‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Here’s Why ‘Goober Pyle’ Actor George Lindsey ‘Dreaded Going into Work’ Some Days

by Will Shepard

Lately, news has been circulating that the set of The Andy Griffith Show was not very enjoyable. Namely, rumors began circulating that Aunt Bee was exceptionally hard to get along with. Now, it is surfacing that the actor who played Goober Pyle, George Lindsey, did not enjoy coming into work.

George Lindsey joined the show in its fourth season. While he was perfect for the role, he is claiming that Andy Griffith, the star, would punish actors for not being at their best.

Andy Griffith might have played the easy-going Sheriff Taylor on the show, but his demeanor off-camera was very different. This is all according to the actor who portrayed Goober Pyle.

Lindsey was invited onto the show to play Goober Pyle in the series. But he says that he was told he was going to be playing the naive, innocent, fun-loving Gomer Pyle.

However, Griffith asked that instead of giving the role to George Lindsey immediately, for the show to look elsewhere. He asked that the executive producer Aaron Ruben meet actor Jim Nabors first. And apparently, Ruben really liked Nabors.

“So in comes Jim Nabors. He has a script, he reads, and what he lacked in professionalism and experience he made up for with a certain naive charm that he had.”

After Nabors got his shot at the role, George Lindsey lost his role to the new actor. Instead of getting to play the more visible Gomer Pyle, Lindsey would be playing Goober. According to Andy and Don author Daniel de Visé, he was disappointed by this role reversal.

Consequently, George Lindsey never enjoyed coming into work. Facing someone who was deemed to be better than him was a tough task for him. In the book, he explains more about this.

“George had won the part of Gomer in the first place, only to lose it to Jim. A year later, George had not forgiven him. ‘Jim and I didn’t have a lot of interaction off-camera during the filming of that episode.'”

George Lindsey Says that Getting Along With Andy Griffith Was Tough

Another section in de Visé’s book talks about how when Don Knott left the show, Griffith changed.

“Andy’s mood darkened perceptibly in the final years of the Griffith Show. Without Don there to buoy his spirits, Andy laughed less.”

George Lindsey says that most of the cast then was living in fear of Griffith. “Most of us were deathly afraid of Andy. We were all scared to make a move. If Andy thought something was funny, then it was funny to us. He literally controlled every aspect of that show.”

He says that the way he and others were aware of people Andy’s disappointment was from his silence. Apparently, Griffith would shun other actors by not talking to them. The star actor wouldn’t yell or belittle anyone off the set, rather he would punish people by not offering any encouragement, feedback, or any kind of affirmation.

George Lindsey says that the opposite would happen if he liked you. Instead of shunning, Griffith would go out of his way to let actors know that they were doing an excellent job.

“Every Monday night, Andy would call you if he liked the show and your performance. So I waited for the call. If it didn’t come, I absolutely dreaded going in to work on Tuesday morning.”

However, despite constantly being on Griffith’s bad side, he stayed on the show. In fact, George Lindsey would play Goober Pyle until the final season and move onto the show’s spinoff series.

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