An Online newsletter of
“The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC)
Welcome to the February Weaver's Newsletter! The year is just getting warmed up, but there's already a solid slate of events shaping up for 2022. (See Floyd's calendar below and check for regular updates at www.imayberry.com.)
Despite all the supply-chain struggles, ol' Ben has been working hard to keep the Weaver's shelves fully stocked with all of the Mayberry essentials.
Thanks for taking a look around our shop at www.weaversdepartmentstore.com when you get a notion. Meanwhile, there's lots of news to share from Weaver's and all around Mayberry.
**** Merchandise Update ****
You'll find an enormous variety of Mayberry-related items at your fingertips online at Weaver's. Here are some of our newest and most popular items:
If you enjoyed the Mayberry Man movie or if you would just like to add a Mayberry feel to your favorite card game, Weaver's has something for you.
This full deck of 54 playing cards (including 2 Joker cards), each featuring a unique scene/character from the Mayberry Man movie, is perfect for playing Go Fish (Andy and Opie's fave), Gin Rummy (Otis' favorite), or whatever they're playing over at the Mayberry Hotel (deuces wild). Just remember: Six can't play bridge, Goober!
The cards are very good quality and are smooth to deal. (Just be sure to keep a close eye on Gentleman Dan when he's dealing.) You may even be able to use them to see how many wishes Count Istvan Teleky might give you. He gave Opie three wishes. He's crazy about kids.
The back of each card features the characters Chris Stone (Brett Varvel), Kate (Ashley Elaine), Barney Rik Roberts) and Floyd (Allan Newsome) along with the Mayberry squad car. The cards are perfect for having cast members autograph or just regular ol' card-playing.
Warning: Make a run for it if anyone ever grabs a pitcher of water during your card game!
The much-anticipated (that is to say, we've been waiting forever!) complete TAGS on Blu-ray is finally here! The set includes not only all 249 episodes, but also the "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" pilot episode, Return to Mayberry movie, bunches of original commercials, an interview with Andy Griffith, the color version of "The Pickle Story" and more. Not to mention the knock-out quality of blu-ray sound and visuals. A real treat for any Mayberry fan!
The Mayberry Travel Guide, the latest book by Randy Turner, is both an actual travel guide for Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., and a book filled with facts and trivia about "The Andy Griffith Show." The guide contains info on the many influences Andy’s hometown had on the beloved series with full explanations of the many references he made so often to the real town of Mount Airy–to its businesses, streets and roads, nearby towns and communities, and real people from back home. The 384-page perfect-bound softcover book contains over 350 photos and 40 sidebars that provide detailed looks at items of interest.
The book was specifically written to be of interest to Mayberry fans, even if you have no intention of ever actually visiting Mount Airy (though you definitely should whenever you have the chance).
Weaver's is proud to offer the popular line of premium coffees from Mayberry's Finest™!
The 12-ounce bags of ground coffees are available in Sunday Morning Breakfast Blend, Otis Campbell's Better-Than-Home Dark Roasted Coffee and Mayberry Diner's Decaffeinated Coffee.
Mayberry's Finest™ coffees are sourced, roasted and ground by the unsurpassed Just Love Coffee Roasters. They know coffee! And we think you'll "just love" this coffee brought to you by Mayberry's Finest™!
P.S. While doing your marketing, don't forget about the delicious Mayberry's Finest™ Country Bacon ($12 each or two packs for $20).
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 you 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.
Please look through the Maggie Peterson Collection of photographs, scripts and other items. The photos are 8 in. x 10 in. and most include Maggie’s autograph. Many are limited editions. Note: More items were recently added!
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.
Weaver's is pleased to offer more than five dozen designs of Mayberry T-shirts. Some designs are also available as long-sleeved T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. Most designs are available in Adult sizes Small to 3X-large, but we also offer several designs in toddler sizes and some in the just recently added 4X size.
