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Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Second Season [5 Discs] (DVD)

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    Synopsis

    Gomer Pyle USMC's second season picked up right where the first season left off, with a few notable differences. First, and most obvious today -- though probably not to the vast majority of viewers in 1965-66, who mostly had black-and-white television sets -- was that the series was now filmed in color. And a brace of new characters and players were added to the core cast of Jim Nabors' Private Gomer Pyle, Frank Sutton's Sergeant Vince Carter, and Ronnie Schell's Private Duke Slater. The series needed more regulars in uniform and got them. Roy Stuart came aboard as Corporal Chuck Boyle, Carter's assistant, who also frequently acted as a sounding board for the sergeant -- sometimes serving as his de facto conscience and other times just another cook adding seasoning to the broth, he allowed Carter to comiserate over Gomer Pyle's seeming goof-ups, and also occasionally tempered some of Carter's most frustrated reactions to Pyle's seeming mistakes. To the platoon itself, in addition to Schell's Duke Slater, Gomer got two new buddies, Pvt. Lester Hummell (William Christopher) and Pvt. Frankie Lombardi (Ted Bessell), who frequently were involved -- in effect, as straight men -- in the various shenanigans surrounding Gomer's seeming foul-ups. Also introduced was Forrest Compton as the base commander, Colonel Edward Gray (Forrest Compton), who often looked upon Pyle's unorthodox approach to life as a Marine with mild amusement, without ever sacrificing his own dignity or sense of decorum. And Vince Carter also got a steady girlfriend in Barbara Stuart as Bunny Wilson (or "Miss Bunny," as Gomer always called her, with boundless respect). Stuart, who was initially introduced in another role, proved every bit the match for Sutton's blustery Sergeant Carter, and for all of their occasional arguments, the two did seem like they were a couple made in heaven. Also added to the cast in Season Two was a colleague, rival, and sometime antagonist for Carter in Sergeant Charlie Hacker (Allan Melvin). A recurring guest player on The Andy Griffith Show for the previous four seasons (and usually portraying heavies), Melvin -- who also did the voice for the title character on THe Magilla Gorilla Show -- proved a perfect comedic foil for Sutton's Carter, crafty and devious in ways that allowed him to get under Carter's skin more than once. The plots followed the same pattern as the previous season, but with more variety and ambitious story-lines. The opening episode of the season was something of a landmark, as Gomer is promoted to Private First Class -- this was the only promotion that Gomer ever received during the run of the series (although in more recent years -- and in real-life -- the Commandant of the Marine Corps made Gomer Pyle [and actor Jim Nabors] an honorary corporal in the United States Marine Corps). Arguably, the funniest story-arc in the entire run of the series was also the longest, the three episodes -- numbers 7 ("Cat Overboard"), 8 ("Gomer Captures A Submarine"), and 9 ("The Grudge Fight") from this season -- in which Gomer's platoon puts to sea on a United States Navy ship as part of maneuvers. In addition to some very funny slapstick bits involving Gomer and a rubber raft in one episode, among other run-ins with Navy equipment, the story-arc introduced Tige Andrews (in a rare comedy role) as Chief Petty Officer Simpson, a tough-as-nails navy non-com who is always eager to show up the Marines (and, especially, Sergeant Carter). Another classic episode, "Gomer And The Phone Company", had Gomer Pyle accidentally receiving a huge coin refund at a defective pay phone, and ending up just short of getting arrested in the course of trying to give back the money. (Note: This episode has the double ring-of-truth for this writer, who experienced something similar in the twenty-first century, in the course of trying to return an unjustified refund to a government tax unit). Another episode, {#"Duke Slater, Night Club Comic"}, took advantage of Ronnie Schell's background as a stand-up comic. Most of the episodes were ultimately built around Gomer's essential good nature and his belief in decency, which usually wins out. Unlike a lot of series that started in black-and-white and went to color, Gomer Pyle USMC saw no decline in the quality of its scripts or directing in the transition to color, and was ensconsed in the top five ratings list for this season. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Jim Nabors - Pvt. Gomer Pyle
    • Frank Sutton - Sgt. Vince Carter
    • Ronnie Schell - Pvt. Gilbert `Duke' Slater
    • Barbara Stuart - Bunny
    • William Christopher - Pvt. Lester Hummel
    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.