The eBullet: Volume 14, Issue 2 March 2014

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The eBullet
An Online Newsletter of “The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Volume 14, Issue 2
March 2014

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Welcome to our second issue of The eBullet for 2014!  All we can say is…

DKOprylandBartBlueWelcome Sweet Springtime!

We greet thee in song, indeed!  And fortunately, with the arrival of spring, there’s a lot of recent and upcoming Mayberry happenings to cover, so let’s get right to it.


 Floyd’s Barbershop Bulletin Board
&
Event Calendar

Russell Hiatt, America's Barber,  celebrates his 90th Birthday (January 28) with friends at his Floyd's City Barber Shop in Mount Airy.  Photo by Hobart Jones.

Russell Hiatt, America’s Barber, celebrates his 90th Birthday (January 28) with friends at his Floyd’s City Barber Shop in Mount Airy. Photo by Hobart Jones.

***

The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s spectacular collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia (the world’s best!), is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org/ or call (336) 786-1604.

Betty Lynn posing with fans at the Andy Griffith Museum.  Photo by Hobart Jones.

Betty Lynn posing with fans at the Andy Griffith Museum. Photo by Hobart Jones.

* Mar. 21: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

* Mar. 21-23: Karen Knotts has two performances of “Tied Up in Knotts” (7:30 p.m. on the 21st and 2:00 p.m. on the 23rd) at the Harris Center for the Arts (Stage 2) at Three Stages at Folsom, located at Folsom Lake College in Folsom, Calif.  Tickets are $29 and $39.  For more info, call (916) 608-6888 or visit:www.issuu.com/harriscenter/docs/13-14-season.

LA Deli* Mar. 21-Apr. 27: L.A. Deli, the latest play by TAGS writer Sam Bobrick, is being performed at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre in West Hollywood, Calif. Previews are on March 21 at 8 p.m. and March 22 at 3 p.m. Regular performances will be Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. For more info or tickets, visit www.plays411.com or call (323) 960-7738.

Dean Webb (on mandolin) with Missouri Boatride

Dean Webb (on mandolin) with Missouri Boatride

* Mar. 22: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Winter Bluegrass Concert Series from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Ozark Room at the Kimberling City Shopping Mall in Kimberling City, Mo. (Call Hillbilly Bowl/RT’s Restaurant for Snow or Ice cancellations: 417-739-4425.)

* Mar. 22: James Best presents “Best in Hollywood” at the Camden Fine Arts Center in Camden, S.C.  For more info, call the box office at 803-425-7676 or visit www.fineartscenter.org.

* Mar. 22: The Roland White Band performs at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn. Show time is 9 p.m., and admission is $12.  For info visit: www.stationinn.com.

Atitlan2014* Mar. 22: LeRoy “Mack” McNees performs with Almost Bluegrass at Festival Atitlan, near Santiago Atitlan, in Guatemala. For more info, visit www.festivalatitlan.com.

TheEducationofETB* Apr. 12: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “The Education of Ernest T. Bass” 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 armband ($3 or $5) or is $5 without one. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.

KarenKnottsHeadShot* Apr. 14- 18: Karen Knotts lassos Louisiana with her “Tied Up in Knotts” tour.  She’ll be performing in Terrebonne, Ascension, Livingston and Tangipahoa.  For more info, e-mail mcleboeuf@mytpl.org.

* Apr. 18: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning entertains at the 16th Annual Gibson Country Dinner &  Auction Fundraiser at the Carl Perkins Center for Prevention of Child Abuse. For more info, visit www.carlperkinscenter.org.

* Apr. 18: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

BOY OF THE HOOD--Dean Webb (on mandolin) and Missouri Boatride

BOY OF THE HOOD–Dean Webb (on mandolin) and Missouri Boatride

* Apr. 19: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Winter Bluegrass Concert Series from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Ozark Room at the Kimberling City Shopping Mall in Kimberling City, Mo. (Call Hillbilly Bowl/RT’s Restaurant for Snow or Ice cancellations: 417-739-4425.  After this winter, any weather is possible, even in April!)

* Apr. 24 and 25: Eagles’ Wings fundraiser event in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The golf tourney is on Thurs., and the dinner, silent auction, and entertainment are on Fri. night at the Bryant Conference Center.  David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis Junkin” are among the entertainers with Mayberry connections. More guests and details TBA.  For now, just mark your calendar for this annual event that supports Eagles’ Wings efforts to assist adults with disabilities.  More info at www.eagleswingsoftuscaloosa.org.

* Apr. 25-27: Maggie Peterson is a special guest for the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Mo.  More details TBA.  For info, visit www.cherryblossomfest.com.

BestCover* Apr. 26: James Best brings his “Best in Hollywood” show to the Newberry Opera House in Newberry, S.C.  For more info, call the box office at 803-276-6264 or visit www.newberryoperahouse.com.

