Welcome to Our Second Issue for 2018!
As we finally begin to thaw out from winter, there’s a lot of news and happenings budding out around Mayberry. Before we look back at recent goings-on, here’s a peek at what’s coming up:
Here are some notices that folks have posted on Floyd’s bulletin board:
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s amazing collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia, is celebrating 2017’s dazzling remodeling.
The museum is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Apr. 15: Karen Knotts performs at the McPherson Opera House in McPherson, Kan., at 3:00 p.m. For more info, visit www.mcphersonoperahouse.ticketforce.com.
* Apr. 19-20: Several Mayberry Tribute Artists will be on hand for the 13th Annual Eagles’ Wings Golf Tournament and Banquet/Auction Fundraiser in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The golf tournament is on the 19th at Indian Hills Country Club with foursomes for $1,000. The banquet with auction is on the 20th at the Bryant Conference Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event starts at 6 p.m. Tables of 10 are $600 and tables of 8 are $500. For more info or to register a foursome or reserve a table, call the Eagles’ Wings office at (205) 333-7690. Eagles’ Wings is a non-profit organization that serves adults with disabilities.
* Apr. 20: 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.
* Apr. 21: Jump in where you can and hang on at the Mayberry Sock Hop from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Gordo Elementary School in Gordo, Ala. Special guest Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) will be joined by the Mayberry Tribute Artists troupe for a fun evening that includes entertainment trivia, costume and dancing contests. Tickets are $15 each or $25 for a couple. For more info, call (205) 799-9410. Note: Gordo is a neighbor of Tuscaloosa, so the combo of the Eagles’ Wings event on the 19th and 20th and this one on the 21st makes for three days of Mayberry-flavored fun!
* Apr. 26-28: Margaret Kerry is among the special guests for the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Mo. For info, visit www.cherryblossomfest.com.
* May 5: 31st Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. For info, visit: www.unclejessefishing.com.
* May 18: 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). Info at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* May 18-20: Fifth Annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival (also featuring the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals) is in Danville, Ind. Special guest stars include Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Mayberry’s Charlene Darling), Ronnie Schell (two episodes of TAGS and Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”), Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey), Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy Griffith) and George Lindsey Jr. Lots of Mayberry tribute artists will be on hand as well. Look for updates here and either on the event’s website or at Mayberry in the Midwest on Facebook.
* June 15: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. with autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). Visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* June 16: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower kicks off his summer lecture series about TAGS with a talk about the “Back to Nature” episode (including Golden Arms, Wild Pheasant Birds and Lake Loons!), 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.
* 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 info, visit themuck.org/upcoming.
* July 20: 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 more info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 20-22: The 6th Annual Mayberry Meet-Up takes place in Mount Airy, N.C., sponsored by TAGSRWC’s “Two Chairs, No Waiting” podcast and hosted by Allan “Floyd” Newsome. Home base for the event is the Mayberry Motor Inn.
This year’s event is timed to coincide with both Betty Lynn‘s meet-and-greet at the Andy Griffith Museum on July 20 and Neal Brower’s lecture at the Museum on July 21. For more info, visit the Mayberry Meet-Up Facebook page.
* July 21: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower presents a lecture on the classic “Opie the Birdman” episode of TAGS, 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). For more info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 11: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower wraps up his trilogy of summer lectures with a session on the “Opie and the Bully” episode of TAGS, 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 the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 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.
* Sept. 21: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. (Beat the rush to visit with her the next week at Mayberry Days!) She will have autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Sept. 27-30: 29th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Actually, a few festival events start as early as Monday the 24th. Stars from “The Andy Griffith Show” confirmed so far include Betty Lynn, Rodney Dillard, Ronnie Schell and LeRoy McNees. Karen Knotts will also present her show “A Deputy’s Daughter.” Much more TBA soon.
Tickets are already available for several performances and activities, including The Doug Dillard Tribute Concert featuring Rodney Dillard and his band, Ronnie Schell’s Salute to Jim Nabors and “Bluegrass Mayberry Style” by LeRoy McNees and Friends.
Also performing are the VW Boys with their “Salute to Mayberry,” the Motown Legacy Revue, Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis,” the Mayberry Days debut of country star Collin Raye (four platinum albums and four #1 singles), the legendary Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives (another Mayberry Days debut), James Gregory (“the funniest man in America”) and the Malpass Brothers.
There’s still more: Colonel Tim’s Talent Time, Neal Brower’s Lecture/TAGSRWC Annual Meeting and the Mayberry Days Golf Tournament, plus its separate Banquet and Entertainment.
