‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Goober Actor George Lindsey Said He Was Snubbed By Griffith During This Cast Event
There was a lot of true camaraderie between the actors on The Andy Griffith Show, but from time to time there were moments, as happens in life, of friction and misunderstanding.
So it was, when Goober Pyle actor George Lindsey, in speaking of the cast’s Return to Mayberry TV special in 1986, stated that he felt slighted by the show’s star. His sense of rejection was so sharp, he revealed he felt its sting throughout filming of the television movie.
The ‘Andy Griffith Show’ cast member who wouldn’t take part in the reunion
When Andy Griffith began assembling the Griffith Show cast for the Return to Mayberry reunion television special in 1986, he was able to get every actor to appear – except for Frances Bavier.
As Andy and Don author Daniel de Visé noted, “In February 1986, the Griffith principals traveled to Southern California wine country to begin shooting Return to Mayberry.
“The exception was Frances Bavier, Aunt Bee. The official explanation was illness, but Frances simply wasn’t interested in returning to Mayberry. She refused to record even a few lines to be played, like a voice-over from beyond, in a scene that had Andy visit her grave,” he continued.
The author claimed that Bavier took particular offense with one line in the script: “She particularly disliked a line that instructed Andy to ‘always wear clean underwear.’ She said, ‘I will not say underwear. I have never said underwear, and I will not say underwear now.”
An executive producer of the reunion show, Dean Hargrove, was quoted as saying that the actors and crew “weren’t all that unhappy that she declined.”
How Lindsey was cast on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Lindsey had been promised the role of gas station attendant Gomer Pyle. Unfortunately, before he could be hired, Andy Griffith discovered Jim Nabors’ incredible talent one 1963 night at a nightclub where the future Griffith Show cast member was performing.
De Visé wrote that Griffith found Nabors’ performance of operatic arias and a hillbilly-accented character “electrifying.” Griffith was quick to let him know he wanted him on his show.
“George had won the part of Gomer in the first place, only to lose it to Jim,” de Visé reported.
But Lindsey was brought on in 1964 on the episode titled “The Fun Girls” and was explained on the show as Gomer Pyle’s slow-witted cousin. He stayed until the end of the series in 1968 and continued on its spin-off, Mayberry R.F.D.
Lindsey said he got the cold shoulder from Griffith and his wife
The Return to Mayberry cast and crew arrived to the movie’s set, each one ready to pick up where they’d left off almost 20 years earlier.
Lindsey, according to de Visé, did not receive a warm welcome at his arrival.
“When I got to the location for the first day of shooting of the movie,” the author quoted the actor as saying, “I went up to the motel room where Andy and his wife, Cindi, were staying.”
While Lindsey chatted for a bit with the show’s star and his bride, they made it clear — much as Andy Taylor and Barney Fife would have when Goober infringed on their romantic dates with their girlfriends — that they were on their way to dinner and he wasn’t welcome.
“We visited for a little while and then Andy said, ‘Well, Cindi and I are going to get a cheeseburger,’ and they just left me there,” Lindsey reportedly said.
He added, “That was about the tone for me on the set for the rest of the shoot.”