* Apr. 29: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning  entertains at Mayberry Night Banquet at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.  For info, visit www.bellevue.org.

KarenKnottsGuitarwestminister_rodney_dillard_2011* May 2 and 3: 4th Annual Mayberry Comes to Westminster Festival in Westminster, S.C.  Guests include Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band, Karen Knotts and her one-woman “Tied Up In Knotts” show, several Mayberry tribute artists, “A Salute to Elvis” with Wayne Euliss, trivia,  and Miss Mayberry pageant.  More details TBA. For updates, visit www.westminstersc.com/mayberry. Tickets available at www.jneg.org.

* May 3: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Winter Bluegrass Concert Series (yes, still the winter series; we told you this winter felt like it would never end!) from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Ozark Room at the Kimberling City Shopping Mall in Kimberling City, Mo.

* May 7: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning is a triple threat (Andy and me and Baby makes three) as he entertains at Senior TRIAD Day in Richmond, Va.

RodneyGuitar* May 10: Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band perform at Cherokee Park in Morristown, Tenn., from 6 to 8 p.m.

RafeHollisterSings* May 10: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “Rafe Hollister Sings” 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 armband ($3 or $5) or is $5 without one.  For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.

* May 10: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning is ready to write tickets at the 5th Annual Antique Car Show at the Heritage Center in Morristown, Tenn.

* May 16: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

RodneyMaggieColor* May 17 and 18: Mayberry in the Midwest in Danville, Ind.  Stars confirmed so far include Maggie Peterson, Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band, and a full slate of Mayberry tribute artists.  Events include a pancake breakfast, concerts, contests, Opie’s Soap Box Derby and the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals. (If you have a Mayberry Squad replica that you want to enter in the MSCN, contact Kenneth Junkin at 205-364-7727.)

Many more details TBA, but for now, just mark your calendar. For inquiries (such as renting vendor booth space) and updates, go to www.visitdowntowndanville.com. And follow the event on Facebook HERE.

The host hotel is the La Quinta Inn & Suites (317-279-2650) in Plainfield, which is 15 to 20 minutes away, depending on traffic. If you can’t get a room at the LaQuinta, there are also some hotels (Fairfield Inn & Suites and Comfort Inn) in Avon, which is also five to 10 minutes closer.  And a couple of other hotels in Plainfield are a Hampton Inn and a Best Western.

* May 20-25: Ronnie Schell performs at the Improv Comedy Club at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. For more info, visit www.harrahslasvegas.com.

Missouri Boatride (featuring Dean Webb, far left)

Missouri Boatride (featuring Dean Webb, far left)

* May 24 and 25: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo.

* May 31: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride kick off their free Kimberling City Summer Bluegrass Concert Series outside of the Hillbilly Bowl at the Kimberling City Shopping Mall in Kimberling City, Mo.  In true Darlings style, they’ll be performing on the back of their ’41 Chevy flatbed truck. From 7 to 9 p.m. roughly every other Sat. through Sept.  Bring your lawn chairs and whatnot.

* May 31: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning floats into St. Paul, Va., for the Clinch River Days Festival.

RutaLee* June 12-14: Ruta Lee appears at the Memphis Film Festival at the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Miss.  For more info, visit www.memphisfilmfestival.com.

BarneyandTLPhfftt* June 14: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “Barney and Thelma Lou, Phfftt” 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 armband ($3 or $5) or is $5 without one.  For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.

BettyLynnHeadShot* June 20: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

* June 21: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Summer Bluegrass Concert Series outside of the Hillbilly Bowl at Kimberling City Shopping Mall.  In true Darlings style, they’ll be performing on the back of their ’41 Chevy flatbed truck. From 7 to 9 p.m. roughly every other Sat. through Sept.  Bring your lawn chairs.

* June 28: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning shines bright at the Star City Motor Madness Car Show in Roanoke, Va.  For more info, visit www.starcitymotormadness.com.

* July 3-5: Hungry for great bluegrass music? Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the Starvey Creek Bluegrass Festival in Conway, Mo.

BacktoNature* July 12: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “Back to Nature” 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 armband ($3 or $5) or is $5 without one.  For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.

* July 12: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Summer Bluegrass Concert Series outside of the Hillbilly Bowl at Kimberling City Shopping Mall.  In true Darlings style, they’ll be performing on the back of their  ’41 Chevy flatbed truck. From 7 to 9 p.m., more or less every other Sat. through Sept.  Bring your own lawn chairs.  Or find on old tree stump to rest your rump on. (Uh-oh, it looks like Ernest T. has taken over copy editing!  Don’t tell Miss Crump!)

* July 18: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

schell3* July 23-27: Ronnie Schell performs at the Improv at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe (Nev.).  For info visit www.harveystahoe.com.

* Aug. 2: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Summer Bluegrass Concert Series outside of the Hillbilly Bowl at Kimberling City Shopping Mall.  In true Darlings style, they’ll be performing on the back of their  ’41 Chevy flatbed truck. From 7 to 9 p.m., more or less every other Sat. through Sept.  Bring your lawn chairs, but no overnight camping.

