15 November 2003 | raysond
50th Anniversary to one of the great spin-offs of The Andy Griffith Show starring Jim Nabors
"Gomer Pyle,USMC" ran for five seasons on CBS-TV from September 25, 1964 to May 2, 1969. In all 150 episodes were produced. The 26 black and white episodes for Season 1 ran from September 25,1964 until April 16,1965. The 124 Color episodes for Seasons 2 thru 5 aired from ran from September 17,1965 until May 2, 1969. "Gomer Pyle" aired on Friday nights for its first two seasons and later on the series was moved to Wednesday nights for Season 3 and for its last two seasons went back to Friday nights. Created by Aaron Ruben and produced by Sheldon Leonard, Edward S. Feldman along with Andy Griffith and Danny Thomas.
The originally came for this series was during one of the episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" titled "Gomer Joins The Marines",where Jim Nabors' character of Gomer Pyle was being intitated into the United States Marine Corps where Gomer comes face to face with his drill Sargent,Vincent Carter played by Frank Sutton. But how in the heck did Gomer Pyle,a backwoods lack of common sense individual from the sticks of Mayberry,North Carolina go from a gas station attendant at Wally's service station to the title of a United States Marine? That is anybody's guess,but Gomer was one of the least brightest,if not one of the most nicest Marines you'll ever meet. But if you notice he acted femimine sometimes too especially around the barracks and most of the time giving Sargeant Carter one heck of a time putting them into one predicament after another. And if you thought of couldn't get any worse here comes Gomer after the end of each episode to either say something stupid in front of his platoon Sargent or to goof things up. Nice but stupid. Carter was always giving Gomer a hard time,but somewhere down the line,especially with the Marines he got it right,but still Carter shouts at him anyway.
In some of the episodes,you would always find Gomer in a tight spot,but is always there to lend a helping hand,but there was episode I do recall where Gomer was messing around with a underage girl by taking her on a date. In this day and age,no servicemen in the Armed Forces wouldn't be caught dead messing around with an underage girl,and Gomer should know better. There was episodes were Gomer would occasionally goof-off but you still had his fellow recruits to help him and sometimes under the watchful eye of Sargeant Carter and also Colonel Gray who was on their case all the time. There was always a predicament in each of their escapades,but they sometimes before the end of the episode got it right.
Even after five seasons,and when the show went off the airwaves in 1969, all of the buddies that live in the barracks were promoted and moved on from Sargeant Carter,but Gomer? He was still a private in the Marines,after five seasons. The show was created by the talent team of Sheldon Leonard,Ronald Jacobs,and sometimes produced by Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Ruben and also by Andy Griffith himself,who was the show's executive producer. The black and white episodes from the first season(1964-1965) including the forgotten pilot episode were very hilarious with Gomer getting into all kinds of mischief on the barracks and off the base,but the color episodes(1965-1969)were funny during its first two seasons,but faded after the show's fifth and final season. As for the rest of his barrack buddies who was with Gomer during their five years of service consisted of regulars and guest stars that appear on the show.................It also provided a brilliant showcase for Jim Nabors as well,since he had a great singing voice and he got the chance to sing in some of the episodes. But the show was a smash hit too due to the comical timing of Frank Sutton and Jim Nabors as well.
Ted Bessell-played Pvt. Lombardi during the 1965-66 season. He went on to star opposite Marlo Thomas in "That Girl",also produced by Sheldon Leonard,Danny Thomas,and Ronald Jacobs.
Larry Hovis-played Pvt. Gotschalk during the show's first season. He went on to star in the WWII sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" with Bob Crane.
Allan Melvin- played Carter's buddy Sgt. Hacker and was a guest regular on "The Andy Griffith Show" and later on "All In The Family". Was also the voiceovers for several animated cartoons.
Ronnie Schell-played Gomer's best friend Pvt. Duke Slater and would stay on throughout the show's entire run.
Forrest Compton-played the head honco of the barracks-Colonel Gray.
The guest stars on the roster? Everyone from Lucille Ball to Carol Burnett and even Sammy Davis,Jr. was on this show.
After "Gomer Pyle,USMC" left the airwaves in 1969,CBS executives gave Jim Nabors has own hour-long variety series which lasted one season. Frank Sutton and even Don Knotts were guest regulars on the show.
And in these days and times,never ever called a Marine a "Gomer",especially if your on a Army base full of Marines.