Welcome to Our First Issue for 2019!
We begin this new year still mourning a tremendous loss for Mayberry in the final month of last year.
From Mayberry to Fort Courage, folks were greatly saddened by the passing of Ken Berry. He died on December 1 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif. He was 85.
Ken became a pillar of the Mayberry legacy with his character of Sam Jones in four episodes of TAGS and all 78 episodes of “Mayberry R.F.D.” Andy Griffith could not have handed the Mayberry reins to more capable hands. Not to mention feet, because Ken was also one of the premier dancers of his generation or any other.
Especially after his retirement from show business in the 1990s, Ken was famous for being totally content with just staying at home, enjoying time with friends and family, and learning about, tinkering with, and driving cars and other vehicles. After decades of being on the road and flying all over the country to perform, he reveled in the chance in retirement just to take it easy at home and see what each day might bring. Only rarely was he coaxed to make public appearances, or even many private ones.
Ken could never be persuaded to attend any Mayberry fan events, such as Mayberry Days. He knew he was always invited, but he gently declined. He simply had no desire to get on another plane or stay in one more hotel room. In short, he had the opportunity to figuratively (and maybe sometimes literally) just sit on a front porch and rock. No longer a “man in a hurry.” It’s hard to get more Mayberry than that!
We’ve published a Special Edition of The eBullet: Remembering Ken Berry. It draws extensively from the 1999 interview/profile in our old printed newsletter, The Bullet. The story has been updated, and we’ve added several new photos. Most of the story is in Ken’s own words.
President George H.W. Bush, who died the day before Ken, was known for his call for us to be “kinder and gentler.” He needed to look no further than to Ken Berry, a true “point of light” if there ever were one.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Ken’s family and friends, including ex-wife Jackie Joseph, herself a member of the Mayberry family.
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 the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Jan. 18: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Feb. 15: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Feb. 28-Mar. 2: 22nd Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. For more info visit either www.lindseyfilmfest.com or the festival’s page on filmfreeway.com. Full schedule and guests TBA.
* Mar. 15: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Mar. 25: Karen Knotts brings her “Tied Up in Knotts” show to Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah. Showtime is 7:00 p.m. For info and tickets, visit www.provo.org.
* Apr. 11: Karen Knotts heads to the hills with “Tied Up in Knotts” at the Municipal Auditorium in Morganton, N.C. Show time is 7:00 p.m. For info, go to www.commaonline.org.
* Apr. 19: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* May 4: 32nd Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. The event helps raise funds for Denver Pyle’s Children’s Charities, which remains very active in the Paris community. For info, visit the event’s page on Facebook.
* May 9-12: Karen Knotts brings “Tied Up in Knotts” to the Heritage Music Hall at the Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo., for four shows. For show times, tickets, and more info, visit www.musicaltheaterheritage.com.
* May 17: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* May 17-19: Sixth Annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival in Danville, Ind. Guests confirmed so far include Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling), Ronnie Schell (Duke Slater and two Mayberry roles), Margaret Kerry (two roles), Dixie Griffith (Andy’s daughter), George Lindsey Jr., and the award-winning bluegrass band, The Grascals, who will perform a free concert on Sat. night.
A full troupe of Mayberry tribute artists will also be on hand. Other highlights include the Meet & Greet Dinner, a parade, and the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals. For more info, visit www.mayberryinthemidwest.com.
* May 25: Maggie Peterson joins Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band for an edition of Bluegrass Underground billed as “Mayberry Memories: Andy Griffith Show Celebration,” at The Caverns in Pelham, Tenn. David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning will also be on patrol and performing. Showtime is 2 p.m. (Cave opens at 1 p.m.) Reserved tickets are priced $40 and up, with various package options. For info visit www.thecaverns.com.
* June 15: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower kicks off his summer lecture series about TAGS with a discussion of the “Fun Girls” episode (“Hello, doll!”), starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with Andy Griffith Museum admission ($8 for adults, $6 for ages 12 and under). Visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* June 21: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1-3 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 20: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower’s second summer lecture about TAGS finds him talking about “The Education of Ernest T. Bass,” starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with Andy Griffith Museum admission ($8 for adults, $6 for ages 12 and under). Visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 10: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower wraps up his summer lecture series about TAGS with a discussion of the “Andy’s English Valet” episode, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with Andy Griffith Museum admission ($8 for adults, $6 for ages 12 and under).
Visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Sept. 19 and 20: Karen Knotts performs “Tied Up in Knotts” somewhere in Connecticut. Details TBA, but if you’re in the vicinity, mark your calendars!
* Sept. 23-29: 30th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Tickets are already available for many of the week’s events, including for a concert by Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band and a presentation “A Deputy’s Daughter” by Karen Knotts.
