George ''Goober'' Lindsey was the first choice to play Spock and our mind is still blown

Can you imagine the Mayberry Mind Meld?

Mayberry and the Starship Enterprise have their connections. Though The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek were light-years apart in concept, the iconic Sixties television series sometimes shared a production location, the 40 Acres studio lot in Culver City, California. This is why you can spot Walker's Drugstore and Floyd's Barber Shop in the Star Trek episodes "Miri" and "City on the Edge of Forever."

But there is a bigger "What if?" that could have bridged the two shows to an even greater degree. And we still can't meld our minds with this fact.

In a broadcast celebration of Star Trek's 40th Anniversary back in 2006, Leonard Nimoy mentioned in an interview that George Lindsey had been Gene Roddenberry's first choice to portray Spock. Yes, the George Lindsey that played Goober Pyle.

Spock did go through a significant evolution in the development process, as the Vulcan had everything from red skin and a British accent to a tail in his early stages. In casting, a handful of actors were reportedly considered for the part, including Martin Landau, Rex Homan and Michael Dunn. (The latter two would later play small parts on Star Trek.)

Those performers would have certainly been a different flavor of Spock. But George Lindsey? Goober Pyle? Gomer's cousin? The dim-witted, kind-hearted filling station employee? Well, that is another universe.

While some questioned the validity of Nimoy's claim, another 1960s star confirmed this curious piece of TV history a couple of years later.

Ernest Borgnine of McHale's Navy published a memoir titled Ernie in 2008. Late in the book, Borgnine took time to gush about his friendship with Lindsey.

Oddly enough, they met in a gas station. Borgnine was going through a rough patch in his marriage and took his car out for a spin to clear his head. He stopped for a lube job and oil change and bumped into Lindsey while getting a cup of coffee.

"My name is George Lindsey," Lindsey introduced himself. "I play Goober on The Andy Griffith Show."

The two actors started chatting, went for a spin in Lindsey's car, played some golf, and opened up about their relationships. They became quick friends.

So, about the Spock thing. Borgnine went on to write:

"To this day I think that George Lindsey is one of the great guys in the world. I can't say too much about that old boy and how he used to keep me in stitches talking about his home in Alabama, how he gave up being a science teacher to act, and how — my hand to God — he turned down the part of Mr. Spock on TV's Star Trek."

There you have it, from one BFF to another.

Because of his brilliance as country bumpkins on The Andy Griffith Show and Hee Haw, might not seem like a Federation science officer. But Lindsey did actually teach science. And if the Enterprise ever needed a carburetor change? Well, Goober was the man for the job. He could have been a Scotty, for sure.

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Pattie 10 months ago
I love watching old t.v. shows and seeing people who later "became" somebody.
Russ 10 months ago
"Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy"
djw1120 Russ 9 months ago
"Who, Who, Who"?
Russ djw1120 7 months ago
Goober would impersonate Cary Grant by saying, "Judy, Judy, Judy". I was implying what he would say if he were Spock.
Barnbaby 15 months ago
Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April Fool's day.
Dale 15 months ago
Did the MeTV writer mean to type Rex Holman and not "Homan" as another consideration for Spock?
BKJackson 15 months ago
No disrespect to George Lindsey (or anybody else who was ever considered to play the role of Spock) but the world would have been done a great disservice because Leonard Nimoy was destined to be Spock, creating my all time favorite character in a way only Nimoy could have delivered. For that I am truly thankful.
Sammi 15 months ago
George Lindsey had a few bad guy roles in some of the early B&W TV westerns. You really have to look close to recognize him. He probably could have pulled off a serious role like Spock.
JV 15 months ago
I think I kind of would've like to see Lindsey in a serious role like Spock. He was such a good actor, he could pull it off. Never was that big of a fan of Nimoy. He was all right, and that's about it. Definitely not my favorite actor or character on TOS.
RichardJohnFuller 15 months ago
If you can find one, check out any serious performance by Lindsey and you can see how he might have worked.
He's in the Twilight Zone episode, I Am The Night, Color Me Black, as well as the absolutely haunting Hitchcock episode The Jar.
With makeup and direction, I could see him doing Spock.
All the critics are envisioning Goober Pyle in the role, not George Lindsey.
I've seen both of those and you're right about Lindsey having some range. However, both those shows took place in Southern towns similar to Mayberry, so I question whether he could have played Spock!
Jon RichardJohnFuller 2 months ago
I first remember seeing Lindsey in that TZ ep as the nasty deputy sheriff, long before I knew of him as Goober Pyle. That same ep is also the first place I remember seeing Paul Fix, who appeared here as the local newspaper editor, before I knew of him as Micah Torrance on THE RIFLEMAN.
DavidOsterman 15 months ago
the double edged nature of perfect casting: Leonard Nimoy became Spock and so we can't imagine anyone else in that role; George Lindsay became Goober Pyle and we can't imagine the actor performing in any other type of role (watch the westerns on ME-TV from the fifties and sixties: a lot of actors like Nimoy, Lindsey and Russell "the Professor" Johnson made their living playing bad guys/shady characters before they landed the roles that made them famous)
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thedude1500 DavidOsterman 15 months ago
They were showing an episode of Night Gallery last week with Nimoy as a somewhat unhinged widower. I'm sure he was trying to stretch his acting chops after Star Trek was canceled. He was still a pretty calm, collected character when he joined the MI cast after ST.
djw1120 Wiseguy 9 months ago
Yes, John Hoyt played a "Star Trek" doctor (Philip Boyce on the "flashback" episode "The Menagerie" when Spock brought his former captain Christopher Pike to planet Talos IV), but Paul Fix was NEVER a "Star Trek" doctor.
Jon stephaniestavropoulos 2 months ago
Frances Bavier also played a somewhat antagonistic character, if not a villain, in the movie "Benji". She played a woman who was against Benji because she was a cat owner.
BarryWatkins djw1120 2 months ago
Paul Fix played the ship's doctor in the second Star Trek pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
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