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Q & A

Just Like Gomer, Jim Nabors Remains the Optimist

Now healthy after a liver transplant six years ago, the semiretired performer makes time for music, including a new album and a handful of concerts.

June 02, 2000|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A: No, not at all. We had established it was a peacetime situation and every episode was a peacetime situation. War wasn't mentioned. I shot the first few episodes at the Marine base in San Diego--the opening where I was marching along. The Marines were very supportive of it. As a matter of fact, when I went to Vietnam in 1971 with Bob Hope, we went to Da Nang, which was a Marine base. I just have to say it was one of the biggest thrills I have ever had. I got the most moving ovation I have ever received in my life. There were 40,000 Marines, and all Hope said was, "Gentlemen, I bring you your leader." And they cheered. Gosh . . . those guys . . . I tell you.

Q: Why do you think the appeal of "Andy Griffith" and "Gomer Pyle" is timeless?

A: To me, one of the reasons they are still very popular is that it's probably the only thing on TV now that is positive. Television has become very cynical, even the comedy shows, and the cynicism from the young people just boggles my mind. In Mayberry, there was no illness. There was no war. There was no violence. There was no graffiti. We all had a good time and we laughed a lot.

* "The Andy Griffith Show" can be seen weekdays at 4, 7 and 10 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 7 and 10 p.m. on TV Land. "Gomer Pyle, USMC" can be seen weekdays at 7 a.m., 4:30 and 10:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on TV Land.

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