Songfesters* Aug. 9: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on the “The Songfesters” 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 armband ($3 or $5) or is $5 without one.  For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.

* Aug. 13:  Karen Knotts unleashes her one-woman “Tied Up in Knotts” show on Hoover Auditorium at Lakeside Chautauqua in Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio, on the banks of Lake Erie.  Show time is 8:15 p.m. For info, find a web-footed red-crested lake loon to follow, or visit www.lakesideohio.com.

* Aug. 15: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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.

CharleneDarling* Aug. 22 and 23: Rodney Dillard and Maggie Peterson are joined by several of the Mayberry tribute artists (including David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis” Junkin, Phil “Ernest T.” Fox,  and Jeff “Howard” Branch) for a Cruise-In in Oakboro, N.C., on Friday, and then a concert benefiting the Montgomery County DARE program on Saturday at the James H. Garner Center in Troy, N.C. Tickets for the Saturday show are $20 for reserved seats and $15 for general admission.  Tickets for children 6 years to 12 years old are $10. For more info, call Jeff Branch at (704) 985-6987, e-mail jbranch205@windstream.net, or visit www.bluegrassintroy.com/.

* Sept. 13: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride continue their free Kimberling City Summer Bluegrass Concert Series outside of the Hillbilly Bowl at Kimberling City Shopping Mall.  They’ll be performing on the back of their  ’41 Chevy flatbed truck. From 7 to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs or whatever you like to sit on while listening to music under the stars. As of now, this could be their last concert in this series for the season.  (There could be one more added later.)

* Sept. 19: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-1:30 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. 21-24: Life Lessons From Mayberry: It’s All There in Black and White inRidgecrest, N.C. (outside Asheville) is a Bible study event drawing on the biblical truths and life applications found in “The Andy Griffith Show.” The event is $295 per person (based on double occupancy), which includes three nights of on-campus lodging, eight meals, Bible study sessions based on favorite TAGS episodes, dynamic preaching, worship, an orchestra concert of TAGS tunes and a lunch with favorite Mayberry tribute artists. To register, call Ridgecrest Conference Center at (800) 588-7222 or visit www.lifeway.com/mayberry.com.

Rodney Dillard

Rodney Dillard

* Sept. 25-28: 25th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C.   As always, numerous “Andy Griffith Show” stars will be on hand. Stars already confirmed are hometown favorite Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) and Darling Boy Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band, who will perform a matinee show on Friday.  James Best also presents his popular “Best in Hollywood Show” on Friday afternoon, and Karen Knotts returns with her fun, wonderful “Tied Up in Knotts” show, at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Other festival favorites include David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning and the merry Mayberry band of tribute artists, the VW Boys and their “Salute to Mayberry,” and Michael Hoover’s Elvis.

James Gregory

James Gregory

Also, there will be a hilarious comedy show on Friday night by the amazing James Gregory, “the Funniest Man in America.” And the Embers warm the night with their music on Thursday, while the legendary Tams bring their soulful coastal music to the amphitheater on Friday evening. And much more TBA! There will be something for everybody at this special 25th Mayberry Days. Visit www.surryarts.org for more info.

* Oct. 3: 54th Anniversary of the premiere of “The Andy Griffith Show” on CBS.

NewHousekeeperPorch3* Oct. 3: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform for the The Old Brush Arbor, at Keystone Baptist Church in Reeds Spring, Mo.

* Oct. 5: Karen Knotts brings her “Tied Up in Knotts” show to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, Calif., at 2 p.m. For tickets and info, call 209-338-5071 or visit www.galloarts.org.

LeroyMackFlag* Oct. 19: LeRoy “Mack” McNees and wife Jan share their faith and bluegrass gospel music during the 11 a.m. worship service at the New Horizons Baptist Church in Oxford, N.C.

CarnvialVictory* Nov. 1-6: Cruise to Mayberry 9 stars LeRoy “Mack” McNeesGeorge Lindsey, Jr. , and a passel of Mayberry tribute artists for music, sights, sun, fun and games…and hearty eatin’ aboard Carnival’s Victory cruise ship, departing Miami for Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman.  There are several important deadlines coming up for making reservations. For more info, contact Sharon at All About Cruises (336) 538-4926 or by e-mail at pwesje@aol.com or visit the website at www.allaboutcruisesnc.net.

 **** News of Cast & Crew ****

Ron Howard tweeted this photo of himself with actor (and now movie director) Jason Bateman after a screening of Jason's new film Bad Words in New York last week. Follow Ron on Twitter @RealRonHoward.

Ron Howard tweeted this photo of himself with actor (and now movie director) Jason Bateman after a screening of Jason’s new film Bad Words in New York last week. Follow Ron on Twitter @RealRonHoward.

