An Online Newsletter of “The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Volume 13, Issue 5
Welcome to our fifth issue of The eBullet for 2013. It’s our big Pre-Mayberry Days issue! As many of us prepare for the biggest annual gathering of Mayberry fans in Mount Airy, read on for news about recent and upcoming happenings with cast members and fans, and also merchandise, including the 2014 TAGS Wall Calendars and two new T-shirts on our Weaver’s Department Store shelves.
And don’t miss our regular Mayberry Sidecar section toward the end of this issue. This time it’s all about the history and current whereabouts of a special piece of Mayberry lore. An eBullet exclusive!
Floyd’s Barbershop Bulletin Board
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s amazing 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.
* Sept. 20: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) is scheduled to greet 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. (Editor’s Note: Betty is still recuperating from surgery about three weeks ago, so this abbreviated appearance may still be tentative. If you’re traveling to Mount Airy from any distance just for this appearance, it’s probably wise to confirm with the museum that day.)
* Sept. 21: Margaret Kerry will be in LaPuente, Calif., with other Disney folks for the Main Street Art Walk raising money for art classes for kids.
* Sept. 24-26: Life Lessons From Mayberry: It’s All There in Black and White in Ridgecrest, N.C. (just east of Asheville), is a celebration of “The Andy Griffith Show” and the biblical truths and life applications found in the show. The three-day event includes Bible study based on favorite episodes, preaching and worship, bluegrass music, country cooking, and lodging nestled in the North Carolina mountains. Full info at www.lifeway.com/mayberry.
* Sept. 26-29: 24th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Highlights include the Emmett Forrest Mayberry Days Golf Tournament & Banquet (Thurs.) and two Doug Dillard Memorial Concerts (Fri.) featuring Ginger Boatwright (a Doug Dillard Band member for three decades), the legendary Roland White (of Mayberry’s Country Boys and later with the Kentucky Colonels, Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass, the Country Gazette and the Nashville Bluegrass Band, and now making his first appearance at Mayberry Days), LeRoy McNees (Roland’s Country Boys bandmate and longtime Mayberry Days favorite) with special guest vocalist (and dancer!) Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling).
Other ticketed parts of the weekend include “Best in Hollywood” with James Best (Jim Lindsey), “Tied Up in Knotts” with Karen Knotts (daughter of Don), Professor Brower’s Lecture featuring Peggy McCay (Sharon DeSpain), Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis,” and Colonel Tim’s Talent Time hosted by David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning. And there’s so much more, most of it with free admission, including the Mayberry Days Parade, trivia and other assorted contests, Mrs. Wiley’s Tea Party, pork barbecue cooking, and who knows what all. Official festivities conclude with a Memorial to Emmett Forrest on Sunday morning at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
And talk about creating excitement…Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Elizabeth MacRae (Betty Parker and Lou-Ann Poovie), Morgan Brittany (Mary Alice Carter), George Spence (Frank the boyfriend), Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey), and George Lindsey, Jr. (“Goober-Son”) are other special guests confirmed for this year’s festival. There will be several opportunities to meet the stars throughout the festival. For complete info, tickets and updates, visit www.mayberrydays.org.
* Oct. 4 and 5: Beverly & Rodney Dillard bring their Mayberry Values Ministry with Maggie Peterson to Heritage Christian School in Karlstad, Minn. Show time is 6:30 p.m. For tickets and info, call 218-436 -2144.
* Oct. 5 and 6: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning and most of his merry band of fellow Mayberry tribute artists will be falling in line with cheery activities at the Autumn Jubilee Festival at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, N.C. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days (we think).
* Oct. 6: Rodney Dillard & The Dillard Band bring their Mayberry Ministry to Lancaster Covenant Church in Lancaster, Minn., at 10:00 a.m. They then move on to Bethel Community Church in Fosston, Minn., for a concert at 6:30 p.m. For more info on the Fosston performance, call 218-435-1252.
* Oct. 8: Karen Knotts performs her “Tied Up in Knotts” stage show at the Jackson Parrish Library in Jonesboro, La., from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m.
