Randall Franks's Southern Style

A little Goober each day is a must

As we watch television classics, there are many character actors that have made their marks and found niches that allowed them to keep in front of the American public for years and years. 

One of those actors was introduced to the American television family in the 1960s.

Initially, like so many actors - George Lindsey (1928 - 2012) rode onto the screen playing a bad sort opposite the heroes of the little screen westerns on shows like “Gunsmoke” with James Arness, Ken Curtis and the rest of the gang. He returned to that series in six seasons playing various roles. I remember watching him as a colorful mountain trapper with a mean streak a mile long on that show.

He also appeared on “The Rifleman” with Chuck Connors.

He came to the big screen in the film “Ensign Pulver” as “Lindstrom” in the film starring Burl Ives, Walter Matthau and Robert Walker, Jr. My late friend Larry Hagman was also part of that cast.

When reviewing the Alabamian’s career, it seems it took off about 1964. Of course, that is the year that he took on the role that would make him a household name - as “Goober Pyle” on “The Andy Griffith Show.” That role endeared him to tens of millions of Americans and fans around the world.

He portrayed it there through the end of “Mayberry R.F.D.” in 1971, and also made an appearance on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” After the networks cut down and show with a tree in it in the early 1970s, George took “Goober” to the rows of Kornfield County as part of the cast “Hee Haw” where he remained for more than twenty years. He even did a show in the late 1970s called “Goober and the Trucker’s Paradise.”

Despite the fact that America knew him as “Goober,” George continued special appearances on numerous shows appearing in a variety of roles from “Love, American Style,” “Fantasy Island,” “ChiPS,” Claude Akins’ “Movin’ On’” and Alan Alda’s “M*A*S*H.”

His role as “Captain Roy Dupree” on “M*A*S*H” still stands out in my memory. His depiction was larger than life and he stood out among that mega cast of characters. He also managed to add his voice to many animated characters beginning with his work in “Aristocats” in 1970 to “Starszinger” series in 2011.

I only had the opportunity to see George in passing one time in person in my TV and country music career, but his talents entertained me from my youth. I know that he gave tirelessly to help others with the notoriety his career has garnered.

He gave us so much comfort and healing of our hearts by lifting our spirits, our hopes and even our desires to do more for our fellow man. If I was able to speak to him today, I know he would want me to tell you “Goober says ‘hey’” and I am sure glad that he did. 

Randall Franks is an award-winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as "Officer Randy Goode" on TV's "In the Heat of the Night" now on WGN America. His latest 2019 # 1 CD release, "Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia," is by the Share America Foundation. He is a member of the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is "A Badge or an Old Guitar: A Music City Murder Mystery." He is a syndicated columnist for http://randallfranks.com/ and can be reached at rfrankscatoosa@gmail.com.

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