Welcome to our sixth and final issue for 2017!
This has been a year full of Mayberry news and happenings–especially, it seems, in the last couple of months, which included the annual Mayberry Days festival in September.
We have a full report on what has been happening around Mayberry, but first here’s a look at what’s ahead:
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the phenomenal collection of Andy Griffith artifacts started by the late Emmett Forrest, is celebrating its recent, transformative renovation. The state-of-the art museum, chock-full of interesting and iconic items, is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Nov. 14: The Surry Arts Council hosts the world premiere of humorist and historian Elliot Engel’s latest presentation: “The Master of Mayberry: The Miraculous, Yet Mysterious Life of Andy Griffith” at 6:00 p.m. in the Old North State Winery, 308 N. Main Street in Mount Airy, N.C. Tickets are $45 and include dinner. For tickets and more info, visit www.surryarts.org.
* Nov. 14: A screening of the The Real Mayberry, a recent documentary about Mount Airy, N.C., will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Aperture Cinema, 31 W. Fourth Street in Winston-Salem, N.C. Advance tickets are $12.50 and available at www.ticketmob.com.
* Nov. 17: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 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.
* Nov. 18: Mayberry fans gather at 2 p.m. for what has been a monthly get-together of socializing, hearty eatin’ and TAGS rerun watching at the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Ind. After this month, the gatherings will switch to every other month, which probably means the next get-together will be sometime in January.
* Nov. 18: The Real Mayberry will be screened at 8 p.m. as part of the Carrboro Film Festival, at the Arts Center, 300-G East Main Street, in Carrboro, N.C.
* Nov. 27: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 2: Roland White and his band host the annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 9: The Mayberry Christmas show, starring Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling), Rodney Dillard and the current Dillards band, and David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, returns to Middle Tennessee for a performance at Green Hill Church, 13251 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Doors open at 5 p.m. Show time is 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 (Family 4-Pack and Group discounts are also available.) For tickets and more info, visit mayberrychristmas.org or call 615-754-7035. Sponsored by Green Hill Church, Victory Baptist Church, and Abundant Life Church.
* Dec. 13: Rodney Dillard and wife Beverly bring their Mayberry Values presentation of music and stories to Beech Grove United Methodist Church in Bristol, Va. Show time is 7 p.m.
* Dec. 15: Celebrate the holidays with Betty Lynn as she greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 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.
* Dec. 17: Maggie Peterson, Rodney Dillard & The Dillards, and David Browning celebrate Mayberry Christmas with their show at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tenn. Show time is 7 p.m.
* Jan. 4: Beverly and Rodney Dillard are joined by the Walker Brothers for An Evening in Mayberry at the Thomas Center in Gainesville, Fla. Show time is 7 p.m.
* Jan. 5: Rodney Dillard and company (including the Walker Brothers bring An Evening in Mayberry to WSLR Radio 525 in Sarasota, Fla., at 8 p.m.
* Jan. 6: Rodney Dillard and crew continue their tour of Florida with their Evening in Mayberry show with a performance at the Norris Center in Naples, Fla. Show time is 7 p.m.
* Jan. 7: Rodney Dillard and the Evening in Mayberry show with the Walker Brothers come to New Hope United Methodist Church in North Brandon, Fla., at 6 p.m.
* Mar. 1-3: 21st Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. Details TBA. For updates, visit www.lindseyfilmfest.com.
* Mar. 10: Karen Knotts performs at the Effingham Performance Center in Effingham, Ill., at 7:00. For more info, visit www.the-epc.org.
* Apr. 15: Karen Knotts performs at the McPherson Opera House in McPherson, Kan., at 3:00. For more info, visit www.mcphersonoperahouse.ticketforce.com.
* May 5: 31st Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. For more info, visit: www.unclejessefishing.com.
* May 18-20: Fifth Annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival (also featuring the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals) in Danville, Ind. Lots of Mayberry tribute artists will be on hand. Other special guests TBA. Look for updates here and at Mayberry in the Midwest on Facebook.
* July 12: Karen Knotts brings her “Tied Up in Knotts” show to the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, Calif. Show time is 7:30 p.m. For more info, visit themuck.org/upcoming.
* Sept. 27-30: 29th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Actually, a few festival events start as early as Monday the 24th. Guest stars from the TAGS cast and crew already confirmed include Betty Lynn and Rodney Dillard. Further details TBA in 2018.
