This is our big pre-Mayberry Days issue. See details below about this year's 27th annual festival.
There has also been a lot going on recently to report, so, taking our cue from Briscoe, just jump in where you can and hang on!
Bulletin Board & Event Calendar
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest's amazing collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia, is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Sept. 21-25: 27th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Stars confirmed so far include Mount Airy's own Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou); The Dillards (featuring Darling boy Rodney Dillard); Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling); Clint Howard (Leon); Ronnie Schell (two TAGS episodes and Duke Slater on "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."), who will present his "Ronnie Schell Again: A Serious Afternoon of Hilarious Comedy" show; Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey), who will do a presentation of "Tinker Bell Meets Andy Griffith"; Ronnie Dapo (Arnold Winkler and others); Laura Hagen (wife of late TAGS music director Earle Hagen); and Karen Knotts (daughter of Don Knotts), who will present two one-woman shows this year: her popular "Tied Up in Knotts" and her brand new one, "A Deputy's Daughter." Dorothy Best and David Browning will also reprise last year's touching presentation of "Remember Me with Laughter: A Tribute to James Best."
Other performances include the comedy of James Gregory ("the funniest man in America"), The VW Boys, Michael Hoover's Elvis, The Embers (featuring Craig Woolard), The Tams, and the Malpass Brothers. Tickets are also available for The Emmett Golf Tournament, the Golf Banquet & Entertainment, Professor Brower's Lecture with special guest Clint Howard/TAGSRWC Meeting, and Colonel Tim's Talent Time.
Much of the festival is free, but tickets for many of the activities/performances above that require paid admission are listed online at www.mayberrydays.org. It promises to be another spectacular installment of this annual gathering of Mayberry appreciation, and Goob ol' fashioned fun!
* Oct. 1: LeRoy McNees and Gloryland perform at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, Calif.
* Oct. 21: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Oct. 21: Karen Knotts performs "Tied Up in Knotts" at the Milton Theatre in Milton, Del. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $15 to $25. For more info, visit www.pcade.com.
* Oct. 22: Karen Knotts brings "Tied Up in Knotts" to the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, Penn. Show time is 7:30 p.m. For more info, visit www.st94.com.
* Oct. 23: This next stop for Karen Knotts and her "Tied Up in Knotts" tour is the Bickford Theatre in the Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J. Show time is 2:00 p.m. For info, visit www.morrismuseum.org.
* Oct. 29 -Nov. 3: Cruise to Mayberry 11 with Jackie Joseph (aka Ernest T. Bass's Sweet Romeena) as the special guest star! Join the fun (including Halloween) in the western Caribbean aboard Carnival's Paradise cruise ship as it departs Tampa with stops in Grand Cayman (a favorite of Asa's and Mr. Meldrim's) and Cozumel (a fave of Daphne and Skippy and Mavis Neff).
A bunch of popular Mayberry tribute artists (and also an Elvis) will join Jackie in providing entertainment and hosting contests, along with all the hearty eatin' and usual cruise highlights. For more info, visit www.allaboutcruisesnc.net or call 1-800-832-7993.
* Nov. 25: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 3: Roland White hosts and the Roland White Band performs for the 20th Annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 3: Get "Tied Up in Knotts" for the holidays when Karen Knotts brings her one-woman show to the Monroe Arts Center in Monroe, Wis. Show time is 7:30 p.m. For further info, go to www.morrismuseum.org.
* Dec. 8: The Dillards (featuring Rodney Dillard) perform in Elizabethtown, Ky. Details TBA.
* Dec. 21: The Dillards (featuring Rodney Dillard) perform at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City, Tenn. Details TBA.
*Mar. 2-4: 20th Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. Details TBA. For updates, visit www.lindseyfilmfest.com.
* May 6: 30th Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. For more info, visit: www.unclejessefishing.com.
* Oct. 24-29: Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) is the special guest star for Cruise to Mayberry 12. This year's cruise is for five days aboard Carnival's Ecstasy, departing Charleston, S.C., and traveling to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas.
Margaret will be joined by the usual cruise company of Mayberry tribute artists and musical entertainers. For more info, visit www.allaboutcruisesnc.net or call 1-800-832-7993. Note: It's already time to get your deposits in for this cruise. It has earlier registration deadline than for past cruises.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
The Don Knotts statue was unveiled on July 23 in Don's hometown of Morgantown, W.V., with daughter Karen on hand. Seated in front of Karen in this photo is John Pyles, Don's classmate and friend who spearheaded the statue effort for 10 years and made sure this dream came true.
Look for Karen Knotts at Mayberry Days next week. During the festival, she'll be presenting two shows about life with her dad.
A month after the commemoration in Morgantown, the town of Massena, N.Y., celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Hal Smith (Otis Campbell). Organized and hosted by TAGSRWC member John D. Michaud III, the festivities included watching film clips, eating cake and having the mayor of Massena declare August 24 Hal J. Smith Day in the city.
The event was so successful that more lectures are planned, and there's even talk about someday creating a statue of Hal for the town.
Less than a week after the Hal Smith celebration, friends and fans gathered in Mount Airy, N.C., to help Betty Lynn celebrate her 90th birthday.
