An Online Newsletter of “The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Volume 15, Issue 1
Welcome to our first issue of The eBullet for 2015! This year marks the 55th Anniversary of “The Andy Griffith Show.” We already have an exciting calendar of events scheduled for this year. And we’re expecting even more news as the year gets underway and details are confirmed.
In the meantime, check out Floyd’s calendar below for what we know so far. And we encourage you to periodically check out the calendar online at www.imayberry.com for the updates between issues of The eBullet.
Floyd’s Barbershop Bulletin Board
The Andy Griffith Museum, starring the late Emmett Forrest’s amazing collection of Andy Griffith artifacts and memorabilia, is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Jan. 23-25: Margaret Kerry, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Bo Hopkins and Teri Garr are TAGS actors appearing at the Hollywood Show at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. For more info, visit www.hollywoodshow.com.
* Jan. 24: Darling boy Dean Webb performs with his Missouri Boatride band at the Hillbilly Bowl at the Kimberling Shopping Center in Kimberling, Mo., from 7 to 9 p.m. It’s free, as part of the Bluegrass on the Lake concert series.
* February 13: The Roland White Band performs at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival in Framingham, Mass. For more info, visit www.bbu.org/events/joe-val-festival.
* Feb. 15: Karen Knotts performs her “Tied Up in Knotts” show at the Howard Performing Arts Center on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. Show time is 7:30. For more info, call 888 467-6442 or visit www.howard.andrews.edu.
* Feb. 20: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Feb. 27: The Roland White Band performs at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn. Show time is 9 p.m. Tickets are $12.
* Mar. 5-7: The 18th Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. Details TBA. For updates go to www.lindseyfilmfest.com.
* Mar. 14: Barney Google and Snuffy Smith cartoonist John Rose will be doing a “Snuffy Smith” Chalk Talk and book signing at 1:00 p.m. at the Public Library in Mount Airy, N.C. John is also an editorial cartoonist and will show examples of his editorial cartoons, including his touching editorial cartoon tributes to George Lindsey and Andy Griffith that he drew upon their deaths. (Also, be sure to check out a more recent Snuffy installment at the end of this issue!)
In his chalk talk, John will talk about his career as the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith cartoonist, show samples of his cartoon work and draw some of the comic strip’s most popular characters for the audience.
* Mar. 20: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Apr. 17: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Apr. 23-25: Maggie Peterson is a featured guest for the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield. For more info, visit www.cherryblossomfest.com.
* May 1 and 2: Fifth Annual Mayberry Comes to Westminster festival in Westminster, S.C. Special guest star is Dobro wiz and TAGS alum LeRoy McNees. In addition there will other Mayberry-related music venues, parades, arts and crafts, food booths, a car and tractor show, trivia and whistling contests, a Bible study, a silent auction and more.
And Mayberry favorites the VW Boys and David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning will present their “Memories of Mayberry” show Saturday afternoon. For more info, visit www.mayberrywestminster.com or check out Mayberry Comes to Westminster, S.C., on Facebook.
* May 2: 28th Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. For more info, visit www.unclejessefishing.com.
* May 5-8: Memories from Mayberry: Timeless Truths from America’s Hometown offers a fun TAGS experience in another one of America’s hometowns, lovely Clarksville, Tenn. (about an hour north of Nashville). The event features fun-filled Bible studies based on favorite episodes, uplifting preaching and worship, gospel concerts, a visit to Fort Campbell, and more. The all-inclusive price includes three nights, seven meals, and program fee. Contact Frances at email@example.com for more info.
* May 12 and 13: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. For more info, visit www.silverdollarcity.com.
* May 15: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* May 15-17: Mayberry in the Midwest returns to Danville, Ind. Among the festival’s highlights are the parade, the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals and performances by the Mayberry Tribute Artists. The special guest stars this year are Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling) and her Darling TV brother, Rodney Dillard, and the Dillard Band, who will do a concert on Saturday. Karen Knotts will also perform her “Tied Up in Knotts” show on Sat. and Sun. Other details TBA. Visit www.mayberryinthemidwest.com for more info and updates.
* June 13: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the“Bailey’s Bad Boy” episode of TAGS, featuring Bill Bixby, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* June 18-21: Roland White performs as part of a Kentucky Colonels tribute at the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley, Calif. For more info, visit www.fathersdayfestival.com.
* June 19: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 4: James Best joins fellow “Dukes of Hazzard” stars and a bunch of country music stars for the Party in the Park at Livingston Fairgrounds in Livingston, La. For more info, visit www.cajuncountryjam.com.
