Let’s drift away on some sweet Andy Griffith Show nostalgia, back when the cast from Mayberry gathered in Nashville for a reunion and an Opryland party.
This was 30 years ago. The main folks missing that September day were Andy Griffith and Jim Nabors.
But George Lindsey, aka, Goober Pyle, was the de facto master of ceremonies for the Opryland event. And he sat next to Don Knotts (Barney Fife) on the set of Nashville Now to answer questions from Ralph Emery. Plus, those in attendance lined up at the microphone to query the cast. One even asked a question as Ernest T Bass. The Andy Griffith Show has been off the air for more than a half century, but folks still love that Mayberry goodness.
On this day, Lindsey also wanted to brag on his friend Don Knotts. As Emery said, Knotts won five Emmys playing Barney Fife. That’s some tall cotton when it comes to acting.
“At 9:30 out in California, I wake up every morning and turn on the show,” Lindsey said of watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show. “And I watch Don and Andy work. And they’re probably the most brilliant twosome. Don is without question the greatest second banana who ever lived.”
It’s not often that being compared to a fruit is a high compliment, but with Lindsey, it was big-time praise.
Let’s also give it up for Lindsey, who joined The Andy Griffith Show cast in 1964. He had to replace Gomer Pyle, a very engaging character, and he did so in a memorable way. Jim Nabors got his spinoff comedy and Goober settled in Mayberry.
One fan asked Lindsey to do his Cary Grant impression. For some reason, Goober thought he sounded oh so suave back in the day saying “Judy, Judy, Judy.” Lindsey, as Goober, gave The Andy Griffith Show an even bigger heart. You couldn’t help but smile watching his antics at the gas station or with Sheriff Andy.
Remember, Goober always says hey, so hey to Goober.
Lindsey graduated high school in 1946, then went on to what later became North Alabama. He played quarterback on the football team and studied to be a teacher. After graduation, he joined the Air Force. And once he was out of the service, he taught for a year. Then he officially started studying acting.
“I won every talent show they ever had in school,” Lindsey told Smashing Interviews magazine in 2010. “Then I went to New York and studied acting. I figured if you were going to do it, that’s the place where you needed to go.”
His earned his first TV spot in 1960 when he was on To Tell the Truth. Then came The Andy Griffith Show in 1964 and Mayberry RFD in 1968. He also reprised his Goober role on Hee Haw.
Although he’ll always be Goober in our Mayberry-loving hearts, Lindsey also guest starred in other classics, including — Gunsmoke, The Rifleman and Daniel Boone. And in 1978, he played against type when he portrayed a snooty surgeon from Arkansas on M*A*S*H.
In 2012, The Andy Griffith Show lost two giants. Lindsey died in May at age 83. Then Andy Griffith passed away two months later.