An Online Newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to our September eBullet, our fifth for this 60th Anniversary year of “The Andy Griffith Show”!
See the Event Calendar immediately below for the latest updates as of the time we published this edition. A lot of plans are still shifting, especially for the upcoming Mayberry Days® festival. We’ll also continually update the freestanding version of the Event Calendar at www.tagsrwc.com.
In this momentous year, unexpectedly bizarre, painful and sad in so many ways, it has been a comfort to have the joys of TAGS as a diversion and an escape.
Mayberry will be all the more at the forefront for many of us with Mayberry Days® the last week of September and then the milestone October 3 Anniversary of TAGS the following week.
As Barney famously said, during our lifetime, we travel many roads. Now is a good time for all of us to be happy and grateful that so many roads (and channels and streaming services) still lead to Mayberry!
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 now in Phase 2.5 of pandemic protocols until around October 2, the Museum’s Rules include: Only about 35 visitors 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.
* Sept. 21-27: 31st Annual Mayberry Days® in Mount Airy, N.C., celebrating the 60th Anniversary of “The Andy Griffith Show.” The festival is still scheduled, but it is being adjusted in ways to comply with statewide pandemic restrictions.
The exact scope of the festival’s various components is being finalized now that N.C. Governor Roy Cooper has issued new Phase 2.5 guidelines for COVID-19. In any case, this year’s Mayberry Days® won’t be the expansive 60th Anniversary celebration originally planned by the Surry Arts Council or hoped for by fans.
But the folks in Mount Airy have shown both great creativity and resolve to put on the best and safest festival possible given the circumstances. Fans lucky enough to attend Mayberry Days® this year will surely be able to appreciate the results of that dedication and hard work throughout the weekend.
Because of safety concerns with traveling and social distancing, the Special Guests list this year begins and ends with Mount Airy’s own Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou). Betty will be in town, because, well, she’s already there! Even so, it’s not expected that she’ll be able to make any in-person appearances during the festival.
Highlights of the festival include the Mayberry Days® Golf Tournament (aka The Emmett), two sessions of the popular Professor Brower’s Lecture (screening and discussing “Hot Rod Otis”), a performance of Tim White & Troublesome Hollow–A Tribute to Mayberry, and multiple shows each of Michael Hoover’s “Memories of Elvis,” “Mayberry Melodies” (a musical revue of tunes from TAGS), Joy in the Journey Gospel Favorites with Allen Leath, John Floyd (“the Mouth of Mayberry”) and two free gospel concerts by the Lisemby Family.
Tickets for Mayberry Days® are available online at www.mayberrydays.org. And much of the festival is free and doesn’t require a ticket, including the Mayor’s Proclamation and trivia, checkers and various other contests, as well as the TAGSRWC Annual Meeting, which has shifted to the Blackmon Amphitheatre at 4:30 p.m. on Sat. the 26th (not ticket required).
Mayberry Days® this year may not be the biggest ever, but it’s destined to be one filled with gratitude just for happening!
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 has been active promoting Rebuilding Paradise, his National Geographic documentary about the aftermath of the 2018 fires around Paradise, Calif. The film, all the more poignant given the current wildfire crisis in the West, opened in select socially distancing theaters in July and premieres on the Nat Geo Channel on November 8. It has been receiving universally excellent reviews. Watch the trailer HERE.
Ron’s much-anticipated Hillbilly Elegy is expected for release by Netflix in November. The film starring Amy Adams, Glenn Close and TAGS alum Bo Hopkins is already being mentioned as an Oscar contender.
Ron and family have made a $90,000 gift to the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at Oklahoma University to establish a scholarship in the name of Ron and Clint’s late parents, Rance and Jean (both of whom were born in Oklahoma and studied drama at OU), to support students from rural areas in the college’s Helmerich School of Drama.
“Our mom and dad were from small-town, rural America,” Ron, himself a native of tiny Duncan, Okla., said in a statement. “Their ability to afford to be the first in their families to pursue a career in the arts at OU changed their lives, as well as the course of our family history. They met on campus, made lifelong friends and career connections there, and affirmed the viability of their dreams. Our family wants to help support that dream for students from similar circumstances who make the excellent choice to attend the University of Oklahoma for drama and fine arts.”
Betty Lynn is doing fine in Mount Airy during these trying times. She enjoyed the many well-wishes she received for her 94th birthday in August. Though she has had to cancel all of her monthly autograph sessions at the Andy Griffith Museum for the spring and summer and foreseeable future, she was able to make a video about tile painting (yes, she’s a talented painter, too!) that will be used during a painting class that the Surry Arts Council will debut during Mayberry Days.
Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling) continues on a slow road of recovery from several recent falls and surgeries, including two for her shoulder this summer. Unfortunately, the main shoulder surgery wasn’t able to accomplish all the repairs needed, and then the shoulder got infected and required a second surgery.
Maggie’s now doing rehab for the arm to try to restore as much use of the arm as possible with physical therapy. She and husband Gus are receiving full-time care at home.
Maggie continues to express her heartfelt appreciation for the prayers and other assistance friends and fans have provided. Maggie’s GoFundMe page, which Maggie’s family has set up to help with some of Maggie’s uncovered medical and care expenses, is still active. Donations are helping make possible the ongoing care that Maggie and Gus require.
The big news from Rodney Dillard this month is that a brand new Dillards album was released on CD on September 11! (And a digital download version was also made available in August.) It’s the first album of new music by The Dillards since 1991. (Rodney has had some releases on his own, but this is the first one officially as The Dillards.)
The album is titled Old Road New Again and is on the legendary Pinecastle Records. The album includes “Earthman,” which was released as a single on Earth Day (April 22), and an interesting mix of other new songs, Dillards favorites, songs Rodney released as a solo act and even a pop classic with a bluegrass twist.
Among the guest performers on the album are TAGSRWC Honorary members Sam Bush, Bernie Leadon, Ricky and Sharon White Skaggs, and Cheryl White, along with Don Henley and former Dillards member Herb Pedersen. The album is getting great reviews (and early Grammy buzz!) and is a superb addition to the Dillards legacy! And yes, it’s available at Weaver’s!
Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker) reports that she’s doing well and staying safe. Likewise Bruce Bilson (assistant director for the first two seasons) says he’s coping with the pandemic, at least in part, by enjoying more time poolside at home. That is, at least until the wildfires forced him to stay indoors as much as possible.
In what could be described as a modern-day mash-up of TAGS episodes, LeRoy McNees (two episodes as a member of The Country Boys) flew from California to Vermont in late July to meet son Russ in order that the two could then drive LeRoy’s newly purchased vintage BMW 6 Series csi back home. It may not have been LeRoy’s first car, but as in “Barney’s First Car,” the car did break down right on cue on the way home.
The car didn’t break down around De Queen Junction the way Andy’s old Model A did that time he and Barney headed to New Orleans (as related to Peggy in “Andy’s Rich Girlfriend”), but it did conk out just east of Grand Junction, Colo.
Rather than waiting for a tow truck that could’ve been operated by Hubcaps Lesch and Jake, LeRoy and Russ chose instead to rent a U-Haul and tow the car the rest of the way back to California themselves. It turned out that the problem wasn’t a clogged fuel line or bad spark plugs like Mr. Tucker had in “Man in a Hurry.” It was the fuel pump, which was still serious enough to earn the tow.
Anyway, LeRoy and Russ made their way safely back to California. They had a great road trip together and got to see special sights across a wide swath of America. And a local Goober will now have fun getting the classic car running like a scalded dog.
Our only question for LeRoy is, “How do you aim to drive…fast?”
Hollywood Has Returned to Mayberry!
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 by Greg Schell, son of Ronnie Schell) has been filming in Indiana this month. Karen Knotts joined a large contingent of Mayberry tribute artists, both familiar and new faces, for the initial days of filming, which included a Mayberry Fest parade in the town of Danville on Labor Day.
There have been some casting changes needed in large part because of the pandemic–mainly due to the super-stringent safety requirements of SAG/AFTRA. Most union actors and crew aren’t able to participate in the film, which meant that lead actor Richard Gunn (son of Laura Hagen, widow of TAGS maestro Earle Hagen) was among those who had to withdraw from the project. The producers have been nimble in making necessary adjustments, and the shoot, largely funded by contributions from fans, has stayed on schedule.
The Indiana portion of filming wraps this week, and the cast and crew move to Mount Airy, N.C., and vicinity during Mayberry Days® week (next week). The movie is still on track for at least initial screenings as early as next spring. The premiere is tentatively planned for Danville’s Mayberry in the Midwest festival next May–followed, the producers hope, by eventual availability through one or more of the leading streaming services.
If you’re in the mood for Old-Time Radio, check out the Sept. 12 edition of “Those Were the Days” on Chicago’s WDCB-FM (wdcb.org/archive). Click on September 12 and then scroll down to “Those Were the Days” in the 1 to 5 p.m. time slot.
