Welcome to Our Fourth Issue for 2018!
There has been a lot going on around Mayberry since our last issue, and the fun activities are really heating up as we head toward Mayberry Days in Mount Airy in September.
Unfortunately, we also have the very sad news to share of the passing of Dean Webb, the fierce, mandolin-playing Darling boy and co-founder of The Dillards. Dean passed away in Branson West, Mo., on June 30. Dean was 81.
We have published a Special Edition of The eBullet: Remembering Dean Webb. (You can access it by clicking either the highlighted link HERE or the Special Editions header below the masthead of this or any issue of The eBullet. Memorial service and donation information has been added since initial publication of the Special Edition.)
Dean was a great friend to countless people around Mayberry, the bluegrass world and far beyond. Our thoughts continue to be with wife Sandy and all of his family.
* July 28: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Aug. 11: Mayberry Night in Troy, N.C., starring Maggie Peterson, Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy), the VW Boys, and many of the Mayberry tribute artists. Showtime at the James Garner Center is 7 p.m. Reserved seating is $20, General Admission tickets are $15 and admission for kids ages 6-12 is $10. For advance tickets or info, contact organizer Jeff Branch at (910) 572-1313 or (704) 985-6987, or visit the website at www.blugrassintroy.com.
* 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. Lecture 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 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.
* Aug. 17: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Sept. 21: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 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. 22: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* 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, Keith Thibodeaux (his Mayberry Days debut!), Dennis Rush (Opie’s pal Howie in his Mayberry Days debut!), Rodney Dillard, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Clint Howard, Ronnie Schell, Margaret Kerry, and LeRoy McNees.
Karen Knotts will also present her show “A Deputy’s Daughter.” Bettina Linke, wife of late TAGS associate producer Richard O. Linke; Laura Hagen, wife of late TAGS music director Earle Hagen; and Stark Howell (son of actor Hoke Howell, aka Dud Wash) also will be attending. Much more TBA soon.
Tickets are 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 and its separate Banquet & 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 a variety of vendors.
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 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.
* Oct. 26: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Nov. 5-10: Mayberry Cruise 13. Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) will be the celebrity 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 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.
* Nov. 23: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 1: Roland White and his band host the annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 21: 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.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard has signed to direct the pilot for 68 Whiskey, a TV series described as a “dark military comedy” about medics serving in Afghanistan. Ron and Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will produce the series for the Paramount Network.
Ron and Imagine will also produce a film adaptation of the musical Tick, Tick…Boom! with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) will be co-producing and also directing.
“Genius: Picasso,” the series that Ron and Brian Grazer helped produce for the National Geographic Channel, is nominated for an Emmy, as is series star Antonio Banderas with whom Joy Ellison (Mayberry’s Mary Wiggins and others) worked as dialect coach.
Ron’s Imagine team is also working on the second season of the sci-visionary docudrama Mars, set to air on Nat Geo in 2019.
And Ron is back as narrator for the fifth season of “Arrested Development,” currently streaming on Netflix. Ron and several Howard family members, including late patriarch Rance Howard, have on-camera cameos in the new season.
Meanwhile, Solo: A Star Wars Story has officially become Ron’s third highest-grossing film (worldwide) as director, behind only The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. (Adjusted for inflation, the worldwide box-office grosses of Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Beautiful Mind might also top Solo.)
May’s fifth annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival in Danville, Ind., was a big success. Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Ronnie Schell, Margaret Kerry, Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) and George Lindsey Jr. were joined by a big bunch of Mayberry tribute artists for a weekend filled with everything from a parade and trivia contests to music and other performances and the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals.
Here’s a couple of photos from the weekend:
Maggie and Ronnie were also the stars of A Touch of Mayberry in Calhoun, Ga., on June 30. Here’s a photo:
Bettina Linke (wife of late TAGS associate producer Richard O. Linke, also longtime personal manager for Andy Griffith, Jim Nabors, Ken Berry, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Ronnie Schell, and Jerry Van Dyke) says that all’s safe from the Kilauea eruption on her side of Hawaii’s Big Island. Just a little extra thick air, or “vog” as it’s often called.
We’re sad to report the passing of actor Roger Perry, who played conman George Jones in “Don’t Miss a Good Bet” (Episode #205). He died at home in Indian Wells, Calif., on July 12, after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 85.
Outside of Mayberry, Roger might be remembered best for his dozen episodes as John Costello on “Falcon Crest” and his 10 episodes as Charles Parker on “Fact of Life,” both in the mid-1980s. Or just maybe it’s his role as Air Force Major John Christopher in the time-travel “Tomorrow is Yesterday” episode of “Star Trek” that will live long and prosper in film history. (The episode aired 24 days after his TAGS episode in January 1967.)
Born in Davenport, Iowa, on May 7, 1933, Roger’s first big acting break came in 1960 when he was cast as Jim Harrigan Jr. opposite Pat O’Brian’s Jim Harrigan Sr. in Desilu’s lawyer-themed sitcom “Harrigan and Son,” which ran on ABC-TV for 34 episodes in the 1960-61 season and which featured a parade of familiar faces from Mayberry.
Roger went on to play mostly authority figures in a wide cross-section of TV shows and TV movies during the next 25 years, including a starring role as Det. Sgt. Dan Kirby in 1964’s “Arrest and Trial” and multiple episodes of “Nanny and the Professor,” “Love, American Style,” “Ironside,” “Barnaby Jones” and “The F.B.I.”
Following a 10-year marriage to first wife Patty, Roger was married to actress Jo Anne Worley (“Laugh-In”) from 1975 to 2000. He married another very funny lady, actress Joyce Bulifant, in 2002.
