An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to our July eBullet, our fourth for this 60th Anniversary year of TAGS! This year will surely go down as one of the most unusual in the history of the nation and the world, not to mention Mayberry.
Most of the major Mayberry-related gatherings and performances slated for the first half of the year have been postponed or canceled, but the first large event did finally take place last month in Granville, Tenn. (See News of Cast & Crew and Chapter News below.)
And possibly four score or more are heading to Mount Airy July 17 and 18 to gather to the extent allowed with current restrictions in North Carolina for the annual Mayberry Meet-Up.
We’re all of course hoping that things will be back on a more normal course for celebrations later in the year, especially for Mayberry Days® in September. (Social distancing or not, all you red-headed folks should watch out for folks wanting to rub your heads for good luck in having some robust commemorations of the 60th Anniversary!)
See the Event Calendar immediately below for the latest updates as of the time we published this edition. And we’ll also continually update the freestanding version of the Event Calendar at www.tagsrwc.com.
As we all look forward to a time when we fans can once again gather in large groups to celebrate Mayberry, we can be thankful that we have the internet and social media to help keep us in touch.
And as always, TAGS itself continues to give us the same shared connection it always has. We can still watch our favorite reruns and stay tuned to the joys of Mayberry right in our homes!
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s monumental collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, has reopened!
Please note that the Museum has more than just Barney’s Two Rules at The Rock. Rules include: Only 10 people are allowed in the Museum at a time, everyone must wear a mask (bring your own or come prepared to buy one for $5.35), wear gloves if you’re planning to use the Museum’s touch screens, and have a credit/debit card or exact change for payment.
For complete updates on operating hours, safety procedures, or other info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
Here are other happenings (and would’ve-been happenings):
Mar. 28: RESCHEDULED DATE TBA: LeRoy Mack McNees and Roland White will be on hand for a star-studded Induction Celebration at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Ky., to toast them (as members of The Kentucky Colonels) and their fellow honorees who last September were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. For more info, visit www.bluegrasshall.org.
July 17: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) 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 17-19: 8th Annual Mayberry Meet-Up in Mount Airy, N.C. This gathering is a great chance to visit with fellow Mayberry fans and enjoy Mount Airy during a less hectic time than September’s Mayberry Days® festival. You’ll have plenty of time to tour the Andy Griffith Museum at your leisure, have a shorter wait in line at the Snappy Lunch, and browse the shops on Main Street without the big crowds.
The event was originally timed to coincide with Betty Lynn’s July meet-and-greet at the Andy Griffith Museum on Friday and Neal Brower’s lecture at the museum on Saturday, but both of those activities have been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Folks are still planning to attend the Meet-Up, but guidelines will now include wearing masks, practicing safe social distancing, and not gathering in bunches of more than 25 people at at time. There’s an online registration form, which helps organizers plan for how many folks to expect.
July 18: Neal Brower presents the first of two summertime Professor Brower’s Lectures about “The Andy Griffith Show” with a discussion of the “Hot Rod Otis” episode, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Visit www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
Aug. 14: Karen Knotts brings her Tied Up in Knotts stage show to the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, Calif. (This is a show that was originally postponed from both Mar. 20 and Apr. 14 because of the coronavirus.) Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $21.99 (including all fees). For more info, visit Brown Paper Tickets.
* Aug. 15: (Tentative, depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time.) Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower presents Professor Brower’s Lecture about “The Andy Griffith Show” with a discussion of the “The Bookie Barber” 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.
Aug. 21: Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) 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.
* Sept. 18: (Tentative, depending on COVID-19 restrictions at the time.) Beat the Mayberry Days® rush and see Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) as she 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.
* Sept. 21-27: 31st Annual Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy, N.C. Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Special guests already confirmed include Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Darling boy Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band, Ronnie Schell (two Mayberry roles and Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”), LeRoy Mack McNees (two episodes as one of the Country Boys), and Joy Ellison (Effie Muggins, Mary Wiggins, and others).
There’s also the Mayberry Days® Golf Tournament (aka The Emmett), the popular Professor Brower’s Lecture, Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis” and performances by T. Graham Brown, Collin Raye, James Gregory (“the funniest man in America”), Tim White & Troublesome Hollow–A Tribute to Mayberry, “Mayberry Melodies” (a musical revue of tunes from TAGS), The Embers, Motown Revue, Band of Oz, and John Floyd (“the Mouth of Mayberry.”) More guest stars TBA as COVID-19 policies for late September in North Carolina are decided by various government officials.
