During The Andy Griffith Show’s third season, the classic sitcom introduced a character that would go on to become one of it’s most iconic. That character Gomer Pyle, who portrayed by an amateur comedic actor by the name of Jim Nabors. Although Jim Nabors was a relatively inexperienced performer at the time that given his iconic role on The Andy Griffith Show. Andy Griffith himself had stuck his neck out for Jim after seeing him perform at a nightclub.
The producers had originally wanted a veteran television actor named George Lindsey for the part, but Andy’s insistence saw Jim get the part, instead. George later hired on to play the part of Gomer Pyle’s cousin, though George was so mad about having lost out on the part of Gomer that he refused to talk to Jim for several years after. Join Facts Verse as we explore why George Lindsey resented Jim Nabors for years over Gomer Pyle role.
Gomer Pyle Wasn’t Supposed to Be Played by Jim Nabors
The Andy Griffith Show was a beloved comedy series that brought a great many memorable characters to the small screen. But some of those memorable characters stand out over others. One of the most memorable characters that the classic show introduced to the world was Gomer Pyle. Who went on to have his very own spin-off that lasted 150 episodes. Given how much of a big deal the character of Gomer Pyle came to following his introduction on The Andy Griffith Show. It stands to reason that there may have some strong emotions involved when it came to the character’s casting. As it turns out, the casting of Gomer Pyle was the start of a Hollywood feud that lasted for years!
As fans of The Andy Griffith Show are likely well aware. The iconic role of Gomer Pyle ended up going to a relatively inexperienced comedic actor by the name of Jim Nabors. The character of Gomer Pyle introduced during The Andy Griffith Show’s third season. And would go on to become a fairly big part of the series by it’s end. During the show’s fourth season, another character introduced by the name of Goober Pyle. As one might imply by the name, Goober was a family member of Gomer’s.
In particular, Goober was Gomer’s cousin, and he proved a perfect comic sidekick to the lovable character. While the characters of Gomer and Goober Pyle may have gotten along fairly well on the screen. And the actors who played them certainly had some notable comic chemistry. Those two actors actually couldn’t stand each other in real life as a result of a feud.
You see, although it ended up the relatively inexperienced and amateurish performer Jim Nabors who cast in the role of Gomer Pyle. The role actually initially supposed to go to George Lindsey himself. George an established television actor who had a working relationship with the producers of The Andy Griffith Show. And he had essentially promised the role of Gomer. It wasn’t until Andy brought to a nightclub by a mutual friend to watch one of Jim Nabors’ comedic performances that the titular star of the series began to think that George Lindsey wasn’t right for the part. When Andy Griffith came to the producers of The Andy Griffith Show to suggest that the relatively unknown Jim Nabors hired onto the series to play the part of Gomer Pyle, they initially balked. However, Andy was able to convince them to watch Jim perform.
Jim Nabors Embodied the Role of Gomer Pyle
Once the producers of The Andy Griffith Show convinced to watch Jim Nabors perform. They subsequently joined Andy Griffith in his conviction that Jim was the right man to play the part of Gomer Pyle. Jim had a naturally innocent demeanor that was perfect for the role. While George Lindsey could’ve certainly performed well in the role, he didn’t embody it the same way as Jim. The producers then forced to deliver the bad news to George. And the veteran television actor didn’t take it very well!
Andy Griffith had initially been hesitant to join his mutual friend to Jim Nabors’ nightclub performance. But the titular star of The Andy Griffith Show ended up being glad that he went through with it! If Andy Griffith hadn’t joined his friend. Then George Lindsey would’ve ended up playing the part of Gomer Pyle instead of Jim Nabors. While that likely would’ve made George Lindsey plenty happy, it would’ve altered television history forever! If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Gomer Pyle Quickly Became a Fan-Favorite Character
The character of Gomer Pyle introduced onto The Andy Griffith Show by way of the third-season episode “The Bank Job”. And the character quickly became a fan favorite. Though Jim Nabors wasn’t quite as professional as many of his costars on the series, he perfectly embodied the role of the character and his performance clicked with the audience. George Lindsey was watching at home as the episode premiered. And he wasn’t ignorant of the fact that Jim was delivering a star-making performance on it.
This made George incredibly angry, as he felt that he should be the one giving the star-making performance. George apparently got so angry while watching the episode that he got up and kicked his television screen in. Professing out loud that it’s him who should’ve gotten the part. The producers of The Andy Griffith Show would go on to try and make things up to George the following season by giving him the role of the new character Goober Pyle. While George accepted the role of Goober and put a smile on his face when he showed up to work, he continued to resent Jim Nabors deep down.
Knowing that they had done George Lindsey wrong by giving Jim Nabors the part that they had promised to him, the producers of The Andy Griffith Show subsequently set about making things right with the veteran television actor. During the show’s fourth season, George Lindsey came on to play the aforementioned part of Goober Pyle. Although Goober wasn’t quite as big of a hit with audiences as Gomer, they grew to embrace him. By the end of The Andy Griffith Show’s run, Gomer and Goober proved a lovable comedic duo that audiences couldn’t get enough of. However, despite the chemistry that George Lindsey and Jim Nabors were able to showcase on the small screen. It seems that the two never quite got along behind the scenes. Of course, this was as a result of George Lindsey’s never-ending grudge.
Despite the massive grudge that George Lindsey held against Jim Nabors, he was able to suck it up and make things work when the cameras were rolling. Sadly, this may or may not have been the best move for George’s career. Although The Andy Griffith Show was a success and it gave George consistent work for several years. The star found himself pigeonholed in the role of Goober for many years after the series came to an end. George had taken a role on the series that he didn’t even want. And that role went on to have a decidedly negative effect on his overall career.
The Two Pyle Actors’ Fates After The Andy Griffith Show
Once The Andy Griffith Show came to an end in 1968, George Lindsay given the chance to reprise the role of Goober Pyle on a spin-off of the series. That spin-off was titled Mayberry R.F.D., and it went on to last for three seasons with Goober as one of it’s main characters. While this gave George Lindsey consistent work for another few years after The Andy Griffith Show came to an end. It would make it so that the actor was even more pigeonholed by the role of Goober than he was upon the end of the initial series.
George Lindsey had gotten his start as an actor in theater. Though he worked on television for the money. He didn’t always enjoy his time on The Andy Griffith Show or it’s aforementioned spin-off. While filming the shows, George daydreamed of leaving it all behind and getting back into theater. When Mayberry R.F.D. was finally over, George felt that it was time to do it. Sadly, however, the theater wasn’t all that anxious to have the actor back. After all those years, George’s time in the role of Goober Pyle had eroded any sense of respect that the theatrical crowd had for him.
Though George had gotten his start in the theater, they refused to see him as anything other than Goober Pyle by the time his television days were behind him. While George had been incredibly jealous of Jim Nabors upon the latter winning the role of Gomer Pyle. Things didn’t turn out all that much better for Jim. Jim was given his own spin-off series in the form of the aptly titled Gomer Pyle. And that show ended up lasting for 150 episodes. However, similar to George with the role of Goober. Jim found himself pigeonholed in similar roles to Gomer Pyle for the rest of his working life.
Although the characters that George Lindsey and Jim Nabors played on The Andy Griffith Show seemed to get along incredibly well on the screen. The actors that played the two characters actually had a long-standing feud in real life. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that George Lindsay had been promised the role of Gomer Pyle before Jim Nabors. And that George held a grudge against Jim for many years after the latter actor got the part instead? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!