Monday, October 8, 2012

Mayberry Mondays #61: “Goober, the Housekeeper” (11/09/70, prod. no. 0308)

Those members of the TDOY faithful who cheer for Team Goober will only be too happy to learn that Mayberry’s resident gas pump jockey and village idiot, Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), makes a triumphant return to Mayberry Mondays this week after an absence from two episodes.  Six episodes back in “Goober’s New Gas Station,” the storyline was established that the Goob had moved his thriving Acme Oil franchise inside the Mayberry city limits…and for convenient plot purposes, the boarding house in which he resides was also located right next door.


Well, as you can see by the above screen capture…Goob’s rooming house has vanished!  (Sadly, he wasn’t inside the building at the time.)  No explanation is forthcoming, other than somebody decided to erect a church.  Instead, this episode starts off with a Rolls Royce pulling into Goob’s Gas ‘n’ Lube, a sight that brightens our hero’s day and prompts him to comment: “Startin’ the day off right—twenty gallons!”  Since he is also guzzling a bottle of soda with his non-working friends, fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman) and poor-but-honest-dirt-farmer-turned-town-council-head Sam Jones (Ken Berry), we don’t know for certain if he is in fact referring to the amount of gas he’s about to sell…or the quantity of soda he has already drank that morning.


A man emerges from the impressive automobile, and the actor is instantly recognizable as OTR veteran and movie/TV character great Willis “Bill” Bouchey, in what is his third and final guest appearance on R.F.D.  He played a high school principal in the first season installment “Driver Education,” and then two months later turned up as The Right Reverend Mr. Bickford in “The Church Bell.”  In this episode, he’s introduced as “Mr. Fremont.”

Which begs the question—is this same Mr. Fremont featured in the previously mentioned “Church Bell”?  That Fremont, who had a first name in “Lucius” and was portrayed by actor Howard Wendell, was also a wealthy individual and though the implication is that Bouchey is playing the same character, I think a case can be made that he’s not—that the Fremont in “Housekeeper” is just a rich relation (possibly a brother).  But let’s get back to the wacky proceedings…

GOOBER: Hey, Mr. Fremont!  Fill ‘er up?
FREMONT: Oh, no…no…I’m all right for gas, Goober…no, I came in to see if you could help me with something else…
GOOBER: Well, I will if I can, sir…

“My only reason for existing is to serve the needs of the one-percent, Mr. Fremont, sir.”

FREMONT: Well…I suddenly find I have to go to Europe for a while…

“That’s what men of my financial background and social status do, you know.”

FREMONT: My housekeeper’s on vacation right now, and…I just hate to go away and leave an empty house…
GOOBER: Oh?
FREMONT: Well, I was wondering, Goober—and of course, I’ll pay you for it—but would you mind staying at my place while I’m gone…sort of keep an eye on things?
GOOBER: Me?  Stay in Oak Hill?
FREMONT: Well, I’d feel an awful lot better knowing someone was there...of course, if you can’t…

The first time I sat down to watch this I thought: “Why would anyone entrust an idiot like Goober to house-sit?”  But then I remembered that Goober is the nominal deputy sheriff in this burg since Andy Taylor took the first bus out of there to Raleigh, and…well, suffice it to say Fremont’s kind of stuck.

GOOBER: Well, it’d be a real pleasure, Mr. Fremont…
FREMONT: Oh, good…good…well, I appreciate it…oh!  One other thing…my car here…I’ll leave it in the garage, but…uh…suppose you could find time to drive it now and then, and keep the battery up for me?

Both Sam and Emmett are exchanging “I-don’t-believe-this” looks with one another…and to be honest, this episode is kind of stretching plausibility a tad.  (“Goober…do you suppose while I’m away you could also throw a few raucous parties so that my housekeeper will have something to clean up when she gets back?”)

GOOBER (flustered): Well…yeah…yeah!  I’ll drive ‘er!
FREMONT: Well!  Well, now—that just about takes care of everything…I’ll be leaving the first thing in the morning…now… (Handing Goober a key chain) Here’s the key to the house…you can move in anytime tomorrow…

Oh, I just figured out what this guy is up to.  He’s going to torch the house for the insurance, and he needs a dupe like Goober to be inside when it happens to make it look good.  Fremont says farewell to one and all, and gets in his Rolls and rolls.

