George Lindsey was almost typecast as a Western actor

Before Goober said "hey", Lindsey said "howdy", and had a hard time getting along with his horse co-stars.

Say "howdy" to Goober!

Goober Pyle, the happy-go-lucky cousin of Jim Nabors' Gomer Pyle, was more comfortable in a car than on a horse. He may have known how to imitate Chester Goode's walk from Gunsmoke, but you would find him pumping gas at Wally's Filling Station, not out in the Wild West.

It's hard to picture Goober as a tough-as-nails cowboy or a no-good low-down bandit terrorizing a saloon. However, that was almost where George Lindsey, who played Goober, made a name for himself.

Before Lindsey joined the cast of The Andy Griffith Show with the season four episode "Fun Girls," he did what a lot of actors in the Sixties did: he found work on Westerns. It was the glory days of the small-screen cowboy and each episode usually called for new faces coming across the dusty trail of the designed hero. Some actors built whole careers around guest starring in these shows. Heck, before DeForest Kelley was Dr. McCoy on Star Trek, he was known as a familiar Western face.

As a new face on the scene, Lindsey wasn't in a position to turn down the opportunities on Westerns. "You know, when you're waiting for a break you take all kinds of roles," Lindsey told The Orlando Sentinel about how he narrowly avoided being typecast in the Wild West. "But even then they couldn't have me in much close-up work — I've always looked funny."

Lindsey took roles on The Rifleman, Daniel Boone and Death Valley Days, among other Westerns at the time. Even his role in The Twilight Zone episode "I Am the Night — Color Me Black" had him playing a small-town deputy. 

Lindsey wasn't cut out for Westerns though, and especially had difficulty with his equine co-stars. "I'll never forget my introduction to acting horses," Lindsey said. "I even remember his name was Old Stump... I didn't like him and he didn't like me."

"They stationed us up on a hill and on cue we were supposed to tear toward the action. 'Roll 'em,' yelled the director. Now stage horses, they mind the director, they don't care what the actors are telling 'em to do, so off he went. I grabbed the horn, and my hat and my gun, which I was supposed to be waving in the air, and about that time I was about to run out of hands."

It wasn't exactly an instant bond with Old Stump. "'Don't let Old Stump get hurt by the cactus!' yelled the trainer," Lindsey said, "and all I could pray was that Old Stump wouldn't let me get hurt in the cactus!"

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8 Comments

JohnnyBoyohBoy 7 months ago
Believe it or not, he turned down the role of Spock on Star Trek!
Runeshaper 9 months ago
HAHAHAHA Old Stump sounds like a character!
JeffPaul76 9 months ago
Thank you for correcting your mistake about who George Lindsey played on TAGS, and in at least one episode of "Gomer Pyle, USMC." Where he visited Gomer, but he wasn't supposed to be there, because didn't have permission to be there.
tootsieg 9 months ago
I remember “Goober” in The Rifleman and the TZ playing bad guys.
Andybandit 9 months ago
Wow, I didn't know that George was in all those westerns, go for him. He was good actor.
cperrynaples 9 months ago
If Lindsey's career had been based on that Twilight Zone, he would have never been on TAGS! He was evil Goober in that episode!
JeffPaul76 9 months ago
"However, that was almost where George Lindsey, who played Gomer, made a name for himself." WRONG!! George Lindsey played Goober, NOT Gomer! Jim Nabors played Gomer Pyle!! And I have seen George Lindsey in some westerns, Although I can't remember any right now. I liked his appearence in M*A*S*H where he got drunk and rode Col. Potter's Horse Sophie, bareback, in the middle of the night.
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