* July 11: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee” episode of TAGS, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 8: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the“Andy and Opie, Housekeepers” episode of TAGS, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 21: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8×10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Sept. 20-23: Life Lessons From Mayberry: It’s All There in Black and White in Ridgecrest, N.C. (just outside Asheville) is a Bible study event drawing on the biblical truths and life applications found in “The Andy Griffith Show.” The event is $300 per person (based on double occupancy), and includes three nights of on-campus lodging, eight meals, Bible study sessions based on favorite TAGS episodes, dynamic preaching, worship, bluegrass concert, and special guest Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins in “Christmas Story” and Helen Scobey in “Andy Forecloses”). To register, call Ridgecrest Conference Center at (800) 588-7222 or visit www.lifeway.com/mayberry.
* Sept. 24-27: 26th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Mayberry Days started in 1990, so this 26th annual festival marks its 25th Anniversary, and also the 55th Anniversary of “The Andy Griffith Show” itself. The festival already shows signs of being more chock-full of fun than ever before. If that’s even possible!
Tickets are already available online for key parts of the weekend, including the Mayberry Days Golf Tournament (aka The Emmett) and banquet show; a concert by Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band, with special guest Maggie Peterson; the comedy show of James Gregory (“the funniest man in America”); the VW Boys Tribute to Mayberry; Neal Brower’s Lecture; Colonel Tim’s Talent Time, and more. For info, updates and tickets, visit www.surryarts.org .
* Oct. 8: Karen Knotts performs “Tied Up in Knotts” at 2 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio. Venue and other details TBA.
* Oct. 12-17: Ronnie Schell is the special guest star on the Cruise to Mayberry 10 to the Caribbean aboard Carnival’s Conquest cruise ship. The cruise departs Ft. Lauderdale for Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Nassau and a “Fun Day” at sea.
Activities include a Mayberry trivia contest, whistling contest, Mayberry bible study, variety show, concerts, and entertainment by will Tim White of the VW Boys and Mayberry Tribute artists, including Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis” Junkin, Ronnie “Barney” Felker, Bob “Briscoe Darling” Mundy, Christie “Andelina Darling” McLendon, Jeff “Howard Sprague” Branch, Elease “Thelma Lou” Felker, Tim “Goober” Pettigrew and Keith “Colonel Harvey” Brown. “Elvis” tribute artist Wayne Euliss will also be a featured performer. For more info, visit www.allaboutcruisesnc.net/mayberry.php.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard was presented the Louis XIII Genius Award by actor Chris Hemsworth at the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, which were held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on January 15. The award honors “unprecedented excellence in the cinematic arts.” (Now that Ron has set the precedent, we feel sorry for next year’s honoree!)
That same week, Warner Bros. announced that it has strategically delayed the release date for the highly anticipated In the Heart of the Sea, Ron’s next film release for which he recently finished post-production work. The movie had been scheduled for release on March 16, but early screenings for audiences were so positive that the studio is saving the release for December 11, in the heart of the holiday season, when more people might have a chance to see it on the big screen. That timing may also keep the movie fresher on the minds of nominators and voters for next year’s Academy Awards. And Ron’s pal George Lucas may now lose some sleep, knowing that Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters in the tidal-wave aftermath the week after Ron’s whale of a movie opens.
Ron begins directing Inferno, the latest movie adaptation in author Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code series) and now in preproduction, as early as this April. The movie will again star Tom Hanks as lead character Robert Langdon. The film had been slated for release in theaters during the 2015 holiday season, but, with In the Heart of the Sea now coming out then, Inferno has been moved to October 2016.
Betty Lynn once again had a large crowd of adoring fans at her monthly meet-and-greet at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy earlier this month.
Maggie Peterson and Rodney Dillard were joined by David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning for several well-received performances of their Mayberry Christmas show in North Carolina and Tennessee during the holidays. Maggie and Rodney already have several bookings for Mayberry events this year, including Mayberry in the Midwest and Mayberry Days.
Writer Sam Bobrick (19 TAGS episodes, including “The Shoplifters” and “A Deal Is a Deal”) reports that he spends most of his time these days writing plays. (He has written dozens, mostly comedies, including Norman, Is that You? which Don Knotts performed in a few times.) His plays, which run the full gamut of lengths, are popular choices by dinner and community theaters all across the country. Publisher Sam French (www.samfrench.com) carries many of his plays for those who want to check them out.
**** Chapter Update ****
One new chapter has launched since our report in the last eBullet. That brings us to a new total of 1,428 chapters that have been founded since TAGSRWC started in 1979.