GOOBER (running back to where Sam and Emmett are sitting): Did you hear?
SAM (laughing): Hey!  Boy…sounds like you’re gonna to be living in style for a while, huh?
GOOBER: Boy…Oak Hill…I never been up there before…
EMMETT: Ah…I’ve been there…

I kind of chortled to hear Emmett deliver that line in a sort of a world-weary “been there, done that” fashion.

GOOBER: You have?
EMMETT: Yep…fixed his garbage disposal
SAM: I understand he’s got 22 rooms up there…
GOOBER: No foolin’?
SAM: Yeah!
GOOBER: Yeah…I might be up till all hours that first night just figgerin’ out which room to sleep in!

Both Goober and Sam tee-hee like schoolgirls while toasting themselves with bottles of soda, and we then dissolve to a shot of Goober’s truck pulling up outside the Fremont house…


…if you compare that house with the one featured in the earlier “Church Bell” (I’ve also included a capture of the same house from the Andy Griffith Show episode “Barney Hosts a Summit Meeting,” in which the dwelling was owned by someone else)…


They don’t appear to be the same house.  So it’s entirely possible that this Fremont character is a different individual from the Lucius of “Church Bell.”  (Get me—I’m Toby O’Brien!  Speaking of the Master of Toobworld, Sir Tobias has an interesting post up today that examines the familial connections between humble Mayberry druggist Elmo Halpert and snarky Scranton paper company drone Jim Halpert from The Office…an idea I jokingly suggested he pursue, and he did not disappoint.)


Once inside the house, Goober gets a gander (Gander Pyle—a Goober relation?) at the ornate furnishings that decorate Castle Fremont, and he gives out with a whistle, saying “Goober…you’re uptown!”  (“In penthouse number three…”)  You’ll notice from the screen capture that the suitcase Goober’s carrying isn’t going to be big enough to put all the stuff he’s going to steal during his visit.

There is then a dissolve to a scene where Goober and the Fremont car are parked outside the council office, and Goober has cleaned himself up some, wearing a suit and tie.  (Who’s running his gas station?)  Emmett and Sam are admiring his ride, and when Emmett gets his greasy fingerprints on the car Goober humorously pulls his hand away, and then wipes at the car with a handkerchief.

SAM: How are things up at Oak Hill?
GOOBER: Great…great…
SAM: Mm-hmm…
GOOBER: …takin’ the car out for a little spin…keepin’ the battery charged like he asked…
SAM: Huh…when you charge a battery, you really dress for the occasion, don’tcha?
GOOBER: I thought I’d give ‘er a good run…drive over to the Whisperin’ Pines hotel…
SAM: Whispering Pines?
GOOBER: Yeah…
SAM: Wow…
GOOBER: …gonna have lunch at that fancy restaurant they got there…
EMMETT: Hey…you’re really gonna live it up, huh?
GOOBER: Yeah…and if they got it on the menu, I might just order one of them pheasants under glass…Melvyn Douglas is always doin’ that on the Late Show…

I’m on record as not being the most fervent of Douglas fans…but I did chuckle at the mention of his name.

SAM: That’s about as high class as you can get…
GOOBER: Yeah… (Laughing) Say, Emmett…while I’m gone, you think you could drive up to Oak Hill and fix Mr. Fremont’s garbage disposal like you done before?  I got a fork stuck in it…

If only it had been a toaster.  That would make this the best R.F.D. episode ever.

EMMETT (after giving Sam a look): Yeah, I can take a look at it…
GOOBER: Thanks…I left the key under the mat…
EMMETT: Right…
GOOBER: Well…I’ll be toddlin’ along, as they say…

So Goober gives both his buddies his trademark tongue click and hops in the Rolls, which then prompts a scene dissolve to a bird’s-eye view of an elegant restaurant where people are dining to a violin concerto.  The maitre d’ (played by Peter Camlin, a French character actor who specialized in bartenders, waiters and the like) can be seen greeting Goober and ushering him to a table…there’s a quick snicker-worthy bit as Goober hesitates before entering the main part of the restaurant and has to be prompted by the maitre d’ to follow.

MAITRE D’: You find this table satisfactory, sir?
GOOBER: Oh, fine…yeah…fine… (He sits down at the table) You got any of them pheasants under glass?
MAITRE D’: I’m afraid not, sir…but we do have a very fine menu… (He opens it and hands it to Goober) Would Monsieur care for a drink?
GOOBER: Oh, yeah…I’ll have a glass of chocolate milk…but don’t bring it till you bring the food—I don’t want it sittin’ around, gettin’ warm
MAITRE D’: Very well, sir…
(He starts to go, but Goober stops him)
GOOBER: And I’ll tell you what…as long as you’re out of pheasant; just bring me a pork sandwich…hold the mustard, and light on the mayo…
MAITRE D’: I’ll tell the waiter, sir…
GOOBER: Thank you…

You can take the boy out of Mayberry… The maitre d’ issues instructions to the waiter (Joseph La Cava) that Monsieur Sh*tkicker would like an order of the pulled pork even as that same waiter happens to be taking another order from a lovely young woman at the table next to Goober’s, who orders the tuna salad and a glass of iced tea.  “Thank you, Miss Willoughby,” responds the waiter.