Or make it a whole week of fun in Mount Airy with shows earlier in the week, Sept. 24-26, including comedian John Floyd (Mon.) and beach music by both Band of Oz (Tues.) and The Embers featuring Craig Woolard (Wed.).
And those are just the ticketed events. There’s much more that doesn’t require tickets, including the Mayberry Days Parade, Mrs. Wiley’s Tea Party, trivia, apple-peeling, checkers, horseshoes, pie-eating, pork chop sandwich-eating and Mayberry Idle Talent contests, music, and vendors, including barbecue from the Mayberry Days Barbecue Cook-Off.
And that’s not to mention meet-and-greet sessions with the Mayberry stars, the Andy Griffith Museum, Mayberry-related movies at the Earle Theatre, Mayberry Days Silent Auction and all of the everyday sights and attractions of Mount Airy.
In other words, it’s not at all too early to start making plans to attend. For complete info, visit www.mayberrydays.org.
* Oct. 19: 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. 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 (336) 538-4926.
* Nov. 16: 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.
* Dec. 21: 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.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard has been busy putting the finishing touches on Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will be released May 25. Clint Howard is in the movie, but his role is still being kept unspecified for now. (“Wait and see! Wait and see!”) As always, look for Cheryl Howard, Ron’s wife and movie lucky charm, in an often hard-to-spot cameo.
Ron has been in the studio doing narration for the hit Netflix comedy “Arrested Development,” for which new episodes will be released sometime this year. And Ron played himself in the hit NBC show “This Is Us” for the third time in an episode that premiered on Feb. 27. Ron was also among the guests attending the fashionable Vanity Fair party after the Oscars earlier this month.
A loving gathering of friends, show business colleagues and family attended a special memorial tribute for Rance Howard (father or Ron and Clint) held at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on February 10. A lunch followed at the Smoke House, Rance’s favorite restaurant. (TAGSRWC’s tribute to Rance is HERE.)
Likewise, a private memorial service was held for Jim Nabors on January 20 at the Pacific Club in Honolulu. Here’s a link to a report in the Honolulu Star Advertiser. (TAGSRWC’s tribute to Jim is HERE.)
Betty Lynn has been greeting fans and signing autographs the third Friday each month at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy and is ready for more as the tourism season gets rolling with the warmer weather.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso and husband Gus continue to entertain regularly (usually Fridays of late) in the Main Room at the famed Bootlegger Bistro in Las Vegas.
Dean Webb (mandolin player of the original Dillards and Mayberry’s Darlings) celebrates his 81st birthday this week (March 28). On May 5, Dean and his fellow Missouri Boatride band members will be inducted into the Reed Springs (Mo.) Area Hall of Fame. Attaboy to Dean and the band!
Rodney Dillard and wife Beverly are just back from several dates touring Florida. They’ll return to the touring trail soon. Meanwhile, closer to home, Rodney joined old pal John McEuen on stage for a few songs (including “The Old Home Place,” the Dillards classic written by Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne) during a January concert at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.
Margaret Kerry is ever-busy with personal appearances–usually more related to Disney than Mayberry, though she has recently been added as a guest for May’s Mayberry in the Midwest festival. She’ll also be back as a guest for the Missouri Cherry Blossom festival in April.
This year is the 65th Anniversary of Disney’s animated Peter Pan, for which Margaret was the live model for Tinker Bell, so she’ll probably be spreading pixie dust around the globe throughout the year.
Joy Ellison (Margaret Kerry’s daughter in two TAGS episodes, plus roles in other episodes) is dialect coach for the upcoming season (starting April 24) of Nat Geo’s “Genius” series about Pablo Picasso, starring Antonio Banderas. (Ron Howard is one of the executive producers again for this season.)
The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival at the University of North Alabama was another huge success again this year. George’s children, daughter Camden and son George Jr. were among the participants for this twenty-first edition. Several TAGSRWC chapters were also represented.
On March 27, George Jr. released Goobason Sings, a CD of him performing funny songs. Expect him to have some on hand at Mayberry events he’s attending this year, including Mayberry in the Midwest (May) and Mayberry Days (September).
Connie Sawyer, who played Kansas City Chronicle staffer Miss Blanchard in “Helen’s Past” (Episode #243), died on January 21, following a heart attack, in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 105. That’s not a typo! She was the oldest living working actor in Hollywood. [Editor’s Note: The distinction now passes to Norman Lloyd, father of Josie Lloyd (Mayberry’s Lydia Crosswaith), still acting at 103.]