* Oct. 11: Karen Knotts brings “Tied Up in Knotts” to the St. Joseph Arts Center, 118 Arts Drive, St. Joseph, La., from 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
* Oct. 12: Karen Knotts and “Tied Up in Knotts” come to the Rose Theater, 102 E. Jefferson, Bastrop, La., from 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
* Oct. 12: The Otis Campbell Mayberry Squad Car Obstacle Course (so-named because it’s a pint-sized version of the esteemed Mayberry Squad Car Nationals) will be held at 1 p.m. during the Pat Buttram Day festival in Addison, Ala. (Organizers hope that “The Otis,” as the Obstacle Course race seems destined to be nicknamed, won’t overshadow NASCAR’s Talladega 500 the next weekend.)
The festival kicks off with Pat’s Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at Addison High School. That’s followed by a parade at 9:00 a.m., featuring antique cars (including Mayberry squad car replicas), and other traditional parade elements (including Mayberry participants Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Tim “Goober” Pettigrew and Kenneth “Otis” Junkin).
The day (at least until about 5 p.m. or so) will be filled with music, arts & crafts, food, antique car & tractor show, carnival rides, a quilt show and a photo gallery of Pat Buttram’s career. Admission is free for all, but please, no free-for-alls.
Addison is just a few miles west of Cullman, Ala., on Hwy. 278. The sponsoring lodging location is the relaxing Lakeshore Inn & Marina on beautiful Lewis Smith Lake. Their website is: http://lakeshoreinnandmarina.com/.
If you’re interested in bringing your Mayberry squad car replica for the parade or for The Otis (see, it’s already catching on!), call Kenneth at (205) 364-7727 to get your name in the hat. The Crimson Tide is away at Kentucky this weekend, so any Alabama football fans not traveling to Kentucky for the game (all 83 of you) now have the perfect in-state event to attend today instead!
* Oct. 20: LeRoy McNees and wife Jan participate with music and praise at the 10:00 a.m. worship service at Elizabeth Chapel, 1041 Elizabeth Chapel Road, in Bluff City, Tenn.
* Oct. 20: Karen Knotts performs a condensed version of her “Tied Up in Knotts” show in Colby, Kans., from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Venue and other details TBA.
* Oct. 25 to 27: Julie Adams is a guest star for Spooky Empire: The Ultimate Horror Weekend at the Hilton Doubletree at Universal, 5780 Major Blvd. in Orlando, Fla.
* Oct. 28-Nov. 2: Halloween Cruise to Mayberry 8. Five Days aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Paradise, leaving from Tampa to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and two “Fun Days” at sea. Special Guests for the cruise are Jackie Joseph, best known to Mayberry fans as Ernest T. Bass’ love interest, Ramona Ankrum, and Dobro-playing Country Boys member LeRoy McNees.
They will be joined by several Mayberry tribute artists, an Elvis tribute artist, and the VW Boys for entertainment provided exclusively to Mayberry Cruise participants. For more info, visit the All About Cruises website at www.allaboutcruisesnc.net.
* Nov. 1-3: Margaret Kerry will appear with other Disney performers and artists in the Gifts by Small Fry booth at the Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
* Dec. 7: Rodney Dillard and The Dillard Band and Maggie Peterson perform their Mayberry Christmas show featuring David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning at Long Branch Baptist Church in Autryville, N.C. Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. with a meet-and-greet with the stars at 6 p.m. For more info, call 910-531-3765.
* Dec. 15: Rodney Dillard and The Dillard Band and Maggie Peterson bring a sleigh full of music and fun to Middle Tennessee with their Mayberry Christmas show featuring David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning. They’ll perform at Mt. Juliet Middle School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., at 6:30 p.m., presented by Abundant Life Church of Mt Juliet. The evening will begin with a showing of the “Christmas Story” episode. The show will be followed by a meet-and-greet with the performers. For tickets ($20 for General Admission in first five rows; $15 General Admission in all other seats) or more info, call 615-754-7035. Or tickets may be purchased online at Christmas in Mayberry.
