewhere. And then there's this motorcycle riding hoodlum in black leather named "The Fonz" who's always hanging around their house. Not exactly a good influence on little Richie! Solomon will recognize that the Cunninghams are in fact horrible parents, and will deny them custody.

BRIAN: Zzzzzzzz-- oh, I'm sorry. Are you finally done now? My goodness, I've seen manifestos that didn't run that long. No problem, it gave me some time to take a nap as well as practice my "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" drum solo. It also gave me some time to do some light reading: the Old Testament (tm). This match begins and ends with King Solomon, and the Old Testament (OT) is where he hangs out.

While some of your points might be relevant if the proceedings were being heard by some flaky Divorce Court (tm) type judge, they will be useless on Solomon. Someone raised in the OT will have a whole different perspective on things. Remember, back then, if someone stole your oxen or your ass, you could stone them to death. Legally! And Solomon's parents only got together because Solomon's father, David, had Solomon's mother's (Bathsheba's) first husband (Uriah) killed! Thus, we must look at things from Solomon's warped, ultra-violent, Pulp-Fiction-esque (tm) perspective. And there are three major factors to be concerned with here:

1.) Birth right. They're ALWAYS talking about birth rights and such in the OT. Undoubtedly, the Cunninghams will also claim to be the biological parents of Richie. With no records to know for sure, this can only be a wash. And so what if Richie has an older brother no one's ever seen? Solomon will probably assume that Richie had him killed in order to inherit his birth right. That's something he can respect.

2.) Impression. Solomon was the ruler of a kingdom for 40 years. Is he going to be impressed by some guy with a badge from some small time hick town? Of course not. What will he be impressed by? Mr C's lodge connections. Lodges are the closest thing to royalty in American society today. Thus, a common bond will be formed between Mr. C and the king.

3.) Age. How old is Richie in this scenario? 16? 17? When Solomon was that age he was ruler of all of Israel, had married 75 women and was wiping the blood of Benjamites off his scimitar. Is this guy going to be worried about which side will best "nurture" Richie in the best "environment"? No! He's going to be wondering why this guy doesn't already have three wives and eight kids working a plot of land. He would rather declare Richie an adult, but since that is not an option, he'll have to settle for the next best thing: leaving him with the Cunninghams. Why send him to the home that would smother him with love and treat him like he's perpetually eight years old? You don't become a man that way. The Cunninghams win before you can say "King Solomon's Mines" (tm).

STEVE: Thanks for "The Gospel according to Brian". It's just as long and boring as those actual gospel chapters in the Bible are. You've also managed to twist the Bible to suit your needs, just like Jimmy Bakker. All you need now is for people to start sending you their life savings and to have your wife start wearing ludicrous amounts of makeup.

You can't discount Andy Taylor. He is a master of legal knowledge. After all, he is Matlock. He always wins his cases. In fact, King Solomon will have a special weakness for him. As we all know, and as Grandpa Simpson has told us, old people hate everything, except for Matlock. Since 5000 years counts as old, even for Solomon, Solomon must also like Matlock, and thus award Opie to Andy "Matlock" Taylor. In addition, Andy and Barney will produce all manner of police reports (he is a sheriff, after all) showing that beyond a doubt Opie belongs to Andy and that the Cunninghams are evil satan-worshipping child molesters with criminal records. Case closed.

You also can't forget about Barney. If by some chance the Cunninghams did win, Barney is just gung-ho enough to go after Richie/Opie and steal him back. Dare I say he might even take the bullet out of his pocket and actually place it into his gun. Barney Fife with a loaded gun is something to be avoided!

In the end, Opie will be fishing along the river again, and eating heartily at Aunt Bea's table (after doing his homework of course). Mr. Cunningham will resort back to selling Glad Sandwich Bags (tm), and Mrs. C will run off and elope with the Fonz. A happy ending for all.

BRIAN: Boy, you just don't know when to shut up, do you? Suicide Prevention Hotline operators on Ritalin (tm) don't have an attention span long enough to listen to you ramble on.

And yes, I did say "ramble". You speak without ever stopping to check the validity of your statements. First off, the gospels are anything BUT boring. You've got journeys, tyrants, criminals, mass slayings, prostitutes, mobs, executions, resurrections, and miracles a-plenty. A real page turner! I couldn't put it down! Second, you claim I "twist the Bible" to suit my own needs, but then don't say what it is that I twist. It's all there for the whole (literate) world to see, Steve. Back up your claims! Third, this whole Matlock thing. Yes, it is true that old people love Matlock. Unfortunately, King Solomon is TOO old to love Matlock. When's the last time we ever heard Mr. Burns praise or even discuss Matlock? Never! If the oldest man in Springfield can ignore Matlock, surely the oldest judge in the midwest can as well. And for my final point I'd like to take you back to the OT once again. Who did Solomon have as his leaders, as his most trusted associates and advisors? Lawyers? I don't think so. Solomon probably doesn't even know what a lawyer is, so I don't see him taking too much stock in what Matlock has to say. No, the correct answer is priests! Solomon had several priests as his chief officials (1 Kings 4:1-6, for the record). And who is on the side of the Cunninghams but none other than Father Dowling himself! With all the mystery solving prowess as Matlock (despite the lower ratings), he would surely be able to dig up as much dirt as anyone else (like that brothel of an apartment building Barney ran later in life). But the difference is that Solomon would listen to and believe Father Dowling, just as if he were Abiathar himself! Cunninghams in a rout.

Oh, and you were right with one thing, Steve. Barney Fife with a loaded gun is indeed something to be avoided. It's called "The Shakiest Gun in the West" and it sucked worse than "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" or even "The Love God".

"...joint custody or splitting Ron Howard in two are not allowable options."

Thanks to Dave Ruark & Andy Liimatta for suggesting this custody battle idea.
Thanks also to our own Kathryn Hollar for suggesting King Solomon as judge.

For Happy Days and The Andy Griffith Show links, visit Sitcoms Online.

The Results

Andy Taylor (934)


The Cunninghams (929)

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Voter Comments


O.K., without wasting time explaining why the Cunninghams are the ultimate all-American Midwest-valued nuclear family (they are), let me instead address the shortcomings of Andy Taylor.

1. Not only is Andy Taylor a single parent, he's a police officer. Having little Opie around the police station is a recipe for disaster. It's only a question of time before Barney pulls that bullet out of his pocket, loads his gun and accidentally blows Opie's face off. Any judge, particularly Solomon, should recognize such a dangerous environment. The only domestic risk the Cunninghams pose is the potential to catch the crabs from Pinky Tuscadero. Score one for the Cunninghams.

2. Remember "Salvage One"? No one else does, either. Suffice to say that Andy has no compunction about throwing away his life savings and a profitable business in order to build a lame-themed weekly serial about a man and his rocket. NASA may be privatizing, but I don't think they'll be calling Andy with any fat contracts. Financial irresponsibility won't look good in court. Mr. C: 2, Andy: 0.

3. As "Matlock," Andy may be tempted to handle the case by himself, hoping his distinguished elder-statesman persona will carry the day. As the adage goes, the man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. His small-town common sense will avail him naught, and Solomon would surely laugh him out of court. TKO Cunninghams.

Besides, have you ever noticed Andy is NEVER MARRIED in ANY of these shows? I'm not so sure he IS the biological father, if you know what I mean.

