Remember that time a star from The Andy Griffith Show played a snooty surgeon from Arkansas on M*A*S*H?
That was back in 1978, when “Goober said hey” to the surgeons of the 4077th. George Lindsey, who played slow, but friendly gas station attendant Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show. He definitely played against type, right, when Lindsey portrayed Capt. Roy Dupree, a surgeon?
Actually, Lindsey probably was most like his character on M*A*S*H than he was as Goober on The Andy Griffith Show. Lindsey was smart and educated. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioscience from North Alabama and was the quarterback of the football team. After graduation, he served in the Air Force, then worked as a science teacher before he started earning a paycheck as an actor.
Lindsey wrote about his episode on M*A*S*H in his 1995 memoir he called Goober in a Nutshell.
“My first day on the set, some of the stars didn’t speak to me, which is not rare in Hollywood,” The Andy Griffith star wrote. “I had worked before with Jamie Farr (Klinger) and Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter). Jamie had done a Griffith episode and I had appeared with Harry in a movie for Disney called Snowball Express, so I knew them and they were friendly.”
“It’s funny,” Lindsey wrote. “You seldom know anybody in Hollywood unless you are at the same level of pay and social structure that they are. Anyway, after the M*A*S*H corps realized that I could act as well as they could, then the other regular cast members began to talk with me when we were off camera — everybody except the guys in the tent, Mike Farrell and David Ogden Stiers.”
Andy Griffith Show Star Played a Visiting Doctor on M*A*S*H
The M*A*S*H episode was called Temporary Duty. The plot was about a switch of surgeons. Hawkeye Pierce went to work for the 8063 and Lindsey’s character served temporary duty at the 4077.
Here’s part of the review on IMDb:
Alan Alda’s “counterpart is a guy named Dupree, played by George Lindsey, Cousin Goober on the Andy Griffith Show. He is a boorish windbag who is also an excellent surgeon. He is sort of idiot savant cowboy. Anyway he riles things up for B.J. and Winchester to where they want to be rid of him. Meanwhile, his impressive skills catch the eye of Potter and he is ready to join the party permanently.”
The M*A*S*H episode ran on Feb. 13, 1978.
Lindsey knew he had a sweet gig as Goober on The Andy Griffith Show. His character was unforgettable. He joined the show in 1964 as a cousin to Jim Nabor’s Gomer Pyle. Nabor left the show to star in his own spinoff, while Lindsey took over the Mayberry gas station.
After the Andy Griffith Show went off the air, Lindsey still played Goober on Mayberry RFD. And later, he showed up as Goober on the country variety show, Hee Haw.
Lindsey died in 2012, about two months before Andy Griffith. They both live on in classic TV.