* Jan. 11: James Best performs “Best in Hollywood” at the Green Room Community Theater in Newton, N.C. For more info, contact the box office at 828-464-6583 or visit www.the-green-room.org.
* Feb. 14: Maggie Peterson and Ronnie Schell perform Love Letters during a dinner show at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy, N.C. All tickets are $55, which includes dinner. (No tickets will be available without dinner.) Dinner is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the show. Tickets should be available fairly soon from the Surry Arts Council and its website www.surryarts.org.
* Feb. 28-Mar. 16: James Best stars with wife Dorothy Best and Norma Frank in On Golden Pond at the Hickory Community Theatre in Hickory, N.C. For info, visit hickorytheatre.org.
* Mar. 6-8: 17th Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. For info, visit www.lindseyfilmfest.com.
* 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.
* 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.
* May 2 and 3: 4th Annual Mayberry Comes to Westminster Festival in Westminster, S.C. Details TBA.
* 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. Many more details TBA, but for now, just mark your calendar.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard‘s Rush, the much anticipated film about a legendary saga in Formula One racing, is getting great buzz ahead of its release in theaters nationwide on September 27.
Jay-Z: Made in America, Ron’s documentary about hip-hop star Jay-Z’s music festival in Philadelphia, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival this month, and will have its debut on Showtime on October 11.
In the Face of Jinn, the 2005 novel by Ron’s wife, Cheryl (writing under the lightly disguised pen name Cheryl Howard Crew) was released as an audio book this summer. Daughter Bryce Dallas Howard provided the voices for all of the characters in the audio book.
And Ron and Bryce are the judges who will pick the five winning films from the 20 finalists in Canon’s Project Imaginat10n. The winners will be announced at the photo and film contest’s festival later this fall.
Meanwhile, Ron is now in pre-production for an adaptation of In the Heart of the Sea, a tragic story of the Essex, a whaling ship destroyed by a whale in 1820.
And Ron and his Imagine Entertainment studio are producing a revival of the popular “24” TV series called “24: Live Another Day,” which is set to begin airing sometime in 2014.
Ron and Imagine partner Brian Grazer are also trying to bring the “Friday Night Lights” TV series to the big screen (where filmed versions of FNL, based on the FNL book, started in 2004). The interesting twist is that Imagine likely will use crowdfunding (that is, money from fans and others through Kickstarter or a similar program) as part of the financial backing for the new movie.
Rance Howard added a nice touch of Western authenticity as a train engineer in this summer’s fun and underrated Lone Ranger. And watch for Rance in director Alexander Payne’s Nebraska and as Sheriff Barnum in 16 South.
Betty Lynn had surgery the day before her birthday at the end of August. She is recovering well in the quiet of her home, and she’s looking forward to being out and about again soon and greeting fans and friends at Mayberry Days. She appreciates all the birthday greetings and well-wishes she has received.
In addition to her regular monthly welcoming of visitors at the Andy Griffith Museum, Betty also made a special appearance at the museum with Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies”) on August 1. They drew a big crowd, as Betty always does. Believe it or not, the Mount Airy event was the first time the two stars had ever crossed paths.
Maggie Peterson and Rodney Dillard have done several concert performances together this year, including another highly successful annual August fundraiser in Troy, N.C., for the Montgomery County Sheriff Department’s DARE program. And they’re just back from the Hickman Pecan Festival in Kentucky. And Maggie and Ronnie Schell will be doing a performance of Love Letters for one night only (Feb. 14.) in Mount Airy, N.C. (See Floyd’s bulletin board above.)
James Best has had a full schedule with personal appearances and exhibitions of his original art. So far this year, he has been to Las Vegas, Nashville, Memphis, Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana and beyond, with more on the way. Many of his personal appearances are “Dukes of Hazzard” reunions, but he’s often joined for comedy sketches onstage by David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning.
