Friday, May 11, 2012

Der Goober-mensch: Deceased Artiste George Lindsey

Character actors who get identified with a single role are blessed and cursed. George Lindsey was one such performer, a gent who studied at the American Theater Wing in NYC, played villains on TV Westerns, and supplied comic voices for cartoons, but was always known (and will always be known) as Goober Pyle, the country hick in the beanie hat.
Lindsey initially played the part, of course, on The Andy Griffith Show from 1964-68 (taking the place of Jim Nabors, who left for his own spin-off series), continued playing the part on the Andy-less Mayberry RFD (1968-71), and then wore the beanie and was referred to by the character name on Hee-Haw for another 20 years. Not bad for a character that was intended as a fill-in hick character.
I can offer little new in the way of Andy Griffith Show and Hee-Haw information, since those shows both had long lives in syndication. I can, however, dote on Lindsay’s forgotten sideline, his work as a Goob-crooner. From the Capitol LP Goober Sings, here’s a ditty called “I Ain’t Good Lookin’ ”:

Another poster has put up Lindsey warbling “Mountain Dew” on Hee-Haw. Perhaps the purest sign of Goober idolatry is this music-video by Moore and Moore. There are supposedly “17 legendary artists,” but I couldn’t name more than a few of ’em.

Would that every man could find the Goober within….

Lindsey donated his scripts and show-biz ephemera to his alma mater, the University of North Alabama. One can only hope that little beanie he wore will dwell in the halls of academia for some time to come.

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