Mayberry Revving Up for the Summer!
Mayberry happenings are hitting full speed this month–most notably with the Mayberry in the Midwest festival (which includes the Mayberry Squad Nationals) in Danville, Ind., this week!
See Floyd’s event calendar immediately below for the latest about upcoming Mayberry-related activities. And the updated calendar is always online at www.imayberry.com.
There’s also a lot of News of Cast & Crew, and there are some new items in our online Weaver’s Department Store. Here’s the latest from around Mayberry:
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s amazing collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia, is celebrating last summer’s truly 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.
Folks have posted these notices on Floyd’s bulletin board:
* May 17: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* May 17: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* 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), Dixie Griffith (Andy’s daughter), George Lindsey Jr., and the award-winning Grascals, who will perform a free bluegrass 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 12: Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band perform at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Bean Blossom, Ind.
* 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.
* June 15: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* June 21: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 13 and 14: The Roland White Band performs at the 9th Annual Bluegrass on the Green in Frankfort, Ill.
* July 19: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 1:00-3:00 p.m. She will have 8 x 10 photos available for autographing ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 19-21: 7th Annual Mayberry Meet-Up in Mount Airy, N.C. Here’s the link to more info on the event’s Facebook page, and here’s a link (also on the Facebook page) to the online registration form. The event coincides nicely (and not by accident) with Betty Lynn’s meet-and-greet at the Andy Griffith Museum on Friday (see above) and Neal Brower’s lecture at the Museum on Saturday (see below).
* 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.
* July 27: Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band perform at Hazzard Fest at Rogersville City Park in Rogersville, Tenn. For info, visit www.hazzardfest.com.
* 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. 19: Karen Knotts performs “Tied Up in Knotts” at a luncheon show from 1:30 to 3:30 at Wright’s Chicken Farm Restaurant in Harrisville, R.I. The cost is $69 for the all-inclusive round-trip motorcoach that is part of part of a group tour, or $45 for just the luncheon and show (drive yourself). For more info visit www.travelgrouptrips.com.
* 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 concerts by Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band. LeRoy “Mack” McNees & Friends, and a presentation of “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.
* Oct. 12: Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band bring their Mayberry Moments show to Marion, Va., as part of the “Song of the Mountains” TV show.
* Nov. 2-7: Cruise to Mayberry 14 sets sail with Ronnie Schell (two episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” and also Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”) and Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) and a boatload of Mayberry tribute artists aboard Carnival’s Sunshine from Charleston to Nassau and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. For good measure, Elvis impersonator Wayne Euliss and bluegrass band Cane Mill Road will also entertain.
For more info, e-mail cruise organizer Sharon Euliss of All About Cruises at PWESJE@aol.com or call her at (336) 538-4926.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard, as usual, has many projects underway both as director and producer. He has been making the media rounds publicizing his Pavarotti documentary, which premieres as a Fathom Event in about 600 theaters on June 4 ahead of its general release in theaters on June 7.
Ron is also well into pre-production work on Hillbilly Elegy (in conjunction with Netflix and Ron’s Imagine Entertainment). Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Haley Bennett and Gabriel Basso are among the actors signed on for the movie so far. Likely filming locations include Ohio and a few places in Georgia, including Macon.
In addition, Ron and Imagine are working with CBS Studios to produce 68 Whiskey, a dark comedy about military operations in Afghanistan that has shifted from being developed as TV movie to being a series. The Paramount Network has placed an initial order for 10 episodes. Ron might also direct one or more episodes.
Ron is also in discussions with Disney about a proposed TV series based on Willow, his 1988 fantasy film (in turn based on a George Lucas story) that is still beloved by many, but perhaps underrated by most.
And Ron is serving as executive producer with Brian Grazer and Martin Scorsese for Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, a documentary about the legendary performer and rock group.
Betty Lynn greeted fans at Mount Airy’s Andy Griffith Museum in April, and she’s scheduled to be back the third Friday of each month, including May 17. Betty was also the special guest for the May 4 broadcast of “Those Were the Days,” the Chicago-based Old-Time Radio show. The broadcast, which also includes audio clips of some of Betty’s radio work, is still available for listening in the show’s Nostalgia Digest through May 22.
