An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to our third issue of The eBullet for 2022!
The Event Calendar below has some of the scheduled happenings for the months ahead, and lots of news follows those listings as Mayberry activities for the year get into full swing.
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s monumental collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, is operating on its full, normal schedule. For their own safety and the safety of those around them as the pandemic lingers, all guests are encouraged to wear masks when indoors and near others.
For complete updates on operating hours, safety procedures or other info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
Here are some upcoming events that folks have posted on Floyd’s bulletin board:
* June 3: The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard perform at the John Hartford Memorial Festival, held at the Lawrence County Recreational Center in Springville, Ind. (That’s about 12 miles southwest of Bloomington.) Their performance is at 6 p.m. Rodney will also tell stories about lifelong pal John Hartford during a workshop session at 1 p.m. For more info, visit www.hartfordfest.com.
* June 25: Screening of 2021’s Mayberry Man movie at the Bama Theatre in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as a fundraiser for Eagles’ Wings of Tuscaloosa, an organization that supports adults with special needs. The screening will include door prizes and a Q&A session with some of the cast and crew. The screening begins at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the theater box office on the day of the screening.
* July 15 and 16: 10th Annual Mayberry Meetup, sponsored by TAGSRWC’s “Two Chairs, No Waiting” podcast, gathers in Mount Airy, N.C. For more info, visit this link: 10th Annual Mayberry Meetup. Note: There’s also a Mayberry Bible Study on Sunday, the 17th.
* Aug. 12: Mayberry is the theme of this week’s Fridays on Prouty Concert Series at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy, Ohio. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. and will include a bluegrass concert by local favorite Berachah Valley, a stage show with Mayberry tribute artists, and a screening of 2021’s Mayberry Man movie (at about 8:30 p.m.) It’s all free, but bring your own lawn chair. For more info, visit www.troyhayner.org.
* Sept. 19-25: 33rd Annual Mayberry Days® festival in Mount Airy, N.C. Tickets are already available HERE for many portions of the festival, including Thursday’s The Emmett Golf Tournament , which also includes Mayberry Days® Dinner & Entertainment starring country music star T. Graham Brown (who also has a full concert on Friday) that may also be purchased as a separate ticket); “Andy, Don, and Jim: My Memories of Three Mayberry Legends” presented by Ronnie Schell; Doug Dillard Tribute Concert by The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard; and “Tied Up in Knotts–A Book Talk” by Karen Knotts.
Other ticketed highlights during Mayberry Days® include “Memories of Elvis” by Michael Hoover; “A Tribute to Mayberry” by Tim White and Troublesome Hollow; concerts by The Embers, Band of Oz, and Legacy Motown; three comedy shows by John Floyd (“The Mouth of Mayberry”); Professor Brower’s Lecture (saluting the life and career of Betty Lynn) with Neal Brower (immediately followed by TAGSRWC’s Annual Meeting); multiple screenings of Murder in Coweta County (including Q&A with producer Dick Atkins) and Chris Hudson‘s The Mayberry Effect documentary; and Saturday’s grand finale, “Colonel Tim’s Talent Time.”
More stars and more ticketed portions of the weekend are TBA. And as always, the vast majority of Mayberry Days® is free, including Saturday’s parade, the Mayberry Days® Trivia Contest (aka the World Championship of Mayberry Trivia), bunches of other Mayberry-inspired contests, and the Mayor’s Proclamation ceremony. For more info, visit www.mayberrydays.com.
* Sept. 24: The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard headline the Uncle Pen Fest at the Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground (south of Indianapolis, between Morgantown and Nashville, Ind.). For more info visit: www.billmonroemusicpark.com. (Note: The group’s performance here is the day after their Friday concert at Mayberry Days®.)
* Oct. 22: Karen Knotts brings her “Tied Up in Knotts!” show to the Brownfield Community Center in Dawson, Penn. Showtime is 8 p.m.
