An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to our November eBullet, our sixth and final issue for this 60th Anniversary year of “The Andy Griffith Show”!
On the heels of Mayberry Days® in late September and then the milestone October 3 Anniversary of TAGS, there has been a lot to celebrate. TAGS-related subjects were the cover story for at least four magazines in October:
You can read three of the stories online: Carolina Country (about Mount Airy and Mayberry Days), Bluegrass Unlimited (about Rodney Dillard and The Dillards) and Alabama Living (about TAGSRWC’s Allan “Floyd” Newsome).
As Barney famously said, “During our lifetime, we travel many roads.” Now is a good time for all of us to be happy and grateful that so many roads (and channels and streaming services) still lead to Mayberry!
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s monumental collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, is open!
Please note that the Museum has more than just Barney’s Two Rules at The Rock. With North Carolina pausing in Phase 3 of pandemic protocols, the Museum’s Rules include: Only 25 visitors at a time, everyone must wear a mask (bring your own or come prepared to buy one for $5.35), wear gloves if you’re planning to use the Museum’s touch screens, and have a credit/debit card or exact change for payment.
For complete updates on operating hours, safety procedures, or other info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
Here are a couple events already on the calendar for next year:
* Sept. 20-26: 32nd Annual Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy, N.C. Special Guests confirmed so far include Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) and Rodney Dillard (guitar-playing Darling boy).
Tickets are available HERE for some concerts and presentations, including Collin Raye (on Sept. 18, the Sat. before Mayberry Days® week), two shows (one as part of the banquet for the Mayberry Days Golf Tournament) by T. Graham Brown, The Doug Dillard Tribute Show by The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard, Professor Brower’s Lecture with Neal Brower, Tim White and Troublesome Hollow’s “Tribute to Mayberry,” Allen Leath’s “Mayberry Melodies,” Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis,” and Colonel Tim’s Talent Time.
Other concert highlights during the week include The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, Legacy Motown Revue, The Band of Oz and James Gregory (“The Funniest Man in America”).
Much more TBA, but for now, other than these first confirmed presentations, just mark your calendar and be sure to check back for updates.
* Oct. 31-Nov. 6: Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which was postponed with a few tweaks from its original dates in 2020. This cruise aboard Carnival’s Freedom will depart from Fort Lauderdale and travel to the Eastern Caribbean with ports of call in Princess Cays in the Bahamas, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove, the new Carnival-owned village in the Dominican Republic. Rates (including all taxes) start at $625 per person.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard has been actively promoting Rebuilding Paradise, his National Geographic documentary about the aftermath of the 2018 fires around Paradise, Calif. The film, all the more poignant given this year’s wildfire crisis in the West, opened in select socially distancing theaters in July and premiered (commercial-free!) on the Nat Geo Channel on November 8. It has been receiving universally excellent reviews. Watch the trailer HERE.
Ron’s much-anticipated Hillbilly Elegy is also scheduled for release in select theaters in November and on Netflix on November 24. The film starring Amy Adams, Glenn Close and TAGS alum Bo Hopkins is already being mentioned as an Oscar contender. You can watch the film’s first trailer HERE.
Ron and Brian Grazer will serve as executive producers of an Imagine Documentaries production of “The Supermodels,” a docuseries for Apple TV+ that will be directed by Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple and will feature the careers of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Evangelista and Christy Turlington.
Ron and most of the surviving core cast members of “Happy Days” reunited to share stores and do a Q&A session for a Wisconsin political fundraiser in October.
Ron also reports that his wife Cheryl (with whom Ron recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their first date) and daughter Paige both have thankfully recovered well from COVID-19 earlier this year.
Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) continues to stay close to home in Mount Airy. She had thought about at least riding around in a car to observe the festivities and wave to fans during Mayberry Days®, but ultimately decided that doing that wouldn’t be prudent or particularly satisfying for anyone. Like her legions of fans, Betty can’t wait till it’s safe again for her to resume her monthly meet-and-greet sessions at the Andy Griffith Museum.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling) is progressing well with her “patient” recovery from recent surgeries. She reports that she’s seeing encouraging results with her physical therapy. Maggie’s GoFundMe page, which Maggie’s family has set up to help with some of Maggie’s significant and uncovered medical expenses, is still active. Maggie is extremely grateful for all of the kind donations received.
Rodney Dillard (the guitar-playing Darling boy) hasn’t been able to be on the road this year, but that hasn’t stopped his new Dillards album, Old Road New Again, from tearing up the Bluegrass charts since its digital release in August and CD release in September. (And yes, Weaver’s is proud to carry the CD and other Dillards music on our shelves!) We’ve heard the word Grammy come up among music industry insiders and reviewers.
