Monday, May 7, 2012

Mayberry Mondays #40: “Goober’s Niece” (01/12/70, prod. no. 0217)


This week’s installment of our regular Monday feature has acquired a rather somber tone…as such I’d like to dedicate it to actor George “Goober” Lindsey (1928-2012), who left this world for a better one yesterday (Sunday, May 6) at the age of 83.

Back in December 2010, I did a birthday shout-out to our favorite goofy garage mechanic, mentioning that he was 75 years old…so either my math was way off or Lindsey lied about his age or the IMDb was wrong (and that’s just crazy talk). (I’ll give George the benefit of the doubt, particularly since I sucked at math in high school).  I wrote:

You see, I’ve seen Lindsey in other venues—the classic Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode of “The Jar” and a couple of Gunsmoke installments, “Hung High” and “Which Dr.”, to name just a few—and know that he’s a first-rate character thespian despite his years of Goobering on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D. and Hee Haw.

Raised in the bustling metropolis of Jasper, AL George graduated from Walker High School in 1946 and then attended both the Kemper Military School and Florence State College (now the University of North Alabama, which began holding an annual George Lindsey film festival in 1988), getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioscience.  (In fact, he once taught public school in Hazel Green, AL, just as his TV counterpart Goober would do in the R.F.D. episode “Driver Education”.)  After a hitch in the Air Force, he motored toward New York City with an interest in show business and worked as a stand-up comic and stage actor before moving to L.A. in the 1960s.  He got a break in the bidness by landing guest roles on such series as The Rifleman, The Tycoon, The Twilight Zone and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

The next thing I wrote is where I got into a little trouble: “The story goes that Lindsey auditioned for a role on TAGS and star Griffith was impressed enough to use him but didn’t because he’d already cast Jim Nabors in the similar part of Gomer Pyle.  When Nabors made tracks for his own spin-off, Gomer Pyle, USMC, Lindsey inherited the mantle of Mayberry’s slow-witted but well-meaning gas pump jockey and it was eventually decided that his “Goober” was kin to Gomer (his cousin) despite the fact that in earlier episodes he was introduced as “Goober Beasley.”  My Facebook compadre Andrew Leal took exception to this, arguing that Goober was Gomer’s cuz all along, beginning with his first (unseen) mention in the TAGS classic “Man in a Hurry.”  He’s right about this, but I am also correct regarding the inconsistency in Goober’s surname—he was “introduced” by Sheriff Andy Taylor to a TV writer as “Goober Beasley” in the episode “TV or Not TV” before they decided to keep it the same as Gomer’s.  (As classic a sitcom as The Andy Griffith Show was, they sometimes had insufficient funds in the budget for a continuity expert.  Barber Floyd Lawson is referred to as “Floyd Colby” in one episode; for a list of further contradictions check out this list.)

When TAGS went off the air in 1968, the Goober character migrated to spin-off Mayberry R.F.D. and after R.F.D.’s run ended he turned up again on the syndicated comedy-variety series Hee Haw from 1972-92.  In fact, a pilot for a series Goober & the Truckers’ Paradise surfaced in 1978 which would have had Mayberry’s favorite dolt running a truck stop along with characters played by Lindsay Bloom, Leigh French and Audrey Landers…so don’t think I wasn’t disappointed when that didn’t get picked up (these women are, to use my friend Stacia’s nomenclature, “my pretend girlfriends”).

Post-Mayberry, Lindsey has been both a familiar face (Charley and the Angel, Snowball Express) and voice (The AristoCats, Robin Hood) in many a Walt Disney film and has guested on such venues as Love, American Style, Banacek, M*A*S*H, Fantasy Island, CHiPs and a memorable episode of NewsRadio in which he is subpoenaed in a court case to identify an artifact that is purportedly his skull.  A tireless supporter of both Special Olympics and senior citizens, Lindsey may have played an idiot on TV for many years but he’s aces in the hefty book located here at Rancho Yesteryear.

