Bobbie's Beat: Mayberry Memories

Well now, last week’s subject about going to a Saturday matinee when you were a kid struck a big chord with readers, and the incoming mail response is so much fun. People are starved for happy diversions -– anything except the pandemic, politics, the economy, racial equality and so many other issues plaguing our planet.

We are all in the same boat of frustration — everyone is hungry for a human touch or, better yet, a hearty hug. And we have no choice but to ride out the pandemic and wait for better days.

In the meantime, I get to hear about old movie theaters, some of which have been restored. I have been informed the one I went to as a kid in Omaha is now a church. My Los Angeles friend Roz writes about theaters called The Fandango and the Strand. My friendly neighbor told me about growing up in Portland and walking to The Hollywood Theater with a little boy named Gary. That theater is still there and has been restored more than once. 

Nobody (so far) was driven to the movies by a parent. It just wasn’t done. Walking with friends (or sibs) was part of the movie-going adventure. Billy, a fellow writer on the East Coast, says he and a buddy rode their bikes to the movies.  

Readers are not only writing in about old movie theaters, but old TV shows, as well. One of the funniest emails is from a local reader who asked to be anonymous. I love his sense of humor and observation. He launched into a whole diatribe about all the Lassie shows he watched on TV. “I love dogs,” he writes, “so I watched the show because of Lassie.  But Timmy was such a stupid kid! Every week Timmy had to be rescued from quicksand, or a fire or a wild animal. Just when you thought it was hopeless, good old Lassie raced to the rescue. I always wondered why Timmy’s parents were such dim bulbs they kept sending their kid out to get nearly killed.”

Just when I thought readers were done with this subject, the following day brightener arrived. I loved “The Andy Griffith Show” on TV, the familiar opening music theme and the shot of Sheriff Andy and little Opie coming down that country road together. I always laughed about Deputy Barney Fife being allowed only one bullet for his gun. 



(source unknown)

“It just dawned on me why Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet. Nobody was married! Here are the single people that come to mind: Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney Fife, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Ernest T. Bass, The Darlin’ Family, Helen, Velma Lou, Clara … in fact, the only one married was Otis, and he stayed drunk!”


This may be hard to believe, but a Midwest reader wrote, “You got me thinking about the town where I grew up. It was so small we did not have a town drunk — so we took turns.” (I’m pretty sure that is not original, but who cares?)

That’s it for this week, folks. Lockdown has made me more of a movie buff than ever and grateful for plenty of choices right here at home. I miss watching movies with other people, but at least my cat, Purrfect, isn’t too picky. She is used to Animal Planet, unless an obnoxious barking dog shows up on the screen — at which time she will give me a disgusted look and leave the room. Cats can be so opinionated.

Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]


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