Find the perfect Mayberry fit for yourself and friends and family!
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.
And say, why not throw in a Barney throw pillow? Let's face it...who among us can't always use one? You know you really need one!
As always, thank you for shopping at Weaver's!.
Happy Valentine's Month from Floyd!
The Andy Griffith Museum, featuring the late Emmett Forrest's amazing collection of Andy Griffith artifacts, is back to operating at full capacity.
In accordance with the latest CDC recommendations and for their own safety and the safety of those around them, everybody is encouraged to wear masks when indoors and near others.
The following information is from our "brother figure" publication, The eBullet:
* Mar. 3-5: The 25th Annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Ala. For more info, visit either www.lindseyfilmfest.com or the festival's page on filmfreeway.com. The full schedule (including a screening of the Mayberry Man movie on Friday evening) is now on the festival site.
* Mar. 12: Karen Knotts brings her one-woman "Tied Up in Knotts" show to the Smoot Theatre in Parkersburg, W.V. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets for reserved seats are $25 and may be purchased at www.smoottheatre.com or the box office. For more info, call 304-422-7529.
* Mar. 13: Karen Knotts and her "Tied Up in Knotts" come to the Metropolitan Theater in her dad's hometown of Morgantown, W.V. Showtime is 4 p.m. Ticket prices start at $25 and are available online at www.morgantownmet.com.
* Mar. 15: Ron Howard and Clint Howard talk about their memoir and their careers in show business at the Desert Town Hall lecture series in Indian Wells, Calif. For info, call 760-610-2852.
* Apr. 8 and 9: Keith Thibodeaux (Johnny Paul Jason in Mayberry and Little Ricky on "I Love Lucy") is the first special guest announced for this year's Mayberry & I Love Lucy Day in Granville, Tenn., which is also home of a unique combo, the Mayberry-Lucy Museum. Popular Mayberry and Lucy & Desi tribute artists will also be on hand, as well as Darlings-style bluegrass music.
Most festival activities are on Saturday, but there will be Mayberry Dinner Theater performances (dedicated to Betty Lynn) on both Friday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (Reservations required.) Check back here for festival updates and visit www.granvilletn.com for the full schedule. For more info, call 931-653-4151.
* Apr. 28-30: Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) and Ruta Lee ("that college kid" and Darlene Mason) are among the many special guests for the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, Mo. And saaayyy, you can also meet the great-great-granddaughter of Calvin Coolidge! As a bonus, author Randy Turner will also be giving a talk about Mayberry connections to Missouri (Betty Lynn and The Dillards, just for starters). For more info, visit the festival's page on Facebook or their web page at: www.cherryblossomfest.com.
* May 7: Memories of Mayberry festival in Valley Head, Ala. Allan "Floyd" Newsome and Andy "Barney" Woods are among the entertainers for the full day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) of fun for the whole family. There will be a cruise-in, food vendors, live entertainment, door prizes and more. Characters, decor and themes from Mayberry will be featured. All proceeds benefit the Valley Head Volunteer Fire Department. The festival takes place in the downtown square of Valley Head. For more info, visit www. visitlookoutmountain.com/events/memories-of-mayberry-day.
* July 15 and 16: 10th Annual Mayberry Meetup, sponsored by TAGSRWC's "Two Chairs, No Waiting" podcast, gathers in Mount Airy, N.C. For more info, visit this link: 10th Annual Mayberry Meetup. Note: There's also a Mayberry Bible Study on Sunday, the 17th.
* Aug. 13: A Mayberry event with a passel of tribute artists and other entertainment is planned for Troy, Ohio. Details TBA, but for now, just mark your calendar..
* Sept. 19-25: 33rd Annual Mayberry Days® festival in Mount Airy, N.C. Tickets are already available HERE for portions of the festival, including The Emmett Golf Tournament (including Mayberry Days® Dinner & Entertainment, which may also be purchased separately), concert by The Dillards featuring Rodney Dillard, and Professor Brower's Lecture. For more info, visit www.mayberrydays.com.
