An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to the September issue of The eBullet! There are probably more happy Mayberry events and exciting news occurring this month and the first half of October than at any time since 2000. There are two major Mayberry-related memoirs, the release of the Mayberry Man movie (including three red-carpet premieres from coast to coast), the Mayberry Effect documentary and the annual Mayberry Days® festival in Mount Airy.
Mayberry roads sometimes lead elsewhere, but virtually all Mayberry roads eventually come through Mount Airy, and that’s never more true than in September and with Mayberry Days® (September 20-26.) See info and links to more details immediately below in Floyd’s calendar. And then read on for more news about recent and upcoming happenings all around the world of Mayberry!.
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s monumental collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, is operating on its full, normal schedule. For their own safety and the safety of those around them as the pandemic continues, all guests are encouraged to wear masks when indoors and near others.
For complete updates on operating hours, safety procedures, or other info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Sept. 20-26: 32nd Annual Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy, N.C. Special Guests from “The Andy Griffith Show” include Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Rodney Dillard (guitar-playing Darling boy), Dennis Rush (Howie), Clint Howard (Leon), Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey), Joy Ellison (Effie Muggins, Mary Wiggins and others), Ronnie Schell (two episodes of TAGS and also Duke Slater on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”), LeRoy Mack McNees (one of the Country Boys in two episodes), and Calvin Peeler (Martin Barton in an episode of “Mayberry R.F.D.”).
Other Special Guests include Karen Knotts (daughter of Don), Laura Hagen (widow of Mayberry maestro Earle Hagen), Dreama Denver (widow of actor Bob Denver), and Dick Atkins (producer of Murder in Coweta County, starring Andy Griffith).
Tickets are available HERE for some concerts and presentations, including Collin Raye (actually on Sept. 18, the Sat. before Mayberry Days® week), two shows (one as part of the banquet for the Mayberry Days® Golf Tournament) by T. Graham Brown, The Doug Dillard Tribute Show by The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard, LeRoy Mack and Friends Present: Bluegrass Mayberry Style, Ronnie Schell Presents: “Andy, Don & Jim–My Memories of Three Mayberry Legends,” Karen Knotts Presents: “Tied Up in Knotts–A Book Talk,” Professor Brower’s Lecture with Neal Brower (with guests Joy Ellison and Dennis Rush), Tim White and Troublesome Hollow’s “Tribute to Mayberry,” Allen Leath’s “Mayberry Melodies,” Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis” and Colonel Tim’s Talent Time.
Other concert highlights during the week include John Floyd (“The Mouth of Mayberry”),The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, Legacy Motown Revue, The Band of Oz, The Isaacs and James Gregory (“The Funniest Man in America”).
For all the details to plan your Mayberry Days® visit HERE.
* Oct. 1: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Oct. 12, 13 and 15: Ron Howard and Clint Howard make joint presentations in support of their new memoir The Boys at three book events including a ticketed presentation by The Town Hall at Strand Books in New York City at 7 p.m. on October 12, the Chicago Humanities Festival at 7 p.m. on October 13 and an L.A. Times Book Club presentation on the rooftop of the Grammy Museum in L.A. at 7 p.m. on October 15. (You can also “attend” that last one virtually for $45.)
* Oct. 29-31: Margaret Kerry is a special guest for the Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, Tenn. For more info, visit www.fanboyexpo.com.
* Oct. 30: 33rd Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) at Pat Mayse Lake in Paris, Tex. The event helps raise funds for Denver Pyle’s Children’s Charities, which remains very active in the Paris community. For info, visit the event’s page on Facebook.
* Oct. 31-Nov. 6: POSTPONED by pandemic (again) until 2022. See new listing below. Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which was postponed with a few tweaks from its original dates in 2020.
* Nov. 5-7: Margaret Kerry is a special guest for the Fanboy Expo in Columbus, Ohio. For more info, visit www.fanboyexpo.com.
* Nov. 26: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
* Dec. 18: Roland White and his band perform at 9 p.m. at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.
Oct. 23-29: Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which was postponed with a few tweaks from its original dates in 2020 and just recently again in 2021 because of the pandemic.
This cruise aboard Carnival’s Horizon will depart from Miami and travel to the Caribbean with ports of call in Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios and Cozumel. Rates (including all taxes) start at $625 per person.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard is busy with the post-production phase of Thirteen Lives after completing principal filming in Australia. The movie is currently set for release next April.
Ron is also still filming a documentary about chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen charity.
And all of Mayberry eagerly awaits Ron and brother Clint Howard‘s memoir, The Boys–A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, which will be published on October 12 and is getting tremendous advance buzz. (And yes, Weaver’s will soon be taking pre-orders and also stocking some “very special” copies of the book!)