The new chapter in our Mayberry orbit is:
Andy, Aren’t You Kind Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really easy to do. Just pick a name that hasn’t already been chosen (that’s the challenging part!), and submit it with a list of your founding members by e-mail or by U.S. Mail to TAGSRWC’s HQ in Nashville. There’s a searchable list of chapter names that are already taken at www.tagsrwc.com. You can submit your chapter name request to Goober@imayberry.com.
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. (It’s really quick and easy to do. Info is at tagsrwc.com.)
We always enjoy hearing news (and seeing photos) from existing chapters. (See the Chapter News section below.) And if HQ can ever be of any service to your chapter (“Will you help us?”), we’re always here to do whatever we can.
Just jump in where you can, and hang on!
**** Merchandise Update ****
Things have settled down a little at our Weaver’s Department Store after the big holiday rush. Ol’ Ben has finished tallying his year-end inventory and has restocked his shelves. He has a few rare gems to highlight, plus some newer items that are especially popular during the winter months.
“Aunt Bee the Crusader”
This is a revised version, dated October 28, 1963, of a script written by John Whedon, one of Mayberry’s best and the grandfather of current writer/director/producer sensation Josh Whedon.
The script includes additional pages of revisions dated 11/7/63 that are paperclipped together in the script, but have not yet been substituted for the previous versions of the pages. There is one note in pencil on one page, but we’re not convinced it’s in Hal’s handwriting.
All proceeds from the sale of this script go toward Weaver’s and TAGSRWC’s support of Mount Airy’s annual Mayberry Days festival and other Mayberry events and causes.
Note: We also have an especially interesting original script for “Otis Sues the County” and a great collection of Hal Smith’s scripts from other TV shows and movies. And even better, many are on sale right now!
To help good causes that we work to support, Ben Weaver has decided to sell this set of Hamilton Collection plates.
This rare Complete Set of officially licensed “Andy Griffith Show” Collector Plates from the Hamilton Collection was produced as a Limited Edition beginning in 1992 and through the mid-1990s.
The numbered porcelain plates measure about 8 inches in diameter and feature popular Mayberry scenes painted by artist Robert Tannenbaum. The eight plates are:
* Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy seated at desk with hands folded)
* A Startling Conclusion (Barney with dipper full of Jubal Foster’s moonshine)
* Mayberry Sing-Along (Andy holding guitar, seated by a tree with Opie)
* An Explosive Situation (Andy and Barney with Jimmy, the Loaded Goat)
* Aunt Bee’s Kitchen (Aunt Bee standing by Andy, who is seated at kitchen table)
* Surprise! Surprise! (Gomer standing in front of filling station)
* Meeting Aunt Bee (Andy, Aunt Bee and Opie in driveway w/ pickup truck)
* Opie’s Big Catch (Andy and Opie in fishing boat)
Many of these plates are hard to find individually, and even more so as a Complete Set. We have only one set of the eight plates.
All proceeds (not just the profits) from the sale of this collection are going toward our support of the George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival and also the Surry Arts Council’s Mayberry Days festival in Mount Airy, N.C.
Most of the plates are in their original protective styrofoam containers. The others are carefully protected in bubble wrap. Some contain their original paperwork, but some do not. Though 20+ years old, all the plates are preserved in new condition.
Mayberry Choppers and Mayberry Union High designs–each available as a T-shirt, Sweatshirt and Hoodie.
Enjoy family fun with these fantastic Mayberry board games. Two are out of production and are now quite rare. And the third may be ending production (again) soon. All three are filled with fun Mayberry trivia and memories…and strategy. Stay inside, make a pan of cashew fudge and play a Mayberry game. It’s a combo that’s hard to beat.
Miss Crump’s Book Nook:
O.K., so this brand new and outstanding book about TAGS was published on October 1. Within 10 weeks of its release, the U.S. began to take steps to normalize relations with Cuba for the first time since TAGS first aired. Coincidence? We think not. This book is that powerfully good!
In any case and possibly even more important, A Cuban in Mayberry–Looking Back at America’s Hometown is the first book directly about the show itself in about a dozen years. It’s written by Gustavo Pérez Firmat, a native of Cuba who is a professor of humanities at Columbia University. (He also has lived and taught for decades in North Carolina.)
Don’t let the title fool you. This is neither a book about a lost episode nor some sort of fan fiction about Ricky Ricardo visiting Mayberry. It’s much more than that. This well-written 194-page book from the University of Texas Press is a very scholarly discussion about TAGS. It’s basically written from the perspective of somebody like “Stranger in Town” Ed Sawyer, someone who’s not native to Mayberry, but eagerly sees the joys and wants to understand and be a part of the friendly town.