- Bill Lindich


A brief controversy over cameras in the courtroom flares, but ends with Solomon opining, "What's the worst that could happen?" and allowing them. He finds out what the worst is, as celebrities pack the spectator seating. Hanks and Hannah, Ameche and Brimley, Cruise and Kidman jostle for room and optimum angles, all trying to look the most concerned over the fate of 'Ron Doe'.

A disruption occurs early in the proceedings, as Mel Gibson stands up in the third row and bellows, "GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!" Unimpressed by this pre-Oscar publicity stunt, Rusty the bailiff hustles him away. Solomon briefly believes this new claim gives him a legal loophole, but Wisconsin law also disallows cutting children in three parts, and the trial proceeds.

Arguments and counter-arguments fly, but the pivotal moment comes when the Cunninghams' lawyer gets Andy Taylor to admit that he, not his late wife, named their son. "So it's your doing," says the lawyer. "You gave him a name that you had to know would make him the target of snickering and teasing from all his schoolmates, destroy his chances of getting a date as a teenager, make job interviewers chortle while reading the top of his resume. You did that. Well, we have a name for that above the Mason-Dixon line: CHILD ABUSE!"

Solomon never even gets to deliberate. Sheriff Taylor is dragged out of court by a righteously incensed mob, to a fate best not described, although all the networks carried it live. Richie is Richie once again ... and Mr. and Mrs. C celebrate by sneaking into the jury room to get 'frisky'.

- Call me Shane

ROTW (tm) Bronze Medal Winner (tm)

As the trial gets underway, Barney and Thelma Lou sit whispering in the back of the courtroom.
"Those loudmouth, good for nothin' city slickers! Bustin in on Andy and takin' poor Opie away...why I ougtha..."
"Now now, hunny bunny. No use getting all fired up about it. I'm sure Andy can take care of it. Why, he looks positively lawyerly in that white suit."
"That's what I'm afraid of, Thelma Lou. He doesn't seem like he's Andy any more. Why that phony priest is going to walk all over him. Darlin'," Barney hikes up his pants authoritatively, "we'd better take over for him. Hook or by crook, I'm a gettin' Opie back."
"Really? What if there's trouble, hunny bunny." says Thelma Lou.
"Well, you know I can handle more than my share of trouble, Thelma Lou, and besides, we're not exactly dealin' with the US Marines in this courtroom here. Why, look at that judge up there. Is he gonna give me any trouble? He's supposed to be some kind of a wise man. He'll know better than to cross my path, that's fer darn sure."
"Oooh, I love it when you talk that way. I love you hunny bunny"
"I love you too". They both rise and run to the middle of the courtroom.
"Alright now, just simmer down everybody, this is a stickup!" shouts Barney as he (shakily) draws his gun.
"Any of you fucking pigs move, and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!" Shouts Thelma Lou, as she deftly swipes Rusty the Bailiffs sidearm. Old King Solomon and everyone else in the courtroom dives for cover.
Barney fidgets. "Uh, pretty good there Thelma Lou, uh well now where was I. Oh yeah, now I'm takin' Opie back here now..." Andy/Matlock starts gesturing anxiously at Barney from under the table.
"Barney, what in the name of Sam Hill are you doing!" "Now Andy, don't worry, I've got it all under control. Now Opie." He looks around, finds Richie/Opie.
"Opie, I think its time we get you home to Aunt Bee, now any body got a problem with that?" King Solomon starts to raise a hand from his position behind the bench. Thelma Lou runs over to him...
"We got a hero here?"
"No maam, no heroes" says Solomon, sinking back down under the bench.
Suddenly, the door bursts open and a lone figure strides in. Off in the distance a studio audience can be heard applauding.
"Ayyyy" says the Fonz, taking in the situation.
"Now look here Mister." says Barney, starting to lose his nerve. Thelma Lou starts getting antsy.
"Hey now, we're cool" says the Fonz, striding up to Richie/Opie. "Right Richie?"
"Yeah that's right Fonz, we're cool. Real cool." says Opie/Richie.
"Are you cool, Mr and Mrs C? King Solomon? Everybody cool? Are you cool, Ringo? Are you like the Fonz?"
"Ringo?" Barney lowers his gun. "Ron, what is this guy talking about?"
"Now, Don, I told you just to..."
"CUT!" yells Tarantino, stepping off the director's chair. "Now look, Opie, you just let me handle the directing here, you got that?"
"Well Quentin, I was just trying to tell Don..."
"Hey! Hey! I don't want to hear it! I just..."
Tom Bosley, Andy Griffith, and King Solomon head over to the buffet table as Ron Howard and Quentin Tarantino start their seventeenth argument of the day.
"You know at this rate," says the King, "I'd be glad if we just got rid of him and that Tarantino kid altogether."
"You said it." says Bosley.
"Now now, Tom," says Andy, "we just have to be patient. We don't have to be so rash. Why, why don't you try taking him. I'm sure he has more fun at your sockhops and soda parlors than he ever did down at the ole fishin hole..."
King Solomon ponders the two veteran actors statements...

Score: Andy Griffith 1, Cunninghams 0.

- Dave C

While Andy could possibly have Danny Thomas on his side (not to mention the fact that he's the sadistic "Grandpa" of the eponymous NBC TV-movie), The Cunnighams have Mork. Mork may not feel inclined to help Richie, but once the Fonz uses Lenny and Squiggy to bridge the communications gap (Fonz just don't speak Weirdo), I'm sure he'll be happy to help, as well as call on his fellow mystical TV-people (i.e., Jeannie, Q, Endora, Gazoo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Dick Clark).

Hopefully, the Cunninghams will work out a trade where Andy gets the long-last older brother, and two phone numbers from Fonz's black book to be named later.

- Jim Smith

Let's face it... Solomon respects warriors, and Andy's got firepower. Now, I admit a SW .38 isn't much, but compared to the Cunningham's selections of hammers, screwdrivers, and other pre-power-tools, it's more than enough to win over Solomon. Anyway, Father Dowling/Sherriff of cabot cove won't be able to make a concerted argument without an effective female co-star (jessica fletcher or that hot nun). He's going down.

- I am Inigio Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die

I see this custody battle as the next great made for TV courtroom drama, putting O.J.(TM) and JonBennet Ramsey(TM) to shame.

The trial will hinge on the 1st witness - Barney Fife, called by Andy Taylor representing himself. Fife will describe how Andy is a great sheriff and a wonderful father. He will also make one fatal flaw - He will admit how much he loves children, a fact the Fonz, representing the Mr & Mrs C, will capitalize on. As the Fonz, with his inborn Cool(TM) and control of the courtroom takes the stammering hick Barney apart. The courtroom gets the feeling Barney and Andy are child molesters. There is no evidence or proof and nothing has been admitted - but it doesn't matter - National Enquirer(TM), The Globe(TM), Tom Brokaw all smell ratings. Theo Huxtable, Bud Bundy, Gary Coleman all fabricate stories for money. The public is enthralled for months. Solomon caves to public pressure and awards custody to the Cunninghams.

- gladi8tor

While possession is nine-tenths of the law, Andy Taylor IS the law. Plus, I think the record clearly shows that Andy Taylor is the smartest man on television, and that the Cunninghams are basically a bunch of happy dufuses. Andy has outsmarted everyone in Mayberry (admittedly not too difficult), plus more than a few city slickers who've had the bad luck to drift through his jurisdiction. All the Cunninghams can really count on is smarm and The Fonz. And let's face it. The Fonz is just another punk kid to Andy Taylor.

