More information about Allan (Q&A):
How long have you been a fan of “The Andy Grffith Show?”
I’ve been a fan since I was young, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I *really* became a “fan.” I joined The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC), got all the back issues of the club newsletter (The Bullet) and –along with my college roommate, Rob Jones — started the “Mother Figure” chapter of TAGSRWC. That would have been about 1986.
What draws you to the show and keeps you hooked?
Well, first off it is a very funny show, but then there is what makes it funny and that’s the characters. I honestly believe that I know folks in real life that could walk the streets of Mayberry. You actually can believe that the people of Mayberry are real and it’s the things they do, their character, that’s funny time after time.
When & where did you attend your first event?
The first event I attended was in 1991 in Nashville, TN. It was the Opryland Mayberry Cast Reunion and several of the cast members were there. I had a great time being in the crowd and taking in the whole thing.
How did you get to know Jim Clark, the Presiding Goober of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club?
I first came to know Jim from the friendly and funny letters he would write. When I’d send in my dues to The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, Jim would take the time to write a note back and that meant a lot to me as a Mayberry fan. I actually met Jim, and his understanding wife Mary, for the first time at the Opryland Mayberry Cast Reunion in 1991. I’ve since grown to know Jim fairly well because of my involvement with TAGSRWC and the Internet website that I maintain for the club. As Floyd might say, “He’s a prince of a fellow. A real prince!”
Tell me what led to starting the two chapters of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club?
As I mentioned above, Rob Jones and I started “Mother Figure” Chapter back in college and that is our “local” chapter made up of fans of the show in our local area. “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” Chapter grew from a single message I posted on the old “Prodigy” computer network to a “bulletin board” called “Andy Griffith Show”. After that first message I was joined, over time, by over 57 members. On the first anniversary of that first message, we decided to make our group of TAGS fans a “real” chapter of TAGSRWC so we had people send in their suggestions for a chapter name and “Who’s Been Messin’ Up the Bulletin Board?” (WBMUTBB) was born. That first message was back in the fall of 1990 and since then “WBMUTBB?” has grown from that small group on Prodigy to include the entire internet and over 1,400 members worldwide!
Tell me what led to “Floyd.”
In the early summer of 1994 David Browning (our favorite Mayberry Deputy impersonator) was doing an even in Gordo, AL and my wife, Jan, and I attended. Following the event a large group went out to eat with David and we began doing our favorite quotes from TAGS for one another. I did several quotes from Floyd and attempted to talk like Floyd in the process and David really enjoyed it. The next event that summer was up in Ohio. Jan and I were there as was David “The Mayberry Deputy” Browning and he kept having me speak to folks as Floyd. He took me aside toward the end of that day and encouraged me to try dressing up like Floyd and attending Mayberry Days in Mt. Airy, NC that fall. Jan and I talked all the way home about it and with her blessing I decided to give it a try. I thought appearing as Floyd would be a one time thing, but afterwards I began to get calls asking me to perform and now, I’m still “Floyd.”
Do you find your own faith and/or walk strengthened by watching the show?
I was able to lead the Mayberry Bible Study at my church for three quarters and I would say that I now have a hard time watching episodes without thinking of the moral lessons which can be learned from them. It just adds to my enjoyment of the episodes to realize the morals that are there for people to learn from.
What spiritual merit/values do you find in the show?
Look at the way the people of Mayberry treated Otis Campbell. He was the town drunk (“We don’t say it out like that.”), but people loved him and did their best to help him. They didn’t shun him and treat him as a bum. They didn’t like the fact that he drank, but they knew he was a human being who happened to have a problem. It was a problem out there for all to see. We all have problems, some of them secret/hidden, but we tend to act like folks deserve to be “put down” because of their problems that we can see (in Otis’ case it was drinking). The folks there in Mayberry treated Otis like any other person. With kindness and love. Wouldn’t it be nice it we did that in the “real” world?
What is the most important thing you take away from the show?
It all comes down to the golden rule. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. That’s what the people of Mayberry do. They love their neighbors and because of that the golden rule is always in force. Andy tried to teach this to Opie AND to Barney and I think to all of us that view the show each day.
What is the most important thing you take away from the events?
On the nightly news we’re always told about how this bad thing is happening here and these bad folks live here. I dare you to attend a Mayberry event and not walk away after it’s over feeling like there just might be some hope for this world after all. The people at these events, the fans, are the salt of the earth. Kind folks that I believe have been learning the lessons that Andy was teaching Opie and Barn.