Tickets for Mayberry Days® are available online for several of the festival’s events at www.mayberrydays.org. (Much of the festival is free and doesn’t require a ticket.) And local hotels are ready to take your room reservations for Mayberry Days®.
This is one Mayberry celebration no Mayberry fan wants to miss!
* Sept. 30-Oct. 3: Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band perform at the 10th Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, Ind. The schedule is TBA. For info, visit www.hartfordfest.com.
* Oct. 3: 60th Anniversary of the airing of the first episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
* RESCHEDULED FOR 2021 (see listing below):
Nov. 1-7: Clint Howard is the Special Guest for Cruise to Mayberry 15 to the Eastern Caribbean aboard Carnival’s Breeze. Also including a boatload of popular Mayberry tribute artists and even an Elvis. The cruise departs from of Ft. Lauderdale and makes stops in Nassau, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk and has two fun days at sea. For info, contact Sharon Euliss of All About Cruises at PWESJE@aol.com or call her at (336) 538-4926.
* Oct. 31-Nov. 6: Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which has been postponed (with a few tweaks) from its original dates in 2020. This cruise aboard Carnival’s Freedom will depart from Fort Lauderdale and travel to the Eastern Caribbean with ports of call in Princess Cays in the Bahamas, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove, the new Carnival-owned village in the Dominican Republic. Rates (including all taxes) start at $625 per person.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard and wife Cheryl celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on June 7th.
Ron and daughter Bryce Dallas Howard were interviewed about Bryce’s Dads documentary for an excellent segment on “CBS Sunday Morning” that aired June 14th.
Rebuilding Paradise, Ron’s National Geographic documentary about the aftermath of the 2018 fires around Paradise, Calif., comes to select theaters on July 31. Watch the trailer HERE.
Ron and Imagine Entertainment have also launched “IMPACT the Podcast” based on their IMPACT speaker series. The podcast features discussions with leading figures in the entertainment industry about the creative process. The first installment, streaming now, is titled “Truth in Storytelling.”
Ron continues to shift and juggle projects that he’s directing and/or producing in an effort to adapt to the constraints of COVID-19. One project that seems to be continuing in development at a pretty steady pace is the “Willow” TV series based on the 1988 film, which Ron directed for George Lucas. The series is being developed for the Disney+ channel.
Clint Howard announced on Facebook last week that he and fiancée Kat were married on July 1 ! A hearty congratulations to the happy couple! (See photo below.)
Meanwhile, Clint’s staying busy during pandemic times by making his whimsical snow globes and tending to his garden. (He’s especially pleased by the prospect of a bumper crop of tomatoes. Local rabbits and crows are probably pleased, too!)
.Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) is obeying all social-distancing rules (well, most of them, anyway) like everybody else (well, most of us, anyway). She and the Andy Griffith Museum have canceled her monthly appearances to greet fans and sign autographs for the whole summer. Her next possible meet-and-greet is very tentatively scheduled for Sept. 18.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling) has continued to recover well overall from various medical issues, including surgery, during the last eight months or so. Unfortunately, Maggie is needing to have more surgery–this time on her right shoulder to hopefully restore some lost function of her arms.
The surgery is scheduled for the same day (July 14) that we’re publishing this edition. Continued prayers for Maggie are greatly appreciated. Maggie has once again expressed her gratitude to the many friends from Mayberry and elsewhere who have already helped tremendously. In a message she recorded last week, Maggie said, “It’s just been overwhelming to me, and I just thank you so much.”
Especially given this month’s shoulder surgery and the rehab and other care that will follow, Maggie’s medical expenses are still growing. Maggie’s GoFundMe page, which Maggie’s family has set up to help with some of Maggie’s uncovered medical expenses, is still active, and any additional donations we can wrangle for Mayberry’s “Darling person” will surely be a blessing to her.
Rodney Dillard (the guitar-playing Darling boy) has had all of his in-person performances canceled until September because of the pandemic. That is, all except one (Granville, Tenn.), but Rodney had to bow out of that one because of an infection in both ears and doctor’s orders not to travel. (He has, though, still been allowed to do some local boat fishing.)