Besides, I have a feeling that Gomer and Goober Pyle would be creepily effective at applying the necessary muscle to get Solomon to see things from the Mayberry point of view, if you know what I mean. And if that doesn't work, Floyd The Barber can always slide past Solomon's security screen and give him a "shave". In short, the Mayberry team has a deep bench. Would you call on Ralph and Potsy late in the fourth quarter? I thought not.

- Jason

1. All the Cunninghams do is brake up drag races and give stern lectures and ludicrous punishments that most ignore.

2. Andy can give stern lectures and punishments that reduce little boys to tears.

Winner: Andy.

- Jester How Ujest (

Andy Taylor has another advantage over the Cunninghams, the Andy Griffith show is black & white while Happy Days is in color. Since King Solomon predates color by a long way (everyone knows the world was black&white until the late 60's), one would think that color characters would confuse him (he would be likely to think they were demons or something). It seems obvious that Solomon would rather Richie be treated like a child than raised by demons. So Taylor wins easily... or does he? Don't forget that the Cumminghams have the Fonz on their side. All the Fonz needs to do is snap his fingers and the whole incident never happened. If Mork from Ork couldn't out do the Fonz's finger snapping, King Solomon and Andy Taylor don't stand a chance.

- Digger

O.K. this is a no-brainer. Assuming that Richie is 16 or 17 years old, King Soloman would think him an independent man at this age and would give him the choice for himself. So what would Richie think? He would have to decide between fishing with Andy and hanging out with Aunt Bee, and living with the Cunningham's and hanging at Al's where they have the number one deciding factor, the hotties. That's correct, Richie would clearly choose the Cunningham's based on the ladies, obviously an important thing to a young man approaching his sexual peak. All that he needs to do is talk to the Fonz in the bathroom, one snap of Fonz's fingers, and presto instant females. Also, the importance of his amazing band featuring Ralph and Potsy can not be underestimated. Who would want to break up such an outstanding musical outfit?

- The Wax

Sorry, Steve. Even though I usually agree with your choices, I gotta go with Brian's Father Dowling explanation this time.

- Noel Schornhorst

Matlock has only lost 1 case in his entire life, so the only way for the Cunninghams to win is to hire, you guessed it again, special guest appearence by Joe Pesci as Fonzie's "Cousin Vinny", he never lost either* -- And here's part of the court transcript now.

Vinny: Your Kingship, it is at all possible that this red-headed freckle-faced ute...
King Solomon: The what? W-what was that word?
V: What word?
KS: The what?
V: what?
KS: Did you say ute?
V: Yeah, Freckle-faced ute.
KS: What is a "ute"?
V: Oh, excuse me your Highness...freckle-faced YOUTHS

So, even though it's set in a Milwaukee Courtroom, Andy/Ben should have no problem wrapping up this case toot-sweet, and not even Marissa Tomme with her pictures of broken screens and dog poop can help Vinny win this case.

*based on the whole one case he's ever had

- Vinnie M

First, Solomon was the richest man of his time, so we don't have to worry about the Cunninghams 'greasing his palm' with that hardware- store fortune. And since he also had (counting concubines) over 1,000 of the finest women, you can count that bribe out, too. (Fonzie's harem was a little smaller.) And being the wisest (mortal) man that ever lived, he's going to choose the absolute best thing for Opie/ Richie: Andy Taylor.

Sure the Cunninghams have a nice comfortable life and all, but Solomon could see that under Sheriff Taylor, Opie will turn to be the ideal: the All-Judean boy. And then he'll go on to direct great motion pictures. And go bald as a coot.

- Cerberus

I think the key to this whole thing boils down to... hair color.

Can you find anyone on either show with carrot-colored hair? Granted that'd be a tough bet with the b/w Andy Griffith show, but what festering gene pool can produce red hair and freckles from dark hair and pasty skin? This leads me to vote for the Cunninghams because they could most obviously qualify as adoptive parents: substantial income, middle class lifestyle, stable family life. Compare this to Andy/Aunt Bea. Heck, the word 'adoption' was unknown in the rural South until about 1974.

- Science Jim

King Soloman is wise, he will have learned from the OJ trial and will manipulate both sides so the trial continues for several years, involve multiple conspericies, and end with a mistrial at which point the kid will be an adult. (no winner)

Soloman will then go write an exclusive acount of the Trial, which will become the second best selling book of all times (2nd only to the Bible) and use the $ to live like a king the way he did in the old days.

- Abdul alhazred

I have to say ol' Andy Taylor in this one. First of all, Andy has already succesfully driven out all people of different racial background from Mayberry, a small southern town, which should be loaded with Afro-Americans (have you ever seen a black guy on that show?), racial purity was very important to Old Testament (tm) Israel, so he'll get brownie points for that one.
Solomon will listen to Andy, a father figure to the whole town. He, on the other hand, will scorn the unclean Mr. Cunninghan who's roly-poly figure and very name (Cunning-Ham) conjures up images of non-kosher meals.
Two, Andy is a singer, and so was Old King Sol, they will bond right away, as any one who is musically trained must be a) righteous and b) educated.
And finally, Andy Griffith is a frat brother of mine (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia) and I have to vote for him to keep from being the sacrifice at the next Samhain festival (Frats really do have secrets).

- abd'Andy Griffith al Matlock (slave of Andy Griffith who is Matlock)

Well, you both present a good arguement here. Steve managed to insult the Bible. As an atheist I approve of this, although I must agree with Brian that just as a work of literature the Bible is anything but boring. At least the Old Testament parts aren't.

Brian invoked the name of Mr. Burns, clearly a great point for his side, however, Brian picked Ross Perot over Burns a few matches ago and thus it seems profane for him to mention the name of Burns.

Thus with both sides equal so far, we have to look at the contestants themselves, and while I personally like the Cunninghams more, I think Andy can take them in a courtroom battle. Solomon won't really know what a sheriff is so he will probably see Andy as a warrior of some kind, something he would respect. And [Steve] is right about hardware store owners. Also Solomon was Jewish, and would probably view a Catholic priest as a dangerous heretic that needs to be killed, but he would admire the wisdom and tenacity of Matlock. Besides, the most important thing we must remember is that Howard Cunningham, a devout Republican, was unable to convince his son to vote for Dwight Eisenhower, this shows a lack of control over the boy, and being from the old school of parenting Solomon would have to go with Andy who would never raise a son to vote for Adlai Stevenson.

- Brendan W. Guy

In the middle of the argument, I can see little Richie sneaking out to hop onto the Wells Fargo wagon and head on to his REAL home, River City, (THE MUSIC MAN where he had his acting debut). Impossible you say? Hey, if you were to choose between a neighborhood containing Matlock & Mr. Firley OR a town containing Chochie and Ralph-Malph you'd direct Apollo 13 also just to use the shuttle to get the hell out of town!

- Budo

Solomon: Alright, the procedings may begin. I'll hear arguments from each of the parties that claim parenthood in this case. Sherrif Taylor, you may begin.

Andy: Awlright, now lookie here, your honor-

(A commotion from the midst of the court room, and a dashing figure emerges.)

Tom Cruise: Excuse me, but what the _hell_!?!