For anyone who enjoys thinking about and understanding more about Mayberry, a description that likely fits most readers of this newsletter as much as any other community in the world, A Cuban in Mayberry is fascinating reading, maybe even essential. You probably won’t agree with all of Professor Pérez Firmat’s observations and conclusions about TAGS, but you’re sure to enjoy the journey.
**** Chapter News ****
We heard from a lot of chapters during the holidays. Three were even able to make it to Nashville and gather with Andy chapter for some hearty eatin’ and visiting. They were “Hit One for the Ol’ Goober” (Killen, Ala.), “Remembering Mayberry” (Chillicothe, Ohio) and “I Was a Pawn in the Hands of a Wily Woman” (Plainview, Nebr.)
Barney’s One Bullet Volunteers (Morristown, Tenn.) reported that their 2014 chapter highlight was a concert by Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band. Chapter leader Gary Matthews even got to serve as MC for the evening.
The beloved Schwumpsters chapter (Stephens City, Va.) checked in to say that they had some scary medical news in November, but that surgery (like on one of those doctor shows on TV) went really well and they’re very encouraged. They say hey to all their Mayberry friends.
The venerable “…And a Mr. Potato Set” chapter (Paducah, Ky.) checked in to say that they still get together “now and then” for TAGS trivia…on about the same schedule as Barney’s blue steel baby. You never know it’s going to go off, but things are always exciting when it does!
Speaking of Barney, the also venerable Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.) had another outstanding Christmas chapter meeting last month, and Christmas decorations are still be up for their January meeting on the 24th. Everybody’s supposed to bring their own soup. (Emma will probably get her fill, and if Malcolm Merriweather is in the kitchen, watch out for the soup can lid in your bowl!)
Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) produced another outstanding and large (16 pages) printed (and online) edition of its quad-monthly Mayberry Minutes newsletter. They had a big Christmas party in December, and then celebrated Maggie Peterson‘s birthday earlier this month with her favorite cake (chocolate). They’ll also gather to celebrate with cake for Elizabeth MacRae‘s birthday in February and Dean Webb‘s in March. And they have the rest of the year pretty well mapped out, too, with festivals, parades, miniature golf, a lake trip and more.
If your chapter has news or photos to share, you can write to us the old-fashioned way at TAGSRWC HQ, 118 16th Avenue South, PMB 146, Nashville TN 37203-3100, or by e-mail to Goober@imayberry.com.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
The iMayberry Community
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome. You can check it out 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 page, online newsletters (such as The eBullet!), weaversdepartmentstore.com and chat rooms. Combined with TAGSRWC chapters and the various Mayberry events for all fans (from Mayberry Days to ocean cruises), not to mention enjoying the sites of Mount Airy year-round, the world of Mayberry fun keeps expanding.
And best of all, it’s all rooted in watching the show itself. Whether through DVDs and Blu-ray, streaming video, local stations, or TV Land, loving to watch the show continues to be the energy that feeds all the other Mayberry fun and activities that we enjoy. What a wonderful thing Andy Griffith and his talented team of actors, musicians, writers and crew people created 55 years ago–for us and generations to come!
Two Chairs, No Waiting is our weekly podcast of TAGS news, interviews and pretty much whatever happens to be going on in and around Mayberry. It’s hosted by Allan Newsome. There’s a new episode every Tuesday (and you can watch and listen live during tapings on Monday evenings). Past episodes are in an online Archives in case you want to listen to or view episodes you’ve missed. (There have been 314 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in 2008.)
There’s a lot of info and discussions that you simply won’t find anywhere else, including rare interviews (vintage and new) with cast and crew members of TAGS. If you’ve got sound on your computer or have an iPod or similar device, you can easily tune in live or download these podcasts. And you’ll also find links there to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts.
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook now has more than 116,000 friends! You can find us at www.facebook.com/tagsrwc. There’s a variety of comments about Mayberry, and a lively stream of thoughts from fans about TAGS, plus photos. And our Facebook page is also one of the first places we post announcements and breaking news about TAGS. 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!
**** Post Note ****
If you ever miss receiving an issue of The eBullet, you can always catch up by reading it in the eBullet Archives in the Newsletters section at imayberry.com. Each issue is usually placed in the Archives at about the same time that it’s distributed to subscribers.
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.
And TAGSRWC publishes Weaver’s Newsletter in alternate months to The eBullet. Like The eBullet, the Weaver’s Newsletter is free. Its focus is tilted a little more to Mayberry merchandise and collectibles and quick newsflashes. To sign up, go to: Weaver’s Newsletter Sign-Up.
The next eBullet is planned for March, and the next Weaver’s Newsletter will be out in mid-February.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith by John Rose