I thought long and hard about whether it was proper to do Mayberry Mondays today only because there may be, I’m sure, some people who might take offense to my weekly lampooning so soon after the actor’s death.  I’ll state for the record that I mean none—George Lindsey the actor was both a humanitarian and a credit to his profession, held in the highest regard here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.  The character he made famous on TV was a simpleton, ripe for mockery.  But if you think I’m going to pass up the opportunity to poke fun at this…


…you’re at the wrong blog.  As today’s Mayberry escapade unfolds, gas pump jockey Goober Pyle (Lindsey) is waiting on a bus that will bring his niece Beverly Smith (Erica Chandler) to town for a visit.  Poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-city-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry) waits with him, because he obviously has run out of work to do at his farm.

GOOBER: Well, the bus oughta be here any second now…
SAM: Yeah…it’s usually on time…
GOOBER: You told Millie…
SAM: Yeah…she’ll be here…
GOOBER: I want Beverly to meet you two when she gets off the bus…you know…make her feel more at home…
SAM: Right…
GOOBER (after a pause): She’s my favorite niece, you know…
SAM: Mm-hmm…so you said…
GOOBER (motioning to the stuffed animal): You think she’ll like this?  I understand they’re big with teenagers now…
SAM: Yeah…I’ve…seen them around…

Why, there was once a time when you could throw a piano and hit a teenager carrying a big, goofy stuffed animal.  But alas, the parade’s gone by.

GOOBER: Did I ever show you Beverly’s picture?
SAM: Yeah…yeah…y-y-you…
(Goober throws the stuffed animal on Sam’s lap while he digs around in his wallet)
GOOBER: This was took when Beverly graduated from grammar school…straight-A student!  She was class valedictorian

Remarking that she’s quite pretty, Sam doesn’t do a good job at hiding his envy that a member of Goober’s family is bright and intelligent while his own son, Mike the Idiot Boy (Buddy Foster), seems destined for a profession that requires a paper hat as part of his day-to-day business attire.  By the way—Mike isn’t in this episode (yay!) but walking up the street we find the only reason to ever sit through this show…the always vivacious and beautiful bakery store clerk Millicent “Millie” Swanson (Arlene Golonka), who joins Goober and Sam at the bus depot bench.

MILLIE (noticing Sam’s stuffed animal): Time for your nap?
SAM: Oh, yeah…I couldn’t sleep a wink without it…come on now, sit down…
MILLIE (seating herself): Hi, Goober…
GOOBER: Hey…
MILLIE: Thank you…
GOOBER (showing Millie the picture): This is Beverly…she’s fifteen now…
MILLIE: Oh!  She’s lovely!

“Supple, pouting breasts…firm thighs…”

MILLIE: How long is she going to stay?
GOOBER: Uh, two weeks…till my sister and her husband get back from their trip…


We then hear the roar of a bus approaching, so the three of them get up from the bench and Goober informs Sam and Millie: “I sure hope she likes this—I paid fifteen bucks for it but don’t tell her ‘cause I don’t wanna spoil her.”  The passengers start getting off the bus and young Beverly runs to her “Uncle Goober,” giving him a welcome hug.  “Well, ain’t you grown!” beams Goober.  (And in all the right places…)

GOOBER (handing her the stuffed animal): I got somethin’ for ya…
BEVERLY: For me?
GOOBER: Yeah…
BEVERLY: Oh, I love it!
GOOBER: Cost fifteen bucks…oh, I want you to meet some friends of mine…Millie Swanson…Sam Jones…this is my niece Beverly…
SAM: Hello, Beverly
MILLIE: Hi!
BEVERLY: Hi…
GOOBER: Ain’t she pretty?
BEVERLY: Oh, Unk…
GOOBER (sheepishly): Calls me “Unk”…

You probably didn’t hear her pronounce the “p,” Goob.

MILLIE: I hope you enjoy Mayberry…
BEVERLY: Oh, I will!  I was here about seven years ago…
GOOBER: Oh, well—it’s changed a lot since then…a new traffic light at Third Street… (He then stops)
SAM: …and that’s about it…

Ladies and gentlemen…this week’s “laugh out loud” moment.  Sam volunteers to help Beverly with her suitcases, and while the two of them are doing that Goober expresses concern to Millie:

GOOBER: Ain’t her skirt a little short?
MILLIE: Goober…no…
GOOBER: Then her legs are a little long
(Sam and Beverly return with the suitcases)
SAM: Here we go…
GOOBER: Uh…the truck’s right down here…thanks, Sam… (To Beverly) Uh…did you have your lunch?
BEVERLY: I had a hot dog…
GOOBER: Hot dog?  Is that all?  Didn’t you have any vegetables or milk?  You’re still growin’, you know…
BEVERLY (rolling her eyes): Oh, Unk…

As the two of them walk off in the direction of Goober’s transportation Sam cracks to Millie: “I think we’ve got an instant father on our hands.”