Tickets are available for several performances and activities, including concerts by The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard, the VW Boys, Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, James Gregory (“the funniest man in America”), and the Malpass Brothers, plus Colonel Tim’s Talent Time and Professor Brower’s Lecture. For tickets and more info, visit www.mayberrydays.org.
* Nov. 5-10: Mayberry Cruise 13. Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) will be the guest for the cruise to the Western Caribbean from Tampa to Cozumel and back aboard Carnival’s Paradise. For more info, visit www.allaboutcruisesnc.net or call 1-800-832-7993.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard has wrapped filming of next year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will be released May 25.
There still has been no official announcement about what role brother Clint Howard will play in Solo. Clint’s not saying much either, but he has talked more about another project he started working on the week after September’s Mayberry Days festival. The film is Apple Seed and stars Rance Howard, Ron and Clint’s father, as a hitchhiker with a past. It’s scheduled for release in 2018.
On November 13, around the time this issue is being published, Ron is among the many friends and stars scheduled to attend the Founder’s Gala, a fundraiser for the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank, in honor of the late creator of “Happy Days” and other iconic TV shows and films.
And many members of the Howard family will also be on hand at the Writers Guild Theater the following night, November 14, for the Los Angeles premiere of Broken Memories, a film about Alzheimer’s Disease that stars Rance. Ron and wife Cheryl, their daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, and Clint Howard are among those slated to attend the fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care and research. The Howard family has a personal connection to Alzheimer’s as Rance’s second wife, Judy, died of Alzheimer’s in January.
Betty Lynn was under the weather during September’s Mayberry Days, but she was able to ride in the parade, where she was enthusiastically cheered by the large crowds along Mount Airy’s Main Street. And Betty also called into a couple of the festival’s shows to greet delighted audiences by phone.
Betty continues to sign autographs every third Friday afternoon at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy. Y’all come!
September 30 was officially Dean Webb Night in Kimberling City, Mo., in honor of Dean Webb and his retirement from full-time performing. The Darling Boy and co-founder of The Dillards has been playing mandolin and lending his vocals to The Missouri Boatride bluegrass band since its founding 16 years. Several local and state citations were presented to Dean, who helped his Missouri Boatride bandmates close out 2017, which also marks the band’s final year.
Echoing Briscoe Darling’s famous proclamation of “Got time to breathe, got time for music,” bluegrass fans in Missouri and beyond hope Dean, who turned 80 last March, will still make occasional guest appearances for public performances, along with continuing lots of informal picking and singing on back porches in the Ozarks. Meanwhile, happy official retirement to Dean, a legendary musician like no Other!
Roland White (the mandolin-playing member of the Country Boys in the “Mayberry on Record” episode) was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame during the IBMA Awards, which were held in Raleigh, N.C., on September 28. He also performed with an all-star band during the show.
Roland’s brother Clarence, the late legendary guitar player who appeared in the same TAGS episode and also in “Quiet Sam” (Roland was absent from the latter, because he had joined the Air Force), was a 2016 inductee.
Hearty congratulations to Roland!
Mayberry Days was lucky that Joy Ellison (Effie Muggins, Mary Wiggins and others) had a break in her schedule as a dialect coach and was able to attend this year’s festival with her sister, dancer Joan Pierce. Joy recently wrapped up work on Dumplin’, a film that stars Jennifer Aniston. Joy was also a dialect coach for Logan Lucky, a box-office hit last summer.
Bettina Linke (wife of the late Richard O. “Dick” Linke, TAGS associate producer and personal manager of Andy Griffith, Jim Nabors, Maggie Peterson, Ken Berry, Ronnie Schell and Jerry Van Dyke) received the Key to the City of Mount Airy during the Mayor’s Proclamation during Mayberry Days. Bettina also presented original Mayberry Sheriff and Deputy badges to the Andy Griffith Museum, where they are now on permanent display.
We missed it at the time, but Barbara Perry (several Mayberry characters, including Floss in “Class Reunion”) played a gift shop employee in an episode of the award-winning “Baskets” TV series called “Ronald Reagan Library,” which originally aired last February. We think this might make Barbara (an amazing 94!) the senior working actor among Mayberry alums.
Karen Knotts did three presentations about her dad in October (her “Tied Up in Knotts” show twice and also a keynote speech called “Don Knotts Rides Again”), including a sold-out show in Los Angeles that several folks from the TAGS cast community were able to attend.
George Lindsey Jr. is about halfway through recording an album of humorous songs called Goobason Sings, echoing the title of his dad’s 1968 Goober Sings album.