Roger was also an accomplished songwriter and composer, whose work included Barbra Streisand’s “A Kid Again” and scores for stage productions. He continued to direct, produce and act in numerous stage productions after his heyday of film work.
In addition to Joyce Bulifant, Roger is survived by son Chris, daughter Dana (both from his first marriage), brother Nick, a grandson, and an extended blended family of children and grandchildren from Joyce’s previous marriages.
Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to River Bridge Regional Center for Abused Children in Glenwood Springs, Colo., which was founded by Roger and Joyce.
Roger Perry’s George Jones may have conned some of our favorite Mayberry characters, but his life and career were filled with real treasures, and those who knew him or simply enjoyed his performances are all the richer for it.
**** Chapter Update ****
We’ve had three new chapters start since the May eBullet:
Mayberry on Main Van Buren, Ark.
“Nary a Thing” Madison, N.C.
Mayberry Man Cave Orlando, Fla.
A hearty welcome to all! That brings us to a total of 1,458 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in Nashville in 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. (Granted, that is getting harder!)
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).
TAGSRWC Time Capsule
In the early 1980s, TAGSRWC decided to invite Abigail Van Buren (aka Dear Abby) to be an Honorary Member of TAGSRWC. Knowing that she received lots of mail and was also otherwise a busy person, we thought it might be helpful to supply her with an admittedly rudimentary reply card (below). She (or her staff) typed in the polite explanation for her reply.
Fortunately, many other folks were either less busy or more enthusiastic about watching TAGS. (We’ll be sharing some of those vintage responses in future issues of The eBullet.)
We appreciate all of the fans who’ve joined TAGSRWC or have been readers of our newsletters through the decades! Our advice is: Keep finding time to watch TAGS!
Editor’s Note: Maybe we should’ve consulted Tobias Lehigh Nagy, Clint Howard’s Smog Strangler character on “Seinfeld,” for a tip about whether Ann Landers (Dear Abby’s sister) would’ve been a better choice for an Honorary Member. We wonder what Tobias would’ve said.
**** Merchandise Update ****
Ben Weaver has been busy making sure his virtual shelves are filled for all your Mayberry shopping needs. Here’s the latest:
Just Arrived! $15.00
The official 2019 TAGS Wall Calendar is now in stock at Weaver’s and ready to ship. If there can be “Christmas in July,” then we say, Why not Christmas shopping in July!
The 2o19 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.
Was $30.00 Sale $25.00!
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 items we’ve recently added. They join more than 200 different Mayberry-related items, both new and vintage, at Weaver’s.
We all know that part of any deputy’s standard uniform includes an identification tag and chain to be worn during weigh-ins down at the civil service office. Here’s your chance to get a Mayberry Sheriff Department identification tag, or what we laymen call a “dog tag,” for your very own.
This tags measures 2 in. x 1-1/8 in. and has a matte finish made of sturdy stainless steel with a rolled edge. The tag comes with a 24-inch ball-chain necklace. (NOTE: The special “heavyweight” chain that Barney wore for his weigh-in is not included!)
Send your friends a postcard while you’re visiting the corner room at the “Y” in Raleigh or wherever you might be traveling, or whenever you just want to say, “Hey!” These vintage Mayberry postcards capture the spirit that have made Mayberry our hometown. And they’re guaranteed to bring smiles to every recipient.
Each set contains six postcards, each with a different image from Mayberry.
NOTE: If you need to send a more private note, check out Barney chapter artist Mike Johnson’s Mayberry Postmarks Set that includes envelopes and note cards.
You’ll find new items and old favorites (including lots of great books for summer reading, whether staying cool in a cave like Ernest T. or going to the beach like Howard Sprague!) 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 ****
There has been a lot happening involving chapters this summer. We’ll rely mostly on photos to cover some highlights.
“Shakedown! Shakedown!” (Laurinburg, N.C.) held its summer pool party in early June. And there were some special guests from “somewheres else” as well, including Jeff Branch (aka Howard Sprague), Phil Fox (aka Ernest T. Bass) and Keith Brown (aka Col. Harvey) from “Trivial Trivialities” chapter (Pawleys Island, S.C.).
Some of our Indiana area members and chapters continue to gather every other month for a meal at the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Ind. Organizer Briscoe of Mayberry chapter (Indianapolis, Ind.) was under the weather for the June get-together and couldn’t make it, but everybody hopes they’re ready to get back on the truck for the next one.
Ken Anderson (aka The Mayberry Guru) of Mayberry Memories chapter (Eau Claire, Wis.) stays extra busy this time of year dressing up like a Mayberry Deputy and taking his Mayberry squad car replica to classic car (and sometimes train) shows, parades, speaking engagements to places in Wisconsin and sometimes even across the state line.
Ken, recipient of TAGSRWC’s prestigious Jim Schwenke Memorial Award in 2016, is also a frequent contributor to the daily Digest of information and updates for our “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” (an Internet chapter). You can keep with The Mayberry Guru at www.themayberryguru.com.
A really neat tradition now in its sixth year is the Mayberry Meet-Up, which is held in Mount Airy in July and organized by Allan Newsome (aka Floyd) of Mother Figure chapter (Huntsville, Ala.). This year’s confab coincided with both Betty Lynn‘s monthly meet-and-greet at the Andy Griffith Museum and a lecture (also at the museum) about “Opie the Birdman” by Neal Brower of Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.).
Dozens of members and chapters joined in for the fun weekend, where the Mayberry Motor Inn (aka Mayberry Hotel chapter) and its iconic gazebo as usual served as home base for attendees and many of the activities. Here’s a pair of photos from the weekend:
That’s Chapter News for this round. 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 488 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 (another one hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook has over 240,000 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 September. The next Weaver’s Newsletter is on deck for August.