Here is the real Gomer, the man who inspired the name ''Gomer Pyle''
Golly! There really was a famous man named Gomer Cool.
Image: Republic Pictures
The name Gomer dates back, way back. And we're not talking 1960s television, we're talking the Old Testament. Gomer was a grandson of Noah, as explained in Genesis. The ancient Roman historian Josephus traces Gomer to the Galatians, then known as Gomerites, settlers in what is now Turkey. In those Biblical times, Gomer was a woman's name, too. Gomer was the wife of Hosea, and a prostitute. The ancient Hebrew name "Gomer" roughly translates to "complete" or "whole."
Today, thanks to Gomer Pyle, the lovable bumpkin of The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., the name Gomer has entirely different meaning. But, hey, Gomer, son of Japheth son of Noah, also had a kingly relative named Nimrod, and his moniker didn't turn out too great in the long run, either.
All that being said, the character Gomer Pyle did not get his name from the Bible. Everett Greenbaum, one of the ace writers on The Andy Griffith Show, came up with Gomer as a tribute to another writer, Gomer Cool. Believe it or not, that was his real name.
The son of a candymaker, Gomer Cool was born in 1908 to Frederick and Martha Cool, in Nevada — a small town in Missouri, not the state. After taking violin lessons as a boy, Gomer Cool found work as a young man playing fiddle to accompany silent films in a local movie theater. That gave him the showbiz bug. He later landed a gig at KMBC, a small radio station in Kansas City. There, Cool formed a country and western band with a few coworkers. They called themselves the Texas Rangers.
The quartet would grow to an octet, as the Texas Rangers found some fame as the backing band to Gene Autry in the 1939 motion picture Colorado Sunset. Cool got some screen time fiddling behind the cowboy icon, as you can see in the still up top. The group, often billed as the KMBC – Texas Rangers or the CBS – Texas Rangers, appeared in handful of other Westerns.
Yet, Cool would find more success behind the scenes. Around the time of World War II, he had settled in Los Angeles. The Texas Rangers had provided some music for a radio program called Hawk Larabee, and Cool spun that into an opportunity to write an episode of the Western. That lead to a bigger gig, writing the hit radio drama Rocky Jordan, about an adventure seeking American restaurateur in Cairo, which he wrote from 1948 to 1950, according to Radio Recall.
His work impressed otherwise, evidently, as Cool's peers elected him president of the Radio Writers Guild. In 1956, Gomer became the second vice-president of the Writers Guild of America West.
That would likely explain Everett Greenbaum's familiarity with the name — and the man — Gomer. As for the "Pyle" part? Well, that was an homage to Denver Pyle, the familiar character actor who portrayed Briscoe Darling on The Andy Griffith Show. Put the two names together and… shazam!