Welcome to our first issue for 2016! There's a lot going on and coming up, so we'll jump right in, starting with merchandise updates, and then moving on to upcoming events, then News of Cast & Crew, and a few odds and ends.
**** Merchandise Update ****
Here are highlights from our online Weaver's Department Store this month.
Two of our most popular T-shirts are now available in Toddler sizes, so that even the youngest fans can show their Mayberry spirit. We have both our "Aw, Pa" and Newest Nip It designs in Toddler 2, 3 and 4 sizes. And what makes them irresistible (besides a cute kid wearing them, of course!) is the smaller price, just $16, compared to $20 for adult sizes (also a great deal!). No doubt about it...these new sizes are "darn cute."
Just in time for winter reading, this new book is filled cover to cover with fun questions (and answers) about the goin's on in our favorite town.
The book's 1,500 trivia questions about this classic TV show will provide hours of entertainment. Here's a sampling:
* Name the state investigator who likes to go frog-gigging with Andy.
* What couple met at Wilton Blair's funeral in 1960?
* True or False: Ernest T. Bass throws rocks with his left hand.
* Who steers while Barney's broken-down car is pushed back to town?
B. Aunt Bee
D. Thelma Lou
Don't know the answers? Don't worry. The answers are provided on the back of each page of questions for quick reference. (But no peeking!)
Get ready to have lots of fun with family and friends as you test your knowledge of Mayberry! Become a Mayberry Minutia-man (or woman, whatever the case may be)!
About the author:
TAGSRWC member Scott Hopkins was involved extensively with the development of the Mayberry Mania board game and the Mayberry-0poly game.
So, Santa didn't bring you the 2016 calendar that you hoped for? Bad Santa! But the good news for you is that it's not too late to treat yourself, and get a great deal at the same time. Weaver's still has a few of this year's calendars left...and they're now 1/3 off!
All the photos contained in this 2016 edition are in black and white, but some of them are from color seasons or publicity photos. The calendar is 12 in. wide x 12 in. tall when closed and 12 in. wide x 24 in. tall when open.
Mike Johnson's artwork is a reflection of his love and reverence for small-town life and The Andy Griffith Show. With his Mayberry Postmarks notecard set he has used scenes that are inspired by the show, but not actually of the show itself.
Each set contains 10 notecards (and 10 envelopes) with each having a different pen & ink drawing that will spread the Mayberry spirit to those who receive them. Write your own note inside the card to complete that personal connection with family and friends.
Just right for the transition from winter to spring (and fishing season), another of our most popular T-shirt designs is now available in sweatshirt!
This nostalgic sweatshirt joins the t-shirt of the same design in really capturing the easy-going, relaxed feeling of Mayberry with three of our favorite characters smiling and doing what they like best—hanging out at the fishin’ hole.
You'll find these items and much more, including books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, rare collectibles, tin signs, artwork, rare board games, blankets, items for vehicles and who knows what all--all online at www.weaversdepartmentstore.com. (Or just go to www.imayberry.com and click on one of the orange and blue Weaver's buttons at the top.)
Cause for Applause!
Several recent accolades have been achieved by or bestowed upon creative efforts related to Mayberry.
First, "The Andy Griffith Show Christmas Special," which aired in primetime on CBS on Christmas Day, not only won its time slot, but also the entire evening in the Nielsen ratings. And the special, which featured the novelty of newly colorized episodes of "Christmas Story" and "The Pickle Story," finished an impressive 15th for the week going up against top current shows, such as "NFL Football," various versions of "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory."
Let's hope the great showing by the TAGS special means a new Mayberry tradition for the holidays has begun!
There was also an indirect TAGS award at this year's Rose Parade. The South Pasadena float entry called Fishing Follies was the winner of the National Award for "best depiction of life in the United States." Though the float did include a little red-haired boy fishing, the primary Mayberry connection was the use of Earle Hagen's "The Andy Griffith Theme" as the float's attention-grabbing soundtrack.