And look for James (and David Browning, along with John Schneider, Bruce Davison and an attractive cast) in Return of the Killer Shrews, which will be on DVD, shrewdly timed for release just before Halloween. (Our Weaver’s Dept. Store is taking pre-orders now and we’ll start shipping just as soon as the shrews are approved for unleashing on an unwary public. We think that’ll be October around 22, but you never know–the unruly shrews may bust out of their holding pen early!)
On a tamer note, James is also set to star in a production of On Golden Pond at the Hickory (N.C.) Community Theatre starting February 28 next year.
Jackie Joseph (Ernest T.’s Sweet Romeena) has been especially active lately in fundraisers for blindness research and for leukemia and lymphoma assistance. As always, she’s also very involved in Actors & Others for Animals, which has a big fundraiser coming up the same weekend as Mayberry Days (causing Jackie to have to miss this year’s festival). And she still finds time to regularly write a column for the Tolucan Times and to be involved in SAG/AFTRA issues, among many other activities.
Morgan Brittany (Opie girlfriend Mary Alice Carter) has been making a variety of personal appearances, including at the Western Film Fair in Winston-Salem, N.C., in July. And look for her back at Mayberry Days in Mount Airy this month!
Julie Adams (the first Nurse Mary) has done several book signings for her recent memoir, The Lucky Southern Star–Reflections from the Black Lagoon. She has been everywhere from California to Arkansas, and has an upcoming appearance in Orlando (see Floyd’s bulletin board).
Joy Ellison (Mary Wiggins and other Opie-aged characters), one of Hollywood’s most in-demand dialect coaches, has a couple of movie projects pending around Mayberry Days, but is eager to attend the festival in 2014, if filming schedules allow.
Mayberry’s Country Boys Dobro master LeRoy Mack McNees had a mini-tour playing gospel bluegrass in central Colorado in August. And be sure to check out his great new CD, Stories. (Hint: He’ll have copies with him at Mayberry Days. Get him to sign one for you!)
Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) has been making lots of personal appearances in connection with the 60th Anniversary of Disney’s Peter Pan this year. (She was the live model for Tinker Bell.) And she is finishing up her autobiography.
Margaret also has been collaborating with George Lindsey Jr. on some comedy performances. And she did some interviews with George about show business and his memories of his dad. Those are expected to be on her website (www.tinkerbelltalks.com) at some point.
Meanwhile, George Lindsey Jr. can be heard as several voices in the recently redubbed Starzinger, the classic anime space drama (aka “Spaceketeers” in its original form) released on DVD in August. Attaboy, Goober-son!
We’re very sad to report the passing on September 16 of Vikki Sallee-Dillard, widow of Doug Dillard, after a short time in hospice in Nashville. Funeral arrangements are pending.
A skilled singer and songwriter, Vikki was one of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet, and she was a good friend to many in our Mayberry community. Though we’ll miss her here, there’s comfort in the faith that she and her beloved Doug are together again and forever.
**** Chapter Update ****
We have three new chapters since the July eBullet, which brings us to 1,409 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began.
“I Just Gave You an A in Breathing” Ridgeland, Miss.
“Only One Word I Can Think of…Big” Mint Hill, N.C.
Mayberry Sheriff’s Auxiliary Rocky Mount, N.C.
If you’d like to start a chapter of TAGSRWC, it’s easy. Just pick a name that hasn’t already been chosen, and submit it with a list of your founding members by e-mail to Goober@imayberry.com 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, fancily inscribed and “suitable for framing” by Sherry Hyatt, our master calligrapher from the “Compelsion Nuts” chapter in East Tennessee. (She has a handwriting compelsion.)
What you do as a chapter is entirely up to you. Some chapters get together regularly and do elaborate activities. Others are doing well if they can find the TV remote control in the couch cushions. (“That’s the couch I was telling you about.”) Either way, or anything in between, is perfectly fine.) Like Andy in Mayberry, we don’t carry a gun and enforce a lot of rules. (Don’t tell Barney!)
