An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to the March issue of The eBullet! Activities are starting to heat up in Mayberry just surely as springtime is upon us (tell that to the folks in the Rockies and on the Plains who are buried in 20+ inches of snow this week!). We’re all hopeful that the worst of the pandemic is finally about to be behind us. It makes us want to burst out in song…
Ahead are some of the goin’s-on around Mayberry as we all gradually begin to emerge from our winter (make that year!) of virtual hibernation!
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest’s monumental collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, is open!
Please note that the Museum has more than just Barney’s Two Rules at The Rock. With North Carolina in a modified Phase 3 of pandemic protocols until at least the end of March, the Museum’s Rules include fewer visitors at a time and everyone still needing to wear a mask (bring your own or come prepared to buy one for $5.35). Also 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.
* Apr. 10: Rodney & Beverly Dillard are special guests and performers for Mayberry & I Love Lucy Day, in Granville, Tenn. Rodney and Beverly will perform at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and as part of the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour at 7 p.m. (which involves getting a ticket for a preceding dinner with seatings at 5:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.). Festivities begin with an antique-car Cruise- In at 9:00 a.m. Other guests include tribute artists Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Rik “Barney” Roberts, Bo “Briscoe Darling” Pierce, and Lucy and Ricky Ricardo tribute artists. There will also be a presentation about the Ladies of Mayberry at both 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., along with music and other festival activities throughout the day. Granville also has a Mayberry-I Love Lucy Museum that’s open for touring year-round. For more info (and dinner/Ole Time Music Hour tickets), visit www.granvilletn.com or call (931) 653-4151.
* Sept. 20-26: 32nd Annual Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy, N.C. Special Guests confirmed so far include Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) and Rodney Dillard (guitar-playing Darling boy).
Tickets are already 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, Professor Brower’s Lecture with Neal Brower, 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 The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, Legacy Motown Revue, The Band of Oz and James Gregory (“The Funniest Man in America”).
Much more TBA, so be sure to check back for updates.
* Oct. 31-Nov. 6: Clint Howard is the special guest for Mayberry Cruise 15, which was postponed with a few tweaks from its original dates in 2020. This cruise aboard Carnival’s Freedom will depart from Miami 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 is on location in Australia where filming has just gotten underway for his current directing project, Thirteen Lives, a film for MGM based on the cave rescue of a boys’ soccer team in Thailand, the harrowing event that captivated the world in 2018. Most of the filming will take on the island continent’s Gold Coast.
Ron’s Imagine Entertainment has also recently struck a “first look” deal with Apple Studios to produce films for the Apple Original Films, which makes movies for streaming on Apple TV+. Imagine has a similar production deal with Apple Documentaries, and they have a TV production deal with CBS.
For her supporting role as Mamaw in Ron’s Hillbilly Elegy, Glenn Close was nominated for a Golden Globe and this week received an Oscar nod as well.
Ron and Imagine partner Brian Grazer are also executive producers for Genius: Aretha, a limited series about Aretha Franklin that is the latest edition of their Genius series and that premieres on the National Geographic Channel on March 21.
Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) is still staying at home in Mount Airy and following pandemic safety measures. She’s eager to resume her meet-and-greets with fans at the Andy Griffith Museum, but that likely won’t happen until summertime , at the earliest.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling) reports that she is doing O.K. and is settling in at the retirement/assisted living facility where she and husband Gus moved in December.
Maggie has recovered well from COVID-19 in January. Gus was hospitalized with COVID-19 during the same time. Following his COVID-19 battle, Gus is currently doing rehab and receiving care at his son’s home. Please continue to keep Maggie and Gus in your prayers!
Maggie’s GoFundMe page, which Maggie’s family has set up to help with some of Maggie’s and Gus’s significant and uncovered medical expenses (including multiple surgeries) during the last couple of years, is still active. Maggie is extremely grateful for all of the generous donations received.
Speaking of big expenditures, a 1966 Austin Mini Moke, owned and loved for five decades by Jackie Joseph and the late Ken Berry and their family, sold at auction in January for $24,200. (Take that, Mrs. Lesch!)