Connie was born Rosie Cohen in Pueblo, Colo., on November 27, 1912. That would be during the end of the Taft administration and more than a year before World War I). RMS Titanic had sunk just the previous April.
Connie moved with parents Samuel and Dora Cohen to Oakland, Calif., in early childhood, when she became interested in acting. She began performing professionally on the radio during her teens, not long after the first radio stations began broadcasting in the early Roaring Twenties.
At 19, Connie moved to New York City and started doing comedy in vaudeville shows and nightclubs. In her mid-thirties, she was among the first performers during the dawn of broadcast television in 1948, appearing on NBC’s “The Arrow Show” (a pioneering variety show hosted by Phil Silvers and with 21-year-old Neil Simon among its writers) on November 24 of that year.
Through the next seven decades, Connie was in more than 175 movies or episodes of TV shows. Her performance as Mrs. Kowalkski in “The Annihilator,” a 1987 episode of “Matlock,” was at about the halfway point of her long film career.
Her films ranged from True Grit and When Harry Met Sally to Dumb and Dumber and Pineapple Express. Her TV shows covered the gamut, from “All in the Family” to “The Rockford Files,” from “Mary Tyler Moore” to “Seinfeld,” from “The Office” to a recurring role in “Ray Donovan” in 2014, her last series role.
Almost all of Connie’s roles would be considered modest parts, but with the expert craft that she brought to each one, many provided memorable moments for audiences, and all accomplished exactly what their productions needed.
She was consummately dependable and professional. She was universally considered to be delightful to work with, decade after decade.
Connie said that the key to her show-business career was simple: “I never gave up.” She added, “Never, never give up.”
Connie was married for a decade to film distributor Marshall Schacker, who died in 1987. They had two daughters, Lisa and Julie, who survive her. She is also survived by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Connie had an immensely fulfilling life on screen and stage and off. And when Mayberry came calling, she was ready to respond and “happy to be of service.”
**** Chapter Update ****
We’ve had one new chapter start so far this year:
“Yo, Andy!” Youngstown, Alberta
That brings us to a grand total of 1,452 chapters founded since TAGSRWC started in the fall of 1979.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is actually really easy to do. Just pick a name that hasn’t already been selected by another group. (O.K., we’ll admit that that’s the hardest part at this point.)
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 ****
For Mayberry shopping big and small, our Weaver’s Department Store has something for everybody. With this issue and the arrival of warmer weather, we’re highlighting the arrival of a whopping 10 new T-shirt designs!
We now have 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.
And we have a new totes, throws, pouches, pillows, pillow cases, blankets and towels in this design:
Check out new items and old favorites (including lots of great books for springtime 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 ****
“Blood Brothers” chapter (Macon, Mo.) reports that they “finally held our Christmas party on February 4; it was delayed due to inclement weather.” They heard a presentation on bowling and planned to meet for dinner and a bowling party this month “for a contest to see who can best emulate Howard’s technique.”
The group’s Christmas gift exchange included “unique items such as spark plugs, a mouse trap, Opie’s can of fishing worms, butter and eggs, a manicure set, and Aunt Bee’s Blue Willow teacups and apron.”
Spearheaded by Briscoe of Mayberry (Indianapolis), several chapters and some at-large members gathered at the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Ind., for good food and fellowship in February. The area fans are now planning to meet every other month, so look for the next gathering in April.
Mavis Neff chapter (Durham, N.C.) dropped by Andy chapter (Nashville, Tenn.) for a visit earlier this month. “Doggone Firefly Hit Me…Knocked Me Right Down” (Vincennes, Ind.) also checked in with Nashville to report that they’re getting a big charge out of Mayberry.
Members of “Mother Figure” (Huntsville, Ala.) and “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) attended the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala., earlier this month.
“Some of Us Got It, Some of Us Ain’t” (Clayton, N.C.) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary as a chapter in April. They’re planning a bigger-than-usual gathering that month, and they’re also making up some special 20th Anniversary T-shirts. Maybe we’ll have a photo of the Anniversary gathering to show in our next issue. (Hint-hint!)
That’s Chapter News for this round. If you have news or photos of your chapter activities that you want to share in 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 week, there have been 471 episodes since Allan started the podcasts almost 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 (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 ****
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 a little 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 eBullet will be published in May. Meanwhile, the next Weaver’s Newsletter is scheduled for April.