And Rodney did find a work-around to perform for fans by doing a live concert on Facebook hosted by the local Acoustic Shoppe on July 10. (You can still watch the concert HERE, and, until July 24, you can even leave a little something for the band in the concert’s virtual tip hat.)
Lots of TAGSRWC members and chapters joined other Mayberry and Dillards fans worldwide in watching the performance with wife Beverly and some local pickers. It was 9o minutes of music and stories that were especially appreciated during these distancing times.
Rodney has two festivals, including Mayberry Days®, booked for his full band in September. See the Event Calendar above for details. And sometime “very soon” Rodney also expects to have news about a new album!
LeRoy Mack McNees (one of Mayberry’s Country Boys, filling in for Rodney Dillard) and Keith Thibodeaux (Johnny Paul Jason) headlined the grand opening and accompanying goin’s on for the Mayberry-“I Love Lucy” Museum in Granville, Tenn., on June 13. An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the day’s festivities on the beautiful Saturday in the little town that for years has billed itself as Tennessee’s Mayberry.
LeRoy Mack and Keith shared stories about TAGS (and, in Keith’s case, also “I Love Lucy,” as Little Ricky), played music (dobro-centric bluegrass and gospel for LeRoy and drums for Keith), and greeted fans. For all attending, it just felt good to be out and about, and enjoying the fresh air, snow cones, good music and good Mayberry-style fellowship (and generally following social-distancing and other health-safety protocols).
Here are a couple photos from the day (and look for a couple of more in Chapter News:
Depending on restrictions on travel and gatherings related to COVID-19, some filming of the Mayberry Man movie might begin in Indiana later this summer–principally around Danville, home of the landmark Mayberry Café. The other key location for filming is expected to be in and around Mount Airy during Mayberry Days® in September.
Several TAGS actors (and their children) are expected to appear in the movie, which is being spearheaded by Stark and Cort Howell (sons of Hoke Howell, Mayberry’s Dud Wash) and Greg Schell, son of Ronnie Schell (two TAGS episodes and Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”).
Some additional casting has already been done. Actor Richard Gunn (son of Laura Hagen, widow of TAGS maestro Earle Hagen) will play the lead character of an arrogant Hollywood actor, and comedian Rik Roberts will play the film’s Deputy tribute artist.
The movie, which has been funded largely by donations from fans (some of whom will also have onscreen appearances), is still expected to be released as originally planned sometime in 2021.
Karen Knotts was proud to take part in the peaceful march for racial justice and equality in L.A. in June. Despite the heat, Karen respectfully and responsibly wore her protective mask (and gloves, too). All of which just goes to show that she’s not only a very funny person, but also a good citizen and “kind behind the eyes”! (Of course, we already knew that!)
That’s all for our News of Cast & Crew for this issue. Stay tuned for more updates as activities hopefully get back to a more typical pace soon!
**** Chapter Update ****
No new chapters have started since the May eBullet, so we’re holding at a total of 1,467 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 ****
And there’s more! We have Caps, Goober Beanies, Deputy Patches, and both Mayberry Sheriff and Mayberry Deputy Badges. And don’t forget that Weaver’s also has two styles of cool bandanas (22 in. x 22 in.) that can be fashioned to make your own protective Mayberry mask. What could make your face feel safer than a Barney bandana?!
Also, 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, thanks for browsing Weaver’s!
**** Chapter News ****
For the most part, chapters continue to stick to their respective cells while obeying all rules at The Rock during these pandemic times. There have been few gatherings.
That said, and not surprisingly, one of the chapters champin’ at the bit to get out and about the most has been Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) While more or less practicing social distancing, they’ve had a few adventures in Tennessee the last few months. (All will be reported in depth in the summer edition of their printed Mayberry Minutes newsletter coming out later this month. In the meantime, here are some photos of some of what they’ve been up to:
Members of Mayberry Minutemen (Graysville, Ala.) and Andy chapter (Nashville, Tenn.) also attended the Granville event.
That’s our Chapter News for this issue. We’ll have a report on this month’s Mayberrry Meet-Up and maybe other chapter activities in our September 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 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. Recent installments 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 ones you’ve missed. (As of this week, there have been 590 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in 2008.).
And you’ll also find links on our Podcasts web page to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts: Burke on Mayberry (also a long-running program, hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke) and the Mayberry Bible Study Podcast (another one hosted by Allan Newsome).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook now has over 250,000 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, 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 September. The next Weaver’s Newsletter is set for August.