Here are a couple of photos of the classic vehicle, including a recent color shot and one of Jackie and kids John and Jenny in a parade c. 1970.
Mayberry Goes Hollywood!
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 still expected to have its premiere sometime this spring.
The original plan was for the world premiere to be in Danville, Ind., around mid-May in order to coincide with the annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival, but, as was the case last year, the festival is again not being held this year because of the pandemic. The premiere may well still happen around mid-May, but no official announcement has yet been made. The producers are also working on details for broader distribution, probably including some combination of theaters, broadcast, streaming, and DVDs. Stay tuned!
That’s a wrap for News of Cast & Crew for this issue.
Hail and Farewell to a Talented Mayberry Fan
We’re sad to note the passing of Jim Weatherly, who made a wonderful latter-day contribution to Mayberry. Jim co-wrote “Andy and Opie Christmas” with Charlie Monk, who also performed the recitation. The song has been a holiday tradition among Mayberry fans since its release in 2011. (Note: It’s a tranquil listening experience for any time of year!)
Jim died at home in Brentwood, Tenn., on February 3. He was 77. Beyond Mayberry, Jim is best-known for writing “Midnight Train to Georgia, the chart-topping, Grammy-winner for Gladys Knight & The Pips in 1974. His “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” also won a Grammy for the group that same year. He wrote dozens of songs recorded by everyone from Kenny Rogers and Glen Campbell to Ray Price and Garth Brooks.
Fans of Mayberry are grateful for the gem that Jim and his pal Charlie created for us to enjoy for many years to come.
**** Chapter Update ****
Two new chapters have started since the January eBullet. We now have a total of 1,470 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in 1979.
Nippers of the Bud Knoxville, Tenn
“Oh Brother, She Is a Dog!” Hookstown, Penn.
A hearty welcome to both of these new chapters!
The Hookstown chapter is unique among all of our chapters (so far), because it was founded by a non-human! The leader of the pack is Dixie Higgins, an endearing beagle and avid TAGS watcher. She really digs Mayberry. Here’s the woof proof:
Dixie’s canine co-founders are Teeka, Foster, Cindy, Ned, Lilly and Elvis. An honorary posthumous founder is Peanut Higgins, a beagle who attended all 15 Mayberry Days® festivals during her lifetime.
By the way, we’ve confirmed that one of Dixie’s favorite characters is Lydia Crosswaith, because Lydia likes “hangin’ her head out the window like a dog.”
At first, the idea of chapters being started by Mayberry fans other than humans gave us paws. We know it could be a bone of contention for some. But upon further reflection, we realized that there is nothing in the TAGSRWC bylaws (Bylaws? What bylaws? There are bylaws?) that says that chapters have to be started by people. (Note: Don’t tell Dixie and the gang that they’re not people!)
Dixie and her pals invite other TAGS fans (whether dogs, humans or even–dare we say?– cats) to join their chapter. (Yeah, like cats would ever join anything any more than giraffes would! Then again, some feline fans just might surprise us.)
Through the years, we’ve had other animals who have been active members of chapters, most notably Shazam, a cockatiel who was a longtime member of Compelsion Nuts (Kingsport, Tenn.). Shazam would gleefully whistle the TAGS theme song and also attended multiple Mayberry events over the years–not so much as a performer, but just as a fan who enjoyed being around other fans and meeting the stars.
We know we’re potentially unleashing a furry flurry (and an untethered feathered kerfuffle) of chapters being started by non-humans. So, we encourage all prospective non-human founders of chapters to offer some sort of documentation of their devotion to watching TAGS, just as Dixie has done. In other words, we’re begging for some more adorable photos!
We know we’re risking “jumping the shar pei” with this marked new territory for chapter founders. At least initially, we’ll probably draw the line of acceptance somewhere around goldfish, which we know might make for some mad worms, but we’ve got enough backbone to withstand the flak from that, which is more than we can say for worms.
Whether by humans or other creatures, 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 ****
Even a curmudgeon like Ben can’t help himself from providing lots of great Mayberry items for us fans–including several that are brand new since our last issue.
