As huge fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” and its spin-offs, we here at Abnormal Use are saddened to learn of the recent death of veteran character actor George Lindsey, who played Goober Pyle, who died on May 6 at age 83. Lindsey played the role in “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., “Mayberry R.F.D.,” and various reunion programs. He will be missed.
In tribute to Lindsey and his beloved character of Goober, we have prepared this obituary for Goober Pyle.
Goober Pyle was a lifelong resident of Mayberry, North Carolina. He was 83 years old. Goober was a mechanic at Wally’s Filling Station and later its owner. Sheriff Andy Taylor and Emmett Clark, owner of Emmett’s Fix-It Shop, co-signed a bank loan that allowed Goober to buy the station. He was the cousin of Gomer Pyle, who also worked at Wally’s, until he joined the Marine Corps.
Goober was just five years old when he was a witness in “The Case of the Punch in the Nose,” in which grocer Charles Foley accused barber Floyd Lawson of punching him in the nose. He later trained as a mechanic in Raleigh, North Carolina, and served briefly in the North Carolina National Guard, where he learned the phrase “Yo!” He briefly dated Flora, who was a waitress at the diner. (“Eat Your Heart Out”). Flora filled in for Goober at the station when he went on a fishing trip. (“Goober’s Replacement”). Goober was not always lucky in love. In desperation, he once tried a computer dating service. (“A Girl for Goober”). His first love was Lydia Crosswaith, who was originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. (“Goober and the Art of Love”). Lydia and Goober went on a date with Andy/Helen, Barney/Thelma Lou. Goober suggested they play “Go Fish!”, but Lydia said, “I don’t gamble.” They then suggested a movie, but Lydia responded, “I saw it.” Finally, Andy suggested they go bowling. Lydia declined. “I’ve done it. I can’t. I have a bad back. If I threw a ball, I’d be in traction for a month.”
Goober’s skills as a mechanic were legendary. The residents of Mayberry still talk about the time he took Gilly Walker’s car apart and put it back together again inside the courthouse. Sheriff Taylor had asked Goober to answer the phone in the courthouse while he attended the Sheriff’s Safety Conference in Mt. Pilot. (“Goober Takes a Car Apart”). Goober had a good heart, as evidenced by his not charging “Man in a Hurry” Malcolm Tucker to fix his car on a Sunday afternoon. Despite this automotive talent, he was sometimes not as sharp in other matters. He even grew a beard, thinking it made him look smart. (“Goober Makes History”). At one time, Goober thought his new dog could talk, until he realized that Opie Taylor and a friend were pulling a practical joke on him. (“A Man’s Best Friend”). Gomer once defended Goober’s honor, saying “My cousin Goober ain’t stupid. He’s ugly, but he ain’t stupid.”
Goober loved to dance, along with his cousin, Gomer, demonstrating a high-stepping, swing dancing style in his double-vested, brown pinstripe suit with white socks. He enjoyed dancing with Daphne and Skippy, the “Fun Girls” from Mt. Pilot. He particularly enjoyed reading comic books, and even cited that as a reason that he did not actually see Floyd punch Mr. Foley in the nose.
Goober occasionally served as an emergency deputy. On one occasion, he took over the courthouse while Sheriff Taylor was sick. Goober was also known for his impressions of various celebrities. He impersonated Cary Grant (“Judy Judy Judy”) and Edward G. Robinson (“Okay, you guys. Come on, you guys. All right, you guys. Beat it, you guys.”) He could also mimic Chester’s limp from “Gunsmoke.” Goober was a bully as a youngster, which influenced Malcolm Merriweather to ask Goober for boxing lessons as he prepared to fight Ernest T. Bass. (“Malcolm at the Crossroads”) Goober was also in demand as a driving instructor. He taught Aunt Bee how to drive. (“Aunt Bee Learns to Drive”).
The Town of Mayberry will never be the same without one of its great characters and outstanding citizens.
Goober says, “Hey.”