(Tom whops Richie/Opie over the head with the current script they're working on, and a copy of the financial returns from the movies they've made togther. Richie/Opie shakes his head, loses the moronic, near-dazed expression from his face, and remembers....)

Solomon: Young man, you are out of line. Guards seize this man, and cut him in half. I wanted to get that in anyway.

Ron Howard: Uhm, Solomon, that won't be necessary - in fact, I mean this whole thing won't be necessary. See...

(Ron goes on about he's actually been quite busy conquering the "promised" land of Hollywood. And that he probably has amassed far more than Solomon's fortunes. They end laughing with Ron signing Solomon a cameo in his new Cruise movie - (in which Tom has been slated to play Solomon himself. Solomon has Mr and Mrs C, the Fonz, Andy, Aunt B, and Barney all cut in half, and the case is declared closed.)

- Demonsthenes

This match was decided in the first line:

Any parents who let their son call a good Coke "pop" are obviously unfit. Besides, Opie is much more fun to say than Richie.

- Matt

Andy Taylor, the Sherrif of Mayberry-ham, has a more recent claim with Opie's being in Return to Mayberry (1986).

However, while Solomon ponders the arguments and everyone watching is wishing that the proceedings were more like Ransom (1996), it is revealed that Opie/Ritchie was in The First Nudie Musical (1976), so both parties drop their claims and go home. Quid Pro Quo.

- that weirdo

As a good lawyer, Matlock will do research on the Cunningham "Family" and he will notice an astonishing fact: The "older brother" of Richie Cunningham appeared on only three episodes of the show. Admittedly, this ain't the most shocking fact in the world. What is disturbing, however, is that he was played by three different actors!

King Solomon just doesn't have any way to look at this but one: The Cunninghams have been stealing adolescent boys from their rightful homes for years! Richie is the fourth such victim THAT WE KNOW OF! And notice, these "sons" all keep disappearing... It was only a matter of time before Richie "Joined the Navy and went overseas for a while..."

Luckily, Solomon is a firm believer in the Code of Hammurabi, so he would be able to devise a just punishment for the Cunninghams: To be kidnapped and raised by Wilford Brimley and the rest of the "Our House" family, doomed to a lifetime of Quaker Oatmeal and bad geriatric movies. Go, Solomon, power to the people!

Incidentally, is he not allowed to threaten to cut Richie in half because neither side would cry and give up?

- Cornboy

Aw, just smite the whole bunch of 'em.
So Richie hits his head and starts unearthing all these repressed memories, eh? Well what's the leading cause of repressed memories among TV children but...sexual abuse?! Obviously Opie/Richie was pulled out of Mayberry by a sympathetic social worker after the abuse was uncovered, and the Cunninghams didn't want to remind the poor kid of his early tragedy, so they lied in court about him being their natural son.

Who was the abuser? Floyd the barber of course! Think about it: A single, never-married loner, in a position where he could come into physical contact with small boys every day, and who really gives you the willies....all the classic signs are there. When Richie reveals the truth in a dramatic flashback on the witness stand, Solomon will have no choice but to award full custody to the Cunninghams, and to lop off Floyd's hair-fondling mitts besides!

Of course it wasn't until later that the authorities took Joanie away from her mothers, Lavernne and Shirley. But that's another story.

- Coyote

Oh, how I wish Barney Fief carried more then one bullet, so that he could kill Andy, the Cunninghams, Opie, and everyone else in this contest. Maybe "Joanie loves Cochie" could have been avoided if he'd had more foresight.

- Joe Valenzuela

Obviously, Solomon will decide that the best way to settle this is to have the competing parties fight it out with swords, since the righteous always prevail. I figure this leads to the Cunninghams in a rout. They will definitely have the Fonz (hoodlum/mechanic/teacher, what talent!!!!) helping them. Meanwhile, the only people that Andy has helping him are cannon fodder. Let's face it, Barney, Floyd and Aunt Bea are useless. I don't even know if Andy will pick up the sword. He didn't want to carry a gun. After a couple of minutes, Andy will be beheaded (they like doing that in the OT) and his head mounted on the Cunnigham family hearth.

- Terrahawk

There are a few things that make this an open-shut case:

1) Andy Taylor is a religious man - we'll come back to that later.

2) The Cunninghams are incapable of loving their kids - case in point, Chuck (the older brother). He leaves for basketball practice one day, and never returns. Do they freak out? No. Do they call the cops? No. Do they ever mention him again? No. As a matter of fact, in an episode some ways down the road, Mr. C. says something to the effect of "we were blessed with two wonderful kids." WHAT ABOUT CHUCK?

Now, taking 1) and 2) into consideration, Andy wins. WHY? Because, while he can't figure out where Opie has been since the invention of the color picture tube, the love he feels will win out. He also has, I am sure, being that he is a religious man, read his Bible, and knows that he just has to agree to give Opie up instead of putting him through this turmoil. Solomon, being wise, will know he is the boy's true father. Case closed, go see the bailiff who has some papers for you to sign.

- Chuck Donovan, Virginia

The proceedings will have barely begun when Ernest T. Bass throws a rock through the courtroom window. Sheriff Andy goes running after Bass. Cunningham's lawyers cite this as evidence that Andy will not look after Opie/Richie's best interests. Solomon rules in favor of Cunninghams.

- Chris K.

Brian, you poor misbegotten soul, you've gotten this all backwards: Solomon would undoubtedly rule in favor of Andy *because* of his association with Barney; see, the Wise Solomon would appreciate, nay, endorse the fact that Barney is the superintendant of a "brothel": we are talking about the guy who had 700+ concubines, after all.

Secondly, Solomon, already on precarious ground with the Almighty (tm) would not also wish to anger the forces of darkness. Don't tell me that you've forgotten already Beavis' knowledge of the Mayberry Black Arts (tm) : "Hey Andy, let's go down to Mount Pilate and worship Satan!" is a cry not soon forgotten by the wise King.


Solomon's only divisor in this most equal of contests must be motive. The Cunninghams motive is to preserve their family and protect Richie from the hardships which lie in a post-Eisenhower world. Andy Taylor, however, is harboring that oldest and most Old Testament-ish of motivations, VENGEANCE (tm)!

When Solomon hears of the injustice done to Andy through his loss of the only thing of interest in Mayberry, and the years of lonely isolation spent in jerkwater America, contrasted against the Cunninghams in their idyllic, sterile world, with their tepid, New Testament (tm), motivations of nurturing and harboring innocence, he may decide to give Andy not only Opie, but split Joanie in half and beat Ralph and Potsie to death with her carcass!

Otis, stowing away with Andy for the trip to the city, winds up living with Lenny and Squiggy (tmx2) after a visit to the Schottz brewery.

- Brian

As nice as the Cunninghams seem, Andy Taylor will be awarded custody for two reasons. Both of them are rather subjective but point to Opie being anyone's but the Cunningham's offspring.

First, have you seen Marion Ross on "The Drew Carey Show" and in "Evening Star"? Have you caught a Hefty ad lately and checked out Tom Bosley? Now compare that image with Andy Taylor's lanky physique -- he's obviously a closer phenotype to Opie's thin build than the Cunninghams' soft bods.

