When it came time to select a name for a new pup in his life, the star of “The Andy Griffith Show” decided not to go with a commonly-used name. Instead, the television icon decided to name his new four-legged friend in honor of a distant family member.
This distant family member is a man named Lemley Gilbert, according to MeTV. Fans learned about Gilbert and his connection to Andy Griffith thanks to a collection of previously never published photos of the actor.
These photos of “The Andy Griffith Show” star and his family, including his wife, Barbara, were captured at his North Carolina home in 1957. In one of the photos, Griffith and Barbara are reviewing the script of the film “The Face in the Crowd.” The late actor’s parents also appear in the photos.
An adorable puppy also features in two of these Griffith family photos. In one, the West Highland terrier pup is sitting with Andy and Barbara on a boat dock. In another, “The Andy Griffith Show” star is holding the dog in his lap while sitting in a rocking chair.
It is in the captions where fans learned that the dog’s name was Lemley Gilbert. The dog was given that name by the television star in honor of a distant cousin named Lemley Gilbert. He was also a Baptist minister Griffith respected.
Lemley Gilbert Was Also Mentioned in Episodes of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C’
In addition to naming his dog after Lemley Gilbert, Andy Griffith helped honor his distant cousin in another way. Gilbert was mentioned in one “The Andy Griffith Show” episode. He was also mentioned in one episode of its spinoff series, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
Lemley Gilbert’s name was mentioned by the character of Barney Fife (Don Knotts). The name drop was included in the episode titled “Opie’s Fortune.” According to IMDb, this was the ninth episode of the show’s fifth season. It originally aired on Nov. 16, 1964.
This episode opens with Andy and Barney reading the newspaper next to one another. Andy is focused on the front page, while Barney has moved on to read a gossip column. As he reads, he decides to share the gossip about a local divorce he has just picked up with Andy. Unsurprisingly, Andy wants to know where Barney came about the information.
Here’s where Lemley Gilbert comes into play: “Do you know Phoebe Gilbert, Lemley Gilbert’s sister down at the beauty parlor? Well, I took her out a couple times and she told me,” Barney said.
It is assumed that writers of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” had met Griffith’s dog, Lemley Gilbert, before they penned the episode that mentions the name. They may have met the pup at one of the many gatherings “The Andy Griffith Show” star was known to host at his home.
Lemly Gilbert appears in the episode, “Gomer Un-Trains a Dog.” This episode was the 15th of the spinoff’s second season. It first aired on Oct. 15, 1965. In it, Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) decides to rename a German shepherd as Lemley Gilbert. The dog’s name before that was Killer.