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 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.
For info, contact Sharon Euliss of All About Cruises at PWESJE@aol.com or call her at (336) 538-4926.
**** News of Cast & Crew ****
Ron Howard's We Feed People documentary about Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen food charity will have its world premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., on March 19. The film was produced Imagine Documentaries in association with National Geographic Documentaries.
As recently as last month, Ron's Thirteen Lives feature film about the dramatic 2018 cave rescue in Thailand was scheduled for release in mid-April. But the movie tested so well with audiences (the highest scores ever for an MGM release, rumor has it) that it's now scheduled for release at the end of the year, a prime position for awards consideration.
On the producing side, big projects for Ron and Imagine Entertainment include tick, tick...BOOM! which had limited theatrical release with critical acclaim, including some Academy Award nominations, and boffo audience reviews in November and is now streaming. Also in the pipeline are Mars 2080 and The Beanie Bubble, among many others for big and small screens.
In other big Imagine news, the company is in talks to sell a majority share of the company to a London-based investment company. Ron and longtime business partner Brian Grazer previously sold a majority stake in the company a few years ago. (This new majority stake would presumably include much of the old majority stake.) Ron and Brian have been turning over many of the day-to-day production reins in recent years.
Meanwhile, Ron and brother Clint Howard's The Boys memoir continues to see steady sales amid glowing reviews by critics and fans alike.
At the end of December, an online estate auction for the late Betty Lynn was conducted by Mount Airy's Rogers Realty & Auction Co. (the same firm that conducted the estate auction for Frances Bavier in 1990).
Proceeds from the 118 items sold in the auction topped $50,000, which benefited several charities designated by Betty. It no doubt would have pleased ever-generous Betty to know that so many of her personal items would find happy new homes and at the same time support causes that were important to her.
Rodney Dillard and his Dillards band performed at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Ky., on January 15. Even the massive storm that was on the march across the region didn't deter the boys (and girls) from getting back on the truck to put on a foot-stompin' show.
An interview with Rodney aired on Raleigh's WRAL-TV earlier this month. Here's a LINK to the three-minute interview, which was conducted at Mayberry Days® last September.
In addition to his appearance at the Mayberry & I Love Lucy Day in Granville, Tenn., in April (see Floyd's calendar above), Keith Thibodeaux is busy with the 2022 tour schedule for Ballet Magnificat!, the Christian ballet company that he and wife Kathy co-founded and run.
Here's a LINK to a six-minute interview that Keith did with a Tulsa TV station on January 18. (He talks about the ballet, his ministry and "I Love Lucy," not TAGS, but Keith's always engaging with his thoughtful comments.
Newlyweds Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins and Helen Scobey) and Robert Boeke recently moved from Sarasota to the far southeastern part of North Carolina. It was another coast-to-coast move for Margaret, but not quite as far as the one from California to Sarasota in 2020.
Karen Knotts has been promoting her Tied Up in Knotts memoir, including as a guest on an installment of the "Huckabee" TV show that aired on January 15. She also has some dates for her "Tied Up in Knotts" stage show coming up in March. (See Floyd's event calendar above.)
It has been an extraordinarily sad time for Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling). Gus Mancuso, her beloved husband of nearly 44 years, died in Las Vegas of complications of Alzheimer's Disease on December 9. He was 88.
As Mayberry fans were occasionally fortunate to experience when he joined Maggie on stage to perform at Mayberry events, Gus was a word-class musical virtuoso. Though he usually played only the piano at the Mayberry events, Gus mastered a staggering number of instruments and was revered by his fellow jazz musicians.
There is an excellent tribute to Gus in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. For any fans of great music who don't already have the Gus Mancuso & Special Friends CD, it's a superb collection of his music. Beyond his music, Gus was just a super nice person who greeted everyone with a warm smile, as many friends and fans were lucky to know first-hand through the years.