Second, the recent movie "Ransom" -- based, Opie says, on a scene from his own recent past -- actually reveals a deep-seated fear of parent/child separation and anxiety over abandonment. The wild efforts of Mel Gibson's character to recover the missing child are a projection of Opie's wishes for the search Andy Taylor was unable to make, lacking the resources of Gibson's executive.

What could be clearer? Andy Taylor must be awarded custody of Opie: he's the only surviving natural parent, and it's obvious Opie feels emotional stress over having been spearated from him in his youth. "Case closed"

- Will Enestvedt

Can no one see what's happened here--the terrible reality behind this custody battle? Andy Taylor was a law enforcement officer. Sometimes, his role led him into danger. Obviously, at some point, an incident, probably involving Goober, led to his fearing for the life of his dear son. Andy testified against evil forces in Mayberry and he and Opie vanished without a trace. The boy could not be trusted to keep silent about his Mayberry past, so Opie was subjected to Big-Time Movie-Type Hypnosis (tm), while Andy entered the ever-popular Witness Protection Program (tm). In preparation for his later role in Salvage One, Andy salvaged space debris which turned out to be a Borg Chronoton Generator (tm). With this, he causes Opie to be hurtled back in time to a safer decade, before the advent of the Beatles and the death of Richie Valens. Of coures, Andy couldn't stay away from law enforcement, and did eventually adopt the role of Matlock in order to work out his Deep-Seated Feelings of Regret (tm). Solomon will hear this story in wonder and amazement and then, familiar as he is with such events as the fall of the walls of Jericho, little boys killing giants with a rock, and the sun standing still, will see the Hand of God (tm) at work here and choose in favor of the natural father. Opie will be returned to Andy and, as Goober and his compatriots are now dead, the two will safely return to Mayberry, where they can discuss rocket ships to their hearts' content.

- billiam

You guys forgot some key elements: 1.Do you really think any judge would allow a minor to be subjected to a father who repeatidly allows obviously Publicly Inoxicated people (namely Otis) wander the streets? 2.Lets not forget that the Cunnunghams have none of then mr. Miagi on their side from the brief stint when he ran Arnolds. A few well placed "paint-the-fence(tm)" techniques and Andy would crumple into submission.

- MAC!

Andy is obviously going to win either way. If the Cunnighams do get custody, Andy and Barney Fife will team up once again and snatch that Opie boy. Will people ask questions? I doubt it. Notice that in Mayberry the prison cells are always empty? That's because Andy and Barney have their own way of dispensing justice.

- Steve

Being both a police officer AND a lawyer, he knows the ins and outs of the legal system... All [Andy] has to do is send a batch of Aunt Bea's pickles to Solomon with a fake note saying that it's from the Cunninghams and BOOM! Chalk up another victory for the Andyman!

He can alternately have Otis show up and claim to be the missing brother who Mr. and Mrs. C drove to drink through their "incestous" ways. He has the court savvy to introduce tapes of Mr. C's many many failures on $20,000 pyramid. (Solomon has been known to frown on those who do not excel near the powerful pyramids)

He can show evidence that the Cunningham's are directly responsible for "WILLOW".

If all of these options fail... never forget that Andy's packing.

- Darren "ooooo Andy" Esler

King Solomon is known for Wisdom (tm). (In a deep annoucer voice] In the bible he said to split the baby, because he knew the real mother would not let this happen. So in his infinite Wisdom (tm) he awards custody to ....... Al and Peg Bundy.

Mrs. C immediately burst into tears begging Solomon to grant custody of Richpie/Opchie to Andy Taylor, believing at least Richpie/Opie won't become a total loser. And with the Wisdom (tm) of Solomon, Solomon then grants custody to the Cunninghams.

- LudFritter

You had me on a string.

With Brilliant allusions and concrete logic I was twirled back and forth between the arguments. Dizzy, I must admit that I lost consciousness somewhere towards the beginning of Brian's last argument, but already my will had been swayed.

Family values with Andy - how could you beat that?

But Ho! You gotta go with the thinking that King S. had never, technically, heard of a family value...the contest was in Bri's hands.

But Matlock came in and I realized this goes way deeper, delving into, apparently, non-linear time streams and realities, and I realized that the King just wouldn't send lil' Richie into the home of Father Downing and Joanie and Chachi(sp,tm). He may have had a cruel sence of Justice but, dammit Jim, that is inhuman.

- Dizzy

After hearing the arguments from both sides (with Matlock representing the Taylors and Father Dowling representing the Cunninghams) the Wise and Mighty King Solomon(TM) returns with a verdict.

Unfortunately, the WMKS(TM) only speaks ancient Hebrew, which only Father Dowling can speak. Matlock objects. "I object, O WMKS(TM). It is not right that the defendant's attorney should be the only one to understand you."

Finally, they decide to let Ritchie Opie Taylor Cunningham (ROTC) decide for himself. They give him 24 hours.

That night he dreams. He is playing saxophone with his buddies.
"Put your head on my shoouuuuuullllderrrrrrr..."
"I still got it."
"Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep"
"Schlemiel, schlemazel, Hossenpfeffer Incorporated."
"Joanie, you're grounded!"
In his sleep, Ritchie smiles. But then, his dream turns ugly. He is living in a black and white world....
"Oooh, the boy needs a haircut."
"Well, gooooollllllllllleeeeeee."
"Emmett, I want that vehicle outa here!"
"Now, Barney, just settle down."
"Andeeeeeeee! Andeeee! Dinner's on the table!"
"But, paw!"
"Oooh, the boy needs a haircut!" (snip snip)

He awakes screaming. Mrs. C comes in and gives him some hot chocolate to comfort him. And Ritchie Cunningham realizes you can never go back to Mayberry.

- The Listmeister

Think of who lived in Mayberry. I'll give you a hint: Moonshine. That's right: UNCLE JESSE!

With Uncle Jesse on his side, and therefore, the rest of the Dukes of Hazzard: Bo, Luke, Daisy, and that guy that worked at the garage, Andy is unstoppable. Opie will be back eating Aunt Bea's famous pies faster than you can say "yee-hah!"

- John Kenneth Fisher

[Opie/Richie] would choose his family from American Graffity. Come on, as "Opie" he was treated as an eight year old. As Richie it got a little better, but in Ameriacan Graffity, he was allowed to stay out all night, party, watch Harrison Ford flip a truck..... There is no competition. Even an old fart like Solomon would know that.

- splat

Under the care of the Cunninghams, Richie/Opie will continue to be exposed to the harsher side of life (albeit interspersed with fun musical bits.) No life for an innocent kid...especially with the Fonz as a major influence. Under the Taylors, however, he will revert to being the nice innocent Opie we (or rather, our parents) all knew and loved. King Solomon, is of course, very wise, and knows that no innocent person can possibly make a living in the movie industry. He gives the Cunninghams custody, and just to make sure there are no hard feelings, proposes to Aunt Bea (what's one more wife to him?).

- Morgan

I voted for the Cunninghams because...
not only was Mr. C a hardware store owner...
not only was he Father Dowling...
he was also a sheriff himself on MURDER SHE WROTE!

Businessman, clergyman, lawman, solver of mysteries, Mr. C is a man for all seasons!


Matlock might be a whiz in the courtroom, but he played his cards poorly in his personal life. By releasing an album of his "favorite" gospel songs (sung by himself), he has already positioned himself against King Solomon. The King has no time to spend with heretics, so he orders Matlock drawn and quartered. After determining that the "Fonz" is not some sort of pagan idolatry, but in fact a ridiculous Brooklyn stereotype, he relents and allows the Cunningham family custody.

