Welcome to Our Sixth Issue for 2018!
Mayberry Days Recap and More
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s amazing collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia, is celebrating 2017’s complete 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.
* Nov. 15 and 16: Karen Knotts and her new Flashback & Funny Forward foursome (also including Christie McClendon) debut their nostalgic comedy and music revue at the Gloria Theatre in Urbana, Ohio. Showtime is 7:00 p.m. on Thurs. and 8:00 p.m. on Fri. For tickets and info, visit www.gloriatheatre.org.
* 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.
*** 2019 ***
* Jan. 18: 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. 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. The deadline for film submissions is Dec. 1. 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.
* 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 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 2:00 p.m. (Cave opens at 1:00.) 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.
* 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. 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, many parts of Mayberry Days, including assorted contests and performances and the parade, don’t require a ticket.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard is juggling lots of projects these days, both as director and producer. He’s currently directing Pavarotti, about the legendary tenor. He also been scouting locations for Hillbilly Elegy, a feature film based on J.D. Vance’s best-seller. And Ron and the Imagine team are back as executive producers of the new season of the hit series “Mars,” which started on NatGeo this week.
With brother Clint Howard directing and producing (and manning the microphone attached to a shovel), Ron made a video greeting for September’s Mayberry Days festival.
For the record, TAGS stars and their immediate family members attending Mayberry Days this year were Betty Lynn, Maggie Peterson (and Gus) Mancuso, Rodney (and Beverly Cotten) Dillard, Keith (and Kathy) Thibodeaux, Dennis Rush, Clint Howard, Margaret Kerry, LeRoy Mack (and Jan) McNees, Ronnie (and son Greg) Schell, Karen Knotts (daughter of Don), Bettina Linke (wife of Richard O. Linke), Laura Hagen (wife of Earle Hagen) and Stark Howell (son of Hoke Howell).
A week after Mayberry Days, Rodney Dillard and his band were joined by Maggie Peterson Mancuso for a taping of “Song of the Mountains,” the popular PBS concert show that originates at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Va. Some familiar Mayberry tribute artists were also on hand, including one who was incognito at times. Keep an eye on Floyd’s Barbershop Bulletin Board online for a listing of when the episode will be broadcast.
Rodney unfortunately has also been wrestling with a large kidney stone. The first attempt to zap it didn’t work, but his docs aim to take another shot at it. (The stone is proving to be as elusive and ornery as Ernest T. Bass!)
All of the Mayberry folks and their families that we’ve been able to check on report that they’ve been safe so far from the horrific fires that have been ravaging parts of California, where many of them live. Many have said they’re close enough to see and smell the smoke. And they’re not out of the woods (literally!) yet.
From hurricanes and volcanoes in Hawaii to storms in the Southeast and Southwest to the fires out West, this year has seen a lot Mayberry folks and venues end up in close proximity to terrible destruction, but all are thankful they’ve mostly been spared direct impact thus far.
Betty Lynn still holds 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.
Mayberry lost another of its most memorable performers when actress Peggy McCay, who played Sharon DeSpain, Andy’s high school sweetheart in 1963’s “Class Reunion”episode, died of natural causes in California on October 7, just a few weeks shy of her 91st birthday.
Margaret Ann McCay was born to parents Catherine and Michael in New York City on November 3, 1927. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in fine arts in 1949, when she then began pursuing a career as an actor, both on stage and in film.
Peggy landed ever-larger roles in television–usually live TV shows based in New York. In 1956, Peggy earned an Obie Award as Best Young Actress of the Year for her role as Sofia in an Off-Broadway production of Uncle Vanya. She reprised the role in the movie version in 1957.
By the early 1960s, Peggy was appearing as a guest star in top TV shows, such as “Perry Mason,” “Maverick” and “77 Sunset Strip.”
In 1962 she was cast as lead Anna Rose opposite Andrew Duggan in ABC’s “Room for One More,”which also starred Ronnie Dapo (aka Mayberry’s Arnold Winkler and others).
After the one-year run of that series, Peggy resumed a robust career of solid guest roles, including her iconic role as Sharon DeSpain in Mayberry. Other notable work during this time included roles on “The Virginian,” “The Fugitive,” “Ben Casey,” “Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and multiple episodes of “Hawaiian Eye.”
Peggy also found steady work in daytime TV, first as Vanessa Dale on “Love of Life” from 1951 to 1955 and later as Susan Garret in two seasons (over 100 episodes) of “The Young Marrieds” from 1964 to 1966 and then a recurring role as Iris Fairchild on “General Hospital” from 1967 to 1970.
All the while, Peggy continued to be in demand for work in primetime TV with roles on popular shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “Barnaby Jones” and “Kojak,” along with recurring roles on several shows, including “Gibbsville” (13 episodes) and as Marian Hume on “Lou Grant” (9 episodes).