* Oct. 23: Karen Knotts heads a couple of hours down the road and across the state line to the Church-McKee Arts Center in Keyser, W.V., with her “Tied Up in Knotts!” show. Showtime is 3 p.m. For more info, visit the Church-McKee website.
* Oct. 23-29: Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which was postponed with a few tweaks from its original dates in 2020 and just recently again in 2021 because of the pandemic.
This cruise aboard Carnival’s Horizon will depart from Miami and travel to the Caribbean with ports of call in Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Cozumel. Rates (including all taxes) start at $625 per person.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard and his Imagine Television are among the executive producers for Under the Banner of Heaven, a series based on the best-selling book and starring Andrew Garfield. The series began on FX and Hulu on April 28.
We Feed People, the documentary Ron directed about Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen food charity that was produced by Imagine Documentaries in association with National Geographic Documentaries, starts streaming on Disney+ on May 27.
With the blessings of the Henson family, Ron also has been entrusted to direct a documentary for Disney about Muppets creator Jim Henson. At least one member of The Muppets seems pretty excited about the news.
Ron and Imagine partner Brian Grazer are also among the executive producers for the fourth season of the “Genius” anthology series, which will be about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The series, which has been nominated for 20 Emmys during its first three seasons (with Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Aretha Franklin as the subjects) on the National Geographic Channel and Hulu, will move to Disney+ for the new season.
The duo from Imagine are also two of six people who will receive honorary doctorates from the University of Southern California during its commencement on May 13. The university awards its honorary doctorate to “remarkable individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the university and industry, education, philanthropy, athletics, leadership and other fields.”
The Boys, the best-selling memoir by Ron and brother Clint Howard (Leon) was a finalist for a 2o22 Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Award in the Autobiography/Memoir category. While The Boys wasn’t named the winner during the ceremony on March 4, Mayberry fans and other fans of Ron and Clint are sure to enjoy listening to the brothers tell their story every bit as much as we’ve enjoyed reading their words.
Following in the footsteps of father Rance Howard, who played several preachers on film (including marrying Barney and Thelma in 1986’s Return to Mayberry movie), Ron officiated at the wedding of daughter Paige and actor-artist Tim Nabou-Nasr during a ceremony in New York’s Central Park on May 1. Daughter Bryce Dallas Howard was a bridesmaid.
In addition to being the guest of honor at April’s Mayberry-Lucy Day in Granville, Tenn., Keith Thibodeaux (Johnny Paul Jason) has been touring from Mississippi to California as drummer for Christian rock band David and the Giants. Keith has also been busy with the Spring 2022 tour for Ballet Magnificat, the Christian ballet company for which he is the executive director and for which wife Kathy is the founder and artistic director.
Rodney Dillard and The Dillards had a couple of big gigs in April. First, they played for a full house at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, Tenn., And the next night, April 23, they performed for another packed house, a national radio audience on WSM Radio and a national TV audience on Circle TV as part of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) has been doing some personal appearances and book signings for her Tinker Bell Talks memoir, including on Easter Sunday at Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
Margaret and Ruta Lee (“that college kid” and Darlene Mason) were among the many celebrities participating in the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in April. Ruta was one of several recipients of the Edward R. Hubble Medal of Initiative, the City of Marshfield’s highest honor, at a gala banquet during the festival.
LeRoy Mack McNees (the Dobro-playing Country Boy) has been playing music of praise at his church and elsewhere close to home in California. LeRoy and wife Janice recently had a wonderful vacation in Portugal before visiting family in London. There’s no word on whether LeRoy took his Dobro or a regular guitar with him, but we bet he can get his hands on one while overseas.
That’s a wrap for News of Cast & Crew for this issue.
**** In Memoriam ****
Remembering Roland White
Mayberry and the planet have lost a great friend and an amazing musical talent. Roland White, who performed as a member of The Country Boys in “Mayberry on Record” in the first season of TAGS, died in Nashville on April 1 from complications from a recent heart attack. He was 83 years old.