Ron Howard is well into editing and other post-production work for his film In the Heart of the Sea, the story of the Essex, a 19th century whaling ship. The film is currently set for release in March of 2015.

Ron is executive producer for Unsung Heroes: The Story of America’s Female Patriots, a documentary scheduled to air on PBS in May.  Here’s a link to trailer for it: Unsung Heroes.

Ron is also set to direct a film titled Mena about notorious 1980s pilot and cocaine smuggler (and CIA informant) Barry Seal, who was based in Mena, Ark.  And Ron is “in talks” with Warner Bros. to direct and produce a live-action version of The Jungle Book.  (Disney also has a live-action Jungle Book project in the works, so the race is on.)

Ron Howard tweeted this selfie with actors Daniel Brühl (left) and Chris Hemsworth when they were in Japan in January promoting the release of Rush.

Ron Howard tweeted this selfie with actors Daniel Brühl (left) and Chris Hemsworth when they were in Japan in January promoting the release of Rush.

Rush, Ron’s most recent release as a director, was nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture (Drama).  And it was nominated for four British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, including Best British Film. Ron was in London the weekend of February 16 for the BAFTA awards show. Rush was honored with the award for Best Editing.

Amid editing on In the Heart of the Sea, Ron made time in New York for some sightseeing, including the Statue of Liberty, and a gala fundraiser for the Art Production Fund.  He’ll also be a featured speaker at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April.

Clint Howard has roles in several indie films in various stages of production–some about to be released and one filming now.  He was also in an episode of “Hawaii Five-O” that aired in November.

LeRoy Mack (right) on stage with Doug Dillard Band alum Ginger Boatwright at a fundraiser at Zion Community Center in Gordo, Ala., in January.  Photo by Allan Newsome.

LeRoy Mack (right) on stage with Doug Dillard Band alum Ginger Boatwright at a fundraiser at Zion Community Center in Gordo, Ala., in January. Photo by Allan Newsome.

LeRoy “Mack” McNees has performed music and shared his faith with audiences and congregations at events and services this winter, including a couple in Alabama in January.  He and wife Jan are in Guatemala this week for a music festival.

In addition to her monthly autograph sessions at the Andy Griffith Museum, Betty Lynn also enjoyed visiting with Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell during their trip to Mount Airy to perform Love Letters on Valentine’s Day.  Despite a big snow storm that week, there was a nice audience for the performance of the two-person play by these Mayberry favorites.  (Betty herself performed the popular play with Howard Morris for the Surry Arts Council on the same Mount Airy stage in 2002.)

Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell performing Love Letters in Mount Airy, N.C., on February 14.  Photo by Hobart Jones.

Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell performing Love Letters in Mount Airy, N.C., on February 14. Photo by Hobart Jones.

And Betty was also the belle of the Surry Arts Council’s annual Arts Ball in March.  She does much year-round to support arts programs in her community.

James Best (standing, center) and Dorothy Best (seated, far right) and the cast of On Golden Pond.

James Best (standing, center) and Dorothy Best (seated, far right) and the cast of On Golden Pond.

It seems to be the season for theater openings around Mayberry. Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell did Love Letters in February.  Ace TAGS writer Sam Bobrick‘s new play L.A. Deli opens this week in Los Angeles.  And James Best and wife Dorothy have just wrapped a run of On Golden Pond at the Hickory Community Theatre in Hickory, N.C.

Morgantown, W.V., hometown of Don Knotts, is picking up steam again in its efforts to pay tribute to Don with a memorial sculpture and garden. After Don’s death in 2006, the city, friends, family and fans raised a good bit of the $50,000 needed to complete the sculpture by West Virginia sculptor Jamie Lester.  (TAGSRWC helped with that initial effort through fundraisers at our Weaver’s Department Store and direct donations by our members and others to the Don Knotts Statue Foundation.)

DKScuptureGarden2014Morgantown organizers put the fundraising on a back burner as other community financial needs were being addressed during the recent economic recession.  Along the way, there were occasional fundraisers, including a major one with Karen Knotts and her “Tied Up in Knotts” show that she performed in Morgantown.

The Don Knotts Statue Fund (formerly the Don Knotts Legacy Fund) is now within about $10,000 of its $50,000 goal.  The plan is for the statue to be the centerpiece of the Don Knotts Sculpture Garden, located near Don Knotts Boulevard, which is very near the Monongahela River that runs through Morgantown. Francey Knotts (Don’s widow) and the Knotts family have given their blessings to the current statue design and garden plan.  (We haven’t heard any mention of a duck pond being included in the design, but you never know!)

TAGSRWC may come up with some new fundraisers designated for the statue fund, but right now we’re stretching just to cover our ongoing commitments to Mayberry Days and some of the other Mayberry events and charities that we try to support.  So, for anyone interested in helping the statue effort, sending a direct donation is probably the most immediate and helpful route.  Checks should be sent to: Don Knotts Statue Fund in care of Your Community Foundation, 111 High Street, Morgantown WV  26505.

