Jim Nabors' comedy chops made him the envy of his co-stars

Gomer was so funny that Andy and Don were secretly jealous

Everything in Mayberry seems peachy keen onscreen. The locale is the small-town picket-fenced ideal as seen by many of its viewers. The town makes us yearn for a time that never really existed. Its residents are kinder and more charming than people are in real life. As it turns out, Mayberry's fictional residents were also much kinder than their actor counterparts who portrayed the characters on TV.

While seldom was heard a discouraging word in Mayberry, onset tensions proved that not everything was as bucolic as television made it seem.

Jim Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and on Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C. effortlessly embodied a charm and innocence that resonated with millions of viewers. Very quickly after Nabors joined the show, Gomer Pyle became one of the most popular parts of the show, and stories were written around the character to put Nabors at the center of new episodes.

While Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were both instrumental in casting Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show, they were also fearful of being overshadowed by their new co-star. According to Daniel de Visé's Andy and Don, the more established Griffth and Knotts were resentful of Nabors' abilities. Griffith was a perfectionist and Knotts was obsessive in preparing for each episode. By contrast, Jim Nabors was able to very easily do what needed to be done in order to get his laughs. 

Whereas Andy Griffith and Don Knotts labored meticulously to ready themselves, Jim Nabors was able to rely on talent alone.

In fact, these resentments may have been one of the reasons that Andy Griffith stopped speaking to Jim Nabors entirely several years later. Nabors fired their mutual manager Dick Linke, and Griffith took the change in personnel as an act of arrogance. So, with their professional ties severed, Griffith let go of their personal ties as well.

While Don Knotts and Jim Nabors remained friendly over the years, Knotts secretly held a serious grudge. According to Daniel de Visé, "Don confessed to his psychiatrist that he felt threatened by Gomer's gifts." 

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8 Comments

MMiner 4 months ago
Gomer was also highly skilled at being pegged by many other male actors.
11brendle 4 months ago
Whether it took a lot of effort or was effortless to the different actors and actresses on The Andy Griffith show, they all did a great job of creating a show that has lasted several generations and will no doubt continue to be watched for years to come.
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
I seem to remember reading something else about Andy that wasn’t very flattering, but can’t remember b what it was. 🤔 I mean seriously, why should he care if Jim Nabors fired his manager?
FrankensteinLover 4 months ago
Didn't know any of this, always awesome to learn new things about your favorite Show.
LoveMETV22 4 months ago
It's unfortunate that rift between Jim Nabors, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts existed, on or off the set.
However that's probably not unique in the entertainment industry, as it's a very competitive field.
Speaking of Jim Nabors it would be fun to see him return to the schedule in" Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.",
on Sunday evenings after Collector's Call and before "All in the Family."
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 4 months ago
Moriya would love that.
327053 LoveMETV22 4 months ago
Yeah, I think Andy and Barney had something to do with that. 🤔
MMiner LoveMETV22 4 months ago
All three of them were amazingly devoid of any skill of any kind.
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