September 25, 1964 - May 2, 1969
CBS Situation Comedy - 150 Episodes


Private Gomer Pyle:   Jim Nabors
Sgt. Vince Carter:   Frank Sutton
Duke Slater:   Ronnie Schell
Pvt. Frankie Lombardi:   Ted Bessell
Bunny, Carter's girlfriend:   Barbara Stuart
Sgt. Charles Hacker:   Allan Melvin
Lou Anne Poovie:   Elizabeth MacRae
Corporal Charles Boyle:   Roy Stuart
Colonel Edward Gray:   Forrest Compton
Pvt. Lester Hummel:   William Christopher
Cpl. Nick Cuccinello:   Tommy Leonetti
Larry:   Larry Hovis
Anderson:   Craig Huebing

One of classic TV's earliest spin-off series,
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was the country cousin to
The Andy Griffith Show. Originally introduced in
the third season of Andy Griffith, Gomer was the
local mechanic with an uncanny aptitude for annoyance.
Sweet as pie but as dense as a stump, Gomer forever
vexed Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife with
his sweet buffoonery. A stand-out in the ensemble cast,
Jim Nabors, who played Gomer, was offered his own
series after a little more than a year. The pilot was
aired as an episode of Andy Griffith, in which dimwitted
Gomer decides to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Which opens the door for an abundance of TV comedy possibilities
instead of having Gomer simply enroll in a military university.

Stationed at Camp Henderson in California, pie-eyed
Gomer finds himself in hot water with his drill instructor,
Sergeant Vince Carter. Carter is a tough-as-nails leather-
neck who wants nothing more than to sculpt Pyle into a
model Marine. Gomer's back-woods naiveté stifles his
learning, much to the chagrin of his Sergeant. Essentially
a good man, high-strung Sergeant Carter is perpetually on
the verge of a nervous breakdown. He's a tough D.I. on the
surface, and can handle almost everything...except Pvt. Pyle.

Gomer brings out the worst in Carter, who is foiled by
just about everything the half-witted recruit does. As
much as Carter tries to dislike Gomer, he can't help but
develop a special friendship with him. No matter how
strained or challenging the relationship, Carter eventually
comes to care for Pyle deeply. Initially, Carter is a
confirmed bachelor, but he later develops a
relationship with a local girl named Bunny.

The road to becoming one of the few, the proud,
is a tough one, but Gomer's naive determination
serves him well. Gomer is honest to a fault and
cares more about the people around him than he
does about himself. In a way, his selflessness
and lack of mental muscle make him a far better
Marine than most of the men around him. Gomer
gets along well with most of his platoon mates,
and completely confounds those who don't grasp
his back-woods ways. Gomer also strikes up a
special relationship with Lou Ann Poovie,
a waitress at a restaurant near the base.

Corporal Boyle, Frankie Lombardi, Private Hummel,
Sgt. Hacker and Private (later promoted to corporal
and pictured below) Slater are among Gomer's closest
platoon mates. Most of them are city slickers, though
they learn a thing or two from Gomer's quirky blend
of country wisdom. They're a group of regular guys,
and each and every one of them benefits from Gomer
Pyle's huge heart, even if they are occasionally
befuddled by his bumpkinish ways.

Click on the links below to download theme song.
(wav) (midi)


Photos courtesy of MPTV.net.

I have had many requests for
more pictures and information
on Frank Sutton. Until now I
have not had anything to add.
Pam Batey has been kind enough
to contribute these three photos.
Below is a picture of Frank
Sutton shaking hands with a
real marine in Vietnam.
Below is a picture of Frank Sutton as he looked when he appeared on a Twilight Zone episode sometime before Gomer Pyle. You'll notice in this picture he doesn't have a crew-cut.
Authoritarian Frank Sutton was the perfect actor to play Drill Sergeant Vince Carter. Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, the flat-topped actor fit the part perfectly. Sutton began his career in radio, and went on to act in a number of early television serials such as Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Captain Video. Sutton also guest starred on many classic TV shows, including The Naked City, Gunsmoke and The Twilight Zone, and feature films such as 1961's Town Without Pity. In 1964, Sutton took on his signature role as Sergeant Carter, which he played for five years. For two years after the series ended, Sutton teamed up with his former platoonmate on The Jim Nabors Variety Hour, on which he contributed his talents to the show's comic sketches and musical numbers. Sadly, Frank Sutton passed away on June 28, 1974 from a heart attack at age 51.

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