Andy Griffith Describes The First Time Jim Nabors Ever Sang Onstage

Source: MeTV

In 1963, Jim Nabors joined the cast of The Andy Griffith Show towards the end of 1962. According to Nielsen, The Andy Griffith Show was the sixth most popular show in the country. Andy Griffith and Don Knotts invited Nabors, their newest cast member, to join them on a road trip and perform at a Harrah’s Club in Lake Tahoe. Nabors had very little material, perhaps no more than 14 minutes, but he put on his recognizable Gomer ballcap and went along for the ride.

Griffith recounts this story during an interview with the Archive of American Television. Even Griffith himself didn’t know what Nabors would do on stage. Typically, Griffith and Knotts would start the show with Andy performing a song and a monologue. Then Knotts would join Andy on stage for a sketch. After that, Knotts and Andy each had their own spot. Finally, it was time for Nabors to contribute to the show.

Andy asked Nabors if he wanted to tell a joke, but Nabors admitted he didn’t know any. Andy then asked if he wanted to dance, but Nabors declined. Finally, Andy suggested singing, and Nabors agreed. Neither Andy nor the audience had ever heard Nabors sing before, so it was a surprise when Nabors started singing, sending chills through the crowd.

Griffith recalled, “That boy started to sing and you could feel the hair rising on everybody in that audience. And he only had 14 minutes of material. He’d just gotten in the business. He was a business major in school.”

From that point on, the audience wanted to see more of Nabors alongside Andy and Don. Griffith said, “I’d walk out on the stage and they’d boo me every night.”

Source: Wikipedia

While it’s difficult to imagine anyone booing Andy Griffith, it’s understandable why audiences wanted to hear more from Nabors. The following year, Nabors embarked on a memorable singing career, starting with his debut of his beautiful baritone on a 1964 episode of The Andy Griffith Show titled “The Song Festers.”