We’ll soon learn the “Miss Willoughby” has a first name—it’s “Diane”—but the actress playing her is Nancy Priddy, in what the always reliable IMDb lists as her first television credit.  She would go on to play small parts on such shows as Bewitched, Medical Center, Cannon and Barbary Jones, and in movies such as Jaws of Satan and The Sweetest Thing—both of which feature Priddy’s more famous daughter, Christina Applegate.  Couch potatoes know Applegate as the slutty Kelly Bundy from Married…with Children, of course—but the actress can currently be seen Thursday nights on NBC’s Up All Night, a sitcom that I really liked in its first season but has since undergone some “tinkering” and the bloom is off the rose for me.  (The changes made to the comedy necessitated their saying goodbye to actress Jennifer Hall, who played Missy, one of my favorite characters on the show.)  I have a sneaking suspicion that Night is fated to follow the other aborted Applegate bids for sitcom stardom, Jessie and Samantha Who?

Well, the reason for Priddy’s appearance in this episode is that her character and Goober will be striking up a romance, and in order for them to “meet cute” the waiter obliges by mixing up their lunch orders.  Ms. Willoughby calls after the waiter after she realizes she does not have the tuna salad, and it’s gallant Goober to the rescue.  (When Goober gets his order, he’s stuck as to where to put the menu he’s been looking at so he slips it under his chair, which was good for a chortle.)

DIANE: Waiter…
(The waiter walks off toward another part of the restaurant, having not heard her)
GOOBER: Miss…I think I’ve ascertained the trouble here…you have my pork sandwich, and I have your tuna fish salad…
DIANE: Oh my…so you do…uh…where is that waiter?
GOOBER; What we could do is just swap plates…
DIANE: Oh…I suppose we could…
GOOBER: Or better still, I’d be happy for you to join me…uh…he gave me this big table here and I don’t think he’s gonna put anybody else at it…
DIANE: Well, i-i-it’s nice of you to ask me…
GOOBER: Oh, come on… (Getting up from his chair) If you won’t join me, why don’t you join your tuna fish?  (Stupid laugh)

So Goober, ever the Southern gentleman, helps Diane take her lunch plates to his table, and pulls out her chair so that she can be seated.  (He also tucks the menu under him again when he sits down in what is admittedly becoming an amusing running gag.)

GOOBER (smiling stupidly): My name’s Goober Pyle…
DIANE: Mine’s Diane Willoughby… (Goober extends his hand for her to shake, which she does after registering a small “take”)  Are…are you staying here at Whispering Pines?
GOOBER: Heck no!  I mean…uh…I just dropped in for lunch…I live nearby…
DIANE: Uh…we’re staying here for the week…my mother and I…we’re on a little vacation through this part of the country…
GOOBER: Hey, great!  Who knows—I might drop in here for lunch again before the week’s out…that is, if I can be sure of gettin’ the same waiter…? (He gives out with the idiotic laugh again)


While Goober is charming the slacks off young Diane, a woman has entered the restaurant…it’s Eunice “Lovey” Wentworth Howell, and she’s finally got off the island!

Okay, I am being a little facetious.  This is Diane’s mother, Cornelia Willoughby, played by character great Natalie Schafer, best-known as the wife of one of the most recognizable millionaires on TV today…Ann Romney.   No, wait…my notes are wrong—Schafer was the boob tube wife of Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) on the cult sitcom fave Gilligan’s Island.  Schafer would have been 70 years old at the time this R.F.D. episode aired (she was 64 when Gilligan first premiered) but sure as heck doesn’t look it (she stipulated in her contract on Gilligan that they couldn’t shoot close-ups of her, and the cast didn’t learn her real age until after the series was cancelled).  Schafer’s forte was playing society women (and she doesn’t disappoint here); her films include Wonder Man, Repeat Performance, Secret Beyond the Door, The Snake Pit, Caught and Casanova’s Big Night.