Tickets are also available for The Emmett Golf Tournament (and the dinner and entertainment featuring comedian Henry Cho), concerts by Collin Raye, The Grascals, The VW Boys, The Embers, Envision and Legacy Motown Revue, as well as comedy performances by John Floyd (The Mouth of Mayberry) and James Gregory (“The Funniest Man in America”). Tickets are also available for Professor Brower’s Lecture/TAGSRWC Meeting and Colonel Tim’s Talent Time.
Other guest stars and much more are TBA. For advance tickets (order early and get those extra-good seats!), visit www.mayberrydays.com. And of course, much of Mayberry Days, including assorted contests and performances and the parade, don’t require a ticket.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard has been scouting locations (especially around Middletown, Ohio) for Hillbilly Elegy, a feature film based on J.D. Vance’s best-seller.
Apple Seed, the last film of Rance Howard, has had some initial screenings with very good reviews. (Filming of Rance’s part was completed shortly before Rance passed away in November 2017.) The movie, which also features Clint Howard, will hopefully have wider distribution soon.
Betty Lynn continues to hold court at Mount Airy’s Andy Griffith Museum the third Friday of every month (see Floyd’s bulletin board above for details). Here’s a greeting from Betty posted by the museum.
The beautiful oceanfront home of the late Jim Nabors sold for $12 million on January 4. The new owner has not been announced.
Margaret Kerry was in the Tampa area in December for a Tinker Bell/Disney-related event. She also made some holiday appearances closer to home in California.
Jackie Joseph (Ramona Ankrum) made the cover of the current issue (Dec.-Jan.) of The Pet Press! The story about Jackie puts a spotlight on her decades of work on behalf of animals, especially through pet adoptions and spaying and neutering programs, most notably through her work with Actors and Others for Animals, which is just one of many worthy causes that Jackie supports.
Jackie also continues to write a column for The Tolucan Times whenever the notion or an occasion prompts her, including a recent article about a milestone birthday in November.
We’re sad to report the passing of actor Herb Ellis, who played bandleader Bobby Fleet in “The Guitar Player Returns” (Episode 31). Herb died in San Gabriel, Calif., on December 26. He was 97.
Born Herbert E. Siegel in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 17, 1921, Herb made his way to San Francisco, where he worked as an announcer and eventually actor in radio, where he met and worked with Jack Webb.
With Webb, Herb developed the concept for a new police detective show with the Joe Friday character and what became “Dragnet,” first for radio and then for television.
Herb originated the role of Officer Frank Smith for the first “Dragnet” TV series in 1952. He and Jack Webb would continue to work on many series together, including “The D.A.’s Man,” which Webb helped produce and in which Herb co-starred as Frank La Valle in 23 episodes.
Herb was usually cast in the role of authority figures, particularly cops and lawyers. He had multiple and sometimes reoccurring roles in many TV series ranging from “Peter Gunn,” “Peter Loves Mary” and “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” to “M Squad,” “Hennesey” and “Bewitched.”
Herb’s feature films included Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing in 1958, Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie in 1966 and The Party for director Blake Edwards in 1968. He also had a robust career doing voice-overs, including as narrator for The Disappearance of Flight 412, a 1974 made-for-TV movie starring Glenn Ford.
For further reading about Herb’s career, there’s a comprehensive profile on the Radio Spirits website that was published on the occasion of Herb’s 95th birthday almost three years ago.
Even with all that Herb accomplished in his career, he stayed in touch with Mayberry. In fact, he received our printed Bullet newsletter from its early years until its final issue in 2001.
And while Herb wasn’t the only actor to portray Bobby Fleet (not to mention the confusion with Freddy Fleet), he was the Bobby Fleet who successfully rehired Jim Lindsey. And Herb also showed enviable gusto and style when keeping musical tempo with a rolled-up newspaper.
Herb Ellis is survived by daughter Karen and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by Sylvia, his wife of 73 years, and their son, Steven.
**** Chapter Update ****
We haven’t had any new chapters started since the November eBullet, so we’re still holding at a total of 1,459 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in 1979.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really easy to do. Just pick a name that hasn’t already been selected by another group.
You can check the searchable list of chapter names already taken at www.tagsrwc.com. Then submit your chapter’s name with 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).
**** Merchandise Update ****
You’ll find a huge variety of new items, best-sellers and hard-to-find collectibles online at TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store.
Here are some highlights:
Just in time to perk us up for the new year, we’re proud to offer this brand new line of premium coffees from Mayberry’s Finest! The 12-ounce bags of ground coffees are available in Sunday Morning Breakfast Blend, Otis Campbell’s Better-Than-Home Dark Roasted Coffee and Mayberry Diner’s Decaffeinated Coffee.
Many shoppers will remember the popular line of Mayberry’s Finest baking mixes and canned goods from a few years back. Well, Mayberry’s Finest is back and now associated with Malcolm Tucker LLC, so you know they mean business. (There will soon be other delicious Mayberry’s Finest products joining the coffees.)