Or if you’re feeling more like a joiner than a starter, you can write to us at Goober@iMayberry.com, and we’ll see if we can hook you up with an active chapter near you.
And 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.)
A special note for fans in the vicinity of Raleigh, N.C: Echoing Louisville, Ky., in our last issue, there is interest in getting a new TAGSRWC chapter started in Raleigh, N.C. We have had bunches of chapters in Raleigh and neighboring communities over the years, and we still have lots of individual members in the area. Most of the earlier chapters aren’t meeting often these days (we refer you to the note above about TV remotes in cushions). If you’re interested in getting together with other fans, write to us at HQ at the above e-mail address. That goes for anywhere, not just Raleigh (and vicinity) and Louisville, but we’ve had special requests from those areas to get the word out.
We always enjoy hearing news 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, artwork, collectibles, items for your vehicle and much more online at Weaver’s (www.weaversdepartmentstore.com).
There are lots of great vintage and rare things, too. First one thing and then another. We appreciate your shopping at Weaver’s, especially because Weaver’s sales are the main thing that helps TAGSRWC be able to support Mayberry Days and other Mayberry-connected events and charitable efforts throughout the year. We appreciate it!
Featured This Month at Weaver’s:
The official “Andy Griffith Show” Wall Calendar is back for 2014! This calendar contains all black-and-white photos (though some are of color seasons). When hanging up, the calendar measures 12 x 22.
Favorite characters featured in the 2014 edition are Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Gomer, Goober, Weaver’s Mannequins and a very skinny Santa (ho-ho-ho).
Be sure to make your dates with Mayberry in 2014!
Was $30.00 Sale: $22.00
Two calendars for one great price. Just $22.00 for the pair, when you buy them together in this special combo.
As with all of our T-shirt designs (more than 2 dozen in all!), these shirts are 100% cotton and only $18 each. (All-American Andy is on a light gray shirt and Newest Nip It is on a sky blue shirt.) Both shirts (and most of our other designs) are available in sizes adult Small to 2X. A few designs are also in 3X.
More scary than The Monster from out of Town, more bizarre than Anteaters from Outer Space. Watch out for Return of the Killer Shrews!
Otis, grip a bottle and take cover under your courthouse cot! Aunt Bee, grab your rolling pin! Barney, find your bullet. Opie, test your slingshot. Ernest T. Bass, uh…never mind. He’ll be fine. Even Killer Shrews know to avoid that nut and his sack of rocks!
Yes, the Killer Shrews of legend are back in Return of the Killer Shrews, the long-awaited sequel to the original 1959 cult classic starring James Best as Capt. Thorne Sherman.
In this new cinematic assault, Capt. Sherman (played again by the Best man) is now possibly the lone wrangler who survived the original shrew-vasion. He is hired by a current-day reality TV show crew to return to the island home of the shrews, who are willing to do anything to avoid having a low-life reality show invade their island.
And it turns out that the generations of Killer Shrews that have evolved are more than up to the task of defending their island, because, with the nurturing of an adoring mad doctor (Bruce Davison of X-Men, Willard and Susan’s ruthless estate lawyer on “Seinfeld”), the body count is sure to mount as members of the attractive cast and crew encounter the brutal reality of the flesh-munching mammals.
James Best and his ”Dukes of Hazzard” buddies John Schneider and Rick Hurst are joined by not only the talented Mr. Davison, but also Jennifer Lyons (yes, in the required monster movie bikini), Sean Flynn (grandson of Errol Flynn), David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning (as earnest Neavis), plus Patty Browning (David’s wife) as the endearing Intern, and other able and highly watchable actors. As for the shrews, they’re simply, viciously, blood-thirstily horror-able.
Special features: Trailer, “Making of” videos (including commentary by James Best), music video with Dean Torrence (Jan & Dean), plus special bonus: a brand-new 16×9 digital film transfer of the original 1959 cult classic The Killer Shrews.
We’re not sure what the Motion Picture Association of America’s official Rating is for this 83-minute film, but the amount of blood and gore is probably somewhere between TV’s “Lassie” and “Dexter.” Ditto for the laughs.
