I was saddened, as I’m sure you were, by the news of George “Goober” Lindsey’s passing this past Sunday.
He was a good man, a funny man, and was responsible for one of the most memorable moments in my life.
Years ago when he was in the television cast of Mayberry R.F.D. and I was on tour in California, he invited me on my day off to accompany him to the set of the show. I was a gigantic fan of the old Andy Griffith Show, and the thought of seeing and perhaps meeting some of the carryover stars from that show thrilled me no end.
We arrived at the studio, George introduced me to Ken Berry and others, and I was walking on air. In the back of my mind, though, I was secretly wishing Andy himself were there. That, I figured, would make my day complete. George had told me, though, that there was little likelihood of that happening.
I was standing back in the shadows trying to stay out of everyone’s way while the cameras rolled when I heard someone behind me softly singing, “Gonna have a wild weekend….gonna have a wild weekend….” I turned around, and there stood Andy Griffith bigger than life!
And not only was he standing there, he was singing one of MY songs!! And with that famous grin on his face that I’d seen a million times on TV. George has gotten word to him that I was coming to the studio, and he had come by to say hello. I’m not in awe of very many celebrities, but that one moment totally floored me. I’ll never forget it.
George was a special man, a unique talent who started out to become a serious actor then made his fortune playing the part of a country simpleton. I can’t imagine anyone who could have made a better “Goober.”
Over the years, I shared the stage with George quite a few times at concert dates across the country. He made me roll with laughter many times, but for some reason I especially remember the day we were on a plane together flying to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a show. He was seated a couple of rows behind me and across the aisle. As we began our descent across the desert, George yelled out to me in his best Goober voice, “Hey Bill….is the ocean on your side?” You could hear people laughing from one end of the plane to the other.
The last time I saw George was when we got together for our Salute To The Kornfield show as part of our Country’s Family Reunion series. I could tell at the time that he wasn’t feeling up to his normal level of foolishness, but when the cameras focused on him, he came alive…just like the consummate professional he always was.
I’m glad he was a part of my life. I’ll miss him a lot.