Let’s hope it won’t be long until there’s a beautiful tribute to Don Knotts in his hometown–one that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come!

***
BenStarrWe’re sad to report the passing of Ben Starr, writer of “Look Paw, I’m Dancing” (Episode 181), on January 19. He died of congestive heart failure at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92.

Born Benjamin Starr to Russian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., on October 18, 1921, he attended City College in New York before transferring to and graduating from UCLA after serving in World War II. He got his show business start in radio writing for Al Jolson, George Burns, and Martin and Lewis.  Two of his earliest writing jobs in TV were for “I Married Joan” and “Duffy’s Tavern” in the early 1950s.  He went on to write for a wide range of TV shows—everything from “Perry Mason” to “Mr. Ed,” for which he wrote more than three dozen episodes. Most of his writing was for comedies, including “My Favorite Martian,” “Petticoat Junction,” “The Brady Bunch” and “All in the Family.”

Ben wrote more than two dozen episodes of the hit sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and he went on to co-create another popular ’80s sitcom, “Silver Spoons.”  He also developed “The Facts of Life” TV series.

Among his credits for the big screen, Ben wrote the hit Our Man Flint starring James Coburn, The Busy Body starring his friend Sid Caesar and Texas Across the River starring old pal Dean Martin.

Ben Starr was married to the former Gloria June Kaplan for 50 years until her death in 1999. They had three children.  One of the truly jolly people of show business, Ben Starr enjoyed a full life. In keeping with the story he wrote for Opie, he clearly loved life’s dance.

***
We also note the passing of Richard (Dick) Bull, who played Mr. Jackson (the schoolteacher who introduces football star Flip Conroy to Opie and his fellow football players) in “Opie’s Piano Lesson” (Episode 215). He died of natural causes on February 3 after being hospitalized for pneumonia at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s hospital in Los Angeles.  He was 89.

Richard Bull (left) as Mr. Jackson, introducing Flip Conroy (Rockne Tarkington) to Opie and his pals in “Opie’s Piano Lesson.”

Richard Bull (left) as Mr. Jackson, introducing Flip Conroy (Rockne Tarkington) to Opie and his pals in “Opie’s Piano Lesson.”

Dick was born in Zion, Ill., on June 26, 1924.  He trained on the stage at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, before making his move to Hollywood to begin a career in TV and films that lasted from 1956 until 2011. He worked in top shows spanning portions of seven decades.  Most notable were his portrayals of the Doctor in “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” in the 1960s and shopkeeper Nels Oleson in “Little House on the Prairie” during the 1970s and 1980s. Among his feature films were The Andromeda Strain in 1971 and High Plains Drifter and Executive Action, both in 1973.

Dick is survived by his wife of 65 years, the actress Barbara (Bobbi) Collentine. He will always be fondly remembered in Mayberry for his enthusiastic introduction of Flip Conroy, a landmark moment on TAGS.

***
MaryGraceIt was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of a wonderful Mayberry guest star.  Mary Grace Canfield (Thelma Lou’s cousin Mary Grace Gossage in “A Date for Gomer,” Episode 104), died of lung cancer on February 15 in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was 89.

Mary Grace is best known for playing handy-person Ralph Monroe, sibling of Alf Monroe (played by fellow TAGS guest star Sid Melton) on six seasons of “Green Acres.”  She also had a memorable role as the upstairs maid in Pollyanna (1960) and the schoolteacher in Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983).

MaryGraceGomerCorsageAlong the way in a TV and film career spanning 40 years, she played Amanda Allison in “The Hathaways” and Harriet Kravitz in four episodes of “Bewitched.” She was also a regular for a time on “General Hospital” and made numerous guest appearances on top TV shows.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., on September 4, 1924, Mary Grace knew from an early age that she wanted to be an actor. After theater training in Pennsylvania, she performed in half a dozen productions on and off Broadway, before moving to California to pursue a career in film.  She also continued to perform in plays in California and occasionally elsewhere.

Mary Grace (properly adorned) speaking to the crowd at the Mayberry Squad Car Rendezvous in Bradford, Ohio, in 1997. Photo by Bart Boatwright.

Mary Grace (properly adorned) speaking to the crowd at the Mayberry Squad Car Rendezvous in Bradford, Ohio, in 1997. Photo by Bart Boatwright.

When she was still in New York, she had performed in early productions for TV, including the popular “Mister Peepers,” starring Wally Cox. Two writers on that classic show were Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum.  Years later, when the legendary writers were working on “A Date for Gomer,” they wrote with Mary Grace Canfield in mind, and reinforced their inspiration by naming her character Mary Grace Gossage.  She became one of Mayberry’s most memorable and endearing visitors.

When Mary Grace semi-retired from acting in the 1980s, she moved to Sedgwick, Me.  (She moved back to California a few years ago for health reasons.) She appeared at a couple of Mayberry reunion events over the years, and she delighted fans each time.

