1 9 6 4 – 1 9 6 9 (USA)
150 x 30 minute episodes
The character of Gomer Pyle was first seen in the third season of The Andy Griffith Show. Gomer was the naive local gas station attendant in Mayberry who was sweet and honest, but as thick as a brick – a kind of prototype for Forrest Gump (1994).
Gomer was a constant source of frustration for Sheriff Andy Taylor and Jim Nabors was offered his own series after a year.
The pilot was aired as an episode of Andy Griffith, in which Gomer decides to enlist in the Marine Corps. Nabors played the same country bumpkin with the high-pitched voice and pronounced southern drawl, who kept saying “Gollllie!” whenever confronted with an unusual situation.
Stationed at Camp Henderson in California, Gomer finds himself in hot water with his drill instructor, Sergeant Vince Carter.
Carter is a tough leather-neck perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown, who initially wants to mould Pyle into a model Marine, and then to simply get rid of him from his platoon.
The tough D.I. is a confirmed bachelor (later developing a relationship with a local girl named Bunny Olsen) and eventually forms quite a special friendship with Pyle.
Gomer’s best friend is Private Gilbert ‘Duke’ Slater (who does great imitations and once did a nightclub act impersonating the irascible Sgt Carter) but he gets along well with most of the members of his platoon (including Corporal Chuck Boyle, Frankie Lombardi, Lester Hummel and Sgt. Hacker).
Gomer also ultimately finds a girlfriend in Lou Ann Poovie, an aspiring (bad) singer and waitress at a restaurant near the base.
Pvt. Gomer Pyle
Sgt. Vince Carter
Pvt. Gilbert “Duke” Slater
Pvt. Frankie Lombardi
Sgt. Charles Hacker
Lou Anne Poovie
Cpl Charles ‘Chuck’ Boyle
Colonel Edward Gray
Pvt. Lester Hummel
Cpl. Nick Cuccinelli