After portraying Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. for years, actor George Lindsey shared in his memoir Goober in a Nutshell that once the series were canceled, he felt down and lost. He had been typecast, it seemed, as Goober Pyle, and Goober Pyle only.
In the end, it turned out Lindsey’s embracing of Goober led to a peaceful truce between himself and the mechanic from Mayberry.
Lindsey felt ‘Mayberry R.F.D.’ didn’t live up to the ‘Griffith Show’s standards
The actor had joined The Andy Griffith Show in the role of Goober Pyle in 1964. Once the series ended, its spin-off, Mayberry R.F.D., picked up where Aunt Bee, Goober, Sam Jones, and Howard Sprague left off. Lindsey, however, wasn’t satisfied with the second show’s script writing, as he noted in his memoir.
“I never felt that the scripts on Mayberry, R.F.D. were as strong as those for The Andy Griffith Show,” Lindsey wrote. “No doubt that had a lot to do with the fact that Andy Griffith, though still executive producer, only appeared in a handful of episodes and was not as directly involved on the set and with the scripts.”
His character Goober Pyle had plenty of lines; it was the quality of the writing that he felt showed.
“Goober had a lot more lines in Mayberry, R.F.D., but in all honesty, they usually didn’t measure up to the razor-sharp standards of the original series,” he said.
The Goober Pyle actor felt lost when both series ended
Once CBS canceled Mayberry R.F.D. in 1971, Lindsey visualized himself moving on to more serious roles or, at very least, something other than the rural character he had been portraying for nearly a decade. No such luck.
“I expected another TV series to come knocking on my door,” he wrote. “After all, I had been on the No. 1 show on television, and when Mayberry R.F.D. was put out to pasture, it was a top-20 show in the Nielsen ratings. So I assumed that I would be hired immediately. I guess I was too naive to realize that Goober wasn’t going to change TV shows as easily as he could change your oil.”
The actor stated that the news of the cancellation came to him from Griffith himself, after which “melancholy set in bad. I just floundered around for awhile.”
Eventually, Lindsey found work on another “rural”-themed show, Hee Haw in 1971, lasting two years. Throughout the rest of his career, he continued making guest appearances on series such as Fantasy Island, Love, American Style, M*A*S*H, and CHiPs. He also appeared in films including Snowball Express, Charley and the Angel, and Take This Job and Shove It.
Lindsey came to accept Goober
As he wrote in his memoir, it took Lindsey, who died in 2012 at age 83, time to get over losing a job that felt like home and then trying to find his bearings once again. Slowly, he did, and with it came an acceptance of the character he tried so hard to distance himself from.
“I always thought there would be more than one acting role for me and that I wouldn’t be Goober forever, but, as it turned out, Goober lives on,” he wrote.