FUN TV COUSINS–Betty Lynn and Mary Grace enjoy a moment onstage together at Judge Joel Laird’s Mayberry Cast Reunion event in Pelham, Ala., in October 2000. Photo by Karen Leonard.

FUN TV COUSINS–Betty Lynn and Mary Grace enjoy a moment onstage together at Judge Joel Laird’s Mayberry Cast Reunion event in Pelham, Ala., in October 2000. Photo by Karen Leonard.

Being used to people recognizing her mostly because of her portrayal of Ralph Monroe, she was surprised that her one episode as Mary Grace also had so many avid admirers.  She enjoyed that very much, and stayed up on the goings-on in the Mayberry world through the years.

Mary Grace was married to Charles Carey from 1950 to 1955 and to John Bischof from 1989 until her death.  She is also survived by daughters Alison and Phoebe and three grandsons.

We’re indeed fortunate that Mary Grace Canfield adorned Mayberry with her beloved performance of Mary Grace Gossage.  Gomer’s enthusiasm was correct.  “She’s nice!”

**** Chapter Update ****

AuntBeeRoseNo new chapters that have started since the January eBullet.  That’s the first time that’s happened in a very long time. We figure everybody followed Ernest T.’s plan and decided to just “hermitize” themselves during all the severe winter weather. We currently have 1,419 chapters.  Maybe some more will blossom this spring.

In fact, we’ve had another inquiry about getting an active chapter going Louisville, Ky., long a hotbed of Mayberry enthusiasm. If anybody in the Louisville area is interested in spearheading that effort, you write to us at HQ at Goober@imayberry.com and we’ll get you in touch with some eager participants.

Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really easy to do.  Just pick a name that hasn’t already been chosen, 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.

Once your submitted chapter name is approved,  you’ll receive your Official Chapter Charter. What you do as a chapter is entirely up to you.  Some chapters get together regularly and do elaborate activities.  Others just spend a lot of time taking “a think” with  buckets on their heads or rockin’ on their front porches. Either kind of chapter activity–and anywhere in between–is just fine.

You can also 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, we’re always eager to do whatever we can.

We hope you can enjoy the fun of being part of a TAGSRWC chapter!

**** Merchandise Update ****

Browse the full selection of books, apparel, DVDs, music, artwork, collectibles, items for your vehicle and much more at our online Weaver’s Department Store (www.weaversdepartmentstore.com).

We appreciate your shopping at Weaver’s, especially because Weaver’s sales are the main (actually, the only) thing that helps TAGSRWC be able to offer financial support to Mayberry Days and other Mayberry-connected events and charitable efforts throughout the year. We appreciate it!

Featured This Month at Weaver’s:

Mayberry R.F.D on DVD!

NEW!!!

MayberryRFDDVD1$26.00

We’re taking pre-orders now for the First Season of “Mayberry R.F.D.”  on DVD.  The official release date is April 8, which will be here before we know it. This is the first time seasons of Mayberry have been released for sale in any format!

We were beginning to think “R.F.D.” would never get its chance, but Warner Bros., which owns that series (unlike TAGS, whose DVD and merchandising rights are held by CBS), is finally about to take the Mayberry plunge.  If the first season (26 episodes) sells well, we expect the other two seasons (also 26 episodes each) will follow before long.

So, for all the Mayberry fans who’ve been waiting for years (and in some cases, decades!) to see the 78 episodes of “Mayberry R.F.D.” your wait is almost over.  You’ll finally get to see Andy and Helen get married, and, when the second season is released, you’ll get to see Andy Taylor Jr. be baptized. And all the other “R.F.D.” adventures, including dune buggies in Palm Springs.

The list price of this Complete First Season DVD set for  “Mayberry R.F.D.” is $30, which is a nice deal, but we’ve worked to get our Weaver’s Department Store price down even lower, to $26, or just $1 per episode.   You can order now, and we’ll ship your “R.F.D.” DVD set (and anything else you’d like to order with it!) when the DVDs are available in early April.

A Great “R.F.D.” Companion

AGuideToRFDIf you like to read about Mayberry as you’re watching, we highly recommend A Guide to Television’s Mayberry R.F.D. by David Fernandes and Dale Robinson.  The two late authors and great friends of Mayberry were actually too modest. Their book is not just “a guide,” it’s the only guide published about the show. And a mighty fine one, it is!

Weaver’s of course always has individual Season sets of “The Andy Griffith Show,” The Entire Series  (now only $109.00!) and a 50th Anniversary Collection of TAGS on DVD, as well as “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and favorite movies and other features starring Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, George Lindsey and the Dillards.

Blu-ray Update

The release date for the Complete Season 1 of “The Andy Griffith Show” on Blu-ray has been bumped from the previously announced April 8 to May 6. CBS wanted to take a little more time to gather special features to include (and we figure CBS might’ve wanted its release to make a separate splash from the release of “Mayberry R.F.D.” by Warner Bros. on April 8).