Elizabeth MacRae (one TAGS episode and Lou Ann Poovie on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and Ronnie Schell (two TAGS episodes and Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle”) recently reconnected by phone. Both have been doing their best to stay safe during the pandemic. Here’s a link to a nice story about their telephone reunion.
We’re very sad to report that Jenny Berry, daughter or Jackie Joseph-Lawrence (Mayberry’s Sweet Romeena) and the late Ken Berry (Sam Jones), died of natural causes on September 21, at age 55. Here’s a link to an obituary for Jenny in Broadway World. All hearts in Mayberry continue to go out to Jackie and all of Jenny’s family.
Hollywood Reels in Mayberry!
The Mayberry Man movie (written and directed by Stark Howell and produced by Cort Howell, both sons of Hoke Howell, aka Mayberry’s Dud Wash, and by Greg Schell, son of Ronnie Schell) filmed in Indiana the first half of September.
Karen Knotts (daughter of Don) joined a large contingent of Mayberry tribute artists, both familiar and new faces, for the initial days of filming, which included a Mayberry Fest parade in the town of Danville on Labor Day.
Production then shifted to North Carolina (Mount Airy and vicinity) to wrap up principal photography in the latter part of September. (Some additional filming is being done in the Los Angeles area this month.)
Mayberry Man is still on track for at least initial screenings as early as next spring. The premiere is tentatively planned for Danville’s Mayberry in the Midwest festival next May–followed, the producers hope, by eventual availability through one or more of the leading streaming services.
In other Mayberry-related movie news, The Mayberry Effect, a documentary by director and TAGSRWC member Chris Hudson, recently was accepted for its 25th film festival of 2020. The film has won numerous festival awards, and plans are in the works for wider distribution in the next year.
**** Chapter Update ****
We haven’t had any new chapters start since the September eBullet. We’re holding at our current total of 1,468 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 your location and 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). That’s all it takes!
**** Merchandise Update ****
Ol’ Ben Weaver (aka Jan Newsome) has got the shelves at our online Weaver’s Department Store all stocked up for holiday shopping. And how!
You’ll find a wide variety of brand new items, best-sellers and hard-to-find collectibles. Shop early and beat the holiday rush. (We really don’t like to rush in Mayberry!)
Here are some highlights:
And there’s much more! We have books (including this year’s new hardcover edition of Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook seen here), plus Caps (including the new Mayberry Sheriff Emblem design), Goober Beanies, Deputy Patches, DVDs, Music, posters and tin signs, and both Mayberry Sheriff and Mayberry Deputy Badges.
And don’t forget that Weaver’s also has three styles of cool bandanas (22 in. x 22 in.) that can be fashioned to make your own protective Mayberry mask. What could make your face feel safer than a Barney bandana?!
We’re really excited to offer some brand new Mayberry’s Finest ™ brand products to the popular gourmet coffees and bacon that Weaver’s already carries. We’re so fired up that you might even say we’re “pickled tink.” Did somebody say pickles? Yep, that’s right. Somebody finally did it…they ‘re making Mayberry pickles!
Fortunately, these are good ol’ store-bought pickles (it even says so right on the label). Delicious hamburger dill chips to put it precisely. We’re proud to be able to ship these everywhere from Oregon to Nova Scotia. And best of all, you won’t have to learn to love ’em like Aunt Bee’s “kerosene cucumbers.” No, these are more like Clara’s blue-ribbon pickles–just as flavorsome as can be.
And you know if there’s canning going on in Mayberry, then the next thing to come after pickles has to be preserves (or at least jams). Fortunately, Mayberry’s Finest ™ has steered clear of marmalade that smells like paint. Instead they’ve created some truly outstanding Blackberry, Strawberry and Peach jams. You’ll be tempted to eat them by the spoonful right out of the jar, but we think you’ll find that they’re even better on biscuits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
In any case, Mayberry’s Finest ™ is hitting on all cylinders now with a great lineup of food items. And more products are in the works for 2021. Weaver’s is proud to be the online retail partner for these wonderful, official “Andy Griffith Show” gourmet foods from Mayberry’s Finest ™.
COMING SOON: By the end of this month or possibly very early December (aka just in time for Christmas), look for the 2021 edition of the Mayberry Day-By-Day Flip Book Calendar and a revised edition of Randy Turner’s Mayberry Firsts book on our Weaver’s shelves. And our fingers are crossed that we may also have a new T-shirt or two arriving during the coming weeks!
As always, we thank you for shopping at Weaver’s. 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.
**** Chapter News ****
Most chapters that were able to gather at all for 60th Anniversary celebrations last month did so carefully and in smaller groups than normal (see additional chapter photo in Chapter Update above for a prime example). A few chapters found safe ways to gather in somewhat larger groups, including “Blood Brother ” (Macon, Mo.) seen here:
Members of Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) attended Mayberry Days® and helped out as usual with the Chester Jones Checkers Competition. The group celebrated Jackie Joseph’s birthday last week and they’ll be participating in the Karns (Tenn.) Christmas parade in early December.