George Lindsey‘s alma mater, the University of North Alabama, is in the home stretch of completing funding of the George Lindsey Film and Digital Media Endowed Scholarship at the university.
George’s son and daughter, George Jr. and Camden, together recently have made a very generous donation to bring the scholarship to the brink of being fully endowed by the funding deadline of December 31.
Just a little over $2,000 remains to be raised. To help encourage one last surge of donations to get the endowment over the required fundraising goal line, TAGSRWC has a gift-matching pledge of up to $1,000 in place. If TAGSRWC members, Mayberry fans in general, and other fans and friends of George donate a total of $1,000 between now and December 15, those donations combined with the matching gift will be sufficient to reach the goal by the deadline.
This scholarship honoring George is an effort that TAGSRWC, Weaver’s Department Store and other Mayberry groups and individuals have been supporting since the scholarship was first announced. The campaign is now at the critical juncture where it needs that final bit of help to become a reality.
George Jr. and Camden’s gift has gotten the scholarship close to its goal. The scholarship needs just a little more help from fans like us to be fully funded.
We know there’s a world of worthy causes and needs coming from all directions, but for anyone for whom this unique educational scholarship strikes a chord, here’s the link for making your tax-deductible donation: www.una.edu/alumni/georgelindseyscholarship.
Again, the scholarship donation deadline is December 31, but the deadline for basically doubling the impact of your donation with the matching gift is December 15, so we recommend that date as the extra-effective target to shoot for when making a donation.
We’re sad to report the passing of Harry Dean Stanton, who played the unnamed island shopkeeper in 1967’s “Howard’s New Life” (Episode #234). Harry Dean died in Los Angeles on September 15. He was 91.
Harry Dean was born in West Irvine, Ky., on July 14, 1926. His father was a tobacco farmer and barber, and his mother was a cook and hairdresser. Harry Dean served in the U.S. Navy during World War II (including the Battle of Okinawa). He then attended the University of Kentucky, but dropped out to pursue an acting career in Southern California. His early training was at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Appearing in over 200 film roles (including the title role in Lucky, released this fall), Harry Dean was the quintessential character actor. As he once said, he could “bring a sense of menace to the screen,” which is true even of his role on TAGS.
Harry Dean’s early film work included lots of episodes in TV, especially Westerns. He got a foothold in movies in 1970 and soon became a favorite character actor of top directors. His list of performances is as varied and of consistently high quality as for any actor in Hollywood history–from The Godfather: Part II, The Missouri Breaks and Escape from New York to Alien, Private Benjamin and The Green Mile. He could always make even small parts seem big.
Harry Dean might be best known for his lead roles in two films, both from 1984: Repo Man and Paris, Texas, which was his personal favorite.
Harry Dean also continued to work on award-winning productions for TV including HBO’s “Big Love.” And he appeared in five episodes of this year’s “Twin Peaks” series for Showtime.
Harry Dean never married, and his survivors are not known. What is known is that he has left film-lovers a lasting legacy of memorable performances. And he helped Howard Sprague realize that making ships in bottles in the Caribbean maybe wasn’t the happiest life for him after all.
We’re also sorry to learn that Jack Bannon, who played the Announcer in “The Mayberry Chef” (Episode #236) died October 25 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 77.
Jack’s TAGS performance was one of his first on network television in what would become a long career of memorable character roles. He is best known for his role as Art Donovan in five seasons of the acclaimed “Lou Grant” series on CBS from 1977 to 1982.
He was also a prolific stage actor who often performed with second wife Ellen Travolta (older sister of John Travolta), who survives.
Born in Los Angeles, Jack grew up in an acting family. Father Jim Bannon was a noted stuntman and actor known for his work in Westerns of the 1950s. His mother, the legendary Bea Benaderet, is best known for her roles as Kate Bradley on “Petticoat Junction” (and “Green Acres”) and Pearl Bodine on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
To read more about Jack’s life and career, here’s an outstanding obituary in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. His story is an excellent example of someone with just a small part in TAGS who had a wonderfully full life and career beyond his moment in Mayberry (or in his case, technically, Siler City).
Mayberry Days Gallery
Here’s a handful of photos featuring favorite moments from September’s annual Mayberry Days festival in Mount Airy, N.C.
Find many dozens more images by ace Surry Arts Council photographers Hobart Jones and Kenny Hooker online in the Mayberry Days Photo Gallery, including some photos added to the site in just the last couple of weeks.
