Gomer Pyle, Television’s Faux Elvis, On a Date With the Colonel’s Daughter, by Jim Demetre, Celebrity Guest Blogger

One of the legacies of World War II, with its enlistment of young men from across the United States for military service in Europe and the Pacific, was the integration of Southern rural culture – both black and white – into mainstream American life. The South, which had been largely isolated from the rest of the country since reconstruction, was soon to play a significant new role in our nation’s popular culture.

In the September 1957, as the Arkansas National Guard was overseeing the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Tupelo, Mississippi-born singer Elvis Presley’s song “Jailhouse Rock” was about to become the nation’s #1 hit. America would never again look – or sound – the same.

The combination of affection and unease that many American’s felt towards their Southern brethren can be seen in the popular television series “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” which starred Alabama-born actor Jim Nabors and ran from 1964-1969 on CBS. In this clip from the 1964 episode “A Date for the Colonel’s Daughter” Pvt. Pyle’s enthusiasm and lack of decorum disrupts the rigid order of the military base, just as Elvis – his back-country cousin – had disrupted the cultural landscape of the United States a few years earlier.

– Jim Demetre is a Seattle-based writer and the publisher and editor of Artdish.

Comments are closed.