Even if you’re not suave and worldly, at least be Shrewd. Order Return of the Killer Shrews today. Then let yourself live…a little…before the Killer Shrews gnaw their way into your subconscious mind…forever! And best of all, the Killer Shrews have already chewed our price down to only $18.00.
And beyond Killer Shrews and such, Weaver’s of course has all of the normal items you expect to find in an online store that’s all about Mayberry, including lots of wonderful items for the holidays, which will be here before Aunt Bee can say “Oh, flibbertigibbet!”
**** Chapter News ****
“Blood Brothers” chapter (Macon, Mo.) had their first meeting in April and followed up with their second on July 21 to mark Don Knotts‘ birthday. Their next meeting is planned for December.
A bunch of folks (29 people and one dog from five states) in the imayberry.com community gathered in Mount Airy the weekend of July 20. Many got to visit with Betty Lynn at the Andy Griffith Museum, and most visited key points of interest in Mount Airy and nearby. But most of all, they enjoyed just visiting with each other, as seen here one night in the gazebo at the Mayberry Motor Inn. Photo by Jan Newsome. (Click HERE for a link to lots more photos and a recap of the meet-up on Facebook.)
“Hear that, Boys? No Yellin’ at the Table!” chapter (Joplin, Mo.) visited the Mayberry Scout Troop #44 chapter’s Taylor Home Inn (the bed and breakfast that is a replica of the Taylors’ home in Mayberry) in Clear Lake, Wis., in July. They also got to visit with Mayberry Memories chapter (Eau Claire, Wis.) at a car show in Lake Hallie, Wis., where Mayberry Memories leader Ken Anderson was displaying his Mayberry squad car replica.
Members of “Just a Fat Woman with Orange Hair” chapter (Fayetteville, N.C.) got to meet Morgan Brittany at the Western Film Fair in Winston-Salem, N.C. They also visited with members of Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.), who were also attending the festival.
And members of the “Orange Hair” group made a trip to Mount Airy in August for a lecture by Neal Brower (of Greensboro’s Barney chapter) at the Andy Griffith Museum. They also went to Siler City to have a barbecue lunch and then visit the gravesite of Frances Bavier. Aunt Bee would be pleased that they did a little sprucing up around the site. (A previous visitor had left a jar of pickles that had gotten broken.)
Trivial Trivialities chapter (Georgetown, S.C.) got together this summer for their quarterly meeting featuring potluck from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook.
Twenty-seven members of “Shakedown! Shakedown!” chapter (Laurinburg, N.C.) attended Mayberry Night in Troy, N.C., in August. The annual event, a fundraiser for the local DARE program that stars Maggie Peterson and Rodney Dillard, is organized by Howard Sprague tribute artist Jeff Branch (a Montgomery County deputy). Chapters from several states attended, with many (led by “Shakedown! Shakedown!”) donating and bidding on items in the silent auction.
Members of “Remembering Mayberry” chapter (Chillicothe, Ohio) were able to meet up with LeRoy McNees and wife Jan for lunch when all were visiting Nashville in early September.
If your chapter has news or photos to share, we’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail us at HQ at Goober@imayberry.com.
**** The Mayberry Sidecar ****
This section of The eBullet is customarily reserved for little odds and ends that don’t exactly fit in another section. In this issue, though, the name of the section couldn’t be more fitting for precisely this story. Read on for this unexpected tale of discovery.
Making a Mayberry Entrance in Salida
By Jim Clark
In most other forums, this story would be all about the delicious pork barbecue I had for lunch one Thursday back in August at Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue, a new restaurant not far from the Arkansas River on the southeast side of Salida, Colo. It’s possibly the best pork barbecue I’ve ever eaten.
Even to admit that is a mouthful coming from someone who grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Tennessee, two places that take their pork barbecue as seriously as their devotion to Mayberry and music.
