Jim Nabors played Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” but also appeared in three episodes of the ABC hit show “The Love Boat.”
Nabors, who also starred in “The Andy Griffith Show” spinoff “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” showed up in the first season’s fifth episode of “The Love Boat.” He played Robert Tanner, a passenger who loved to talk it up. But some passengers believe he might just be a jewel thief. Nabors’ segment was titled “Mr. Popularity” and originally aired on Oct. 22, 1977.
His other two appearances in episodes happened to be part of a two-hour “The Love Boat.” The show, created by Aaron Spelling, usually ran one hour in length. Nabors played Wayne, a replacement valet for the very wealthy William Farnsworth, played by Lloyd Bridges. In this episode, Nabors’ segment was titled “Farnsworth’s Fling.”
Now in the second hour of the two-hour episode, Nabors still played Wayne but Farnsworth has decided who to keep in his will. Again, this segment kept the “Farnsworth’s Fling” title.
Nabors played Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1962-64, then continued on his spinoff series from 1964-69. During that time, he also appeared on one episode of “The Lucy Show” in 1966. That episode, titled “Lucy Gets Caught Up In The Draft,” is one where Nabors made an uncredited appearance.
Yet finding work beyond that Gomer Pyle character proved difficult at times for Nabors. He had quite a singing voice and shared that on “The Andy Griffith Show” as well as his own show, too. In fact, he was a regular attraction at the Indianapolis 500 auto race where he would sing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Nabors died on Nov. 30, 2017, at his home in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Lead Actor Remembered First Meeting With Nabors
Years after it happened, “The Andy Griffith Show” star Andy Griffith remembered meeting Nabors for the very first time.
Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor, was interviewed by late country music talk-show host Ralph Emery years ago for On the Record.
“Jim was working at a place called ‘The Horn,’ a nightclub up on Santa Monica Boulevard,” “The Andy Griffith Show” star said. “A friend of ours dropped that strange-looking man off to my house one day and then left.”
Griffith said he tried making conversation with Nabors. “I didn’t know him, or anything about him,” he told Emery. “I took him for a ride in the car, and stuff. Finally he left, and I was really thankful.”
Griffith said a week later, he was forced into going to “The Horn” and see him work.
“After he finished his spot, I was talking to him out on the street,” Griffith said. “I said, ‘I don’t know what you do, but I’ll tell you one thing – whatever it is, it’s electric. It’s powerful.'” Pretty soon, Nabors found himself playing Gomer at Mayberry’s gas station.