Because Goober doesn’t have a house, he’s had his landlady fix up a room for Beverly to crash while she’s in Mayberry.  She is busy unpacking her things while her proud uncle lays out the agenda during her visit.



GOOBER: Well…I…guess you’ll want to take your nap…
BEVERLY: Nap?
GOOBER: Oh… (Realization sets in) Oh!  (Laughing) I forget, you’re growin’ up…you know, a little rest wouldn’t hurt…you know, we’re gonna be goin’ places and doin’ things—I got it all planned…
BEVERLY: Oh?
GOOBER: Yeah!  First is a museum in Siler City…they got a new reptile display
BEVERLY: Oh?
GOOBER: Oh…and Elmo said bring you by the drugstore for a free soda…and since you was here, they got a new Ferris wheel in Mt. Pilot
BEVERLY: Oh, we don’t have to do that…
GOOBER (disappointed): Oh…I ain’t even been on it myself yet…

I was sort of tempted to say something about this radical change in Goober…how his visiting niece seems to have brought upon a maturity and a responsible side we’ve not previously witnessed.  Of course, he’s also laboring under the misapprehension that she’s eight years old, so that stand-by idiocy we’ve come to revere and cherish has thankfully remained intact.  Goob tells his niece that if she needs anything, just knock on the wall (his room is right next door) and then the scene dissolves to that oh-so-familiar establishment of fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman), who is hard at work repairing a bicycle…while Sam, oblivious to his fallow fields, drinks coffee and looks on.

EMMETT (applying the brake): Stop on a dime…
SAM: Yeah…who’s it for?
EMMETT: For Goober…he’s havin’ me fix it up for Beverly
SAM: Oh…yeah, boy, he can’t do enough for that girl…I’ll bet she’s having fun…
EMMETT: I don’t know…between you and me I think they’re runnin’ out of stuff to do…

Impossible.  This is Mayberry!  Why, there’s the…um…and the…no…there’s always…heh…well, here’s Goober!

GOOBER: Brakes fixed?
EMMETT (demonstrating the brakes): Stop on a dime…

“Especially one in someone’s pocket…”

GOOBER: Did you road-test it?
EMMETT: Road-test it?
GOOBER: Yeah!  I ain’t gonna let no niece of mine get on no bike that ain’t been road-tested
SAM: You’re going bike riding, huh?
GOOBER: Yeah…we’re doin’ all kinds of things…really havin’ a ball…
SAM: Where is she now?
GOOBER: At the library…
SAM: Ah…
EMMETT: That sounds excitin’

Laissez les bons temps rouler.  Sam suggests that Goober take Beverly to “the show,” as they say down South, because he and Millie are going that evening.  But Goober is wary about exposing his impressionable young niece to “that foreign legion movie.”  “Well, not for a young girl, Sam…you know them foreign legion guys—scum of the earth…and they’re always hidin’ out from somethin’.”

EMMETT: So what?
GOOBER: So what?  How would you like a niece of yours lookin’ at trash like that?
SAM: Well, if you’d rather not, Goob…
GOOBER: Well, that’s okay, Sam—I know you meant well… (Tongue click) I’ll get the bike later… (He turns to leave)
EMMETT: Hey!  Why don’t you take it with you now?
GOOBER (shaking his head): Not until it’s been road-tested

Another one of our Mayberry regulars that’s MIA this week is pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson)…and you’re probably going to think I’m not a nice person when I say this but I think the reason why they wrote Howard out is due to his “ladies’ man” proclivities.  They didn’t want to risk Howard macking on Goober’s niece…but you have to admit that not only would this have made for interesting television a lot of the R.F.D. viewers would have ended up in years of therapy as a result.