Rodney Dillard has been keeping a busy performance schedule with his current Dillards band, and there are continuing teases about things in the works in the studio.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso is recovering well from shoulder surgery that caused her to miss the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield last month, but she’s back on track for Mayberry in the Midwest this week and a concert with Rodney Dillard and band in Tennessee later this month.
Ronnie Schell was a recipient of the Edwin P. Hubble Medal of Initiative at the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival. He and Margaret Kerry were also on a festival panel for “Legends of Television and Screen.”
Folks at the Cherry Blossom Festival also helped Margaret Kerry get a jump on celebrating her 90th birthday (May 11). After Margaret returned from Marshfield, she was soon off to greet Tinker Bell fans at one of her regular California-based Disney events. And also more birthday celebrations! And Margaret will celebrate her other (“real”) birthday in November as well. (It’s complicated. But the bottom line is that Margaret deserves all the celebrations possible!)
Jackie Joseph was on hand as usual to help dear friend Doris Day celebrate her 97th birthday in Carmel, Calif., on April 3. Here’s a link to Jackie’s recent column about her friend in The Tolucan Times.
And Jackie and husband David Lawrence were visiting Paris at the time of the tragic fire at Notre Dame. Even with the heartbreak of that awful event, the couple’s visit still had many moments of the kind of beauty and joy that has made Paris one of their favorite places to visit.
Karen Knotts (daughter of Don) has just completed a successful four-night run of her one-woman “Tied Up in Knotts” show at the Heritage Hall in Kansas City, Mo. She also performed her popular show in Morganton, N.C. in April. (Don’t miss the chance to catch her show at Mayberry Days in September!)
Mayberry in Memorium
We’re very sad to report the passing of actress Barbara Perry, who died of natural causes in Hollywood, Calif., on May 5. She was 97.
Barbara played memorable characters in four episodes of TAGS: “A Wife for Andy” (Lavinia), “Class Reunion” (Mary Lee), “The Pageant” (Doris Williams) and “The Return of Barney Fife” (Floss), as well as the Den Mother in “Gomer, the Good Samaritan” episode of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
Born Barbara Mae Perry to parents William (a musician and conductor) and Victoria (for a time, a soprano in the chorus in New York’s Metropolitan Opera) in Norfolk, Va., on June 22, 1921. Her first noted performance onstage is thought to be at age four as Trouble in a Metropolitan Opera production of Madame Butterfly.
Barbara and her family moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s, and Barbara developed a passion for acting, singing and especially dancing, with a particular devotion to tap.
Her 84-year span of working in films began in 1933 with John Wyler’s Counsellor at Law (starring John Barrymore and also including John Qualen, Mayberry’s Henry Bennett). Her last film role was in 2017 as Gift Shop Employee at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in an episode of “Baskets,” the acclaimed series starring Louie Anderson.
Most of Barbara’s film work was in TV, ranging from a regular as Thelma Blackwood in “The Hathaways” in the early 1960s to multiple episodes of “Perry Mason,” “The Lucy Show,” “My Three Sons,” Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” in which she played Pickles (wife of Morey Amsterdam’s Buddy Sorrell character) in two first-season episodes.
Barbara also appeared in one-shot roles in a cross-section of other top TV shows from the 1950s through into the 2000s, including “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Fugitive,” “Family Affair,” “Adam-12,” “Barnaby Jones,” “St. Elsewhere,” “Newhart,” “Dallas,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Murphy Brown” (as one of Murphy’s revolving secretaries), “Married with Children” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
Her feature films included two gritty films for iconic director Samuel Fuller: Shock Corridor (also featuring James Best) in 1963 and The Naked Kiss in 1964. She also had roles in 1989’s Tap (with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.) and the 1991 remake of Father of the Bride. And Barbara was memorable as the Wedding Singer in Back-up Plan (2010).
Barbara’s expertise in tap dance led to her performing in top venues through the United States, as well as in Europe. She became a sought-after dance teacher, including teaching a Master Class in Vienna during the 1990s.