Betty received more than 300 birthday cards from fans and friends all around the country. She started her birthday celebration by greeting fans and signing autographs for several hours at the Andy Griffith Museum. Betty easily could've taken her birthday off from autograph "work," but she wanted to spend time on her birthday visiting with fans!
After greeting well-wishers and signing autographs and posing for photso for a couple of hours, Betty then went next door to the ground floor of the Andy Griffith Playhouse for the unveiling of a beautiful new permanent exhibit about her life. Be sure to check it out during Mayberry Days or whenever you happen to be in Mount Airy. The exhibit contains many wonderful treasures (some likely unexpected) from throughout Betty's fascinating life.
Next on the day's agenda was a stop at The Loaded Goat, a downtown restaurant (new since the 2015 Mayberry Days) for a birthday dinner, including surprise guest Dan Forest, Lieut. Governor of North Carolina!
The celebration then moved down Main Street to the Earle Theatre. Lieut. Governor Forest surprised Betty with induction into The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is considered the State of North Carolina's highest civilian honor.
Roses from Ron and Clint Howard were presented to Betty in a clever and charming way (see the video link in the caption for the photo of Ron and Clint below).
Also, the Betty Lynn Scholarship for the Arts was announced during the presentations at the Earle. The scholarship, administered by the Surry Arts Council, will support local students pursuing studies in the arts.
The main event of the evening was a screening of June Bride, starring Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery, and featuring Betty in the title role. Betty shared some memories about making the film and then watched it along with the hundreds in attendance. In all, it was simply a fantastic day to be Betty Lynn or to be able to share the special celebrations with her.
And last, here are links to some good articles written about Betty around the time of her birthday:
And two photo galleries of the birthday goin's-on that are on the Surry Arts Council site:
Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment produced and Ron directed The Beatles: Eight Days a Week--The Touring years, a documentary made in cooperation with the Beatles and their families that premieres in theaters this Friday, Sept. 16, and then on Hulu the next day. Here's the trailer for the doc.
Ron continues with post-production and initial promotion work for Inferno, which is scheduled to be in theaters (including IMAX) on October 28 and is a solid bet for big box-office success. Here's the current trailer.
Ron and the Imagine team are also producing a six-part sci-fi docu-miniseries called "Mars" about the colonization of Mars that's scheduled for National Geographic Channel's 2016-17 season. Here's the first promo for the series.
The Imagine team is also producing a re-imagined remake for Disney of their 1984 hit, Splash! This time Channing Tatum has been hooked to play a merman. They're also producing a live action version of their Curious George franchise for Universal Pictures.
Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell performed Love Letters at the Starbright Theatre in Las Vegas, N.V., on July 24. This was their third time performing the popular two-person play together.
Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) has announced that her long-anticipated autobiography, Tinker Bell Talks--Tales of a Pixie Dusted Life, was officially released at a signing event at Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn in Los Angeles on Sunday. She'll also have copies at Mayberry Days in Mount Airy next week. Meanwhile, Margaret continues to appear regularly at Disneyana events. Keep up with Margaret at www.tinkerbelltalks.com.
If you're wondering why George Lindsey Jr. isn't able to be at Mayberry Days this year, giddy-up on over to this link about Rufus Leekin to lasso the story.
**** Chapter Update ****
One new chapter has officially started since our last report in the July eBullet. We now have had 1,445 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in 1979.
"Good Night, Pa! Good Night, Aunt Bee!"
"Good Night, Ope." Ellijay, Ga.
We welcome our newest chapter! Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really easy to do. Just pick a name that hasn't already been chosen. That's not as easy as it might sound. You can check the searchable list of chapter names already being used at www.tagsrwc.com.
Anyway, once you do have a name that's yours and nobody else's, you just submit the name with 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).
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.)
**** Merchandise Update ****
With fewer than 100 shopping days till Christmas, don't say Weaver's didn't warn you! But not to worry. We've got you covered. Here are some ideas:
Now in stock!
All the photos contained in this 2017 calendar are in black and white (actually sepia, as shown here), though some are taken from color publicity shots. The calendar is 12" wide x 12" tall when closed and 12" wide x 24" tall when open.
The nine characters featured in this 2017 edition are Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer, Otis, Thelma Lou and Helen.
Order early and take advantage of this 16-month calendar. September through December 2016 are featured together with Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee and Helen on display. All other months are in separate openings featuring one new image per month.
Most of us may not feel like we can step into Andy's shoes but, what about Barney's?
This latest creation is a sturdy, but simplified representation of Barney's Mayberry Deputy's badge. In other words, it's not an exact replica, but for the price, you can't beat it.
The color is "nickel" and you'll be able to pin it to the khaki shirt of your choice to have that official deputy look. Get a Mayberry Deputy Patch to accessorize even more like a true Mayberry Deputy!
Mike Johnson's artwork is a reflection of his love and reverence for small-town life and The Andy Griffith Show. With his Mayberry Postmarks notecard set he has used scenes that are inspired by the show, but not actually of the show itself.
