Thursday, May 16, 2013

Goober Day


It was well known that UNA graduate George Lindsey didn’t like to be called “Goober;” however, on April 23, 1966, Mr. Lindsey managed to put aside his personal feelings and enjoy a day named in honor of his Andy Griffith Show character. Arriving at Muscle Shoals Airport on the preceding Thursday, Lindsey spent the better part of three days signing autographs for his fans, among them a young “Danny” Klibanoff, brother to Florence’s future Pulitzer Prize winner Hank Klibanoff.

Lindsey spent most of Friday, April 22, on the campus of what was then Florence State College. He later appeared on WOWL television’s local program Outlook, and ended the day with a banquet in his honor at Florence Golf and Country Club. WOWL owner Dick Biddle acted as master of ceremonies, and Lindsey’s former college coach Hal Self presented him with a set of golf clubs. During the banquet, the comedian joked that Florence insurance agent L.L. Whitten, who had scheduled the weekend’s activities, had given him three minutes to shave.

Goober Day on Saturday was organized by Downtown Florence Unlimited and featured a parade that began at Rogers Hall and continued down Court Street. Lindsey disappointed local industrialist Elton Darby when he refused the offer of a helicopter ride the few blocks from his accommodations at the Holiday Inn to Courtview. The motorcade, complete with local bands, stopped at the Tennessee Street intersection where Mayor Alfred C. Putteet gave Lindsey a key to the city.

Mr. Lindsey then visited with his fans for over two hours, signing autographs, and regaling the audience with his homespun wit. The day’s festivities were capped with an invitational “Beat Goober” golf tournament at Florence Golf and Country Club.

Since the event was sponsored by the DFU, most downtown stores didn’t miss the opportunity to engage in a sale or two. Some retail establishments gave away Tom’s Roasted Peanuts in honor of Goober. Even the Holiday Inn employees got into the act by sporting purple and gold beanies.

As George Lindsey left to return to his home in Los Angeles, he stated he wanted to quote Sheriff Andy Taylor. Commenting on the day in his honor, Lindsey said he “Shore did ‘preciate it.”

Bette Favor Terry holds a B.A. in history from UAH.

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