CORNELIA: There you are, Diane!  (She walks over to the table where her daughter and Goober are sitting)
DIANE: Mother…I thought you were at the hairdresser’s…
CORNELIA: Oh, I was, dear…but they finished with me early… (Goober gets up from his seat) Who is this, dear?
DIANE: Mother…this is Mr. Goober Pyle…
GOOBER: How do you do?
CORNELIA: How do you do?
(Goober extends his hand for a shake but Mrs. Willoughby doesn’t respond)
DIANE: There was a mix-up in our orders and Mr. Pyle rescued my tuna salad for me…
(Goober starts guffawing)
CORNELIA: How very gallant of you, Mr. Pyle…

Mrs. Willoughby’s reaction to the manchild known as Goober is a muted one, probably because his aftershave isn’t quite overpowering enough to mask the scent of gasoline.  Cornelia takes it upon herself to have a seat at the table, saying “I’m sure you two young people won’t mind if I join you.”

“No, go right ahead,” responds Goober.  “I ain’t got nothin’ against old people.”  Mrs. Willoughby tells her daughter that she won’t have anything to eat because of her diet, but expresses a desire for a sip of her iced tea…which Goober eagerly hands to her.

CORNELIA: Are you…vacationing here, Mr. Pyle?
GOOBER: No, I just dropped in for lunch…I live nearby…
CORNELIA: I see…

Their awkward attempt at jovial small talk is interrupted by a parking lot attendant, who’s played by Charles Briles.  Briles’ television career, which started out with a semi-regular role on Mr. Novak, looked as if it was going to flourish when he landed a part as the youngest member of the Barkley family, Eugene, on the western series The Big Valley.  The problem was…Briles had received a “Greetings” letter from his Uncle Sam, and though he got enough of a deferment to allow him to finish all his episodes (there were eight in all) in the first season the producers decided to give him what would become known in the industry as the “Mike Douglas Kiss Off” (so named because the oldest Douglas son of My Three Sons, Tim Considine, left the series after the first episode of the 1965-66 season and was rarely referred to again).  A Wikipedia entry for The Big Valley says that by the time Briles got out of the service the show had already been cancelled.  He did a few guest shots on shows like Felony Squad and Bonanza before calling a wrap on his acting career.

ATTENDANT: Uh…pardon me, sir…could that be your tan Rolls Royce blocking the driveway?
GOOBER: No, mine’s the navy blue one…I give that other boy a dollar to park it…
ATTENDANT: Sorry to bother you…


I don’t have to tell you that Mrs. Willoughby nearly chokes on that iced tea…and that suddenly, having Goober around is the most wonderful thing in the world…

CORNELIA: Oh, Mr. Pyle…you must tell us all about yourself…
DIANE: Mother
GOOBER: Oh, that’s okay!
CORNELIA: I’m sure we don’t have to be formal with Mr. Pyle, dear…uh…does your wife lunch here with you occasionally?
GOOBER: No, I’m not married…
CORNELIA: Oh!
GOOBER: I’ve never set sail on the sea of matrimony… (Jackass laugh)

I could swear I just heard the casting sound of a rod and reel above Goober’s guffawing.

CORNELIA: What a quaint way of putting it…and…uh…what business did you say you were in, Mr. Pyle?
DIANE: I don’t think Mr. Pyle said, Mother…
CORNELIA: Oh, I was certain that he…
GOOBER: Well, what I do is run this little bitty… (He stops, realizing that his profession might scotch any romantic plans with Diane) Well…I guess you might say I…I’m in the oil…

“Jes call me T. Goober Pickens, ma’am…”

CORNELIA: Oh!  How absolutely fascinating, Mr. Pyle…oh…it sounds so formal, my calling you “Mr. Pyle”… (She laughs) Uh…what was your first name again?
GOOBER: Goober…

The way Mrs. Willoughby repeats “Goober” back to him, it almost sounds as if she’s purring (“Goo-burrrrrrrr…”).  “That’s with two o’s, like in the peanut,” Goober prompts her, and that gets Diane to smile.