The eBullet editorial team got a sneak peek at The Boys this summer, and we must say that it’s an absolutely outstanding book. It’s truly a “must read” book for any Mayberry fan and anyone else who’s interested in the Howard family’s remarkable story, which Ron and Clint tell with humor, directness and style. It’s a beautifully written book that’s chock-full of both fresh stories and old favorites. We can definitely add writing to the list of talents that obviously run in the Howard family.
We’ll have much more about the book in the November eBullet and the October Weaver’s Newsletter. For now, though, just be sure to put The Boys on your reading list. And look for Ron and Clint doing a wide range of major media interviews and participating in prestigious events, including at book events in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles on October 12, 13 and 15, respectively. (See Floyd’s calendar above for details.)
Betty Lynn celebrated her 95th birthday last month a little more quietly than originally planned. She wasn’t feeling at full strength in the weeks leading up to her August 29 birthday, so plans for a big party at Mount Airy’s Cross Creek Country Club were replaced by lots of birthday cards received at home.
Betty’s hopeful that she’ll be feeling perky enough to participate in selected parts of Mayberry Days® this month. Also, as of press time, there was no official word about when Ted Koppel’s story about Mount Airy (including a visit with Betty) will air on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” show, but it’s expected to be soon, so keep an eye on CBS on the Sundays ahead. Update: It’s scheduled to air on Sunday, September 19. Check your local listing for the time in your area. Here’s the LINK.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso reports that she is getting stronger and feeling better as she continues to recover from surgeries during the last few years. She has settled into comfortable new quarters in Las Vegas.
TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store is honored to be partnering with Maggie and her family for a fundraiser involving some of Maggie’s memorabilia. (See the Maggie Peterson Collection described in our Merchandise section above.)
Karen Knotts has been doing some comedy shows in the L.A. area this summer, but is mainly gearing up for the publication of her memoir, Tied Up in Knotts–My Dad and Me, on Sept. 21 (the Tuesday of Mayberry Days® week). Karen will be signing books at Mayberry Days®, and TAGSRWC’s online Weaver’s Department Store is now taking pre-orders for both autographed and unsigned copies, which will ship after the Weaver’s crew returns from Mayberry Days®).
Our crack editorial team was able to review an advance copy of Karen’s book. (Yes, Old Lady Crump would be proud of us and our Summer Reading program!) And what an immensely enjoyable book it is! Not only does Karen share her own memories of her dad, but she also talked to dozens of people from all stages of her father’s life and gleaned their firsthand accounts of events involving her dad. Fans are sure to learn new and sometimes surprising things about Don Knotts and about Karen and others in the Knotts family.
Karen’s storytelling comes from a place of great love, but she doesn’t flinch at sharing very personal and sometimes painful parts of her father’s life as well as her own, all of which will deepen any reader’s appreciation for Don Knotts as a person in full and not just as a beloved actor.
If you like Don Knotts (and who among us doesn’t?!), you’ll like him even more after you read this essential book for any fan. You’ll have fun while learning more about Don (and Karen) and gaining a greater understanding of him (and Karen). This fascinating edition is an important addition to our library of insights about the people who played key roles in creating the world of Mayberry, which has brought so much joy to generations of fans. No one but Karen could have written this book, and readers will be forever grateful that she did!
That’s a wrap for News of Cast & Crew for this issue.
Reel News: A Double Feature!
After a highly successful tour of film festivals far and wide, The Mayberry Effect, director Chris Hudson ‘s documentary about the influences of Mayberry on our lives, was released to streaming services on August 31. (It’s now available to order on DVD at Weaver’s, and it will begin shipping at the end of the month. And there will be screenings at the Earle Theatre in Mount Airy on the Wednesday and Sunday of Mayberry Days®.)
Much of the emphasis of the movie is on Mayberry tribute artists, especially David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning (the longtime leader the principal troupe), Allan “Floyd” Newsome and Kenneth “Otis” Junkin. But watch for that scene-stealing Opie, too!
The Mayberry Effect has been a labor of love of many years for Chris, and it shows. It’s a fun, moving and observant film that makes for a compelling examination not only of how Mayberry has affected many of our lives, but also of how people today can shape Mayberry and its impact. It’s a great way to spend an hour and a half immersed in Mayberry!
But wait–there’s more!
The Mayberry Man movie, written and directed by Stark Howell and produced by Cort Howell (both sons of Hoke Howell, aka Mayberry’s Dud Wash) and co-produced by Greg Schell (son of Ronnie Schell) is in the midst of having its red-carpet premieres before its official release on DVD on October 1 and also in select theaters in the weeks ahead.