You know, maybe the Fonz IS pagan idolatry...he COULD work the magic jukebox.

- Brian Kutner

Since there is no solid evidence in support of either family, we're afraid that we've opted for the healthier option. We feel that Richie will be terribly traumatized by the transplantation to Mayberry. Who'd he hang out with? Barney? OTIS?!? Please, no. For the love of God and all that is sacred, NO!!! How would he grow up to produce Apollo-13 if his only influences are a man whose idea of a night on the town is throwing up in the corner of a jail cell and one who can't keep his bullets in his gun (if you know what I mean)...

Destiny has spoken. Fonzie's experience producing Macgyver will lend itself in Richie's apprenticeship. He would have a true friend and a healthy role-model. And of course, one can't forget the Cunninghams, the father of which will go on to the clergy and fight crime with his sidekick, Sister "Wrath o' God" Stephanie.

- General Green and the Raspberry Beret

It is a good thing that I am back as Reality Chief (tm) for you guys. When did you ever hear of actual justice or right & wrong having anything at all to do with a legal trial? Forget it! Mr. C owns a hardware store and can afford the best lawyer around. Andy can get the best lawyer around as a personal favor but who cares? The best lawyer around Mayberry (and I NEVER watched this show) couldn't sleaze his way through traffic court in whatever town the Cunninghams live in. Everybody in Mayberry is kind and decent which pretty much leaves them out in the cold as far as a trial goes.

- Darth Ackley (tm)

Well, I've got to go with Andy Taylor on this one. As far as I'm concerned the case all comes down to one basic element-the psychological affects of color on one's judgement. See, Andy Taylor is only ever seen in black and white. (the post-Barney apisodes do not count as they are no good anyway.)Sherrif Taylor's lawyer, Ben Matlock, always wears a bland grey suit and has that shiny silver hair thing going for him. A lack of color on Andy Talor's side will come in handy because we all know the wise King Soloman will go with a "gut" feeling when it comes to deciding. Facts are irrelevent here because, hey, he's got the gift of wisdom going for him, why bother listening to the facts? When he sees that horrible '70's sitcom look in the appearance of the Cunningham's there will be little doubt as to just who gets custody. Face it, would you rather send someone to live with a good, wholesome, black-and-white family, or a family that makes you want to shield your eyes when you them.

- Little Wooden Boy

King Soloman, although being wise beyond comprehension and old beyond recorded time, is still just as fickle towards shameful pop culture saturation as anyone. He watches seventeen hours of MTV when he's not on the bench (or rock, in the days before benches were invented) and so he has seen the Weezer video for Buddy Holly oodles of time, and still thinks it's pretty cool. Andy Griffith has no accompanying music video (although he is rumored to have an upcoming project with Busta Rhymes) and so the case and custody goes to the Cunninghams. He would have ruled in favor of Jimmy McBride the cab driver if he could find an excuse to.

But it's not over yet! As the victorious Cunninghams stroll out of the courthouse, a crazed man with a gleaming head runs towards them. "Wait!" he cries, "I'm the real father!"

The gleaming man is, of course, Sy Sperling. Since both Happy Days and Andy Griffith took place in the fifties, Sy hadn't had his visits to the Hair Club for Men yet. So his pate had all the furriness of a grapefruit. He sticks his well-polished noggin in the face of Mr.C and shouts "You're not bald! How can you claim this is your biological spawn?"

Mr. C hadn't taken high school biology, and didn't know that hereditary baldness came from the female genes. So, under duress of reason, he signed over custody to Sy.

Sy then introduced him to his other biological son, Rob Reiner.

- Sean (I don't give a damn about kewl web names)

Dowling explained his evidence with the help of charts.

"As we know, Opie Taylor was a boy of 10 or so at the time of Andy Taylor's parental care. Richie Cunningham is in his teens. But what about the respective time eras? If memory serves me right, the Cunninghams live in 1950's Mid-Northern America. Richie would have been born around 1940. The Taylors live in the South-Eastern part of the United States in the late 1950's/early 1960's. A boy of ten would have to be born in 1950 or at least the late '40's..."

Andy Taylor broke down. "All right! It's true! He's not my son!"

It seems that Taylor decided to go the old "Raising Arizona" route, and was going to kidnap a son of a middle class family in Wisconsin. First he had to plant some repressed memories into Richie's mind using hypnosis. Then, Richie would blame the Cunninghams for abducting him at a young age. "If it wasn't for that darn priest, I would have done it too!"

Andy Taylor is stripped of his badge, Barney becomes Sheriff, and due to his part in the case, Matlock is sentenced to being O.J.'s permanent lawyer, free of charge. A happy ending...

- Vlad the Wonder Hamster

And the Lord did send the prophet Jebediah into the throes of a mighty vision, and did filleth his fleshly vessel with holy knowledge of the spark and the life: the story of little Opie Cunningham...

...And thus it came to pass that the two great tribes of Israel, Taylor and Cunningham, did seek an audience with Solomon. He sat upon his gilded throne, arrayed in rainments of red and silver, observing the entrance of the two tribal panopolies. As they entered the palace, Solomon could see that between them they bore a richly decorated litter. Uponeth it sat a gawky (and whiny) red-haired youth.

With a mighty bow, Andy, Patriarch of Tribe Taylor, began to speak: "Awh grate Solaman," he drawleth, "puh-leese let-eth this boy come back with me and Aunt Bea to Mayberry. Ah-know the boy is trubble, but ah prah-mise to make him practice the pi-ana, and always tell the truth-no-matter-whuut, and dew his HOME-werk before fishin'..."

"Enough!" cried the great Solomon, raising his richly gloved hand. "Let the other one speak..."

And then the portly shopkeeper-Patriarch of the Tribe Cunningham moveth to speak: "O' great and mighty Solomon," the shopkeeper sayeth with much genuflection, "the boy always goeth out past his curfew. He rideth a motorcycle without my permission, and does not wash the car when I ask it of him. Surely he needeth the strong guidance of a hardworking father who provideth not only for his family, but the Fonz as well."

Alas, the shopkeeper's plea fell upon deaf ears, for Solomon was much taken with the doe-eyed beauty of Cunningham's wife, Marian. So too did the gauzily veiled form of Aunt Bea filleth him with unchecked desire.

Solomon motioned to his turban-clad ennuchs, Lenny and Squiggy, who smote the two patriarchs with mighty chops of their brazen scimitars, splitting them from crown to loins. One half of each patriarch fell into a bloody heap at the feet of the startled red-haired youth.

"You are man now, Little Opie Cunningham, so live it up!" Solomon cryeth, and with a rousing "Mindy-Mindy-Mindy!" he embraceth his two new wives, carrying them giggling to the nuptual egg, a one way honeymoon space-probe ticket to Planet Ork.

"Up your nose with a rubber hose, man," the youth replieth. For this transgression,and for making Willow, the Lord instantly changeth poor Opie into a pillar of salt. By royal decree, Ralph and Potsie are given custody of the concubines Laverne and Shirley, Joanie and Chachie are ordered stoned to death by disgusted network executives, Mayberry gets Don Knotts as the Sheriff, and Fonzie "Cunningham" wins in the end by finally getting "custody" of the entire house.