In any other forum, I might talk only about how owner and pitmaster Rusty Graves grew up in the South and mastered the art of barbecuing any kind of meat during decades of cooking in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and currently Colorado. (He operated Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue in Trinidad, Colo., near the New Mexico border, for many years before moving to Salida a few years ago and eventually opening his new restaurant location in July.)
Rusty’s secret may be having just the right hint of Cajun flavors that add the perfect zest to his barbecue. That and knowing not to be in a hurry when cooking barbecue. The man also makes a mean and unexpected pineapple cobbler for dessert.
The family-owned restaurant (Rusty’s daughter waited on my wife Mary and me during our visit) is perched on a hill just above US Highway 50. It’s a spotless and unassuming place that’s well designed to accommodate either a tranquil trickle of customers or a roaring busload.
Some folks might not even pay much attention to a back corner of the restaurant next to the kitchen. A casual glance suggests that it’s just a quaintly funky little gift shop. But what it is, is the Cleora Museum. Now, Cleora was a little mining and ranching community nearby that also served as a division headquarters for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway during a bygone era of the Old West. It’s a ghost of a ghost town now.
Rusty’s museum has a wide variety of mining, Indian and cowboy artifacts from the days when Cleora had a little bustle to it. Actually, I’m just taking Rusty’s word for that. I barely noticed all the cowboy and Indian stuff.
You see, I sought out Rusty’s place for one reason and one reason alone. It was a last-minute detour added to a long-planned summer vacation. It was destined to become a highlight. In fact, it’s a wonder I was able to sit still long enough to enjoy my pork barbecue plate–not to mention the pineapple cobbler with ice cream–all while knowing what was on display about 10 yards away. Forget the food. Forget the Indian arrowheads. When you walk in the door of Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue, the greeting should be simply, “Welcome to Checkpoint Chickie!”
That, Mayberry friends, is because gleaming in the corner of the Cleora Museum in the corner next to the kitchen of Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue in Salida, Colo., is the actual 1927 Harley-Davidson JD motorcycle and sidecar from “Barney’s Sidecar” (Episode #111).
I know what you’re thinking. The ol’ Presiding Goober has gotten into Colonel Harvey’s Indian Elixir. Or maybe he has guzzled some of the cider that Barney left at Mrs. Mendelbright’s that time or sipped the Darlings’ mulberry squeezin’s. Have I come to fill my vase?
No. I’m dead sober. Here’s the proof.
Back when the motorcycle was used in “Barney’s Sidecar” (which was filmed in mid-November 1963 and first aired on Jan. 27, 1964), it was owned by legendary Hollywood stuntman George Dockstader. Though Dockstader could do all manner of stunts (working with names like Hitchcock, Eastwood and Mel Brooks), he was best known for his expertise with cars and motorcycles. He maintained a stable of vehicles that he would modify and supply according the needs of a particular movie or TV show.
When “The Andy Griffith Show” contacted him needing a vintage motorcycle with sidecar, Dockstader had just what they needed. (We aren’t supposed to notice that the cycle in “Barney’s Sidecar” was thought to have been in World War I, while this cycle was made in 1927. That discrepancy isn’t one that couldn’t be easily trumped by a piece of wood and Opie’s wood-burning set.)
Not to get too far off topic, but what’s a sidecar story without a sidebar? The stuntman who drives the motorcycle in “Barney’s Sidecar” wasn’t George Dockstader, who wasn’t the right size to play Barney. Instead it was Jerry Brutsche, who was Don Knotts’s stunt double for most of Don’s career, including for all of his movies for Universal and Disney. Brutsche was also Irene Ryan’s stunt double for Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
But back to the motorcycle. George Dockstader owned the cycle until sometime in the 1970s, when he sold it to Robert “Bobby” Falk, a good friend and longtime mechanic at Paramount Studios. Falk kept the cycle and sidecar in basically the condition he received them in, except for one thing. And that is that he eventually repainted the body of both the cycle and sidecar to be as close as he could get them to the way they had been when “Barney’s Sidecar” was filmed. (“Trained noticers” are sure to observe that the sign work for the emblem on the sidecar was clearly not done by Charlie Phelps, but it’s in the ballpark and nicely done. And the chain guard is painted the same as the the rest of the body now, whereas it wasn’t the same shade in “Barney’s Sidecar.”)