And one more tip of the hat...the upcoming Mayberry Comes to Westminster festival has been named one of the Top 20 Events for May 2016 by the Southeast Tourism Society. While it's not uncommon for a long-running event like Mayberry Days in Mount Airy to make the STS Top 20 for its month (September), it's quite an accomplishment for a relatively new festival, such as Mayberry Comes to Westminster, to make the list. This May's edition will be the festival's sixth year. It drew more than 10,000 fans in 2015, and, with a little help from the weatherman, is expected to draw even bigger crowds this year.
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest's amazing collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia, is open daily in Mount Airy, N.C. For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Now-Feb. 21: Ronnie Schell performs at Harrah's Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
* Feb. 19: Betty Lynn greets fans at the Andy Griffith Museum 12:30-3:30 p.m. She will have autographed 8 x 10 photos available ($10). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Feb. 20: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform a free concert 7 p.m. at First Christian Church in Kimberling City, Mo.
* Feb. 22-27: David "Mayberry Deputy" Browning entertains on the Mountain Music Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Sea. For more info, visit www.mountainmusiccruise.com.
* Feb. 23: Karen Knotts performs "Tied Up in Knotts" at 6 p.m. at the Sedona Film Festival in Sedona, Ariz. More info at www.sedonafilmfestival.org.
* Feb. 27: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride navigate to the St. Louis Boat Show in St. Louis, Mo.
* Mar. 3-5: 19th Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. For the complete schedule and more info, visit www.lindseyfilmfest.com.
* Mar. 11: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the LiUNA Event Center in South St. Louis, Mo.
* Mar. 11-13: Karen Knotts does three performances of "Tied Up in Knotts" (8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday) at the Black Box Center for the Arts in Boca Raton, Fla. Tickets are $25-$35. For more info, visit www.bocablackbox.com.
* Mar. 12: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the Falls Event Center in Columbia, Ill.
* Mar. 12: The Roland White Band performs at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn. at 9 p.m. More info at www.stationinn.com.
* Mar. 12 and 13: Maggie Peterson and Rodney Dillard are joined by David "Mayberry Deputy" Browning in a presentation of Mayberry Moments at the Cumming Playhouse in Cumming, Ga. Show times are 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. For tickets and more info, call (770) 205-4220.
* Mar. 31: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform at the Pregnancy Lifeline event in Kimberling City, Mo.
* Apr. 3 and 4: Karen Knotts performs "Tied Up in Knotts" at 8 p.m. both nights at Barleen's Arizona Opry in Apache Junction, Ariz. Details TBA. For more info, visit www.azopry.com.
* Apr. 22: Karen Knotts brings "Tied Up in Knotts" to Lyman, Wyo. Show time is 8 p.m. Further details TBA.
* Apr. 23: The Roland White Band performs at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn. at 9 p.m. More info at www.stationinn.com.
* Apr. 25 and 26: Karen Knotts performs "Tied Up in Knotts" at 8 p.m. both days at Barleen's Arizona Opry in Apache Junction, Ariz. Details TBA. For more info, visit www.azopry.com.
* Apr. 28-30: Maggie Peterson and Margaret Kerry are among the special guests for the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Mo. For more info, visit www.cherryblossomfest.com.
* May 6 and 7: 6th Annual Mayberry Comes Westminster (S.C.) festival. Karen Knotts is the special guest. She'll be performing two shows of her new one-woman act "Knott Knotts, Who's There: Getting to Know the Man Behind Barney Fife." She'll also be the grand marshal for two parades on Saturday. Other performers include bluegrass gospel group Trinity River Band. David Browning and a troupe of Mayberry tribute artists will also be performing throughout the weekend.
In conjunction with the festival, the 3rd Annual Crime Stoppers Mayberry Open Golf Tourney at noon on Thursday the 5th at Oconee Country Club. For info about how to register your team and/or become a hole sponsor, contact Jimmy Watt, Information Officer with the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, at (864) 638-419 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will also be a "Salute to Elvis" dinner show starring Wayne Euliss on Wednesday the 4th and Mayberry Bible Study on Thursday. A cruise-in, pageants, contests, crafts and assorted vendors are also part of the popular festival. For more info, visit www.mayberrywestminster.com.
