Tom Joyce Staff Reporter
September 24, 2013
Goober represented the quintessential gas station attendant back in the day, when the friendly employee not only would pump gas but check the engine oil and air in the tires for the extra-low price of free.
Both those pre-self-service days and George Lindsey, who played Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show,” are now part of history — but clothing he wore on the job is helping to keep alive his memory and that of how gas stations once operated.
An example of that clothing has been received by the Surry Arts Council, the sponsor of Mayberry Days, from George Lindsey Jr., who’ll appear at the annual event this week.
It includes a light-blue shirt attached to a pair of pants, with the latter having been worn by Lindsey’s father while appearing as Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show” during the 1960s.
Lindsey Jr., 51, explained during a telephone interview from his home in Woodland Hills, Calif., that the ensemble was coupled together by his father for his later role on another television program. “The one I sent was the one he wore when he did the ‘Hee Haw’ show,” he said.
“Hee Haw” was a comedy-variety series that hit the airwaves in the late 1960s, in which George Lindsey basically portrayed the same familiar role.
“What he did is he put together some pants and a shirt, and made it into (something) like coveralls,” Lindsey Jr. explained, “so he could zip it up the front, you know, with the tire gauge and all the other stuff in the pockets.”
There was a reason for all this, the younger Lindsey said.
“Just because it was simpler to put on,” he said, “’cause he was getting a little older. So he had a couple of them (service-station attendant uniforms) made into coveralls.”
The jumpsuit-type clothing, also including two of Goober’s trademark beanies, was received in the mail from Lindsey Jr. during the weekend by the Surry Arts Council, where Executive Director Tanya Jones considers it a treasured part of Mayberry-esque memorabilia. She pointed out Monday that the shirt contains a tag identifying it as part of the “Hee Haw” wardrobe department.
In addition to a tire gauge, the array includes a shop rag for oil checking.
“We’re excited,” added Jones, who had hoped the clothing worn by George Lindsey would arrive in time for the official opening of the 24th-annual Mayberry Days festival on Friday. It will then find a permanent home in the Andy Griffith Museum, which already contains the original beanie worn by Lindsey — which he had bronzed — and a brown suit that he donned for several Griffith show episodes.
“To have so many things from George Lindsey, especially when he made appearances as Goober, will be really important for the museum and Mayberry fans,” Jones said.
Lindsey appeared as Goober in 86 episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1964-68 and continued the role in the spinoff series “Mayberry RFD” until 1971. He later kept the characterization alive on “Hee Haw.” Lindsey died in May 2012 at age 83.
He had made one appearance at Mayberry Days, in 1999, and now his son attends every year to keep the tradition going.
Lindsey Jr. mentioned that his father knew his way around a service station. “When he was growing up, he actually worked at a gas station,” he said of a garage business owned by his aunt, “Goober’s” sister. This was in George Lindsey’s hometown of Jasper, Ala.
“So he actually knew how to fix stuff in real life,” his son said.
Lindsey Jr. has maintained possession of the primary service station garb worn by his dad on “The Andy Griffith Show,” which the younger Lindsey, also an actor, guitarist and singer, sometimes uses for his own personal appearances.
“The original stuff, I’m wearing,” he said. “I’m going to keep that around for me.”
Although George Lindsey is best-known for his work as Goober, he actually played a variety of roles before that which casual fans might be unaware of, his son said.
This included guest appearances on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” along with portraying heavies on Western shows such as “Gunsmoke” and “The Rifleman.”
“He was a bad a** — he was a mean guy,” Lindsey Jr. said of such parts. “Marshall Dillon actually killed my dad.”
The younger Lindsey is looking forward to performing this week at Mayberry Days, where he is known for rendering original songs with a comical flair. “I can’t wait,” he said.
“It’s taken me a year to get ready and I’ve been playing my guitar all summer long, and I’ve got a new tune.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.