And the Lord did grin, and say,"Aaaayyyyyyyyy".

- Jebediah, goateed ex-prophet of West Gorgoroth

This one is a tough call. Let's look at what each contender brings to the table.

First, you have the Cunninghams. Let's start with Tom Bosley. Face it, folks, the man is a paragon of legal knowledge. First off, he was Father Dowling, the sleuthing priest. And let's not forget that he played a Judge in a version of "Miracle on 34th Street", AND he was on "Streets of San Francisco". Plus he played Ben Franklin once. You'll notice here that in the interest of fairness, I won't even MENTION that Tom was on "The Love Boat", as that spells cool in anyone's book. All of this means that the Christian Coalition, Santa Claus, the founding fathers of the United States of America, the crew of the Love Boat, AND Karl Malden will all be testifying on the Cunningham's behalf. Don't get mad, Tom, get GLAD.

Then you have Richie's mom, Marion Ross. It's obvious that Richie has a special place in his heart for his dear mother, since she appeared not only in "Skyward", but in Richie's directorial debut, "Grand Theft Auto". On the strength of this last, add Roger Corman to the roster of witnesses. Then throw in everyone who was with Marion in "Operation Petticoat" (truly a force to be reckoned with) as well as the world dominating computer from "Colossus: The Forbin Project" and its creator, Eric Braeden (aka Hans Gudegast) and his current cohorts from "The Young and the Restless".

Then we have Chachi Baio himself, who brings to the court his strange telekinetic powers. Not only that, but as we all know, Charles is always in charge, and his commanding presence will certainly bring in a decisive verdict. Scotty also has tagging along Dick Van Dyke (we won't even go into all the clout he holds in a court like this) from "Diagnosis: Murder". A formidable witness, no doubt.

Next up is the Fonz, Henry Winkler. There is only one thing to say here. MacGuyver. He creamed the A-Team, and he'll kick Andy's redneck ass all the way back to the nursing home.

Now we come to Don "Ralph Malph" Most, who at the outset of the trial was thought to be a major DISADVANTAGE to the Cunningham defense, since he hasn't done jiggity squat since "Happy Days". But we all know the truth. He was in "Stewardess School", which briefly showcased the enourmous talents of Sherman Hemsley. Wow. He's this case's Johnnie Cochrane.

Which brings us to Potsie. Potsie is what we in the legal system call "The Clean-Up Guy", since while he doesn't really add a lot to the defense, his small contribution could be just enough to put the jury over the top. As we all know, a little goes a long way, and Potsie's contribution is none other than director of several episodes of "Beverly Hills, 90210". Take THAT, Andy.

Last, but certainly not least, if things don't go well for the Cunninghams (however unlikely this might be), they can always call in Pat "Arnold" Morita to kick everyone's ass whilst they abscond with the catatonic Richie to a waiting plane brought in by none other than Crystal "K.C." Bernard of "Wings" fame.

You ask, could even all this stop the Juggernaut that is Andy Taylor? The answer is a resounding yes.

See, I realize that Matlock never technically lost a case. But there's a fault in that logic. Yes, folks, it's true. Matlock once got a guilty woman off. The reason: He's a dirty old man. This kind of thing will come back to haunt him, as will his recent album of gospel songs.

When Don Knotts gets up on the stand, Andy's case takes a nose dive. He'll aggravate the jury with his annoying voice and all that sniffing, and when he's asked to describe his job, he'll rehash his only good story, that of the crafty fiend Hodie Snitch. Not even Jack Tripper could save him at this low point.

Gomer, sadly was killed in service, and according to an episode of "The Simpsons" in frozen in suspended animation in Montgomery Burns' basement.

His cousin Goober won't fare much better, as all he'll be able to do is go into his famous Cary Grant impression to get the attention of the gorgeous court stenographer, who just happens to be pretty impressed when he cries out "Judy Judy Judy Judy Judy!"

Even lovable Aunt Bea won't be able to get back young Opie, as she's still smarting from being jilted by Micheal Rennie for Patty Neal in "The Day the Earth Stood Still". It's common knowledge that women eat when they're upset...where do you think all those pies went, anyway?

If Otis wasn't in county lockup on a drunk and disorderly, he might be able to swing an appearance from Hogan, Schultz and Klink. Unlikely. Besides, "I know nothing!" sure as hell wouln't do a whole lot for Andy's case.

Floyd won't know what the hell's going on, and when he isnt' chatting with Ernest T., he'll be constantly bugging Andy about his new suit. Besides, his only legal experience comes from the time he played the doctor in "Anatomy of a Murder".

I think the evidence supports my theory that the Cunningham's will be able to retain custody of their beloved Richie. Thanks for reading.

- Matt "I'm exhausted" Lynch

The problem with choosing Solomon as the judge is that he is too wise to get involved in domestic affairs, it is just too draining after a long trial and he still has a kingdom to run. He just wouldn't do it.

This would leave us judgeless (and thank god that Beverly Hills Cop was not) if there wasn't another man who posessed the wisdom of Solomon. But there is. A young Billy Batson is captivated by the media circus surrounding this case and when he sees that Solomon will not act as judge he simply says the magic word "SHAZAM"(tm) and turns into Captain Marvel the Worlds Mightiest Mortal(tm).

Not only does the good Captain have the wisdom of Solomon but also the endurance of Atlas which would be needed in such an emotionally draining trail as this one. Above all he has, being at the center a teenage boy, a huge crush on Joanie. Case closed, Richie Cunningham you are going home.

- Watson.

Solomon didn't know much about brainwashing here, either. So, the question is, how did Opie get from Mayberry to Milwaukee. Is it possible for a kid to do that? Of course. He knew his way around the south, he could just hop on a grain truck, get to one of the Mississippi's many tributaries, and buld a raft. Hey, it worked for Huck Finn, and he was about the same age.

So, it seems like the best thing to do would be to go back to Mayberry, at least till hes 18. Problem is, he doesn't have that much longer. Chances are, he'll be back in Milwaukee inside of two years, anyway.

Besides, if Solomon does some checking, he'll find that Mrs. Cunningham *was* the mother we never saw. She had to have something to do when her husband went off on one of his bowling conventions.

- Doug Fowler

What we have here is a grudge match within a grudge match. We all know King Sol likes the ladies, so he's going to base his decision on whether he prefers Aunt Bea or Mrs. C. Aunt Bea can cook. Fine. Mrs. C not only cooks, but she's hip to the kids, snuggles up with Mr. C in every episode, and is the only one to get away with calling the Fonz "Arthur." Sol likes her spunk. He'll award Richie to the Cunninghams and invite Mrs. C to his chamber to thank him in person.

- Bancbanc

The bailiff calls for everyone to stand, "All rise, the hoorable King Solomon presiding!"

Everyone stands, and the King(tm) himself walks in with his harem(tm) of Beautiful Babes(tm). Both sides give their side of the story, and the King(tm) thinks for a moment of Time(tm). He stands and then gives his proclomation: "And it was that I had to decide which of these parents could have custody over this child. And it had come to pass that I was faced with a similar situation. There was a baby that two mothers did claim. I ordered it cleaved in twain, one half to go to each of the mothers. However, even though history records that one of the mothers cried, the stupid broads actually did it. I just changed history because I didn't want to come across as an idiot. Now, the fact of the matter is which of these people would Richie be happiest with. Andy Taylor, who was also Mattlock(tm), or Mr. Cunningham, who was also Father Dowling, and the Glad Bag Man(tm). Well the answer seems obvious to me here. I give custody of this child to The Fonz(tm). It is clear, that in his exploits, he is most qualified to teach Richie to be a Bad Ass(tm). As we follow The Fonz(tm) through his life, we find that he is always expanding his horizons. He can perform surgery, save drowning people, beat the French National Fencing Champion(tm), and, most importantly, Make sure that richie gets what he needs most: too get laid.