Falk also put new black vinyl seating in the sidecar, which, of course, is what Andy was going to have Barney do with oilcloth in “Barney’s Sidecar,” so that was a decision in keeping with Mayberry.
Other than those changes and any needed parts and repairs to keep the cycle in working order, Falk left the cycle and sidecar the same. He didn’t tinker with the frame or the motorcycle seat. It appears that even the tires (and especially the spare tire) are vintage, if not definitely from the cycle’s Mayberry era.
Bobby Falk kept the cycle for about 35 years. The cycle continued to work in films. At some point (it’s not clear whether before or after Falk acquired it), the cycle and sidecar were reportedly featured in an episode of “The Waltons.”
After the cycle’s use in “Barney’s Sidecar,” elements, such as some of its accessories and adornments would have changed for its “roles” in other productions that came along. Small features likely were added or subtracted according to the cycle personality needed for each film. But the basic cycle has remained constant, and its current form, as restored by Falk, clearly captures the essence of its Mayberry era, its shining moment.
Falk would also occasionally display the cycle at various locations and events. For example, it was exhibited at Harley-Davidson of Glendale (Calif.) for at least part of 2008 and maybe longer. Even after Falk retired and moved to Colorado Springs in 1996 following four decades at Paramount, he kept the cycle and sidecar until his death on February 26, 2012.
Before he died, Falk had made his wishes known that, upon his passing, he wanted Rusty Graves, his trusted friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast, to have the iconic cycle. At one time, Falk had considered other possible owners and homes for the motorcycle. At least two of those possibilities would indeed have been deemed very happy homes by Mayberry fans, but the cycle was destined to continue its legacy of happiness in Rusty’s care.
In the end, it’s reassuring to know that Rusty Graves is now the owner. Like Bobby Falk before him, Rusty has chosen to have the vehicle’s title remain in George Dockstader’s name for posterity. The cycle and sidecar are clearly in good hands. Loving hands. The cycle is right at home among other beautiful cycles.
Andy always said the cycle belonged in a museum. And now it finally is. It may not be exactly in Mayberry, but, on the other hand, the charming little Cleora Museum in the corner next to the kitchen at Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue in Salida, Colo., is about as close to the spirit of Mayberry as you can get.
I like to think that mythical World War I veterans Al, Burt Stevens, the Milo Boys and most other folks around Mayberry would be very pleased about the cycle being so beautifully preserved and respected. And a final indication of that is right inside the front door of Buffalo Smokehouse Barbecue. That’s where they’ve placed one of those nostalgic machines that for 50 cents will mash a penny for you to create an embossed Salida souvenir.
For my part, I saved the 50 cents (and a penny). My pilgrimage to see Barney’s motorcycle and sidecar was souvenir enough for me.
Mary and I headed back to our suddenly very boring rented 2013 Ford Fusion. We got in the staid ingot gray sedan with all its modern comforts and amenities and headed down the steep driveway to get back on US 50. We paused for a moment as I recalled what Andy told Barney after he saw the cycle and sidecar for the last time. “Don’t look back.”
With my eyes fixed ahead, I made the right turn to get back on US 50 going west to east, resigned in the assurance that while driving along I would have no problem pronouncing any word beginning with the letter “S” whenever I wanted.
Special thanks to Rusty Graves for his hospitality and information for this story. And also for his indulging one particularly Gooberesque request during our visit.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
The iMayberry Community
This newest TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome. It’s called iMayberry Community. 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, 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 53 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 252 episodes since the podcasts began almost 5 years ago, including a fascinating recent pair of episodes featuring an interview with Betty Lynn!)
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.
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook now has more than 40,000 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 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 the goings-on 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 November, and the next Weaver’s Newsletter is scheduled for October. Till then, happy Mayberry watching, with or without your goggles!