TAGSBluray1Among the features announced for the Blu-ray is a 1957 episode of the CBS show “Person to Person,” featuring Andy Griffith being interviewed by host Edward R. Murrow. But perhaps most special will be some Howard family home movies shot on the “Andy Griffith Show” set!  And the 1960 “Danny Meets Andy Griffith” pilot for TAGS and the 1986 Return to Mayberry movie are other features that have been announced so far.

Our Weaver’s Department Store will be stocking the Blu-ray set as soon it’s available in May.  The list price for the First Season is $130 ($21 more than our current price for the box set of the entire eight seasons of TAGS on regular DVDs!)  We hope to have our Weaver’s price considerably under the list price, but the cost of this Blu-ray version of the First Season will still be jaw-dropping.  (For those careful shoppers who can wait, skin-flint Barney advises holding off for a few months to see if the price eventually becomes more reasonable.  But those who you just can’t wait (and you know who you are!), we’ll have the Blu-rays at the best price we can work out from the get-go in May.)

 Sweatshirts and Hoodies

We hope that this winter’s cold is behind us. But as Andy told Opie one time, there can still be a little nip in air.  Enjoy the warmth and also be cool with two of our most popular T-shirt designs that are now available as both sweatshirts and hoodies, in sizes Small to 3X.

ChoppersSweat GrayMUHHoodie

Sweatshirts are $32 and Hoodies are $42.

Fife Security Thermometer

FifeSecurityThermometer$21.00

Did your thermometer break this winter?  Or is it still buried somewhere in a snow bank?  Or maybe you just want a second opinion about how cold it is, while also providing a sense of security for your home or office.  Well, here’s the man for the job. He’s a hot-shot, because he’s always cool under pressure!  Note: This thermometer also measures hot temperatures, if there ever are any again.  (Ernest T. wants to know:  Do we have to keep talking about the weather?)

From Ben Weaver’s Archives:

Aunt Bee’s Mealtime in Mayberry

MealtimeCover$35.00

Special Note: This 1999 book has been out of print for several years and is hard to find, but we’ve got a couple of copies left that are still beautifully preserved. And best of all, our price is still obtainable–despite the book’s collectible rarity and the copies being in such good condition.

MealtimeDickieThe book is hardcover (with dust jacket). This third Aunt Bee cookbook is 220 pages and contains 144 all-new Mayberry-style recipes. There are also 117 color and black-and-white photos, 83 of which have never before been seen in print! The photos span all eight seasons of TAGS. The cookbook also includes excerpts of episode dialogue dealing with food, cooking, and eating in Mayberry.

Though a few of the classic photos and bits of dialogue have been used in other books, most of the images in this book were being published here for the first time when this book came out.  And all but one of the recipes (Doug’s Great White Beans) are brand new for a Mayberry cookbook.

MealtimePageantThe cookbook highlights (in chronological order) 72 of the show’s episodes that feature food — beginning with “The New Housekeeper” in the first season and continuing through “Sam for Town Council” in the final season. Photos and dialogue from the episodes are accompanied by recipes for the actual foods seen or discussed in the episodes. So you can quite literally eat your way through all eight seasons of the show!

From fried chicken and homemade pickles to butterscotch pecan pie and chocolate cake, from apple pie and meat loaf to taters and spaghetti, this cookbook has the recipes, dialogue, and photos to bring Mayberry memories to life. (And remember what Barney ordered at the fancy French restaurant in Raleigh? Well, for better or worse, you’ll find it in this cookbook!)

Mayberry TV Tin Bank

MayberryTVTinBank$24.00

This little bank is by no means secure enough for Barney’s money (or even Opie’s), but it’s really neat to look at. And long out of production, it’s a nice collectible.

The Andy Griffith Show Trivia Game

TAGSTriviaGame$59.00

TAGSTriviaGameOpenThis is the original Andy Griffith Show Trivia board game from 1998. It’s now out of print and really hard to find still unused and even sealed in its original shrink wrap, but we’ve got a couple.

A wonderful game to play or preserve as a collectible. (Even crusty ol’ Ben thinks it’s more fun to play than save back!)

Mayberry Keepsake Tin Box

VandorTinBox$16.00

This tin box was made under license by Vandor starting in 2003. It comes with an unhinged lid and measures 4 x 3 x 1 (a little bigger than an Altoids box).

Out of production for about 10 years, this little box is hard to find brand new, if at all, but we’ve still got a very few. (Yet another special item we were delighted to find recently in a forgotten storage area.)

DVDCompleteSeriesB

Find all of these items and much more at weaversdepartmentstore.com, or just click on the orange and blue Weaver’s button at the top left or top right of the page whenever you’re visiting www.imayberry.com.

**** Chapter News ****

January's meeting of the "Burnt to a Turn!" bunch was a real gas.