- Torch

Looking at the votes it is obvious someone is stacking the deck in favor of... a tie! Who has the power to do this? None other than King Solomon himself. Little Opie/Richie will be split in half. But in an odd twist of fate the top half will hang out on a pedastal at Al's and Barney will finally teach the bottom half how to win that race.

- Not as twisted as I sound

Two words:Da Fonz.Solomon digs lovely ladies as evidenced by his thousand wives.After 5000 years hes in the market for some youngblood.Who can find him flocks of adoring young chickadees? DA FONZ.

- Heccy

Though I felt for Sheriff Taylor, I had to vote for Mr C. This was because of Brian's arguments. How can Scripture quotes be wrong? And, of course, Andy did a good job of raising li'l Opie, but now he's almost grown, and needs to be raised by folks prepared to raise a teen. The fact that the older brother is never seen shows that Mr C has raised a kid who can take care of himself and not come home whining for money. This is the home the kid needs now. Also, how can an officer of the Order of Saint Dunstan not support the needs of a member of another fraternal organization? I hope Sheriff Taylor and Aunt Bea can visit, but right now, the Cunninghams can finish off the child-rearing process best.

- Field-Marshal Dusty Sayers

Ok, I think we all learned a lesson from the OJ Simpson Trials (tm). Truth and Justice are not what win court cases. Lawyers are. This match comes down to who hires the best lawyer. This fact makes it a runaway victory for the Cunninghams. Think about what kind of lawyer each side would hire. Andy Taylor would hire either Matlock, which would cause a tear in the Space-Time Continuum (tm) or a nice "Regarding Henry" style lawyer from his home town. Whoever Andy picks is going to be a lightweight with morals who will resort to using such banned lawyer tactics as Politeness, Truth, and Caring. The Cunninghams will hire some sleazy friend of The Fonz (tm) to fight their case. Game, Set, Match. Cunninghams sweep!

- Troy McClure, You may remember me from...

Having been a learned student of the Bible for many years and taken many, many good OT Survey courses at my alma mater; I can say, with full confidence, that both of your solutions are right out. Though, in your defense, I will allow that you touched on the proper solution. Let us take a look at the Body of Evidence (tm):

On the one side, you have such great works as: "Winter Kill"; "The Girl in the Empty Grave"; "Rustler's Rhapsody"; "Spy Hard"; "The Stooge"; "Benji"; "The Apple Dumpling Gang"; "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo"; and "The Private Eyes".

On the other side, you can count such luminous entertainment as: "The Return of the Mod Squad"; "Castaways on Gilligan's Island"; "Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage"; "The Weekend Nun"; "Danielle Steele's (tm) 'A Perfect Stranger'"; "An American Christmas Carol"; and "Monty".

Now, I admit, it is extremely difficult to judge one body of work over another, but there is important evidence entirely missing from your arguments. And we all know that Solomon would never miss any evidence. Let us examine these findings now: "Splash"; "Willow"; "Parenthood"; "Backdraft"; "Apollo 13"; and "Ransom".

.......Significant Pause..........

Solomon, in his infinite wisdom and in a display of Justice (tm) finally being served, grants Opie/Richard custody of himself and in a sidebar asks for tickets to his next premiere.

- Cavebear

Although I have not seen all of the Matlock episodes, my 76 year old mother has, and she says that (unlike legal ethics expert Johnnie Cochran) Matlock has never lost a case. Thus, its obvious that Taylor will obtain custody.

- Jeffrey P. Mahoney, Esquire

Brian hit on the deciding factor, but he came to the wrong conclusion. Solomon will be wondering why Richie/Opie does not have three wives and eight kids. The answer is "The Cunninghams". Solomon will see that through their guidance and perpetual goody goody attitudes, that Richie/Opie could never reach the proper status for a man of his wise years.

Granted, Andy and Aunt Bea may not be much better, but Solomon has no evidence of this. At least Andy and Barney have girls (most of the time), and can certainly show up in the courtroom with the likes of Thelma Lou, Wanita (from the Diner), etc. This will impress Solomon that these are guys who know how to get girls. After all, what do you think a guy with 75 wives views as important? One wife for twenty years, or a guy who gets it where he can?

Goodbye Richie, Welcome back Opie!

- golfchef The answer lies within the bio of Chuck Cunningham, aka the mysterious older brother. Chuck disappeared after, what, two episodes? Plus, he rarely said anything. Often, his dialog was simply dribbling the basketball. (One bounce for "May I go play basketball"; two bounces for "May I PLEASE go play basketball.) This quiet and elusive form of communication--I won't even discuss the rebelious act of bouncing the basketball in the house--indicates inner turmoil.

So we have a kid in turmoil who leaves shortly after appearing. My guess is that Chuck was a foster child. Not having a home caused the inner turmoil. Foster children are, in a way, temporarily family and thus are gone shortly after arriving.

Conclusion, if Chuck was a foster child, then Richie and Joni were probably foster children, too, who wouldn't leave. (Chachi was more a stray puppy that followed Joni home.)

Although it does not prove that he is Andy's son, it points toward him not being a blood Cunningham. Via process of elimination, Andy wins custody. Although the Cunningham's are saddened deeply by Solomon's ruling, they will undoubtedly be warmed by the knowledge that Richie/Ronnie/Opie will be in a safe community patrolled by the likes of Andy and Barney.

- Mark Wentz

In the matter of Taylor vs Cunningham, King Solomon will inevitably rule in favor of the Cunninghams. Why? Look at the parents/guardians: The Cunninghams are your typical middle-American nuclear family. Andy Taylor is a single parent living in North Carolina with Opie's "Aunt" Bea; from where I sit, they are better known as brother and sister.

As for the supporting characters, Fonzie is not only cooler than Barney Fife, he is more socially responsible. Barney Fife left Mayberry for the high-falutin' life of California as an apartment building landlord. What did he want more than anything in the world? A torrid threesome with Chrissy and Janet. How could such a sex-starved person be deemed a good influence on Opie? Fonzie was always cool about his sexual prowess and eventually went on to direct movies. If that isn't a clear sign of who Richie belongs with, I don't know what is!

You also have to consider the likelyhood of these contestants to actually reproduce. Can you honestly envision Matlock's wrinkled old ass doing it with Aunt Bea? Gives me the willies just thinking about it. The Cunninghams might look kind of funny when naked, but it's easier to imagine Mrs. C riding the "baloney pony". Picturing Aunt Bea riding the "skin bus to tuna town" is best reserved for the more disturbed corners of the 'net.

King Solomon awards full custody of Ron Howard to the Cunninghams. He also issues an injunction that states that the residents of Mayberry must stay at least a decade away from Richie Cunningham at all times.

- HotBranch!

If you liked this match, check out these other past matches:

Microsoft v. Disney
Sam Malone v. The Fonz
OJ Simpson on The People's Court

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