No, the scene changes to Goober’s gas station, where Beverly the niece is sitting outside, drinking a soda and reading a book.  A car pulls up, and a young man (Gene R. Wallace, billed here as “Rayburn Wallace”) gets out—he answers to “Tommy Radsford,” and if you’re thinking this episode is about to get a little more attention-grabbing I’ll wave you off of that by pointing out that Tommy specifically asks if “Mr. Pyle is around”…making him possibly the only person in Mayberry who uses the formal when referring to the town’s village idiot.

BEVERLY: If you want some gas, you can help yourself and leave the money…
TOMMY (nervously): Yeah…I know…oh… (Tommy walks over to the pump and grabs the nozzle)  You must be his niece…
BEVERLY: Yes…
TOMMY: Hi… (After getting down on his knees and then fumbling with putting the nozzle in his tank) Oh…I’m Tommy Radsford…
BEVERLY: Hi…I’m Beverly Smith…

Oh, isn’t this delightful…Beverly’s got an admirer!  While getting his gas, Tommy acknowledges that the sweet piece of automobile he’s behind the wheel of actually belongs to his folks “but they let me drive it.”  The young couple makes additional awkward small talk and then finally Tommy has to motor.  He starts up the car and the dumbass forgets that it’s in reverse.  (He’ll do this two more times during the episode, by the way.)

The scene shifts to Boysinger’s Bakery, as darlin’ Millie carries out a tray of baked goods and Tommy enters the shop, exchanging greetings (he calls her “Miss Swanson”…and I’m starting to suspect this guy’s up to something because no kid is that polite)…

MILLIE: Well, what can I do for you?

No…I won’t do it.  They’ve made it too easy.

TOMMY: Mom wants half-a-dozen crullers and a cherry pie…
MILLIE: Oh…right… (She starts to box up the pie) Beautiful day, is it?
TOMMY: Huh…?  Oh…yeah… (After a pause, while Millie continues to ready his order) Hey—I noticed there’s some new people in town…
MILLIE: Oh?  Who’s that?
TOMMY: Well… (His voice suddenly gets louder) Goober’s niece, for one…
MILLIE: Oh…
TOMMY (nervously): Well…I…happened to see her down at the gas station…I mean, I was just getting gas and she happened to be there…
MILLIE: Oh…she’s a nice girl…
TOMMY: Yeah…I mean…I just met her…I was getting gas…

It’s obvious that the big lug is smitten with Ms. Smith and he’d like to take her to a dance at Siler City High.  When Millie suggests that he ask her, his response is: “You mean…flat out?”  It’s Tommy’s first date, and naturally he needs the advice of a more experienced woman on how to handle the situation.

TOMMY: Well…what do I say?  I mean…has anybody ever asked you for a date?
MILLIE (smiling): Well…I’ve had my moments…well…it’s very, very simple, Tommy—just call her up tonight and ask if she’ll go to the dance with you…uh…one thing you’re not supposed to say is “What are you doing tonight?”  A gentleman never puts a lady on the spot like that…
SAM (entering the bakery): Oh!  Hi, Tommy!
TOMMY: Hi…
MILLIE: Hi, Sam!
SAM: Hey, Mill…what are you doing tonight…?
MILLIE (to Tommy): Well…it’s a small town and a girl’s choice is limited

When Sam’s the only eligible bachelor in that town, you know it’s time for everybody to get out of the gene pool.  A scene shift finds Beverly listening to the devil’s music while resting her head on her newly acquired stuffed toy…there is a knock on her door, and Goober enters with Millie.

MILLIE: Oh, I thought I’d just stop by and say hello…
BEVERLY: Well, I’m glad you did…

I couldn’t tell from the angle, but I could swear Beverly started blinking at Millie “Help me!” in Morse code.

MILLIE: I can’t stay long…Sam’s taking me to the foreign legion movie tonight…
BEVERLY: A movie?
GOOBER (quickly): Adults only… (To Millie) We’re gonna have supper at the diner and then come back over here and watch TV…yeah, they got Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on tonight—right, Beverly?

“Right, Dopey…er, Uncle Goober.”  Goober excuses himself to get ready, allowing Millie to dish the dirt that young Tommy Radsford is warm for Beverly’s form.

BEVERLY (excitedly): Tommy!
MILLIE: Mm-hmm…
BEVERLY: Why, I hardly know him!  I mean… (Coyly) Well, he was just getting gas…

That wasn’t all he was getting, buttercup.