The first premiere was held in Danville, Ind., where much of the movie was filmed, during Labor Day weekend. The second premiere took place in Newhall, Calif., just hours before this issue of The eBullet was published. Stop the presses! (Presses? What presses?) The third and final official premiere will take place in Mount Airy during the week of Mayberry Days®, though the film is not an official part of the festival. (Several additional screenings will be held in Mount Airy that week.)
Cast and crew and backers and other friends and supporters of the movie have been attending the gala premieres, which have received positive media coverage.
Reviews of the movie, which features many familiar faces–especially Mayberry tribute artists, have also been very positive and have stressed that Mayberry Man is a good wholesome movie that families can enjoy together. Here’s a LINK to a nice plug for the movie from Clint Howard (a lifelong friend of Stark and Cort Howell). Clint has nothing but high praise for the film and singles out Allan Newsome’s role in particular. (Big shots in Hollywood might be saying that Allan’s performance gives every indication that “a star is born,” but tell us something we didn’t already know. Allan has been a star for TAGSRWC and Mayberry in general for decades!)
Pre-orders for DVDs of the movie are being taken now at Weaver’s (see info in the Merchandise Update section below), and stay tuned for information about availability through streaming and other means, including theaters. So far, more than a dozen theaters in seven states have scheduled screenings (in addition to the three premieres) in the next couple of months, and more screenings are in the works.
All in all, The Mayberry Effect and Mayberry Man make this is a grand time to invest in movie popcorn. (You just know Barney would take the plunge!)
**** Chapter Update ****
Three new chapters have started since the July eBullet, which brings us to atotal of 1,474 chapters that have started since TAGSRWC was founded in 1979. Our new chapters are:
The Local Rocks Spring Hill, Tenn.
Old Man Kelsey’s Pond Folks Giles County, Va.
Mayberry Cronies Sebring, Ohio and Elsewhere
A hearty Mayberry welcome to all these new groups!
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really easy 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 your location and 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). That’s all it takes!
Whether or not you start or join a local chapter, you can always join our online “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” chapter or any of several exclusively online chapters on Facebook and, more recently, MeWe (see Mayberry on the Web below).
**** Merchandise Update ****
You can find a wide variety of Mayberry-related items at your fingertips online at TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store. If you’re looking for gifts for fellow Mayberry fans, Weaver’s likely has just what you’re looking for. And don’t forget to look for something for yourself, as well. You deserve it!
Here are some of our newest items at Weaver’s, and also some others that are perennially popular:
Maggie Peterson Mancuso Items
Maggie Peterson Mancuso, best known as “Charlene Darling” on TAGS, loved being part of our favorite show and getting to know so many fans at Mayberry events through the years.
Weaver’s Department Store is teaming with Maggie and her family to bring you photographs and other items from her career. We are hopeful that you find a treasure that brings you the same joy that Maggie received being on TAGS. Maggie wants to share this collection rather that having the items just sitting in her closet or on her shelves not being used and fully appreciated. Maggie is no longer able to perform in person, so this is a way that we fans can stay connected with her.
Maggie is residing in a senior assisted living facility. Since moving there, she has required additional care due to her ongoing health conditions, limited mobility and restricted use of her arms. These conditions make it impossible for her to live independently. This level of care increases the costs for Maggie.
You might wonder about residuals from TAGS and where they might be. TAGS ended in the late Sixties before residuals for actors became what they are now. Residuals were paid for only the first few reruns of episodes in which actors appeared. Maggie has not received residuals for her work on TAGS in more than 50 years.
Please look through the Maggie Peterson Collection of photographs, scripts and other items. The photos are 8 x 10 in. and most include Maggie’s autograph. Many are limited editions. All proceeds will go directly to helping Maggie. We encourage you to check back from time to time because we expect to add more items as we receive them from Maggie and her family.
If you would rather donate directly or provide additional funds to Maggie, please consider going to the GoFundMe Page for Maggie operated by her family.
2022 “Andy Griffith Show”
This 2022 edition of the popular TAGS Wall Calendar features fun images from the show to give a warm Mayberry feeling each time you glance to see a date. Black and white images from Mayberry are featured on every page of the calendar.
Every month you’ll enjoy a large (12 in. x 12 in.) image of favorite Mayberry characters, plus two smaller photos for Goob measure. The characters featured in this 2022 edition are Andy, Barney, Opie, Otis, Aunt Bee, Goober, Floyd, Helen, Thelma Lou,and Gomer.
