Sunday, December 09, 2007
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Third Season
Written by Hombre Divertido
Take a boy from Mayberry and put him in the Marines and you have the incredibly simple plot that is Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Luckily this was not a simple show. The easy road could have been taken here and a show could have been built that relied solely on the talents that Jim Nabors displayed as the lovable Gomer on The Andy Griffith Show for a little more than one season. Nabors could have carried a show for a season or two, but then we would not have Season Three, new on DVD. Instead of taking the easy road, Nabors was surrounded with a solid ensemble including Frank Sutton as Sgt. Vince Carter, Ronnie Schell as Pvt. Gilbert “Duke” Slater, William Christopher as Pvt. Lester Hummel, Roy Stuart as Cpl. Chuck Boyle, Barbara Stuart as Bunny, and Elizabeth MacCrae as Lou Ann.
The fine group of character actors really hit their stride this season, as Nabors began to settle into his role, and Pyle settled into the Marines. The stories are well rounded, and display a continuity that was ahead of its time.
At the core of this show is the relationship between Pyle and Carter, and how said relationship was allowed to evolve over the course of the five-season run. By the third season Pyle had begun to become less of a constant thorn in the side of Carter, and a father-son relationship began to develop, and signs of friendship began to appear.
As in the previously mentioned Andy Griffith Show, this is simple comedy. Not outrageous or hysterically funny, just simple, subtle, and completely enjoyable. Gomer gets into fun adventures whether he is sightseeing in Hollywood and meeting Deborah Wally as a Hollywood Starlet, or dealing with a young Rob Reiner in two of the season’s episodes.
There are thirty digitally re-mastered episodes in this set, and though not all gems, the color is sharp, and they have a good look to them.
Recommendation: Of the rural comedies on CBS in the sixties, Gomer Pyle was consistently one of the funniest. Though there are no extras in this set, it is still worth owning. Whereas most shows of this era get tiring when attempting to watch more than one episode in a session, each episode of this classic leaves you wanting to see what is coming next. The writing is fresh and contains little re-hash. Should make a good Christmas gift.