Barbara had an extensive career on stage, including stints on Broadway, beginning with Swan Song at the Booth Theatre and If the Shoe Fits at the New Century Theatre (both in 1946) and including Happy as Larry (opposite Burgess Meredith) at the Coronet Theatre in 1950, Rumple (as dance partner with Eddie Foy Jr.) in 1957 at the Alvin Theatre (in the show immediately following Andy Griffith in No Time for Sergeants) and a week-long run of her solo Passionate Ladies at the Bijou Theatre in 1991.
Barbara’s stage career took her from Broadway to London (including as a featured performer in Zip Goes a Million at the Palace Theatre in 1951) and from Los Angeles and St. Louis to Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Passionate Ladies, which Barbara wrote and for which she also performed the stories of five artistic women from history, became her signature work. Beginning in 1979, she performed the one-woman show to great acclaim to audiences worldwide. The show was recognized for Best Performance by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards and for Best Writing by the Drama-Logue Theatre Awards.
Barbara also maintained a steady career of doing commercials for TV. Though she worked as a performer for most of her life, Barbara’s innate interest in learning prompted her to go back to school and earn an associate degree at a community college in L.A. during the 1970s. In October 2018, Barbara received the Founders Award from SAG-AFTRA.
Barbara was married to Bennett Warren James from 1953 to 1961. They had a daughter, Laurel Lee, who survives Barbara, along with granddaughter Audrey Lee. Barbara was married to legendary animator Art Babbitt (creator of Disney’s Goofy and animation director for Pinocchio and Dumbo, among animation work for countless other classics, including The Incredible Mr. Limpet) from 1967 until his death in 1992. Stepdaughters Karin and Michele from that marriage also survive.
Barbara stayed in regular communication with TAGSRWC members and others in the Mayberry world from the 1980s through recent times. She was able to attend only one of the public fan-organized cast reunion events, but it was a special one: The 40th Anniversary Mayberry Cast Reunion show in Pelham, Ala., in October 2000. (It remains the largest gathering of TAGS stars for a public event to date.) Barbara was thrilled to participate, and fans and her fellow cast members were equally delighted.
In each of her Mayberry roles (all remarkably similar characters, just with different names), Barbara was always effervescent. Her characters were as close to town cheerleaders as Mayberry ever had, much as Barbara herself was in life–ever ready to support whatever positive happenings were on tap.
Thank you for the dance, Barbara!
Note: Barbara’s family has posted this information about services planned for Barbara:
Saying “Auf Wiedersehen!” to Barbara Perry Babbitt! Her final curtain! …
A memorial service in memory of Barbara will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July at Hollywood First United Methodist Church (in the same Chapel where she married Art Babbitt). A reception with coffee and cookies will follow in Grant Hall.
All of Barbara’s friends and colleagues are invited. The family hopes to share this special, but casual, service with you. Pass this invitation on to those who may also wish to be there.
**** Chapter Update ****
No new chapters have started yet this year, so we’re holding at a total of 1,459 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in 1979.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really a breeze 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 ****
You’ll find a huge variety of new items, best-sellers and hard-to-find collectibles online at TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store.
Here are some highlights:
Just in time for those summer haircuts, Mr. Weaver has been working with Floyd to bring you a recreation of the “Official Hair Styles for Men and Boys” print that hangs in Floyd’s Barbershop. (They’re hair styles and they’re “official”!)
The print is 16″ x 20″ on heavyweight stock. The print will be shipped in an art tube to protect it during shipment.
The print includes a recreation of the sample hair styles offered at Floyd’s shop and a scene representative of a certain man and his son walking home from the fishin’ hole in the top left corner. Get a copy for yourself and some for the whole crew!
New Release! $28.00
This critically acclaimed 1957 movie (also starring Walter Matthau and Patricia Neal and directed by Elia Kazan) was Andy Griffith’s first film. Many people feel it’s Andy’s best acting work outside of TAGS, though his Lonesome Rhodes character is a far cry from Andy Taylor.
