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Classic Television Memories: In Memoriam 2012

Updated on July 23, 2012

Greetings All. The first half of this year has seen the passing of many of Classic Television’s personalities.

In this hub, we say so-long to George Lindsay (Goober Pyle), Richard Dawson (Cpr Newkirk), Dick Clark (American Bandstand), Andy Griffith (Andy Taylor), Ernest Borgnine (Lt. McHale), and Don Grady (Robbie Douglas).

George Lindsay (1928-2012)

Mr. Lindsay played Goober Pyle, cousin of Gomer on the popular Andy Griffith Show (!960-1969). He later replaced Gomer (Jim Nabors), as mechanic at Wally’s filling station, when Nabors was picked up for his own series Gomer Pyle, USMC.

Lindsay’s first appearance on the show was November 26, 1965, and continued on until the show became Mayberry RFD in 1968, and remained on that show until it left the air in 1971.

Richard Dawson (1932-2012)

Before he was kissing contestants on Family Feud, he spent six years in Stalag 13, as a member of Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971), as British Corporal Peter Newkirk. Newkirk was a con man, pick-pocket, safecracker, bookie, German impersonator, and tailor.

Dawson was an original cast member of the series from its debut on September 17, 1965 to its final show on March 28, 1971.

Dick Clark (1929-2012)

He was dubbed “The World’s Oldest Teenager”, referring to his youthful features. Mr. Clark was the host of the popular dance show American Bandstand. (1957-1989).

American Bandstand, the precursor to shows such as Soul Train, and Solid Gold, featured teenagers dancing to the popular music of the day. The show was a groundbreaker in that it allowed African-American entertainers to share the stage with their white counterparts during a time of racial segregation, and was responsible for many artists becoming household names.

After Bandstand, Mr. Clark became a successful producer of game shows such as the $10,000.00 Pyramid in which he also hosted, and was responsible for bringing in the New Year on his Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve show.

Don Grady (1944-2012)

Grady played Robbie Douglas, oldest son of Fred McMurray’s Steve Douglas character on the sitcom My Three Sons (1960-1972) first on ABC, later CBS. Grady’s character became the oldest son when Tim Considine (Mike) left the series, leaving Chip (Stanley Livingston) the spot of middle sibling, and later adopted child Ernie (Barry Livingston) to round out the three sons.

Later in the series, upon the family’s move from the Midwest to California, Robbie meets and marries Katie (Tina Cole), and has three sons of their own.

The series folded in 1972, however Grady found parts in other television shows such as Love American Style, and pursued his career as an accomplished musician.

Andy Griffth (1926-2012)

He was “The Sheriff Without a Gun“. For eight years, Andy Griffith portrayed Andy Taylor, peace officer of the fictional southern town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Andy seemed like the only straight person in the town, having to put up with the antics of his deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), Floyd the Barber (Howard McNear), Otis The Town Drunk (Paul Smith), and many other characters that drifted through Mayberry.

Widower Taylor divided his official duties with that of raising his son, Opie (Ron Howard), aided by doting Aunt Bea (Francis Bavier).

Although the series was basically a sitcom, there were many serious episodes also, and many involving the capturing of desperate criminals.

It was not all work for Sheriff Taylor. Andy had many women in his life, but his main squeeze was school teacher Helen Crump (Aneta Corsault).

Griffith left the show, before it became known as Mayberry RFD in 1968, replaced by Ken Berry as the lead. He had many guest starring and starring roles in other series, but is fondly remembered post Andy Griffith Show, as lawyer Matlock.

Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012)

Veteran actor of such films as the Dirty Dozen, and The Wild Bunch. Beginning in 1962, Borgnine played Quinton McHale, Lt. Commander of PT boat 73, in the World War II comedy series McHale’s Navy (1962-1966).

McHale was a con man reminiscent of Phil Silvers’ Sgt Bilko character, always putting one over on Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn), and his bumbling assistant, Lt. Carpenter (Bob Hastings).

McHale commanded his own misfit crew consisting among others comedian Tim Conway (Ensign Parker) later of The Carol Burnett Show, and Gavin Macleod (Haines), later Murray of The Mary Tyler Moore show, and Captain Steubbing of The Love Boat.

After McHale’s Navy ended in 1966, Borgnine guest starred on many television shows and movies, completing his last film 2012.


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