Roland’s appearance on TAGS was just a footnote in an amazing music career that spanned virtually the entire existence of bluegrass music. (A footnote to the footnote: The Country Boys also performed in the epilogue of “Quiet Sam,” later in the first season of TAGS, but Roland missed that episode because he was in the process of joining the Army on the day that the epilogue was filmed.)
The bluegrass genre is known for having considerable cross-pollination of talent as musicians shuffle between groups, collaborate, learn from and teach each other, and jam together. There are few bluegrass musicians who have played with more legendary groups in the field than Roland did. Try the Kentucky Colonels (morphed from for The Country Boys), Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass, Country Gazette, and Nashville Bluegrass Band for starters.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Roland, a master of both the mandolin and the guitar, as well as being to top-flight vocalist, was a member of great bands. The groups often became legendary, in no small part, because Roland was a member of them.
Beyond his musical genius and artistry, soft-spoken Roland was even more revered and beloved for being an enormously good-spirited and generous person. You couldn’t hope to meet or know a nicer person. When you were around Roland, you knew you were in the presence not just of greatness, but also niceness and tremendous decency.
I first saw Roland perform in person in the early 1980s at Nashville’s Station Inn, the Music City’s and maybe the world’s most iconic bluegrass venue. I believe Roland likely holds the record for having performed at The Station Inn more times than anyone else. I know that I saw him play there more often than I did any person or group other than The Doug Dillard Band. Sometimes, I would get a twofer when Roland would be sitting in with Doug’s band.
By the time Mayberry reunion shows, most notably Mayberry Days, began in earnest during the 1990s, Roland was often so busy as a performer and as a sought-after teacher (both for mandolin camps and private lessons) that it worked out only one time for him to attend a reunion. Roland brought some members of The Roland White Band, including wife and guitarist Diane Bouska and banjo player Richard Bailey, to Mayberry Days in 2012. They joined fellow Country Boys alum LeRoy Mack McNees and Ginger Boatwright, the Doug Dillard Band’s lead singer, in the festival’s first annual Doug Dillard Tribute Concert following Doug’s passing in May 2012.
Roland received many accolades during his lifetime, including multiple Grammy nominations and wins and the rare distinction of twice being inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame–in 2017 just for being Roland White and in 2019 as a founding member of The Kentucky Colonels. In Roland’s case, probably even more so than for most, those honors were a distant second to the joy of making satisfying music with talented friends.
In addition to wife Diane, Roland is survived by sister Rosemarie Johnson, daughter Roline Hodge, son Lawrence Lee LeBlanc, grandchildren Shayla Jones and Austin Hodge, and great-grandchild Zoe Jones. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Clarence White, brother Eric White and sister Joanne Bierbrauer.
A private funeral for Roland was held in April, and a Celebration of Life is planned for a later date.
Editor’s Note: For memorial tributes to members of the TAGS Cast & Crew, I generally compile an extensive life story. In the case of Roland White, writer Richard Thompson has written such an interesting, detailed and thorough remembrance of Roland and his career that I would just be re-plowing a well-tilled field to try to write something fresher or more complete. I highly recommend reading Richard’s article about Roland in Bluegrass Today. There is also a well-done, shorter obituary for Roland in The New York Times.
And for further in-depth reading about Roland’s life, career and influence, Bob Black’s biography, Mandolin Man: The Bluegrass Life of Roland White, is scheduled for publication by the University of Illinois Press on June 28. –Jim Clark
**** Chapter Update ****
No new chapters have started since the March eBullet, so our grand total of chapters that have started since TAGSRWC was founded in 1979 stands 1,475.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is still just as easy as it was 40 years ago. You simply pick a name that hasn’t already been selected by another group. (You can check the searchable list of chapter names already taken at www.tagsrwc.com.) Then submit your chapter’s name with your location and a list of your founding members by e-mail (to Goober@imayberry.com) or by U.S. Mail to TAGSRWC’s HQ (118 16th Avenue South, Suite 4, PMB 146, Nashville, TN 37203-3100). That’s all it takes!
