After missing last year with an illness, Goober’s son is happy to be back at Mayberry Days.
George Lindsey Jr., son of the late actor who played Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show,” said he had made the trip from California five years in a row before missing 2016.
This time he flew in from the Los Angeles airport Wednesday evening along with Don Knotts’ daughter, Karen, and Leroy and Jan McNees.
In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea putting all of them on the same plane, he joked, referencing Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper all being on the same flight in 1959.
Since arriving, Lindsey has stayed busy. On Thursday he participated in The Emmett, the golf tournament at Cross Creek Country Club.
On Friday he was there for the reading of the proclamation honoring the official opening of the Mayberry Days festivities. In the evening he was outside the Andy Griffith Playhouse for the Barbecue Showmanship judging.
Today he plans to be in the Mayberry Days Parade at 9 a.m. While some other appearances may be in the works, his itinerary includes participating in Colonel Tim’s Talent Time, which starts at 7 p.m.
At the golf tournament, Lindsey debuted a comedy song in the clubhouse after playing a round on the course.
He said he has been working on an full album of humorous songs with a 75-year-old percussionist playing the washboard, spoons and other instruments.
He pulled out his Ovation guitar and gave the locals a sample with the song “I’m Not Near as Mean as You Are to Me.”
Lindsey said that when he goes places people often don’t refer to him by name, but just as Goober’s son. So he has embraced that as a nickname.
Back in 1968 George Lindsey Sr. released an album on Capitol Records called “Goober Sings.”
So, Lindsey has decided to title his album “Gooberson Sings” with the two words jammed together like one name.
Or, he joked, if it were pronounced Gooba-San it would sound like a Japanese horror monster.
Right after he finished his song Thursday, Lindsey heard his name being called for winning an award in the golf tournament. He said he knew his foursome (which included Jim Clark, the founder of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club) had a pretty good day, but he was pleasantly surprised they won something.
His team received the Barney Fife Esquire Award, given to the foursome with the worst score of the day. Lindsey said that sounded about right for his own game.
“I play military golf. ‘Left. Left. Left, right, left,’” he said.
The 18th hole has a water hazard, Lindsey said. He decided after his lousy round that he was just going to say farewell to his ball by sending it into the lake. He teed the ball up, hit it and watched it soar all the way over the water.
“The best ball I hit all day,” he said. He thought about sending a different ball into the water, but Clark suggested he should end on a high note.
As for tonight’s performance, Lindsey said he usually goes on the talent show about three-fourths of the way through.
He said he will come out and do a couple of songs, including “Goober Says Hey,” which has audience participation. Then he will be joined by another singer/guitarist.
Lindsey said he and Margaret Kerry’s son, Eric Norquist, have developed a comedy act called “Eric and George, the One-Man Show.” They will offer a bit of that show for the crowd.
As for what brings the 55-year-old Southern Californian back to the Granite City for the sixth time, Lindsey said he didn’t want to sound like a cliche by likening it to a family reunion, but it does feel that way.
In 2012, his father died at the age of 83. He recalled riding in the parade that fall and looking out at the sidewalk and seeing his dad. He said it felt so surreal like an episode of the Twilight Zone until he realized it was just an actor portraying Goober for the crowd.
There is a tribute artist named Tim Pettigrew who does a great Goober, Lindsey said. Folks have asked him if it bothers him that someone else is pretending to be his dad’s signature role. He said, “No, not in the least.” He appreciates people keeping his father’s spirit alive.
On Friday morning, he heard Louis Armstrong’s classic song “What a Wonderful World” on the radio. With all the craziness around the globe, it’s great to come here and be part of this event and spend time with the nice folks who put the event on and all the visitors who come.
For a brief moment in time, it truly is a wonderful world.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.