Goober Has Gone

For better or worse, a lot of people only know of rural life, country music, and Buck Owens from what they saw on Hee Haw. A staple on that show, as well as other ruralish shows like Andy Griffith and Mayberry R.F.D., was George Lindsey aka Goober.

Gomer Pyle’s cousin in that whistlin’ no-bullet-in-gun-needing town of Mayberry, Lindsey first auditioned for the Gomer role himself before it went to Jim Nabors. Even if you hated poor Goober (and no one can blame you if did) you’ve gotta love that hat he wore. Who else could pull that off but Jughead?

The hat was actually (if oddly) historically accurate. In the 20s and 30s, it was commonly worn by mechanics (which Goober was). Later in the 30s and 40s, boys wore it for fun. I am told (but can not believe) it was actually somewhat cool. But, then, look at me. I’m using the word cool which hasn’t been cool for decades. I suppose you’re lucky I don’t say it was nifty.

Lindsay had a sense of humor about his character, though. On News Radio, he once had a cameo when his (supposed) skull, of all things, was being sold as a celebrity trinket. I can’t remember if he did his famous Goober Dance over that one, or not.

If you need to buy a Goober beanie, and who doesn’t, you can find one at Weaver’s Department Store. Aunt Bee also has a cookbook out, though from what I remember Andy and Opie spent a bit of time only pretending to like her food. But maybe that’s what nostalgia’s for, after all, forgetting the oh, too truthful moments like that.

Nostalgia can also be hard to cross over from into real life. Andy Griffith was such a staunch Democrat he was asked by the party to run against Jesse (Just Call Me Satan) Helms back in the 80s. Griffith also recorded commercials in favor of democratic programs in the past few years that made otherwise serene senior citizens vow to spit on him for somehow despoiling his idyllic town of Mayberry.

He also supported Obama for president in an ad with Ron (Opie) Howard. Now everyone knows rural people only vote Republican. I guess when you step out of the rural stereotype, in real life or tv, it’s just no fun anymore. If you want to read more about how progressives need to be more aware of (and make less fun of) the rural vote in order to attain long term power, read Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run ’em Out. A lot of great stuff in there on how guns are used as a wedge issue to get folks to vote against their own best interest. It’s a pro gun book but also an anti-NRA one. Just my type.

George “Goober” Lindsey was 83. Andy Griffith, 85, is still alive and kicking reactionary Republican butt.

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