January’s meeting of the “Burnt to a Turn!” bunch was a real gas.

Our “Burnt to a Turn!  My Life Snuffed Out!  Completely Dead!” chapter (Madison/Ridgeland, Miss.) checked in in January to let us know that reports of their demise are premature.  They started the new year off with a meeting that featured a spaghetti dinner. Some folks got seconds (Yo!), but no one was able to try thirds (maybe more of that secret ingredient would’ve helped).

The meeting, which including a few folks who were at the group’s first meeting in 1995, watched some episodes and did trivia questions.  They’re hoping this will be the beginning of more regular meetings.

Russell Hiatt making a wish!  (We think maybe it already came true...only one candle to blow out instead of 90!)

Russell Hiatt making a wish! (We think maybe it already came true…only one candle to blow out instead of 90!)

Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.) has been having its usual monthly meetings.  Their April meeting will be a trip to Mount Airy to see chapter member Neal Brower give his monthly lecture at the Andy Griffith Museum. (See the Event Calendar above for the schedule of Neal’s lectures through August. Neal’s September lecture is during Mayberry Days as part of the TAGSRWC Annual Meeting at The Earle Theatre. He usually has one or more special guests for that one.)

Barney member Ted Womack (aka Mr. Wheeler) represented the chapter at Russell Hiatt’s 90th celebration in January.

***

Kenneth "Otis" Junkin  of "Hearty Eatin' Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women" chapter (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) and Allan Newsome of Mother Figure chapter (Huntsville, Ala.) help Russell Hiatt celebrate his 90th birthday in January.  Photo by Hobart Jones.

Kenneth “Otis” Junkin of “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” chapter (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) and Allan Newsome of Mother Figure chapter (Huntsville, Ala.) help Russell Hiatt celebrate his 90th birthday in January. Photo by Hobart Jones.

***

Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) published another deluxe issue (16 pages) of its Mayberry Minutes chapter newsletter in January. They report that they participated in a local Christmas parade and also had a big chapter Christmas party where they exchanged Mayberry gifts, a tradition shared with several TAGSRWC chapters over the years.

Members of Mayberry chapter at their Christmas party.

Members of Mayberry chapter at their Christmas party.

The chapter had gatherings to celebrate Ronnie Schell‘s birthday in December, Maggie Peterson‘s birthday in January, and Elizabeth MacRae‘s birthday in February.  They plan to celebrate Dean Webb‘s birthday later this month and Margaret Kerry‘s in May.

GOOBER SAYS AHOY–Two-time TAGS guest star Gavin MacLeod (port) is making waves promoting his new memoir titled “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life.” (We hear sails are good.) He’s on deck here with TAGSRWC member Paul Gilkes at a celebrity and memorabilia show in Columbus, Ohio, in January.

GOOBER SAYS AHOY–Two-time TAGS guest star Gavin MacLeod (port) is making waves promoting his new memoir titled “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life.” (We hear sails are good.) He’s on deck here with TAGSRWC member Paul Gilkes at a celebrity and memorabilia show in Columbus, Ohio, in January.

The chapter also has a bowling party set for April, miniature golf and barbecue planned for June, and a parade on July 4.  We’re assuming a good old-fashioned band concert must be in the works for August. Or maybe just relaxing on the front porch.  They definitely will have earned a rest by then!

Please keep your news and photos coming in 2014.  We love to hear from members and chapters and share news about what you’ve been up to!

You can write to us the old-fashioned way at OUR NEW MAILING & SHIPPING ADDRESS: 118 16th Avenue South, PMB 146, Nashville TN  37203-3100, or by e-mail to Goober@imayberry.com.

***

**** Mayberry on the Web ****

imayberrycommunityThe 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, 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 54 years ago–for us and generations to come!

Mayberry Podcasts

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 274 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in October 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.

Also, check out the podcast area of our www.imayberry.com site for info about a Mayberry Bible Study Podcast, also hosted by Allan, and a “brother figure” podcast called Burke on Mayberry, hosted by Kevin Burke.

The original Mayberry Facebook!

The original Mayberry Facebook page!

TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook now has more than 46,000 friends! You can find us at www.facebook.com/tagsrwc. There’s a variety of comments about Mayberry, and a lively stream of fans’ favorite TAGS lines and 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 within about a week or so of its being 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 more-or-less alternate months to The eBullet. Like The eBullet, the Weaver’s Newsletter is free. Its focus is mainly on new Mayberry merchandise and collectibles and quick newsflashes. To sign up, go to: Weaver’s Newsletter Sign-Up.

TAGSRWC’s other main vehicle for Mayberry information is simply our website at www.tagsrwc.com (and its sister site www.iMayberry.com). Both sites have extensive content and links for just about everything a Mayberry fan might be looking for.

The next eBullet is planned for May, and the next Weaver’s Newsletter will be out in April.

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MaryGraceGomerSock***

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