MILLIE: Well, you must have made quite an impression…I think he’s going to call you for a date!
BEVERLY: He is?!!
MILLIE: Mm-hmm…to a school dance tomorrow night…uh…of course, you don’t have to go…
BEVERLY: Oh, I want to!!!  Oh…I…I mean…well, I’d think about it…oh, golly—but what would I wear?  What do I say if he calls?
MILLIE: First date, huh?
BEVERLY: No!  I mean…well…kinda

“Does frenching behind the gymnasium with one of my Pyle cousins count?”

MILLIE: Oh, don’t worry about it…hey, he’s got the hard part…all you have to do is say ‘Tomorrow night?  Well, let me check my social calendar…’  Oh, and then say ‘yes’ fast before he chickens out and hangs up…

I don’t think the people of Mayberry ever really stop to consider what a valuable service Millie provides to that town, transforming impressionable young girls into experienced young courtesans.  Sadly, Millie’s current Dating 101 instruction is going to be all in vain because just as Tommy has summoned up the stones to call Bev and ask her out, good ol’ Uncle Goober is on the other end of the phone:

GOOBER (answering the phone): Hello?
TOMMY: Uh…uh…
GOOBER: Hello?
TOMMY (after clearing his throat numerous times): Uh…can I speak to Beverly?
GOOBER: Who is this?
TOMMY: Tommy Radsford…
GOOBER: Tommy?  (Millie and Beverly start jumping up and down in celebration on the other side of the wall) What do you want with my niece?
TOMMY: Well…uh…I…uh…I want to ask her for a date to the dance…
GOOBER: A date?  With Beverly?  Well, she’s only fifteen…you got a lot of nerve
TOMMY: But I…
GOOBER: No date…and no talkin’ to Beverly…if I even catch you lookin’ at her you’re in big trouble, you…you…playboy!

Goober angrily slams down the phone, and in Beverly’s room a disappointed Beverly seeks solace in a Millie hug, knowing that her future fate in a convent is sealed.  There is then a cut to a General Foods break.

Back from commercial, Millie is in the bakery, bitching to Sam about how unreasonable Goober is being with Beverly.  Sam is in agreement, especially since “Tommy is such a nice kid.”  Millie wants Sam to intervene because he is the star of the show, but Sam is reluctant to get involved despite the fact that he agrees with Millie (hey…he’s not that stupid).  For reasons unexplained—unless the writers felt he didn’t have enough to do this week—Emmett is also in the bakery, interrupting from time to time about his very first date with a cute blonde named Mabel Prosky.  But since no one really wants to hear about Emmett’s past romantic conquests because of the severe nausea factor involved, we’ll cut to the chase on this one: Goober comes by the bakery, and Millie cannily makes her move:

GOOBER: Hey everybody!
SAM: Oh…hi, Goob…
MILLIE: Tell him, Sam!!!
SAM: Huh?
GOOBER: Tell me what?
MILLIE: Sam thinks you’re a nut for not letting those kids go to the dance…
SAM: Millie…
GOOBER: What a guy!
SAM: No, I…
MILLIE: …he thinks Tommy is very nice and that you were very rude to him!
SAM: Millie!  Will you…
GOOBER: It’s my responsibility, Sam…I don’t know why you’re buttin’ in…
SAM: No, I…
MILLIE: He thinks you’re out of your mind for treating Beverly like a child!
SAM: Millie, will you stop putting words…
GOOBER: You got some nerve, Sam Jones…who do you think you are, anyway?
SAM: Look, Goob…I…

Emmett interrupts at this time, in a reverie about Mabel’s “rosebud lips” and the time he took her to a “box social.”  (The other three make a mental note about putting him in that assisted living joint they were looking at recently in the brochures.)  Let us continue.

MILLIE: Sincerely, Goober…Sam doesn’t want to hurt your feelings any more than I do…
SAM: No…I-I-I…
MILLIE: …but let’s face it…Beverly is not having any fun here!
GOOBER: She is, too!  I’m takin’ her to the church picnic tomorrow…
MILLIE: Boy…with her uncle… (Scoffing) Oh, that’s a real thrill…
GOOBER: What’s wrong with it?