This line of fine coffees will eventually be coming to the shelves of leading supermarkets and other top retailers, but the Mayberry’s Finest folks wanted Weaver’s customers to have the opportunity to be the first to try them–with the added convenience of having bags of coffee delivered right to your door.
By the way, Mayberry’s Finest coffees are sourced, roasted and ground by the unsurpassed Just Love Coffee Roasters. They know coffee! And we think you’ll “just love” this coffee brought to you by Mayberry’s Finest!
The official 2019 TAGS Wall Calendar is still in stock at Weaver’s. Didn’t get one for Christmas or need a spare for your home or office? Weaver’s has got you covered.
The 2019 edition of this annual favorite features photos from all around the town of Mayberry. You can see which characters are featured each month in the image at left. And at right you can see a representation of how the months are displayed.
The calendar is 12 in. wide x 12 in. tall when closed and 12 in. wide x 24 in. tall when open.
Characters featured in this 2019 edition are Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Floyd and Gomer.
Weaver’s also now has more than 50 different T-shirt designs to choose from!
Most of our adult-sized T-shirts are just $20. A few designs are $18, and the Lawmen and Sheriff all-over designs are $25. (The long-sleeved Sheriff shirt is $40.) Several designs are available in sweatshirts (and some also as hoodies) as well.
Here are some other favorite items. They’re joined by more than 200 different Mayberry-related items, both new and vintage, at Weaver’s.
Stay Warm with Woven Throws!
Shown here are two of our three beautiful tapestry throws–one featuring an iconic image of Andy and Opie fishing down at Myers Lake and one that’s just a big Barney Face. (The third throw design features Andy, Barney and Opie.)
The one-sided designs are imprinted on soft, custom woven 100% polyester (for easy cleaning) trimmed with fringe. They’re ideal for spreading out on a bed, couch or favorite chair.
All throws measure an ample 36 in. x 58 in. And the designs are also available as fleece blankets, pillows, pillowcases, tote bags and pouches.
Check out new items and old favorites including lots of great books for winter reading online at Weaver’s Department Store.
And remember that your purchases from Weaver’s help support Mayberry events and Mayberry-related charitable causes all year long at locations all around the country. Those sales also help keep our online Mayberry newsletters and communities available to everybody free of charge. As always, thank you for shopping at Weaver’s!
**** Chapter News ****
The last quarter of the year, especially around the holidays, is always a busy time for TAGSRWC chapters. Here’s a couple of photos from recent meetings:
Other chapters reporting on their holiday parties include “A Dollar and Quarter” (New Philadelphia, Ohio), which has already also held its first gathering of the new year and has a second scheduled for February, and Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.)
That’s Chapter News for this year. If you have news or photos of your chapter activities that you would like to share with The eBullet, please send your updates to Goober@imayberry.com.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome with spirited help from Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown. You can check out the fun and sign up for free at: http://imayberrycommunity.com.
The iMayberry Community complements our other online activities, including our main www.imayberry.com page, podcasts, Facebook pages, online newsletters (such as The eBullet!), weaversdepartmentstore.com and chat rooms.
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. Most weeks also include a Mayberry History Lesson from special correspondent Randy Turner.
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. (As of this issue, there have been a whopping 512 episodes since Allan started the podcasts over a decade ago.)
And you’ll also find links on that web page to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts: Burke on Mayberry (hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke) and the Mayberry Bible Study Podcast (another one hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook has over 245,000 Mayberry 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!
We also have links in our “Liked by this Page” section to the pages of several TAGSRWC chapters on Facebook (including the Gomer and Goober Pyle Comic Book Literary Guild), as well as to Facebook pages of Mayberry Days, the Andy Griffith Museum, TAGS actors and others.
Ben Weaver also has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. It features all the latest in Mayberry items and merchandise news.
**** Post Note ****
Between issues of The eBullet, keep up with all the happenings in Mayberry with the daily Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board? (aka “WBMUTBB?”) Digest. It’s a free subscriber list that consists entirely of comments, newsflashes, and questions and answers from subscribers. You can sign up for that list by going to the Mailing Lists link at tagsrwc.com. “WBMUTBB?” also has its own Archives where you can follow the ongoing stream of messages.
TAGSRWC publishes Weaver’s Newsletter in alternate months to The eBullet. Like The eBullet, the Weaver’s Newsletter is free. Its focus is tilted slightly more to Mayberry merchandise and collectibles and quick newsflashes. It has some content overlap with The eBullet, sometimes earlier and sometimes later, depending on the timing of the news. To sign up, go to Weaver’s Newsletter Sign-Up.
The next regularly scheduled issue of The eBullet will be published in March. But we’re also working on a Special Edition for February. The next Weaver’s Newsletter is also scheduled for February.