Beyond Mayberry, Peggy is known best (by far) for her role as matriarch Caroline Brady for 33 years (645 episodes, from 1983-2016!) on daytime’s “Days of Our Lives.” Between 1986 and 2016, Peggy was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award five times for the role. She was also nominated for two Primetime Emmys, including a win in 1991 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Irene Hayes in the “State of Mind” episode of “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill.” Peggy had the rare (actually, it’s believed to be unique) distinction of having been nominated for separate Daytime and Primetime Emmys in the same year.
Through all the years, Peggy was involved in many community and charitable causes, both through organizing and fundraising. Some of the causes closes to her heart were ones involving animals–from cats and dogs to elephants. Whether close to home or across the country, Peggy would participate in the causes about which she was passionate.
Peggy also stayed apprised of activity in the Mayberry community. For many years, her busy schedule and occasional health hiccups prevented her from being able to attend some of the Mayberry reunion/fan events to which she was invited as early as 1995. She had to cancel several scheduled appearances at the last minute. But finally, in 2012, she was able to attend Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, where she delighted the especially large crowd gathered that year. (She also attended the festival in 2013.)
Many Mayberry fans had also gotten to meet and to know Peggy when she traveled for various fundraisers or for “Days of Our Lives” events. She was always extraordinarily gracious about making special time to visit with contingents from the Mayberry realm of her life.
In keeping with her love of animals, Peggy designated the Kitty Bungalow (a cat rescue organization in L.A.) as a charity for memorial donations. She also was a longtime supporter of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Mayberry was truly blessed by a visit by Peggy McCay as elegant Sharon DeSpain. That performance, along with countless others, is one that we’ll fortunately be able to continue enjoying all the days of our lives.
ANDY: Do the tears on your pillow
bespeak the pain that’s in your heart?
ANDY: Me, too.
**** Mayberry Days Mini–Gallery ****
Below are a few photos from Mayberry Days. There are many more photos (“bunches, bunches”) by ace Mount Airy photographer Kenny Hooker online in the Surry Arts Council’s Mayberry Days Gallery.
That official gallery is organized by individual events of the festival, so it’s easy to search if you’re looking for photos of specific parts of Mayberry Days. There are additional photos throughout this issue as well.
**** Chapter Update ****
There haven’t been any new chapters started since the September 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. (O.K., so maybe that part 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
**** 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.
You’ll find a wide variety of new items, best-sellers, and hard-to-find collectibles. Shop early and beat the rush. (We try to avoid rushing in Mayberry!)
Here are some highlights:
The official 2019 TAGS Wall Calendar is in stock at Weaver’s and ready to ship.
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 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.
Weaver’s also has several Mayberry items especially for the Christmas season, including music, movies and books.
Check out new items and old favorites including lots of great books for fall 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 ****
Lots of chapters have been really busy the last few months. We’ll use photos to cover most of the news.
Our “Do Cousins Count?” chapter (Key West, Fla., and elsewhere) made a nice (real nice) video of their Mayberry Days experience. This homemade travelogue of Mayberry Days is a pleasant way to spend 13 minutes and 43 seconds, maybe while sipping a hot cup of coffee or cocoa.
“Don’t Do That, Ollie. Don’t Do That” (Wynne, Ark.) checked in to report that “I Ain’t No Rockefeller” (Bristol, Va.) will be celebrating New Year’s Eve and possibly setting up a Checkpoint Chickie in Wynne.
Mayberry Memories (Eau Claire, Wis.) reports that they’ve put their Mayberry squad car replica in storage for the winter. Keeper of the Car Ken Anderson says he and his car did a total of 87 events during the summer season. Along the way, they raised $565 for their local library through honorariums and parade prize proceeds. That’s a cause for celebration!
“Blood Brothers” (Macon, Mo.) met on Halloween for a pizza and chili dinner down on the farm. They watched the “Haunted House” and “Back to Nature” episodes…in the dark! Yikes! Then, earlier this month, the chapter celebrated International Game Week by playing cards and board games with residents of a local nursing home. (As far as we know, they didn’t wax any steps while there. We certainly hope not!)
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. (Keith has been under the weather since mid-July. Please continue to keep a good thought for him.) 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 504 episodes since Allan started the podcasts 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.
The annual Mayberry Days Silent Auction, sponsored by “WBMUTBB?” chapter (and spearheaded by member Jeff Koontz) raised $4,795.75 for the Surry Arts Council, with all funds raised earmarked for Mayberry Days expenditures. Thanks go to Dewey Lamb (“Shakedown! Shakedown!” chapter of Laurinburg, N.C.) and everyone else who donated items (including many one-of-a-kind creations) and their time, as well as to everyone who bid on the items!
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 eBullet, the first issue for 2019, will be published in January. The next Weaver’s Newsletter is sleigh-ted for December.