In addition to Maggie, Gus is survived by son Ronnie. All of Mayberry mourns with them.
That's News of Cast & Crew for this issue.
**** In Memoriam ****
Remembering Howard Hesseman
Legendary actor Howard Hesseman, who's first two screen credits were small roles on TAGS, died in Los Angeles on January 29 from complications of colon cancer surgery last summer. He was 81.
As Don Sturdy, his stage name for the first few years of his acting career, Howard appeared in two episodes of TAGS during its eighth season in 1968. As a counter boy in "Goober Goes to an Auto Show," he sold a hot dog to Goober. In "Sam for Town Council," he plays Harry, who was getting ready for a fishing trip when Emmett asks for his vote in the election.
George Howard Hesseman was born in Lebanon, Ore., on February 27, 1940, as the only child of parents Edna and George Henry Hesseman. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, who was a police officer.
Howard was graduated from Silverton High School in 1958 and attended the University of Oregon for a short time before deciding to make the scene in San Francisco, where he was a member of legendary improv group The Committee and also worked as a deejay at KMPX, a station that pivoted from hip jazz to "free-form" rock.
Howard embraced the hippie lifestyle and the whole counterculture scene in San Francisco, including hanging out with pal Janis Joplin. He even got busted and spent three months of 1963 in the joint for selling the makings of a joint (a real bummer, man).
As a member of The Committee, Howard appeared in five episodes during the third season of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in 1968-69. He also landed small, often beatnik and "cool teacher" roles in other TV shows and sometimes movies, including Billy Jack (1971), The Blue Knight (1973) and Shampoo (1975). Guest roles in the 1970s ranged from "Sanford and Son" and "Laverne and Shirley" to "Baretta" and "The Rockford Files." He was a semi-regular as Dr. Robert Williams in 10 episodes of "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" and was Craig Plager in five episodes of "The Bob Newhart Show," as well as Mr. Franklin in seven episodes of "Soap."
It was Dr. Johnny Fever, the zany D.J. for four seasons on "WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978-82) that Howard created the character that would make him a TV legend. He was nominated for Emmys for the role in 1980 and 1981. He reprised the role in 10 episodes of "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" during its two seasons from 1991 to 1993.
From 1982 to 1984, Howard had a recurring role as Sam Royer in 16 episodes of "One Day at a Time." Other notable work during that period included roles in This Is Spinal Tap (1984)and an episode of "Murder She Wrote" (1985).
Next came another starring role in another long-running hit comedy series, as Charlie Moore in 92 episodes of "Head of the Class" from 1986 to 1990.
Howard topped off his career with roles in highly regarded productions, such as "The Practice," "Boston Legal," About Schmidt, "House," "ER," and as Mr. Royce in two episodes of "Fresh Off the Boat," one of his last filmed roles in 2017.
After two earlier marriages, Howard, in 1989, married actress Caroline Ducrocq, who survives him.
Howard Hesseman will forever be admired for his portrayals of the iconic Johnny Fever and Charlie Moore, but we'll also never forget that his film career built its Sturdy foundation in Mayberry.
Sterling T. White
We were late getting word that Sterling White, a wonderful friend to many around Mayberry, passed away in Florence, Ala., on July 12, 2021, at age 82. Sterling was the first Andy Taylor tribute artist, and arguably the most natural fit among the few who have dared to try to walk in Andy's boots over the years.
Sterling met J.T. Garrett at the George Lindsey Festival in Florence in 1991. Both were entrants in a Mayberry lookalike contest (see photo below). So began their Andy-Barney partnership and a 30-year friendship for the ages.
Usually accompanied by and always encouraged by Sterling's wife, Carolyn, and J.T.'s wife, Elsie (who died in 2020), the two faux Mayberry lawmen delighted large crowds throughout the Southeast. To this day, they are the only Mayberry tribute artists to have routinely worked as an Andy-Barney team.