The calendar is 12 in. wide x 24 in. tall when open. Perfect for home or office and always a great holiday gift! (Hint: The last couple of years, the wall calendar has sold out well before Christmas.)
P.S. Weaver’s expects to have the 2022 Mayberry Flip Calendar in stock before Thanksgiving.
Mayberry Man DVD
For Shipping on October 1
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 ****
There has been a lot of activity with chapters since our last issue, including for the annual Mayberry Meetup in Mount Airy, N.C., which saw fans from a couple of dozen chapters and over a dozen states join at-large TAGSRWC members and devotees of Allan Newsome‘s “Two Chairs, No Waiting” podcast converging for a weekend of Mayberry fellowship. (See photo in Mayberry on the Web, in the next section below.)
Lots of chapters have also been involved in the making of the Mayberry Man movie, both on camera and behind the scenes, and also as backers. Many have been able to attend the two premieres so far this month and bunches more no doubt will be on hand for screenings in Mount Airy later this month.
Blood Brothers (Macon, Mo.) had a busy week at the end of August and beginning of September when the group either hosted or participated in several events centered around Mayberry author Randy Turner‘s visit to North Central Missouri. (Randy’s recently published Mayberry Travel Guide about Mount Airy and vicinity will be available at Weaver’s soon.)
The main event was an official chapter meeting that featured a meal, Mayberry music and a lecture by Randy. The week’s activities also a included a visit to Gen. Blackjack Pershing’s boyhood home, a viewing of the World’s Second Largest Pecan, which begs two questions: Where’s the World’s Largest Pecan? and Where’s the World’s Biggest Goober? They also got to see the world’s first sliced-bread machine, which was on loan from that Smith Brothers Institution. (That one begs another question: What was the greatest invention before that machine?)
Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) published the latest edition of its Mayberry Minutes newsletter in July, and once again its 16 colorful pages were filled with a diverse assortment of news, trivia, cooking (Mary Ellis’s recipe for Mayberry After Midnight Pumpkin Bread from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook, which, by the way, will have its hardcover edition back in stock at Weaver’s again by the end of the month), all kinds of tidbits and news about chapter activities.
The Knoxville group regularly celebrates the birthdays of cast members–always with a cake and often with a phone call with the birthday honoree. A contingent attended July’s Mayberry Meetup in Mount Airy, and then the chapter gathered in August for their annual lake party and then again a few days ago for miniature golf, another longstanding chapter tradition. And as always, the chapter will be wide-ranging participants at Mayberry Days® later this month, in everything from the parade and trivia contests to Colonel Tim’s Talent Time and, the Chester Jones Checkers Competition (their crowning achievement), which they have been in charge of for many years.
A special treat for the chapter this month is that Dobro master LeRoy McNees is stopping by to visit and to perform an informal mini-concert for the group as he makes his way from California to Mount Airy for Mayberry Days®.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
The iMayberry Community
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome with big help from Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown. You can check out the fun of this online community 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.
There’s a new episode every Tuesday (and you can watch and listen live during tapings on Monday evenings). As of this week, there have been 650 episodes since Allan started doing the podcast in 2008! Past episodes are in an online Archives in case you want to listen to or view classic installments you’ve missed.
And you’ll also find links on the podcast’s regular web page which includes another excellent Mayberry-related podcast: Burke on Mayberry (hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke).
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook is hovering around 250,000 Followers. 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.
Even Ben Weaver has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. It features all the latest in Mayberry items and merchandise news.
And TAGSRWC also has a growing presence on www.MeWe.com. Mayberry’s pioneering outpost on MeWe is “Sittin’ on a Velvet Pillow” chapter, headed up by Lynn Thomas. That group was followed in short order by Allan Newsome and the “Two Chairs, No Waiting” Podcast and by “Only One Word I Can Think of…Big” (a TAGSRWC group that’s also on Facebook), administered by Myron Clark and Tommy Rainwater and an able crew.
In case you’re not familiar with MeWe, it’s similar to Facebook. It’s just smaller and a bit calmer. It has no ads. So, it’s more along the lines of a quiet street like Willow or Woods Way as compared to the hustle and bustle of Main Street in downtown Mayberry. (“You’re on my foot! You’re on my foot!”) If you’re looking to “relax, slow down, take it easy,” then you might want to check out some of the TAGSRWC groups on MeWe.
**** Post Note ****
You can catch up on Mayberry news with back issues of The eBullet by visiting the eBullet Archives in the Newsletters section at imayberry.com. Each issue is placed in the Archives at the same time that it’s published.
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 issue of The eBullet is scheduled for November. Our next issue of Weaver’s Newsletter will be published in October. Both newsletters will feature highlights from Mayberry Days®.