CORNELIA: Delightful!  My late husband was in railroads…we divided our time between our townhouse in Washington and our place in Palm Beach
DIANE: Mother…I’m sure Mr. Pyle isn’t interested in all that…
CORNELIA: Well, of course he is, dear…I’m sure he has a lovely home of his own…
GOOBER: Well…uh…the place I’m stayin’ in now is pretty big…twenty or thirty acres, coupla dozen rooms… (To Diane) All the rooms got their own bathroom
CORNELIA: Why, that’s absolutely charming!  You know, I’m very interested in Southern architecture…I do hope we have the opportunity to see it some time…

Subtle this woman is not.  Goober has a wonderful opportunity to con the women into thinking he’s laird and master of Oak Hill, and after asking Diane if she’d be interested in seeing “his place” he announces “Well, I…guess when we finish here there’s no reason we couldn’t drive over there…”  This is just simply marvy-poo for Mrs. W, who’s going to go “freshen up” while “you two finish your lunch.”  Goober even gives Diane the option of backing out on the trip to see the House of Goober, but she very much wants to go…even to the point of addressing him as “Goober.”

In the next scene, Goober and the Willoughby women (Diane in front, Cornelia in the back) are out tooling around in the Rolls…and though it’s pretty obvious that this sequence was written so that Ken Berry could actually be funny for a change, it kind of stretches credibility a bit that Goober winds up driving by Jones Farm.  Fortunately for the narrative, Sam just happens to be out at the mailbox collecting his farm subsidy check, and he hollers at Goober to “wait up!”

CORNELIA: The natives are certainly friendly

I think Schafer got hold of an old Gilligan’s Island script by mistake.  Goober explains to her that “I talk to a lot of ‘em—you know, democratic and all that.”

SAM: Hi, Goob!  Whatcha doin’ out this way?
GOOBER: Well…I had to detour past the Halsey place…the county trucks have got the roads blocked off over there... (Realizing his manners) Oh!  This here’s a friend of mine…Miss Diane Willoughby…uh…and that one in the back there is her ma…
SAM: Nice to meet you…
DIANE: How do you do?
GOOBER: This here’s…uh…Farmer Jones

Every episode…one laugh-out-loud moment.

CORNELIA: We’re on our way to see Mr. Pyle’s lovely home…
SAM (after a reactive take): Oh…really?
DIANE: He was nice enough to ask us…
CORNELIA: Goober, don’t you think we ought to be going?  We don’t want to keep Farmer Jones from his chores…

Sam shoots Goober a look, and then decides to hick it up for Cornelia’s benefit (and his own amusement).  “Aw shucks, ma’am…that don’t make no never mind…”

CORNELIA: I beg your pardon?
SAM: Well, the way I look at dirt farmin’, ma’am…uh…whether it’s killin’ weevils or sloppin’ hogs… (He glares at Goober) Chores’ll always keep—like butter in a springhouse, right?


As you can tell…Jack Dodson (whose pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague is MIA this week) has a little competition in the comical expression department.

GOOBER: Well, I think we’d better be goin’…
DIANE: Is this your farm, Mr. Jones?
SAM: Yeah…yeah…yeah…yeah…born right here in the hay barn…cut my teeth on a corn cob!  Why, my ma…she used to put a jug of cream in my cradle at night…rock me to sleep and churn butter at the same time!  (Laughing) Ain’t that a kneeslapper, though?!!
GOOBER: I think we had better be goin’… (He looks at Sam helplessly)
CORNELIA: Uh…it’s…uh…been nice chatting with you…
SAM: It’s nice jawin’ with you ladies… (Once more giving Goober the stink-eye) And a good day to you…Squire Goober…

Sam, in his capacity on this show as Andy Taylor-lite, doesn’t get too many opportunities to be funny so it’s nice to see him get his moment in the sun.  Goober and the ladies drive off, and a scene dissolve finds them entering the hallowed halls of Castle Fremont, where Goober is temporarily putting down stakes.

GOOBER: This here’s the livin’ room…it’s real handy, bein’ off the lobby like it is…
CORNELIA: Oh!  It’s absolutely gorgeous!  Isn’t it, Diane?
DIANE: Beautiful
CORNELIA: It reminds me of our drawing room in Palm Beachformal…but with an intimate charm and warmth…
GOOBER: Well, it’s warm all right…
(Emmett enters the drawing room from the kitchen)
EMMETT: Oh!  Hi!  I thought I heard somebody… (He wipes his hands with a rag)

As you were probably expecting, now Goober has to play the country squire with Emmett around.  You really have to watch this thing to get the full effect, but the cold fashion in which Goober says “Hello” to his pal prompts an equally matter-of-fact (and funny) “Hello” from Mayberry’s fix-it man.