Welcome to the South, friends and neighbors!

SAM: Well…now…Goob…I think what Millie’s trying to say is that is that maybe Beverly should be meeting some kids her own age…?  Now, there’s nothing wrong with that…
GOOBER: Well, they don’t have to be boys
MILLIE: They’re better for dancing with…
SAM: Look…Goob…I’m not suggesting that you be permissive or anything…it’s just that this is a delicate age for kids, and they want to be doing what the other kids are doing…

This is probably why Goober’s put his foot down on this whole thing in the first place.  But Goober doesn’t want his niece to think he’s “an old fuddy duddy,” and since he has known Tommy “all his life” (actually twelve minutes, by my stopwatch), he relents and allows his sweet, innocent virginal Beverly to go to the dance with hairy, hormonal Tommy.  First, however, Tommy must have “the talk”:

GOOBER: Now…uh…bein’ Beverly’s uncle…uh…I wanna know what time you’re plannin’ on having her home tonight…
TOMMY: Any time you say, sir…
GOOBER: See, the…uh…dance is over at 11…it’s a twenty-minute drive…11:20 would be fine…
TOMMY: Yes, sir…
GOOBER: Those dances are real nice, with chaperones and everything…I guess the principal still circulates around, keepin’ his eye on the fuse box… (Laughs)
TOMMY (laughing, then stops): The fuse box?  What for?
GOOBER: Well, when I was in school some of us used … (He stops quickly) Well, never you mind!  (After a pause) You ever been in his office?
TOMMY: Who?
GOOBER: The principal…
TOMMY: Oh…no, sir…but I was over to his house once…he’s our scoutmaster…
GOOBER: Oh…

Just in time to put an end to the palpable tension in the room, there is a knock on the door and Beverly enters, a vision of teen dance loveliness.  She kisses Uncle Goober goodbye and he tells her to have a good time…and then the trio has an amusing bit of business when all three of them reach for the door at the same time.  Outside the rooming house, as Tommy opens the car door for Beverly, Goober turns up again…this time with what my mother used to call “masher money,” which he tries to slip to BeverlyBeverly assures him she won’t need it, and Tommy (after forgetting the car is in reverse), drives away with unsuspecting Beverly as Goober watches, with an apprehensive look on his face.  The scene then shifts to Mayberry’s diner, where Goober enters and is waved over to a table where Sam and Millie are seated.

SAM: Did the kids get to the dance all right?
GOOBER: Oh, yeah…yeah…they ought to be headed home… (Glancing at his watch) About now…
MILLIE: Oh, don’t worry about them…they’ll be just fine
GOOBER (laughing): Who’s worried?  Not me!
SAM: Oh?
GOOBER: You don’t understand kids nowadays, Sam…they’re a lot smarter than me and you was…

Well, he’s half-right.

SAM: Yeah…
GOOBER: The thing is, you gotta let ‘em know you trust ‘em…be a good thing for you to remember with Mike comin’ up…
SAM: Oh, I will…

I think if that little mook is ever able to get a date with a girl Sam won’t care what the two of them do.

GOOBER: Good kids, both of them…you know Tommy’s never been in the principal’s office?  Boy Scout, too…
SAM: Hmm…
GOOBER: Yeah…trustworthy, loyal, helpful…friendly, courteous, kind…cheerful, thrifty…brave, clean, reverent…
MILLIE: I hope Beverly has a good time

Oh, there are definitely good times on the horizon…because a shift in scenery finds Tommy and Beverly on a Mayberry back road, Tommy’s car coming to a slow stop.  He explains to Beverly: “We’re out of gas…no, I mean, really—Dad told me to fill it and I forgot.”  This unfortunate circumstance will have serious ramifications in Mayberry…because this means that there is someone stupider in that town than Goober Pyle.  (Did this kid really think that was going to fly with a guy who fixes cars and pumps gas for a living?)

Meanwhile, back at the diner…

WAITRESS (after hanging up the pay phone): Oh, Goob…
GOOBER: Yeah?
WAITRESS: That was your landlady…she said to tell you Tommy called…he’ll be home at midnight at the latest…
GOOBER: Midnight?
WAITRESS: Yeah…he ran out of gas…
GOOBER (getting to his feet): Ran out of gas—I’ll bet!  You know that old one, Sam…
SAM: Now come on, Goob…the kid phoned—he wouldn’t have called if he’d been trying to pull anything…
GOOBER: That’s all you know…he’s just bein’ sneaky!  I used to do the same thing—I’d call their parents so they wouldn’t come prowlin’, lookin’ for me!