The rest of our Chapter News update for this issue will feature chapter activity at September’s Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy.
Mayberry Days® Report
Though scaled back in order to follow North Carolina’s pandemic protocols, this year’s Mayberry Days® was by all accounts a big success. The 31st annual festival provided all who attended a safe and enjoyable way to gather with fellow Mayberry fans and to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of TAGS.
Below are some highlights. You’ll find additional photos in an extensive gallery on the Mayberry Days® website HERE.
Esteemed Elvis impersonator Michael Hoover did yeoman’s work performing several shows during the festival. Michael also received a richly deserved Key to the City of Mount Airy during the Mayor’s Proclamation. Michael has been a central part of Mayberry Days® for more than two decades. All hail the King of Mayberry Days®!
The Creatsters (aka members of TAGSRWC’s Tullahoma/Johnson City-based “She Called Me a Creatster” chapter) received the “You’re the Cat’s!” Award recognizing their years of contributions to Mayberry Days®. The group of friends participates by helping run various events during the festival (especially the Youth Trivia Contest) while also being enthusiastic contestants in others. Be sure to check out the article The Creatsters wrote for The Mayberry Confidential about their years of involvement in Mayberry Days®. (If you don’t have access to a printed copy, it’s also on Page 22 of this year’s online edition.)
Following safety protocols, TAGSRWC’s Annual Meeting was held outdoors during this year’s festival. Having a smaller crowd than usual and being outside made for a nicely social-distanced meeting on a beautiful fall day. The entire Annual Meeting was also live-streamed on Facebook via the “Two Chairs, No Waiting” podcast. It drew over a thousand views.
TAGSRWC’s two major awards were presented at the Annual Meeting:
A Mayberry Friendship Award, sponsored by TAGSRWC’s “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” chapter (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) was presented to Eric Lowry, who has been a (make that the) Mayor Pike tribute artist for several years and is an active participant in Mayberry Days® (where he stepped up to serve as auctioneer for this year’s auction) and in the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, among others.
TAGSRWC’s prestigious Jim Schwenke Memorial Award was presented to Dewey Lamb of “Shakedown! Shakedown!” chapter (Laurinburg, N.C.). In addition to being leader of his very active chapter, Dewey has been extraordinarily generous with his time and talents in creating popular items for various Mayberry fundraisers, most notably the Mayberry Days® Auction for many years.
Congratulations and much appreciation to Michael Hoover, The Creatsters, Eric Lowry and Dewey Lamb–truly outstanding award recipients all!
Here are photos of winners of a couple of the contests held during Mayberry Days®.
A very special thanks to the Surry Arts Council (the organization behind the Mayberry Days® festival) and the City of Mount Airy for creating a way to have such a safe and enjoyable festival during difficult circumstances, and for once again welcoming us fans to their town to celebrate Mayberry, Andy Griffith and TAGS!
That’s our Chapter News for this issue. If you have news or photos of your chapter activities that you’d 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. Recent installments 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 ones you’ve missed. (As of this week, there have been 605 episodes since Allan started the podcasts 12 years ago this month!).
If you’re combing the web looking for fun Mayberry stuff, you might need…a comb. We’ve got just the thing with the new “Two Chairs, No Waiting” Comb, now available at Weaver’s for just $2, or as we like to say “Two Chairs, Two Bucks.”
And you’ll also find links on our Podcasts web page to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts: Burke on Mayberry (also a long-running program, hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke) and the Mayberry Bible Study Podcast (another one hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook so far has around 250,000 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..
Even grumpy ol’ Ben Weaver has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. It features all the latest in Mayberry items and merchandise news.
**** Post Note ****
You can catch up on Mayberry news with back issues of The eBullet by visiting the eBullet Archives in the Newsletters section at imayberry.com. Each issue is placed in the Archives at the same time that it’s published.
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.
By the way, the Mayberry Days® Silent Auction (sponsored annually by “WBMUTBB?”) this year transformed itself into a Live auction. Even with fewer fans in attendance, the auction raised $2,907 for the Surry Arts Council’s efforts to host Mayberry Days®. The live format was so much fun and so effective that it’s likely to become the new way going forward. Thanks to all who donated items and participated in the auction. And a special thanks to Jeff Koontz for being the organizer and the Keeper of the Closet of Auction Items.
TAGSRWC publishes Weaver’s Newsletter (our brother-figure publication) in alternate months to The eBullet. Like The eBullet, 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 first scheduled issue of The eBullet for 2021 will be published in January Our final issue of Weaver’s Newsletter for this year is set for December.