The 2007 Mayberry Days are now part of history, coming in like a lamb and out like a, well, if not a lion, at least like a zebra or something noteworthy (but not a giraffe. Giraffes are selfish, you know!). As I made the round of stores on Thursday and Friday, I heard over and over how attendance was down. I met some folks who said they had gotten good hotel rooms when they drove into town because of cancellations. However, the reduced attendance the first two days made it easier to stroll around town and see the sights. Interestingly, there was more activity in Mt. Airy on Sunday than I have ever seen, including a luncheon on Sunday at Sagebrush where some of the celebrities were slated to appear. I left before the lunch, but I took note of the unusual number of people on Main Street as I drove through.
Highlights this year included the Darling cabin which showed up behind Wally’s Service on Main Street. I sent Briscoe tribute artist Bob Mundy down to check it out, and a tour bus unloaded while he was there and kept him busy for an hour taking photos of him at the cabin. I finally got to see “Waitress” at the Mt. Airy Cinema… and I cannot imagine a more fitting place to see one of Andy’s finest performances. Sure, he cussed, and I wasn’t overly fond of that, but his acting was top-notch, and the movie had a rather sweet moral to its rather quirky story.
I had one of the best pork chop sandwiches I have ever eaten at Mayberry Days. The first one I ever tried back in 2001 just melted in my mouth as it exploded with flavor, and I had the same experience again this year. I had a great BLT at Barney’s and a wonderful house salad at Sagebrush. And I would be remiss not to mention the chocolate mint ice cream I had at Mayberry on Main! Yummy!
My own book signings went well. I sold out of books and met some of the nicest folks around and got to hang out with Debbie, Darrell and Samantha at Mayberry on Main. Hoards of people poured through their doors over the weekend, and Mayberry’s Finest was on hand there to give out samples of their new brand on Friday. Bert’s Emporium was located in the back again this year will all sorts of autographed memorabilia. Mayberry on Main was definitely the place to hang out this year.
Saturday’s parade continues to be a huge event highlight, and the crowds finally showed up to line the streets. I have to say it was Goober again who stole the show as he worked the crowd and interacted with people instead of simply walking the route or riding in a car. The cast members looked great riding in the cars, but it would have been nice to see all the tribute artists mingling and entertaining (unless they are older or have trouble walking).
The weekend belonged to Betty Lynn, as she was honored again and again from the Mayor’s Proclamation to Col. Tim’s… and about time! As one fan hollered out at Col. Tim’s when Betty was expressing her gratitude, “You deserve it!”
This was my first year to attend Col. Tim’s. I had heard about it, but had never bought a ticket. Last year my friend Chevy went. As a professional actress and singer, I was interested in her review, so I asked her how she liked it. “Eh,” she responded with a shrug. She said it was tedious in too many sections, that several of the performers were seriously lacking in talent, and that she knew several gay men who could do a better Floyd. “Gay men?” I inquired. Yes, she informed me saying Floyd is somewhat of a cult figure among gay men who often imitate him… and do it quite well, apparently!
My own take on my first Col. Tim’s is similar to my take on other Mayberry shows I have seen. It would appeal to any die-hard fan, and this was just such a gathering. However, everyone I asked commented on how tedious large sections of the show were, and not just the amateur talent. The show was an odd mix of amateur talent – mixed with some of the Mayberry tribute artists – interspersed with some of the real cast members and topped off improbably with of all things – Elvis. Some of it was just silly. Having the tribute artists carry clouds and rainbows while Jackie Joseph sang made it look like the tributers just wanted an excuse to get back up on stage. The worst moment was when someone in a gorilla suit walked on to be in the skit. And this related to Mayberry because…???
Fortunately, Jackie also scored one of the night’s better moments when she performed a duet with Maggie Peterson. Our new Gomer tribute artist was excellent, especially when he and Goober interacted on stage, and the son of Howard Morris did a touching job of following in his father’s footsteps playing Ernest T. Bass. Mr. Schwamp’s walk on with his bad toupee was something new which I enjoyed, but I think you would have to be a real Mayberry fanatic (or on a specific email list where Schwamp is an occasional subject of musings) to get Mr. Schwamp. The manicurist scene was lackluster as was the long, drawn out joke about Floyd’s glasses. It could have been told better and with more panache in half the time.
Perhaps the worst thing about Col. Tim’s was the sound and lighting crew. You don’t have talent like James Best, LeRoy McNees, Maggie Peterson, and Elizabeth McRae on your stage and charge people $25 a ticket to subject them to hot microphones, dead microphones, missed cues, early cues, and spotlights that don’t know whether to turn on or off. Was there no sound check? Someone said they thought the sound man just didn’t show up. Whatever the problem, it should never have been allowed to happen. I think I can easily wait another seven years before going to Col. Tim’s again. If you want a shorter review, I would have to go with Chevy’s take from 2006: “eh” and a shrug.
All in all it wasn’t a bad show, but it would be more worth the price of the tickets with more time given to cast members and less time spent on amateur acts, wannabees and silly skits. I like the idea of giving amateur’s a chance to perform, but isn’t that sort of what the new Mayberry Idol is for??? Maybe Mayberry Days is ready for three shows: something classy with the original cast for $25, Mayberry Idol for free, and something around $5 where the tribute artists, the winners of Mayberry Idol, and Elvis can perform a few numbers.
A few hours after the show I heard one of the performers say he would have liked to see Jackie Jospeh’s face when the gorilla walked on. Note to performers: A show is not a place for inside jokes, nepotism, or trying to make each other laugh. It is a place to entertain the people who paid $25 each to sit in your audience. THEY are the ones you want to make laugh.
After attending Mayberry Days for six years, I decided last year I would just go as a fan in 2007 to see my friends, do my own thing, and not waste my time with some of the “movers and shakers” who have decided that they have some kind of entitled ownership of Mayberry Days and/or the Mayberry name. One might be an organizer or personality at Mayberry Days, but any successful event event belongs to the fans. With that in mind, I kept to my word, went as a fan, and had a great time this year.
If you like great food, friendly fans, and eclectic (and at times tedious) entertainment, and above all, if you are a huge fan of “The Andy Griffith Show,” then Mayberry Days will be right down your alley. Just don’t go holler “fish!”
Letter to the Editor
Mayberry Days Book Signings
Mayberry Days 2006 – The Other Side of Mayberry
Back to Christian Activities Mayberry Section
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