* May 7: 29th Annual Uncle Jesse Big Bass Classic (founded by Denver Pyle) in Paris, Tex. For more info, visit www.unclejessefishing.com.
* May 14: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform a free concert at 7 p.m. at the Kimberling City Mall in Kimberling City, Mo.
* May 21 and 22: Mayberry in the Midwest festival in Danville, Ind. Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling) is the first announced guest star. More details TBA. For updates, visit the Mayberry in the Midwest page on Facebook.
* June 2-4: Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band perform at the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, Ind. Details TBA. For more info, visit www.johnhartfordmemfest.com.
* June 11: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform a free concert at 7 p.m. at the Kimberling City Mall in Kimberling City, Mo.
* June 11: Neal Brower, author of Mayberry 101, presents a lecture on "The Big House" episode of TAGS, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission ($6). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* June 17: Karen Knotts performs "Tied Up in Knotts" at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield, Iowa. Show time is 7 p.m. For info, call (641) 472-2000 or visit www.fairfieldacc.com.
* June 18: Karen Knotts brings "Tied Up in Knotts" to Madison, Wis. Details TBA.
* June 26-July 3: Ronnie Schell performs at Harvey's Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe.
* July 9: Dean Webb and Missouri Boatride perform a free concert at 7 p.m. at the Kimberling City Mall in Kimberling City, Mo.
* July 9: Neal Brower presents a lecture on the "Andy's Rich Girlfriend" episode of TAGS, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission ($6). For info, visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* July 21: Don Knotts statue dedication in Morgantown, W.V. Details TBA.
* July 24: Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band perform at First United Methodist Church in Starkville, Miss. Details TBA.
* Aug 13: Mayberry 101 author Neal Brower presents a lecture on the "Goober and the Art of Love" episode of TAGS, starting at 2 p.m., in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C. Admission is included with an Andy Griffith Museum admission ($6). Visit the website at www.andygriffithmuseum.org or call (336) 786-1604.
* Aug. 20: Mayberry Night in Troy, N.C. , starring Maggie Peterson, the VW Boys and most of the Mayberry tribute artists in a fundraiser show for the local DARE program. Details TBA.
* Aug. 20 and 21: Hal J. Smith (aka Otis Campbell) 100th Birthday Celebration in Massena, N.Y. Hal was born in Petoskey, Mich., on Aug. 24, 1916, but called Massena home for many years. Details of the celebration are TBA. Follow updates on plans at the event's Facebook page, or contact organizer John Michaud III by phone at (315) 769-2102 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
* Aug. 26-31: As part of the celebration of Betty Lynn's 90th Birthday (Aug. 29), the historic Earle Theatre in Mount Airy, N.C., will screen June Bride, the 1948 film starring Betty in the title role. Also starring Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery. And look for Debbie Reynolds and Mayberry's Amzie Strickland (Miss Rosemary) and Tom Tully (Walt Simpson) in smaller roles.
* Sept. 19-22: Memories From Mayberry: Timeless Truths from America's Hometown is a Bible study event drawing on the biblical truths and life applications found in "The Andy Griffith Show." Hosted by the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa, GA (90 miles NE of Atlanta). Early Bird price (until Mar. 15) is $300 per person (based on double occupancy). After that, the price is $325 per person.
The all-inclusive price includes three nights of on-campus lodging, eight meals, Bible study sessions based on favorite TAGS episodes, dynamic preaching, worship, and special guest star LeRoy McNees ("Mayberry on Record" and "Quiet Sam") in concert. To register, call (706) 886-3133 or visit www.mytoccoa.com/mayberry.