From the early years of Mayberry Days and the first Mayberry cast reunion at Opryland to numerous events involving George Lindsey in Florence and countless small-town festivals and parades, Sterling and J.T. and their wives brought smiles everywhere they went. You simply couldn't find four nicer people than the two couples.
By trade, the soft-spoken Sterling was a carpenter and cattle farmer. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, a member of Beacon Baptist Church and, for more than 50 years, a member of the Florence Masonic Lodge (Eastern Star).
Sterling is survived by wife Carolyn, son Mark and his wife Beverly, daughter Melissa, three sisters, three grandchildren, five great grandchildren, a large corral of appreciative friends in Florence, Mayberry, and throughout the land.
The world of Mayberry fans lost a great friend and a true force of nature with the passing of Pat Bullins on January 19. She was 74. With great courage, cheerful spunk and determination, Pat had battled ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) for several years.
Known to many as the Lady in Red (for the reason made obvious by the accompanying photos), Pat also earned the moniker of Queen of Mayberry Trivia. (There may be many competing for the title of King of Mayberry Trivia, but those who know anything about Mayberry and trivia know that Pat was the undisputed Queen.) She won the Mayberry Days Trivia Contest multiple times and was runner-up several other times, including in 2021, when she could no longer speak her answers, but could still write them.
Pat's devotion to Mayberry trivia started many years ago when a health issue caused her to have severe memory problems. While simply watching TAGS episodes was a comfort during her recovery, it was learning Mayberry trivia that became an a valuable tool for Pat to rebuild and strengthen her memory. Her bursting trophy case was proof that her disciplined and determined approach to restoring her memory had worked.
Pat also had a sense of theater. She didn't just correctly answer trivia questions, she did so with gusto and with propulsion that would be the envy of NASA. She would squeal and literally jump for joy when she got an answer right. (Michael Jordan just wishes that, back in the day, he had had Pat's vertical leap!) With every shriek and leap, Pat transformed the Mayberry Days Trivia Contest from just a tense matching of wits to a thrilling spectator sport.
Pat was also a regular passenger on the annual Mayberry Cruise. She was an enthusiastic participant in the Mayberry trivia contest aboard ship and always came back to shore with an award for her efforts.
Some of us were fortunate to know Pat for her baking skills, a talent that earned her another term of endearment: Aunt P. Her cookies, particularly her peanut butter and chocolate chip varieties, were prized treats that she delivered with love and reliability.
Steeped in patriotism, Pat was devoted to those who served in the armed services, with a special place in her heart reserved for the U.S. Marine Corps, with which her late husband served and a son is currently a command sergeant major. She was also a faithful member of Freedom Baptist Church in Rural Hall, N.C.
Pat was preceded in death by husband Melvin, two brothers and a sister. She is survived by sons William (Joyce) and Ernie (Sam), daughter Susan Martin (Keith), 6 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.
Easy question: Who will hundreds of fellow Mayberry fans always greatly miss and fondly remember? Answers that the judges will accept: Queen of Mayberry Trivia, Lady in Red, Aunt P. and, most of all, dear friend Pat.
**** Mayberry on the Web ****
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.
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 672 episodes since Allan started doing the podcast just over 13 years ago! Past episodes are in an online Archives in case you want to listen to or view classic installments you've missed.
And look for links on the podcast's regular web page which includes another outstanding Mayberry-related podcast: Burke on Mayberry (hosted by TAGSRWC's Kevin Burke).
TAGSRWC's official page on Facebook is now 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 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 close order by Allan Newsome and the "Two Chairs, No Waiting" Podcast and "The Andy Griffith Show--Big," administered by Myron Clark 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 like a quiet street like Willow or Woods Way as opposed 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 ****
Between issues of our Weaver’s Newsletter, keep up with 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, 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 "brother figure" 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 on deck for April, and the next issue The eBullet is coming up to bat in March.