Whether or not you start or join a local chapter, you can always join our online “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” chapter or any of several exclusively online chapters on Facebook and, more recently, MeWe (see Mayberry on the Web below)..
**** Merchandise Update ****
You can find a huge variety of Mayberry-related items right at your fingertips online at TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store, which has added lots of new items just in the last few months. Here are some of our newest and most popular items:
Weaver’s is fortunate to get this great piece of artwork from illustrator Jeff Preston.
Jeff originally created this piece for the Society of Illustrators’ yearly “Members Only” show. The theme that year was fear. We feel this image perfectly sums up that emotion. It’s sort of a mash-up of Mayberry’s Remshaw house and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken–not exactly either and not exactly not, either, but definitely Knotts. Whether it’s an attic or a cellar, ol’ Ben thinks it’ll be a good seller.
The print measures 13 x 19 inches and is printed on 100- lb. acid-free gloss enamel card stock.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso, best known as “Charlene Darling” on TAGS, loved being part of our favorite show and getting to know so many fans at Mayberry events through the years.
Weaver’s Department Store is teaming with Maggie and her family to bring you photographs and other items from her career. We are hopeful that you find a treasure that brings you the same joy that Maggie received being on TAGS. Maggie wants to share this collection rather that having the items just sitting in her closet or on her shelves not being used and fully appreciated. Maggie is no longer able to perform in person, so this is a way that you can stay connected with her.
Maggie is residing in a senior assisted living facility. Since moving there, she has required additional care due to her ongoing health conditions, limited mobility and restricted use of her arms. These conditions make it impossible for her to live independently. This level of care increases the costs for Maggie.
Please look through the Maggie Peterson Collection of photographs, scripts and other items. The photos are 8 in. x 10 in. and most include Maggie’s autograph. Many are limited editions. Note: Some additional items were recently added!
All proceeds are going directly to helping Maggie. We encourage you to check back from time to time because we expect to add more items as we receive them from Maggie and her family.
If you would rather donate directly or provide additional funds to Maggie, please consider going to the GoFundMe Page for Maggie operated by her family.
Weaver’s is pleased to offer more than five dozen designs of Mayberry T-shirts. Some designs are also available as long-sleeved T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. Most designs are available in Adult sizes Small to 3X-large, but we also offer several designs in toddler sizes and some in the just recently added 4X size.
Find the perfect Mayberry fit for yourself and friends and family!
**** Chapter News ****
Members of Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.), Mother Figure (Huntsville, Ala.), “Put a Buckeye in Your Pocket and Do the Incant for a Sore Foot” (Bessemer, Ala.), “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), and Andy chapter (Nashville, Tenn.) were among the hundreds of fans who attended the Mayberry & (I Love) Lucy Day in Granville, Tenn., on April 9.
Mayberry chapter is also in the process of putting together the spring issue of its printed Mayberry Minutes newsletter. And the group has been having regular monthly meetings, including their tradition of celebrating cast-member birthdays with a cake and sometimes a phone call. On deck for a cake-and-call this month is Margaret Kerry. Batter up!
Bullet Maintenance (Nashville, Tenn.) was among the participants in the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival. Chapter founder T. Graham Brown joined Lulu Roman and others in performing in Cherry Blossom for a Cause, a benefit concert for the Randy Travis Foundation on April 27.
Also, as part, of the same festival, TAGSRWC member Randy Turner (cofounder of the Gomer and Goober Comic Book Literary Guild on Facebook) gave a talk about the many connections between Disney and Mayberry. Members of Blood Brothers chapter were also in attendance at the festival.