Special Features of this brand new (April 2019) release:
* Newly restored 4K digital transfer
* New interview with Ron Briley, author of The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan
* Facing the Past, a 2005 documentary featuring Andy, Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, screenwriter Budd Schulberg, and film scholars Leo Braudy and Jeff Young
* An essay by critic April Wolfe, excerpts from director Elia Kazan’s introduction to the film’s published screenplay, and a 1957 New York Times Magazine profile of Andy Griffith
There’s no disguising that this is a classic Barney Fife T-shirt. You can bank on that. Some might say it’s the world’s first self-cleaning T-shirt, but we still recommend washing it after each wearing. No matter where this shirt might be manufactured, we can always say it’s Maid in America!
Weaver’s has more than 50 different T-shirt designs to choose from!
Get ready for a picnic with one our comfy fleece blankets. Or maybe just snuggle up on that couch Goober was telling us about.
This blanket is 100% polyester made from soft napped insulating polar fleece and measures 36 in. x 58 in. The Fishin’ Hole design is on one side with the reverse being a soft white fleece. Easy to wash and quick drying. We also have fleece blankets in two other designs, both featuring Barney.
And we have new Golf Towels in the Fishin’ Hole design, as well as ones in the Barney Face and Lawmen Barney designs. And need an accessories pouch for your tees, balls and ball markers? We’ve got ’em in two sizes and in the same three designs as the towels.
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 ****
Chapters have been meeting and on the move with activities and events since our last issue.
The venerable Rev. Tucker’s Congregation chapter (formerly of Malvern, Ark., but recently relocated to Clark County, Ark.) emerged from hibernation on March 31 for its first official meeting in about 18 years.
The Tucker Congregation sipped soda pop and munched on popcorn as they watched “Man in a Hurry,” played Mayberry trivia and discussed meaningful messages of TAGS.
A good bunch of chapters and other fans participated in the annual fundraiser for Eagles’ Wings of Tuscaloosa, which provides housing and other support for adults with special needs. At the center of the effort is the local “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) chapter. Also on hand were members of “Mother Figure” (Huntsville, Ala.), “I Ain’t No Rockefeller” (Bristol, Va.), Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.) and “You Better Put a Buckeye in Your Pocket and Do an Incant for a Sore Foot”(Bessemer, Ala.), along with a large contingent of Mayberry Tribute Artists. And Dixie Griffith (daughter of Andy) also joined the festivities, which included a golf tournament and banquet.
Barney chapter (Greensboro, N.C.) held a meeting on May 4 that coincided with the running of the Kentucky Derby. We don’t know if there was any Bookie Barbering goin’ on, but the Henrietta Bennett of the group did manage to draw the slip of paper for Country House from the hat with the horsies’ names.
Note from the Mayberry Sheriff’s Dept. Blotter: One of replica Mayberry squad cars owned by the Mayberry Café (Danville, Ind.), hosting eatery of Mayberry in the Midwest, was damaged during a hit-and-run incident while parked as usual in front of the cafe last month. It all happened so fast. Just whoosh and they were gone! Fortunately, the cafe has a back-up car that can be displayed while the damaged car is being repaired. (And yes, the culprit was apprehended.)
“I Was a Pawn in the Hands of a Wily Woman” (Plainview, Neb.) stopped by Nashville in April to visit with members of Andy chapter on the way to more Mayberry visiting in throughout the Southeast.
Also visiting our Nashville HQ were members of “I Don’t Fix ‘Em. I Just Put in the Gas.” (Oil City, Ontario). They were probably the only people visiting Music City that weekend who weren’t in town for the NFL Draft.
A large contingent from Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) and one member of Barney chapter are heading for a Mayberry-focused tour of the greater Los Angeles area for two weeks beginning in late May. We’re sure they’ll have lots of highlights from the adventures to share with eBullet readers, possibly even in time for our June issue!
That’s Chapter News for this issue. 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 week, there have been a whopping 530 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 (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.
TAGSRWC publishes Weaver’s Newsletter (our brother-figure publication) 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 regularly scheduled issue of The eBullet will be published in July. The next Weaver’s Newsletter is on tap for June.