**** Chapter Update ****
We now have 1,451 chapters founded since TAGSRWC started 38 years ago. One new chapter has started since our report in the September eBullet:
Mayberry Association of Squad Car Auto Racing Location: On Patrol
Welcome to this newest chapter…one of our most mobile, for sure! The chapter’s founders (and likely most of its future members) are owners of Mayberry Squad Car replicas.)
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is 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 ****
With just over a month till Christmas, we have lots of great new items for your holiday shopping needs on our shelves online at Weaver’s Department Store.
For Mayberry shopping big and small, Weaver’s has something for everybody.
Here are some highlights:
This felt pennant features Mayberry colors of the ol’ Orange and Blue. White lettering outlined by orange all on a blue background and topped off by a sewn-on orange edge strip. The pennant measures 24 x 9 inches. Perfect for showing your Mayberry pride at home or at work.
Opie made a deal with Mr. Weaver to handmake each slingshot, so they’re all one of a kind. The dimensions, wood type and color will vary because Opie chooses only the best real forked tree branches to make his slingshots.
The height will fall between 7 in. to 10 in and the width between 3 in. to 6 in. Each handmade slingshot has the classic look and feel, is outfitted with a leather projectile pouch, and uses natural latex tubing.
Slingshots are not toys. Adult supervision required. Ages 5 and up. Please read Opie’s Safety Guidelines on the Weaver’s website before purchasing.
NOTE: Opie will choose the style and color of your slingshot personally when you place your order. The images above are representative, but not the exact slingshot you will receive.
This official 2018 “Andy Griffith Show” Wall 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 2018 edition are Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Gomer and Goober.
The back side of the calendar shows the images for each month:
Get a jump on 2018 and your holiday shopping and order your Mayberry wall calendar (perennially a favorite Christmas present) today!
It’s time to step into Andy’s shoes by getting a Mayberry Sheriff Badge to go along with the Mayberry Deputy Badge.
This badge is a sturdy, but simplified, representation of Andy’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 sheriff look.
We now have more than 40 different T-shirt designs to choose from.
And with sweatshirt season upon us, don’t forget that several of popular T-shirt designs are also available in sweatshirts and hoodies!
GreenLight Collectibles has put our love of Mayberry into a 1:64th scale replica of the Mayberry squad car. This die-cast replica is the same size as the 1961 squad car released in 1998 by Johnny Lightning.
This is an officially licensed, limited-edition run, so don’t delay and miss the chance to add this 1967 Ford Custom Mayberry Squad Car to your collection.
Check out new items and old favorites (including lots of great books for wintertime reading!) online at Weaver’s Department Store. (Or just go to www.imayberry.com and click on one of the orange and blue Weaver’s buttons at the top of the page.)
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 ***
We’ll tell most of this issue’s Chapter News with photos, but we want to include a special note about Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.), which has unexpectedly lost two longtime, beloved members in the last two months.
Diann Price died September 13. Wanda Fields, known well by many attendees of Mayberry Days and other Mayberry and Mount Airy events, died on November 7 after being struck by a car while visiting Virginia.
Our hearts go out to Diann’s and Wanda’s families and to our friends in the Barney group. (You’re encouraged to read more about Diann and Wanda in their obituaries by clicking on their emboldened names above.)
Several TAGSRWC-connected awards were presented during Mayberry Days. Here’s a recap in photos and captions:
Two awards were presented at the TAGSRWC Annual Meeting during Mayberry Days. Again in pictures:
Our congratulations and special thanks to all of the deserving award recipients! Our thanks also to Al Gandolfi of “There He Goes!” chapter (Titusville, Fla.) for his talents in making all three of these awards.
That’s our Chapter News for this issue. If your chapter has news or photos that you’d like to share with The eBullet, please send them to Goober@imayberry.com.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome with big 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 week, there have been 452 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in 2008.)
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 (again hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook has 244,000 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 ****
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.
By the way, thanks to the support and participation of many of our members and chapters, the Mayberry Days Silent Auction, sponsored by our “WBMUTBB?” chapter, raised $3,935 this year! All of the proceeds from the auction are earmarked by the Surry Arts Council for Mayberry Days. A special thanks to Jeff Koontz, who spearheads the auction every year and to all of those who donated items, bid on items and helped conduct the auction.
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. It has some content overlap with The eBullet, sometimes earlier and sometimes later. To sign up, go to Weaver’s Newsletter Sign-Up.
The first eBullet for 2018 will be published in January. Meanwhile, the next Weaver’s Newsletter is scheduled for December.