Each set contains 10 notecards (and 10 envelopes) with each having a different pen & ink drawing that will spread the Mayberry spirit to those who receive them. Write your own note inside the card to complete that personal connection with family and friends.
Just right for the cooler temperatures coming up with the change of seasons, two of our most popular T-shirt designs are available in sweatshirts!
As Floyd might say, "Every sweatshirt is a walking testimonial."
And our other new sweatshirt (below) will allow you to show your Mayberry Union High spirit and pride right on through the cold weather. Let others know that you are worthy of being in Barney "Scoop" Fife's "Pickups and Splashes from Floor and Pool" sports column in the school paper.
As always, we also have lots of T-shirts, too. Three dozen designs, in fact! Most of our adult-sized T-shirts are just $20. (A few designs are $18, and the Lawmen all-over design is $25.) A couple of designs also come in Toddler sizes. And we have caps, Goober beanies and deputy patches.
Coming out on DVD in October...the colorized Andy Griffith Show Christmas Special, featuring "Christmas Story" and "The Pickle Story" in color, as they were seen for the first time during the hit presentation on CBS last Christmas. (The DVD will also include the black and white versions of both episodes.)
The release date is October 4, but we'll start taking pre-orders a few days before that. (Hint from Ben Weaver: What a great gift combo the 2017 TAGS Wall Calendar and this DVD will make!)
**** Chapter News ****
Chapters have had an active end of summer. Several chapters from at least five states attended the annual Mayberry Night in Troy, N.C., starting Maggie Peterson and the VW Boys.
Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) published its biggest issue yet of its chapter newsletter (Mayberry Minutes) in August. It was a whopping 18 pages and included many color photos. It recapped the exciting trip to L.A. by several chapter members to visit Mayberry sites and stars. (See our coverage in the July eBullet.)
The East Tennessee bunch also was plenty busy closer to home with activities that included their annual day at a local lake. They'll also be out in force for Mayberry Days.
"We're the Cats!" (Fort Erie, Ont.) gave us paws when they checked in earlier this month. The chapter is the sponsor of the annual "You're the Cat's!" Award, which is inspired by Betty Lynn and is presented to someone who makes a significant contribution to Mayberry Days. The award is presented during the festival, so look for coverage about this year's recipient in our next issue.
Mavis Neff chapter (Durham, N.C.) visited with Andy chapter (Nashville, Tenn.) in July and will be returning in October. She really gets around!
Briscoe of Mayberry (Indianapolis, Ind.) has been organizing monthly mealtime gatherings of local fans each month at the Mayberry Café in Danville, Ind.
Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.) has been meeting monthly, as they have for more than 25 years. Member Neal Brower also presents regular lectures about TAGS at the Andy Griffith Museum, as he will during Mayberry Days with Clint Howard as his special guest.
Barney member Don Teague has established the Mayberry Plate Fund and is spearheading an effort to produce an official Mayberry affinity license plate in North Carolina. And it's all for a great cause. Proceeds will benefit the Surry Arts Council, sponsor of Mayberry Days!
Here's what the design looks like:
But here's the catch: Before the plate can be produced, 500 licensed North Carolina vehicle owners need to register for their plates in advance by filling out some paperwork and sending the license fee to Don. Once he has the received the required 500 application forms and fees, Don will then send everything to the North Carolina DMV for approval and processing, and production will then begin.
Look for Don at Mayberry Days with Mayberry Plate Fund fliers and forms. You can also see the flier online here. The online flier includes a link to the North Carolina DMV page with the application form that can be printed out, then filled out, and dropped in the mail (with the fee) to Don.
This is a huge effort for Don to undertake, largely on his own. He has all his ducks in a row. He just needs help from fellow fans in spreading the word to as many other fans of Mayberry in the Tar Heel State as possible. So please pass the word on to friends and family, and maybe by this time next year we'll be seeing official Mayberry license plates from Checkpoint Chickie to Raleigh...and beyond!
Mayberry Memories chapter (Eau Claire, Wis.) is featured in the September issue of Woman's Day magazine. Chapter leader Ken Anderson, who patrols civic gatherings in the region in his Mayberry Deputy uniform and with his Mayberry squad car replica, was featured in a Kindness Project salute. (That's Ken--kind by behind the eyes!)
That's Chapter News for this issue. If your chapter has news or photos you would like to share with The eBullet, please send them to Goober@imayberry.com. All the news that fits, we print!
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan "Floyd" Newsome with able assistance from Keith "Col. Harvey" Brown. 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.
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 classic installments you've missed. (There have been 393 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in 2008.) Of special note recently is Episode #392 with footage from Betty Lynn's 90th birthday party in Mount Airy a couple of weeks ago. (This week's Episode #393 has Part 2 of that coverage.)
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. And you'll also find links there to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts: Burke on Mayberry (hosted by TAGSRWC's Kevin Burke) and the Mayberry Bible Study Podcast (hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC's official page on Facebook now has over 238,000 friends! 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!
And don't forget: Ben Weaver has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. Check it for the latest Mayberry items and merchandise news.
**** 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 placed in the Archives at 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 November, and the next Weaver's Newsletter set for late October.