“Boy, that smart aleck kid’s gonna hear from me!” warns a furious Goober as he storms out of the diner.  There is then a dissolve to a shot of Goober pacing up and down outside the rooming house, waiting for Tommy and Beverly’s return.  When the cars pulls up…well, all I can say, Tom, is that the sex had better been worth it because you’re not long for this world, me boyo.

BEVERLY (to Tommy): What time is it?
TOMMY: It’s ten after twelve…
GOOBER (rushing up to the two of them): Thirteen after!
BEVERLY: Well…you see…what happened was…
GOOBER (pulling his niece away): Don’t you worry, you stand behind me…I’ll take care of him…
TOMMY: Me?  But Mr. Pyle…
GOOBER (angry): Don’t you start sassin’ me, you sweet-smellin’ Romeo!
BEVERLY: Uncle Goober…
TOMMY: We ran out of gas!

“After we fell asleep in the movie theater!  And then there was that flood…and the orphanage I saved…”

GOOBER: You ain’t foolin’ me!  Parkin’ and tryin’ to kiss her is more like it!  Now you get out of here before I call your daddy!  Go on!  Get!  Get, boy!

I like how Lindsey’s Alabama drawl pronounces “go on” as one word (“goon”)...and with his brief display of anger, George reveals that he was a damn good actor despite his years of being typecast as the poster boy for Southern simpletons.  He tries to console Beverly but she runs off upset.  Now, the wrap-up to this episode comes a little too quickly so I’m guessing we lost a little plot exposition due to syndication edits.  But in the next scene, Goober and Sam are discussing the evening’s events at the gas station, with Sam trying to calm his friend down.

GOOBER: A man’s gotta do what he thinks is right, Sam…
SAM: Yeah…
GOOBER: She’s my responsibility…I can’t worry about winnin’ no popularity contests…
SAM: Well…how’s she taking it this morning?
GOOBER: I don’t know…
SAM: Huh?
GOOBER: She ain’t talkin’ to me…

Goober did leave a note asking Beverly to meet him at the gas station, and Sam asks him if he plans to apologize.  “No,” says Goober.  “Once you start apologizin’, they gotcha over a barrel…I gotta do it my own way.”

Tommy’s car rolls into the station by the pumps, and he greets Sam upon getting out of the vehicle.  “My dad said you wanted to see me,” he addresses Goober, who tells the lad that he does indeed, because “I want to straighten a couple of things out.”  Beverly then arrives on the bicycle Emmett fixed earlier (that girl is taking a hell of a chance) and though she’s happy to see Tommy and cordial to Sam she’s still giving Goob the silent treatment.  Finally, Goober speaks his piece.

GOOBER: I got you kids down here to tell you somethin’…and I know Sam here will back me up… (Sam looks at Goober with a “Buh-what?” expression on his face) Now…it don’t matter whether I was right or wrong last night…what counts is that I’m your uncle…and what I say goes
BEVERLY: Yes, sir…
GOOBER: Now you kids think that when we adults make a rule it’s just to be mean—well, it ain’t!  It’s ‘cause we worry about ya…
BEVERLY/TOMMY: Yes, sir…
GOOBER: ..and I’m makin’ another rule right now… (He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a wad of tickets) I got all these tickets for the church picnic today…there’s barbecue and games and everything…and you’re takin’ my niece to it!

“I paid ten dollars for them tickets, and I ain’t wastin’ them,” Goober sternly tells his niece, who runs over and gives him a big hug.  Tommy vigorously shakes Goob’s hand, and then Goober tells him “Go on, get goin’…I don’t want you hangin’ around here…” 

“Hey…you don’t make such a bad uncle as that,” a slightly stunned Sam manages to get out, bowled over by this rare display of Goober’s maturity.  But as an afterthought, Goober rushes over to Tommy’s car and puts a can of gasoline in the back seat telling him “I don’t want no phone calls ruinin’ my day.”  Tommy starts to drive off in reverse for one final time…which is sort of dangerous, because if he hit something that gas can would go off like a rocket, starting a fire at Goober’s that would result…okay, I promised myself I wouldn’t do that this week.