GOOBER (gesturing with his head): I’m entertainin’…
EMMETT: Oh!  Heh…well, that garbage disposal was quite a battle… (He sits down in one of the chairs, still wiping his hands) But I got it fixed…
CORNELIA (haughtily): These tradespeople!
GOOBER: Well…uh…thank you for takin’ care of it, Mr. Clark…
EMMETT: Mr. Clark?
GOOBER: Yes…that will be all, my good man…
EMMETT (getting up out of his chair): My good man?
GOOBER: I’ll see that you get your fee on my personal check… (He tries to get Emmett to leave by making faces at him)
EMMETT: Oh!  Well!  If it’s all right with you, Sir Walter Raleigh, I’ll just be runnin’ along!
(Emmett storms out of the room)
CORNELIA: Oh!  What impudence!  I don’t know how you can put up with it!
GOOBER: It’s the times, I think…
CORNELIA: Yes, I suppose so…well, I’d like to look a little more…

Mrs. Willoughby then saunters over to examine some of the items in the cabinets and possibly to appraise them because she just has a feeling that they’ll be in the family soon.  Meanwhile, the roaring passion heats up between Goob and Diane…

DIANE: You have a beautiful home, Goober…
GOOBER (sheepishly): I guess you’re used to livin’ in places like this…
DIANE: Yes…when Father was alive…
GOOBER: Could I show you around the garden?
DIANE: Oh, yes!  That would be nice!

As the two of them head for the back entrance to make goo-goo eyes at one another in the garden, Mrs. How…er, I mean, Mrs. Willoughby gets this evil look on her face:


And that’s as good a time as any to hear from General Foods.

Back from commercial, Emmett is banging away at items in his shop, and to say that he is angry at being treated like the common help by his even more commoner helper friend Goober would be a mild understatement.

EMMETT: My good man!  (Banging his hammer) Farmer Jones!  (Banging it again) Look, Goober…I wanna tell you somethin’…you got the nerve to tell them women you’re the owner of Oak Hill, that’s your business…but you ain’t got no call to make bums out of Sam and me!

“We’re quite capable of doing that without any assistance from you, my good man…”

SAM: Oh, Emmett…
GOOBER: Look, Emmett, I told ya I couldn’t help it!  If they think I’m a big oil tycoon and everything…well I can’t go around treatin’ you two guys like buddies!
EMMETT: Oh!  We ain’t good enough for you now, huh?
SAM: Emmett…
GOOBER: Yeah, most of the time…but not when I’m a millionaire

Yes, as you might have guessed…I laughed out loud at this, too.

EMMETT (running toward the shop door): Okay, that does it…go on…go onbeat it!
SAM: Emmett…Emmett…come on…I’m sure he didn’t mean to pose as a millionaire…he probably just got carried away
GOOBER: I really did!
SAM: Then…uh…when are you going to tell her the truth?
GOOBER: I don’t know…but not yet… (Sam exchanges looks with Emmett) Well, look fellas…I think she likes me…
EMMETT: She likes ya!  So what?  I like you, too!  But I ain’t gonna marry ya!

Well, not while you’re living in North Carolina you won’t.  Emmett walks over to his bench, with Sam and Goober following.

GOOBER: Look…I figger if we get to know each other better…then when I tell ‘er the truth, it won’t matter as much!  I mean, there are some girls that money don’t mean that much to!
EMMETT: When she finds out that her Prince Charmin’ is nothin’ but a grease monkey, livin’ in a boardin’ house…she’s gonna drop you like a hot rock!
GOOBER: Well, I’ll take my chances!  Look…I’ll tell her when the time is right!
SAM: Uh…uh…Goob…
GOOBER (cutting Sam off by raising his hand): Final word!
EMMETT: Dumb!


So Goober storms out, and in the next scene he and Diane are spoonin’ out in a secluded area (you can see the Fremont Rolls parked behind them).  I’m going to cut to the quick on this, mostly because the dialogue exchanged between the two is sort of sappy…but what it comes down to is that Diane declares that Goober is different from most of the men that she has known…in that he’s completely stupid.  (No revelation here.)  No, I’m only kidding…but Goober gets ready to tell Diane that he’s lied pretty much every step of the way in their courtship and she cuts him off because she has a confession of her own:

DIANE: I-I think that Mother has given you the impression that we’re rather well-off…well…well, I’ve been wanting to tell you that…that we’re not!  Not at all…Mother regards me as…as a means of restoring the family fortune…and I don’t want you to think that’s why I’ve been going out with you…it has nothing to do with money…it really hasn’t…

“I just melt whenever I’m in your strong, masculine arms…I bet you could lift a hog over your head if you wanted to!”