* Sept. 21-25: 27th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. Stars confirmed so far include Mount Airy's own Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), the Rodney Dillard Band, and Karen Knotts (daughter of Don Knotts), who will present two one-woman shows this year: her popular "Tied Up in Knotts" and her brand new one, "A Deputy's Daughter." Dorothy Best will also present "Remember Me with Laughter: A Tribute to James Best."
Other performances include the comedy of James Gregory ("the funniest man in America"), The VW Boys, Michael Hoover's Elvis, The Embers (featuring Craig Woolard), The Tams and the Malpass Brothers. Tickets are also available for The Emmett Golf Tournament, the Golf Banquet & Entertainment, Professor Brower's Lecture/TAGSRWC Meeting and Colonel Tim's Talent Time.
More details and stars TBA. Much of the festival is free, but tickets for many of the activities/performances listed above that have a paid admission are now available online at www.mayberrydays.org.
* Oct. 29 -Nov. 3: Cruise to Mayberry 11 with special guest star Jackie Joseph (aka to Ernest T. Bass's Sweet Romeena)! Join the fun (including Halloween) in the western Caribbean aboard Carnival's Paradise cruise ship as it departs Tampa with stops in Grand Cayman (a favorite of Asa's and Mr. Meldrim's) and Cozumel (a fave of Daphne and Skippy and Mavis Neff).
A bunch of popular Mayberry tribute artists (and also an Elvis) will join Jackie in providing entertainment and hosting contests, along with all the hearty eatin' and usual cruise highlights. For more info, visit www.allaboutcruisesnc.net or call 1-800-832-7993.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard received his second star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 10, the day before his In the Heart of the Sea opened in theaters nationwide. Ron is the first person to receive an additional star since 1993 when Bob Hope was honored with his fourth. Ron's first star was for his work in television, and this one recognizes his movie career.
In the Heart of the Sea has made about $90 million worldwide so far, which, while less than original industry expectations, is still far from shrimpy.
Ron continues with post-production work on Inferno, which is currently scheduled to be in theaters on October 14 and is a solid bet for box-office success.
Ron and is also set to produce (with Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer) and direct The Girl Before for Universal Studios. The movie, based on a novel by J.P. Delaney (aka Tony Strong), is such a hot property that the movie deal was made even before the novel's planned release next fall.
Ron and the Imagine team have also announced plans to produce "Red Planet," a sci-fi miniseries about the colonization of Mars that's likely to air next season.
And Imagine is producing Stephen King's Dark Tower across several media platforms, including a feature film expected in 2017 and a TV series that might tie episodes into the movie's storyline both before and after the movie's release.
Ron also directed (and was seen in) an outstanding and star-studded opening segment for Super Bowl 50. If you missed it, you can watch it HERE.
And Ron was indirectly involved in giving Cam Newton some post-game advice. In case you've been "hermitizing" yourself under a rock and missed the funny video (with a timeless message) that went viral after Cam Newton abruptly walked out of his post-game press conference, here's a link to the instructive Andy & Opie-Cam video.
Clint Howard was in Nashville in December filming episodes of an upcoming TV series for CMT called "Still the King," which stars Billy Ray Cyrus as an Elvis impersonator, or...uh...tribute artist. Clint's character is a roadie named Crazy Dave, who Clint says is a lot of fun to play, in much the same way as his memorable Creepy Rodney was a hoot to play in a couple of episodes of NBC's popular "My Name Is Earl" a decade ago. "Still the King" is tentatively scheduled to start airing in August. (Thanks to K.D., our "eyes on the set," for the heads-up that Clint might be working in TAGSRWC HQ's back yard!)
Betty Lynn, ever the Mayberry trouper, has been continuing her meet-and-greet sessions at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, N.C., this winter. (See Floyd's bulletin board above for upcoming dates.) And Betty was the subject of an excellent profile by Tim Warsinskey for The Cleveland Plain Dealer in January. (There's also a nice story about Mount Airy in the same package.) Here's a link to the story. Be sure to scroll down and watch the charming 2-and-1/2-minute video of Betty being interviewed for the story.
Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band have put the finishing touches on a new album, which they recorded in several sessions in Nashville during the last year. The 12-song album is scheduled for release soon by Nashville's 1680 Entertainment, and will be backed by a tour by Rodney and the band.
Rodney and some of his band, along with Maggie Peterson and also David "Mayberry Deputy" Browning, toured North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky with their Mayberry Christmas show in December. Meanwhile, Rodney and his band's new website (www.officialdillards.com) is up. Check it out for updates on the new CD and the accompanying tour.
There was also a swell shout-out to Maggie Peterson in a "Sunday Morning" segment by correspondent Mo Rocca about the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival. It aired on CBS on Valentine's Day. Here's a link to the video, which runs about five minutes.
LeRoy "Mack" McNees stuck close to home in California with his Dobro and bluegrass gospel performing for most of 2015. He has just formed a new bluegrass gospel group called Gloryland that will be based in Southern California, but may venture to other areas from time to time. Follow LeRoy at www.leroymack.com.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of John Berry, son of Mayberry's Ken Berry and Jackie Joseph-Lawrence. John, 51, died on January 9 of complications of a brain tumor. John was a talented musician and was co-founder of the respected indie rock band Idaho.
Jackie and Ken have expressed their deep gratitude for many kind words and acts of sympathy. Jackie says, "The outpouring of love and support has been amazing and uplifting."
In addition to his parents, John is survived his sister, Jennifer, and stepfather David Lawrence. For anyone wishing to make memorial gift in John's memory, the family has suggested donating to Actors & Others for Animals.
Our hearts go out to Jackie and Ken and all of their family. Here's a link to an extraordinary, touching tribute that Jackie wrote about John and his passing for The Tolucan Times.
We're also sad to note the passing of Marjorie Lord, who played Kathy Williams, wife of Danny Thomas' Danny Williams in "Make Room for Daddy," including the "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" episode, which was the pilot for TAGS. She died of natural causes on November 28 at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 97.
Marjorie was born July 26, 1918, in San Francisco to George and Lillian Wollenberg. She studied ballet and, after her family moved to New York City, made her Broadway debut as a child actor. She later moved to Los Angeles for a successful movie career and became best known for her long-running role in "Make Room for Daddy." She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
Marjorie is survived by daughter Anne Archer (the actress), son Gregg Bowman, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
This TAGSRWC online group is organized and overseen by webmaster Allan “Floyd” Newsome with able assistance from Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown. You can check it out 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 page, 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 episodes you’ve missed.
Allan started the podcast in 2008. This week's episode was #355. That's a bunch of great barbershop talk about Mayberry! There’s a lot of info and discussions that you simply won’t find anywhere else, including rare interviews (vintage and new) with cast and crew members of TAGS. And you’ll also find links there to a couple of other outstanding Mayberry-related podcasts.
TAGSRWC’s official page on Facebook now has more than 205,000 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!
And even Ol' Ben Weaver now has his own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weaversdepartmentstore. Check it out for the latest Mayberry items and merchandise news.
**** Post Note ****
Between issues of Weaver’s Newsletter, keep up with the happenings in Mayberry with the daily “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” Digest. It’s a free subscriber list that consists entirely of comments, news flashes, and questions and answers from subscribers. You can sign up for that list by going to the “Mailing Lists” link at www.tagsrwc.com.
TAGSRWC also publishes The eBullet in alternate months to Weaver’s Newsletter. The eBullet is the online successor to our longtime printed newsletter, The Bullet. Like Weaver’s Newsletter, The eBullet is free. It includes some of the same news as Weaver’s Newsletter, but generally with more features and depth and a little less emphasis on merchandise news. To sign up, go to: www.tagsrwc.com/ebullet.
TAGSRWC’s other main vehicle for Mayberry information is simply our website at www.tagsrwc.com (and its sister site www.iMayberry.com). Both sites have extensive content and links for just about everything a Mayberry fan might be looking for.
The next issue of Weaver’s Newsletter is scheduled for April, and the next eBullet will be in March.