Coda time!

As Goober, Sam, Emmett and Tommy wait for the bus that will take Beverly back home to arrive, an elderly man who answers to “Whit” gives them a “hi-dy” as he walks by.  The bus then pulls into the depot, and Tommy, being the type of lad who never gives up, starts to lean in for a goodbye kiss but is stopped by a glare from Goober…so he settles for a friendly handshake.  (Well, it will be a different story nine months down the road.)  Beverly then hugs Goober goodbye and boards the bus, wishing everyone well in the process.

SAM: Well…that’s that, huh?
GOOBER: I guess I can have my nervous breakdown now…

A luscious looking blonde (Kathy Davis) who got off the bus as Beverly got on is looking around the depot and crying out “Uncle Whitmore!”  She then spots the person she’s looking for—it’s the elderly gent who greeted Sam and Company before the bus pulled up…


…and he’s played by William “Billy” Benedict, better known here at TDOY as our favorite Bowery Boy “Whitey.”  The girl is apparently his niece, and as she greets him in a most un-niece-like fashion, Sam cracks to Goober “And you think you had problems…”  The four of them then wave and shout goodbye as the bus rolls out.

As I mentioned last week, Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (Frances Bavier) is off on another one of her sabbaticals, so Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Bee-o-Meter™ stalls at six appearances in the second season of the classic sitcom…and a grand total of eighteen show-ups for the series overall.  She will not be in next week’s thrilling installment, either—a little number we’ll call “Emmett Takes a Fall” (probably because that is the episode title) that features our favorite fix-it savant pondering his own usefulness when an accident at Goober’s filling station forces him to hire an assistant during his convalescence.

And on that note…to George “Goober” Lindsay, requiescat in pace. You will sorely be missed.

5 comments:

Brent McKee said...

Sad to lose George Lindsey. One thing I learned in the obits that positively shocked me was this little gem. Reportedly (and it was Leonard Nimoy who reported it so it's probably true) the first choice to play Mr. Spock on Star Trek was none other than George Lindsey. Now pause and imagine Goober in those ears.

Stacia said...

When this recap began I did wonder how they were going to deal with the Howard situation, which is just as touchy as the Bonnie Situation but with less criminals. I think keeping him out of the episode was probably the best thing, because everything would have sounded like innuendo.

Welcome to the South, friends and neighbors!

And certain parts of Appalachia and the Midwest.

I used to do the same thing—I’d call their parents so they wouldn’t come prowlin’, lookin’ for me!

So there's probably a half dozen illegitimate Goobers running around? The mind reels.

I was shocked to find out George Lindsay was 83, because like you I thought he was in his mid- to late-70s, and I wonder if he maybe lied about his age earlier in his career. Oddly, I've run into people who thought he was dead years ago because of that NewsRadio episode -- one person on Usenet and one on MeFi -- which is odd since he's actually IN the episode.

Beverly listening to the devil’s music

January 1970, huh? What do you think she was listening to, "Holly Holy" or "Brother Love?"

I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING.

Mike Doran said...

George Lindsey certainly wasn't the first actor to try to extend his shelf life by revising his age downward.
My TV Guide collection is chock-full of star profiles that give two ages for their subjects.
One such story said that a certain star was "36 for the press, 42 for the Social Security".
It was here that I first learned the great rule of thumb for actor's ages: when you have two numbers, the older one is most likely the correct one.
On this basis, when Charles Lane passed away at 102 back in '07 -
- he was actually 108 (I still have a couple of older reference books that give Lane's YOB as 1899).
But upon further review, let it stet.
George Lindsey was as old - or as young - as he wanted to be.
Which is what we all should be trying for, isn't it?

Capstone Building Multifamily Construction said...

Did Erica Chandler ever appear in anything other than the Headmaster and MaayberryRFD ?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Capstone Building Multifamily Construction asked:

Did Erica Chandler ever appear in anything other than the Headmaster and MaayberryRFD ?

Those are the only two credits I've seen of hers at the (always reliable) IMDb, Cap...I don't know of any others.