You can always find a wide variety of Mayberry-related items at your fingertips online at TAGSRWC’s Weaver’s Department Store.
Here are some of the newest items at Weaver’s:
We’re really excited to offer some brand new Mayberry’s Finest ™ brand products to the popular gourmet coffees and country bacon that Weaver’s already carries. We’re so fired up that you might even say we’re “pickled tink.” Did somebody say pickles? Yep, that’s right. Somebody finally did it…they’re making Mayberry pickles!
Fortunately, these are good ol’ store-bought pickles (it even says so right on the label). Delicious hamburger dill chips to put it precisely. We’re proud to be able to ship these everywhere from Oregon to Nova Scotia. And best of all, you won’t have to learn to love ’em like Aunt Bee’s “kerosene cucumbers.” No, these are more like Clara’s blue-ribbon pickles–just as flavorsome as can be.
And you know if there’s canning going on in Mayberry, then the next thing to come after pickles has to be preserves (or at least jams). Fortunately, Mayberry’s Finest ™ has steered clear of marmalade that smells like paint. Instead they’ve created some truly outstanding Blackberry, Strawberry and Peach jams. You’ll be tempted to eat them by the spoonful right out of the jar, but we think you’ll find that they’re even better on biscuits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
In any case, Mayberry’s Finest ™ is now hitting on all cylinders with a great lineup of food items. And more products are in the works for 2021. Weaver’s is proud to be the online retail partner for these wonderful, official “Andy Griffith Show” gourmet foods from Mayberry’s Finest ™..
60 Years of Mayberry
A Celebration of The Andy Griffith Show
This collection of essays, recollections, and reflections in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the debut of “The Andy Griffith Show” includes writings from:
- Dixie Griffith – Andy Griffith’s daughter
- George Lindsey Jr. – George “Goober” Lindsey’s son
- Bruce Bilson – Assistant Director of TAGS
- LeRoy McNees – Musical guest star on TAGS
- Sean Dietrich – Author and “Sean of the South” podcast creator
- Allan Newsome* – Floyd the barber tribute artist and host of the “Two Chairs, No Waiting” podcast
- Tim Bradshaw – Author and Mayberry fan
- Chris Grewe – Pastor and devoted TAGS fan
- Randy Turner – Author and Mayberry historian
The 188-page softcover book is filled with wonderful memories from fans, family members of the show’s stars, an instrumental performer and a key behind-the-scenes crew member.
**** Chapter News ****
Most chapters have continued to be pretty quiet so far this year as folks continue to try to be prudent with safety protocols during the pandemic. We’ve got a little bit of news, plus one photo and one cartoon. There are indications that chapter activities will start getting cranked back up to something more like normal by the time of our May issue.
Mayberry chapter (Knoxville, Tenn.) published its regular Mayberry Minutes newsletter in January. It was another 16-pager, chock-full of news. Highlights include a report on Mayberry Days® and the Mayberry Man movie in which several chapter members participated, both onscreen and as part of the crew. The chapter also celebrated Elizabeth MacRae‘s birthday in February, and they plan to celebrate Elinor Donahue‘s birthday with a party in April.
That’s all the news and funnies from chapters for this issue. If your chapter has news or photos (or artwork) to share, we always love hearing about what you’re up to. Send your submissions to Goober@imayberry.com. Virtually all the news that fits, we virtually print.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome and 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.
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 624 episodes since Allan started the podcasts in 2008!).
If you’re combing the web looking for fun Mayberry stuff, you might need…a comb. We’ve got just the thing with the new “Two Chairs, No Waiting” Comb, now available at Weaver’s for just $2, or as we like to say “Two Chairs, Two Bucks.”
And you’ll also find links on our Podcasts web page to another outstanding Mayberry-related podcast: Burke on Mayberry, also a long-running program, hosted by TAGSRWC’s Kevin Burke.
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook so far has over 250,000 Likes and almost that many 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 grumpy ol’ 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!”) So, if you’re looking to “relax, slow down, take it easy,” 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 May. Our next issue of Weaver’s Newsletter is in April.