Sha–zay–am, Andy! Mike Haviland is the 2011 Mayberry Trivia World Champion!
That is a mighty pleasing fact to Mike whose love of all things Mayberry RFD has helped shape his life and taken him to Mt. Airy, North Carolina, the hometown of Andy Griffith, several times.
Smiling in the comfort of the Mayberry Room of his home on Lake Dalecarlia, Mike lovingly points out the 400–plus items of memorabilia there.
Autographed photos of the show's cast members, autobiographies, T–shirts, and reproductions of set pieces wrap around the room's walls. The loving cup trophy Mike earned in September's competition during "Mayberry Days" in Mt. Airy is proudly displayed.
"I just loved the shows and their morals ... I was 11, and I remember really watching it and trying to be like Opie," Haviland, 62, said.
The world of Mayberry was a template for him, he said. "Andy could fix anything in 30 minutes ... To me, Mayberry is a state of mind, and I'm there a lot," he said, smiling.
Mike, the former Lake Dalecarlia fire chief who is retired from the U.S. Postal Service, wears a smile often and walks in the easy, relaxed gait of his mentors.
The trivia champ can be intense, however.
"When I married him, I knew he was a fan, but not such a fanatic," his wife Rhonda said. "Still, it's fun to watch him. He's in the height of his glory," she said.
Did you know that Jack Nicholson appeared in two episodes of "Mayberry RFD?" No? Well, Mike did. He can also tell folks that the actor who played the easygoing drunk on the show also voiced Fred Flintstone.
Mike said such bits of trivia are nothing compared to the questions in the trivia competition. One question taken from Episode 84 focused on a spoiled kid who kept running into people with his bike. The question focused on who Mrs. Rodenbach was talking to when he bumped into her. "That one was difficult," he said.
He owns all 249 episodes. "They ran 25 to 26 minutes. Now, they're only 19 (in reruns), but I can tell you exactly what they cut out."
For good reason.
When he's studying for the contest, Mike lays out long, fold–out tables filled with index cards on which he writes notes and what he thinks may be competition questions. He then turns the television on closed–caption and gets to work, Rhonda said. "I'm like, 'Mike, the lawn needs mowing. Mi–i–ke'," she said. He says, "Okay, we have a lawn?"
It's a family affair. Mike said daughters Bonnie Haviland Schoenbeck and Kellie Haviland Gorball are Mayberry trivia champs in training.
Mike said he uses closed–caption because he missed a question one year when he said the answer, "Mrs. Biggs." He was asked to spell it and learned the character was "Mrs. Briggs."
As for the index cards, "I must have 15,000," he said.
"You know, it's never been taken off the air. It was 51 years ago on October 3 that it first aired," Mike said.
"You feel like you escape to Mayberry for a week," Rhonda said of the Mayberry competition.
"I hate to leave that town. That's always the hardest," Mike said.
They're already booked to return next year.