DIANE: You believe me, don’t you?
GOOBER: Yeah…sure…
DIANE: I should have mentioned it before…we’re broke, Goober!
GOOBER: Oh?
DIANE: And I’m pouring it out like this because…I hate dishonesty!  And…we’ve…just been keeping up a front, I guess you’d call it…
GOOBER: Oh…
DIANE: And you’ve been so honest with me…well…now you know…

And now Diane wants to know what was on Goober’s mind…and isn’t the slightest bit fazed when she learns that there was nothing on his mind.  Okay, I’m just making another little joke there…but Goober does sort of puss out in telling her that he’s a mere gas pump jockey (and matters are certainly not helped when she bestows upon him a kiss).  So it’s back to the council office for some advice from the hired help…

SAM: Goob…you better tell her before she finds out for herself…
GOOBER (sighing): You know, I just think I’ll call her up and have her and her mother come over to the house and just come right out with it!
EMMETT: Now you’re bein’ sensible!

Said the moron who once pawned his wife’s wedding ring.

GOOBER: And another thing…I kinda made fools out of you guys…so I’d like for you to be there to…let ‘em know you’re my friends
SAM: Oh, no…Goob…that’s not necessary…
GOOBER: Sam…Sam…it’d make me feel better…
SAM (sighing, then looking at Emmett): Well…okay…
GOOBER: I’ll let you know what time…

Goober then hands Sam the rest of his unfinished orange soda and asks him he wants the rest of it—Sam politely declines, so Goob hands off the bottle to Emmett, who sits there momentarily as a two-fisted drinker.  (It’s the little things that strike me funny sometimes.)  There is then a dissolve to the hotel room that the Willoughbys are staying in during their vacation.

DIANE (on the phone): Fine!  See you then!  (She hangs up the phone)
CORNELIA: Goober?
DIANE: Yes!  He invited us to drop by at six o’clock!
CORNELIA: Did he say anything else?
DIANE: He said he had something very special he wanted to say to me…
CORNELIA (sitting down next to Diane and giving her a hug): Oh, darling!  It’s finally happened!  Oh…and to think that by this evening my little girl will be engaged…and to a very eligible oil man!

If by “oil man” you mean “a man covered in oil because it is dictated as such by his chosen profession,” then yes, you will not be disappointed.   A quick scene shift finds Goober escorting Diane and Cornelia into the drawing room, where Sam and Emmett stand at attention…


…get a load of Emmett’s suit, which Hartman had to have borrowed from the Joe Carson Collection on Petticoat Junction.  Another laugh-out loud moment.

GOOBER: Mrs. Willoughby…Diane…I don’t know if I gave you the wrong impression the other day, but…Emmett and Sam here—they’re friends of mine…
CORNELIA (taken aback): Oh…well, isn’t that marvelous!  You know, I always felt that equality…is one of the things we need most in this country…Mr. Jones…you know…actually…some of my best friends are farmers

“Oh, I can’t continue with this charade any longer!  You people reek of onions and poverty!”

SAM: Oh, is that so?
EMMETT: You mingle with any plumbers?
CORNELIA: Uh….
GOOBER: Look…Miz Willoughby…
CORNELIA: Of course, I know you and Diane want to be alone…Mr. Jones, why don’t you and I walk out into the garden?
SAM: Well, fine!  Fine!
(Emmett starts to sit down)
CORNELIA: Uh…you, too, Mr. Plumber…

Oh, Lovey…if you only knew.

DIANE: Mother…Goober just asked us to come over…I don’t think there’s any need for all this…
GOOBER: That’s right…see, I’ve got somethin’ to say to the both of you…
CORNELIA: Both of us?
GOOBER: Yeah…if everybody’s just sit down…

So everyone grabs a seat.

GOOBER: Well…it’s somethin’ I shoulda told ya long before this… (He starts to pace around the room) Diane…I know how you…dislike…dishonesty…well…that’s why it’s so hard for me to say this…well, the truth is…I don’t own that house, and I don’t own that car, and I ain’t got no money to speak of…I’m just takin’ care of this place for Mr. Fremont while he’s away…well,. I said it… (Looking at Diane) You’re smilin’!
DIANE: I just had a feeling…it’s not important, Goober…really…


Well, suffice it to say, Mrs. Willoughby doesn’t take the news that Goober is a redneck without portfolio as easily as her daughter.  She faints dead away (fortunately, she was sitting on a couch designed for that very purpose) and Sam yells at Emmett to go get some water (I guess because he’s the plumber).  When Goober expresses dismay about Cornelia’s fainting spell to Diane, Diane waves it away with “She’ll be all right,” which kind of hints that this is S.O.P. in the Willoughby household.  Emmett returns with the water, Sam instructs Cornelia to “sip it slowly”…and then Mr. Fremont conveniently returns to the house.