That day’s 4-hour show was a special called “Mayberry on the Air,” which celebrated the 60th Anniversary of TAGS.
The show features TAGS stars in old radio shows, including Don Knotts, Betty Lynn, Howard McNear (Floyd the Barber), Parley Baer (Mayor Stoner), Olan Soule (John Masters), Sheldon Leonard (executive producer), along with songs and monologues by Andy Griffith. The Sept. 12 edition is available online for two weeks, so will be retired to the offline archive after Sept 26. Tune in while you still can!
And that’s all for this special pandemic edition of News of Cast & Crew.
**** Chapter Update ****
One new chapter has started since the July eBullet. We’re proud to welcome:
“You Were on a Date–You Weren’t Taking Medicine” Piedmont, S.C.
That brings us to a total of 1,468 chapters founded since TAGSRWC began in 1979.
Starting a chapter of TAGSRWC is really a snap 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!
**** Merchandise Update ****
And there’s much more! We have more books (including this year’s new hardcover edition of Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook), T-shirts (and sweatshirts & hoodies), plus Caps (including the new Mayberry Sheriff Emblem design shown to the right), Goober Beanies, Deputy Patches, DVDs, Music, and both Mayberry Sheriff and Mayberry Deputy Badges.
And don’t forget that Weaver’s also has three 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!
COMING SOON: By the end of this month (or maybe early October), look for new food items from Mayberry’s Finest to join their popular coffees and bacon on Weaver’s shelves. And we’re expecting a new book about Mayberry and the 2021 edition of the Mayberry Day-By-Day Flip Book Calendar in the weeks ahead.
As always, we thank you for shopping at Weaver’s.
**** Chapter News ****
The pandemic continues to put a damper on many of the usual activities of TAGSRWC chapters around the country. But the 8th Annual Mayberry Meet-Up in Mount Airy, N.C. was able to happen safely in July. There were fewer people able to or choosing to attend, but, photos below notwithstanding, folks were generally pretty conscientious about social distancing and wearing masks and other COVID-19 protocols.
“Blood Brothers” (Macon, Mo.) held their annual chapter barbecue in late July. They report that “we enjoyed a carry-in lunch following roll call with everyone sharing their favorite Barney episode, scene or line in honor of Don Knotts’s recent birthday.”
After the group enjoyed homemade ice cream and desserts, Johnna Clarke presented her original program titled “Quilts of Mayberry: Patterns Reminiscent of the People, Places and Things of ‘The Andy Griffith Show.'”
Johnna incorporated some of her late mother’s quilts into the presentation–patterns such as Rose of Sharon (for Sharon DeSpain), Honeybee (for Aunt Bee) and Double Wedding Ring (for all the Mayberry Weddings). Johnna used blocks of many patterns, including Log Cabin Drunkard’s Path (Otis Campbell, and the O’Malley and Darling cabins). A Soft Guitars quilt represented all the music on TAGS, but specifically Andy and his guitar pickin’.
The group ended the meeting by drawing for door prizes and making plans for an October 3 birthday party for TAGS on the 60th anniversary.
Mayberry (Knoxville, Tenn.) chapter published the latest edition of its chapter newsletter, Mayberry Minutes, in July. It was another jam-packed 16 pages! (In the printed newsletter biz, that’s known as a two-stamper!) The chapter’s also online at www.mayberrychapter.com.
In addition to funding support provided to the Mayberry Man movie by members of some TAGSRWC chapters, at-large members and other fans, several chapters have been participants on-camera in the filming in Indiana this month.
Among those taking part are “Mother Figure” (Huntsville, Ala.), “Bobby Fleet and His Band with a Beat” (Wake Forest, N.C.), “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Mayberry (Knoxville, Tenn.), “What Did Calvin Coolidge Say?” (Batesville, Ind.), “Now You’re Gonna Glenn Ford It All Over Town”(Veedersburg, Ind.), “A Dollar and Quarter” (New Philadelphia, Ohio) and Foley’s Market (Farmington, Mo.).
When the filming moves to North Carolina the last week of September, several other chapters and some familiar locations will be represented on-camera.
That’s our Chapter News for this issue. After the upcoming Mayberry Days® and various 60th Anniversary commemorations, we’ll have lots more news to report in our November issue. If you have news or photos of your chapter activities that you’d 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 599 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 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 ****
You can catch up on Mayberrry 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 final regularly scheduled issue of The eBullet for 2020 will be published in November. Our next issue of Weaver’s Newsletter is set for October.