“Mayberry Mike” Haviland (aka Sgt. Carter and sometimes Barney) was featured on “Collector’s Call” on MeTV during the nostalgia TV channel’s Mayberry celebration on May 1. The show presented highlights of Mike’s collection of Mayberry memorabilia. There were lots of familiar faces among the images displayed. And Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) even did a special video greeting for Mike and also signed and presented (via U.S. Mail) a copy of Randy Turner’s 60 Years of Mayberry book for which Dixie contributed an essay. If you missed the episode’s premiere, check your local listings for a rerun.
Mayberry Mike also finished first in the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals, the Mayberry-themed obstacle course, which this year moved to April’s Mayberry & Lucy Day. Runner-up was Terry Varvel; third place went to James Pierce.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome with big help from Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown. You can check out the fun of this online community and sign up for free at: http://imayberrycommunity.com.
The iMayberry Community complements our other online activities, including our main www.imayberry.com page, podcasts, Facebook pages, online newsletters (such as The eBullet), weaversdepartmentstore.com and chat rooms.
There’s a new episode every Tuesday (and you can watch and listen live during tapings on Monday evenings). As of this week, there have been a whopping 684 episodes since Allan started doing the podcast in November 2008! Past episodes are in an online Archives in case you want to listen to or view classic installments you’ve missed.
And scroll to the bottom of the main Mayberry Podcasts web page for assorted links, including one for another outstanding Mayberry-related podcast: “Burke on Mayberry“ (hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke). There are also links for the Mayberry Devotional hosted by Brian Rose and for the Mayberry Bible Study Podcast.
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook is hovering around 250,000 Followers. You can find us at www.facebook.com/tagsrwc. If you haven’t already dropped by the page, we hope you’ll check it out sometime when you have the chance. We invite you to become a TAGSRWC Facebook Friend!
We also have links in our “Liked by this Page” section to the pages of several TAGSRWC chapters on Facebook), as well as to Facebook pages of Mayberry Days®, the Andy Griffith Museum, TAGS actors and others.
Even Ben Weaver has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. It features all the latest in Mayberry items and merchandise news.
And TAGSRWC also has a growing presence on www.MeWe.com. Mayberry’s pioneering outpost on MeWe is “Sittin’ on a Velvet Pillow” chapter, headed up by Lynn Thomas. That group was followed in short order by Allan Newsome and the “Two Chairs, No Waiting” Podcast and by “Only One Word I Can Think of…Big!” (a TAGSRWC group that’s also on Facebook), administered by Myron Clark and Tommy Rainwater and an able crew.
In case you’re not familiar with MeWe, it’s similar to Facebook. It’s just smaller and a bit calmer. It has no ads. So, it’s more along the lines of a quiet street like Willow or Woods Way as compared to the hustle and bustle of Main Street in downtown Mayberry. (“You’re on my foot! You’re on my foot!”) If you’re looking to “relax, slow down, take it easy,” then you might want to check out some of the TAGSRWC groups on MeWe.
**** Post Note ****
Between issues of The eBullet, keep up with all the happenings in Mayberry with the daily Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board? (aka “WBMUTBB?”) Digest. It’s a free subscriber list that consists entirely of comments, newsflashes, and questions and answers from subscribers. You can sign up for that list by going to the Mailing Lists link at tagsrwc.com. “WBMUTBB?” also has its own Archives where you can follow the ongoing stream of messages.
TAGSRWC publishes Weaver’s Newsletter (our brother-figure publication) in alternate months to The eBullet. Like The eBullet, Weaver’s Newsletter is free. Its focus is tilted slightly more to Mayberry merchandise and collectibles and quick newsflashes. It has some content overlap with The eBullet–sometimes earlier and sometimes later, depending on the timing of the news. To sign up, go to Weaver’s Newsletter Sign-Up.
The next issue of The eBullet is scheduled for July. Our next issue of Weaver’s Newsletter will be published in June.