FREMONT: What on earth…?
GOOBER: Mr. Fremont!
FREMONT: Well, Goober…what’s going on here?
GOOBER: I didn’t expect you back today, Mr. Fremont…
FREMONT: Well, I cut my trip short, but…what’s all this?

So Goober makes the introductions—“You know Sam…and Emmett”—and to make certain Fremont knows who he is, Emmett remarks: “I fixed your garbage disposal.”  (Beautiful delivery by Hartman.)  Goober then introduces the Willoughby women; “that lady there with the water, that’s Mrs. Cornelia Willoughby,” is how he introduces Mama W.  Cornelia, putting two and two together and discovering that they add up to a buttload of money, then gets up off the couch hale and hearty and starts to flirt with Fremont.  “I was feeling a little faint for a few moments…but it’s amazing how the strong personality from a man like you can provide one strength!”

A flustered Fremont mumbles he’s glad to be of service, and Mrs. Willoughby suggests they go outside for some fresh air “if I could have your strong arm to lean on.”  Yeah, it’s that rod-and-reel casting sound again, and we wrap another one up for the week.

I’m going to run through the coda on this one because for some odd reason, the best Mayberry R.F.D. episodes (and I’d call this one a favorite; it produces some hearty chuckles here and there) always seem to have the stupidest wrap-ups.  Goober is chatting with Sam at the gas station, and he informs “Farmer Jones” that Mrs. Willoughby is re-decorating Fremont’s house and is taking good care of the millionaire—“got him on yogurt now.”  But he confesses to Sam that he’s still having problems with Diane…

GOOBER: Well, I was awful embarrassed when she found out that I didn’t own that house or that car or anything…
SAM: Well?
GOOBER: Well, so it wouldn’t be a complete letdown I told her something else and now I’m tryin’ to get out of that!
SAM: Well, why?  What’d you tell her?
GOOBER: I told her I was an undercover man for the F.B.I…

Paging Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.!

Well, before I tell you what’s in store for us next week on Mayberry Mondays I guess I’ll have to blow the dust off Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Alice-o-Meter™, because Cousin Alice (Alice Ghostley), housekeeper in the House of Sam, is a no-show for the third week in a row…so I’ll just use the figures I wrote down previously and report that her appearances in R.F.D.’s final season still stand at two.  Next week, we’re back to the nadir of the series…another one of those outings where you sort of get the feeling the writers were phoning it in (though I should probably amend that to writer—this contribution came from Gene Thompson, his only foray into R.F.D. territory).  It’s an episode called “Millie’s Dream”…and if you’re brave enough, I’ll have it for you here …only not as late as this one (had a few things I needed to juggle today, which is why I was so tardy).

3 comments:

rockfish said...

A rare classic from the RFD folk... I had hopes that it would feature the return of Det. Taylor - after Goober discovers the unseemly remains of the housekeeper in the basement, requiring ol' Goob to be hauled away in chains - with a parting glance to Emmett on "do you know anything about locks?" Mr. Fremont, in my hoped for version, would then be seen in a last shot of the episode, as cavorting in a Brazilian house of ill repute, musing with a smile about how Goober's getting along.
It seems like the good episodes rely on mistaken identity, although farmer Jones continually pretends to be agriculturally intune, and Emmett facades his way through a fix-it career ... Gander Pyle, wasn't that Goober and Gomer's Canadian cousin who nearly ran a fill in' station into the ground in Dog River, Saskatchewan before foisting the keys on the dumbfounded Leroy clan?
And what a blown opportunity for either Emmett and Sam, in their return to the Fremont mansion and Goober's confession, to come attired in the popular cravat (for the time, since I recall being primped out with a psychedelic print in Grade 1),,, fine form as usual, Squire Shreve.

Anonymous said...

I was in a local record store a few years back and they were playing some music over the sound system that I found to be quite charming. I asked the clerk who the artist was and he said it was Nancy Priddy. I had never heard of her before and the clerk mentioned she was Christina Applegate's mom. I recommend the album - You've Come This Way Before - to anyone who is a fan of pop rock from the 1960s. The reissue CD has a nice set of liner notes

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Thanks for the info on Priddy's music CD, Anonymous One. An aspect of her career with which I am admittedly unfamilar.