Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Third Season – DVD Review

DVD available at Amazon.com

Created by:
Aaron Ruben

Cast:
Jim Nabors….Pvt. Gomer Pyle
Frank Sutton….Sgt. Vince Carter
Ronnie Schell…Pvt. Gilbert “Duke” Slater
William Christopher….Pvt. Lester Hummel
Roy Stuart….Cpl. Chuck Boyle
Allan Melvin….Sgt. Hacker

Paramount Home Video presents Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Third Season. Thirty episodes on 5 DVDs. Episodes aired from Sept. 14, 1966 to April 12, 1967. DVD released Dec. 11, 2007.

The Show

How come Sgt. Carter didn’t kill Gomer Pyle at the obstacle course? Accidents happen on Marine Bases. Sometimes a live hand grenade finds itself in the tire obstacle. Why wouldn’t the rope break on the 30 ft. climb? Before Gomer reported for duty, Sgt. Carter was the toughest drill sergeant in the Marines. But he couldn’t break and rebuild Gomer into a killing machine. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Third Season exposes the greatest “man crush” on TV being the one Gomer had for his Sgt. Carter.

People often ask where an actor gets their inspiration to nail a role. It’s safe to say that Frank Sutton tapped Sgt. Carter’s inner anger from his own past. Sutton was a decorated World War II army veteran. This branch of the service wasn’t his first choice. He couldn’t pass the physical to join the Marines. How could he not explode in Jim Nabors’ face knowing that Gomer was one of the few and the proud and Sutton was sent packing? Sutton’s raw frustration is the magic of the show. He’s not holding back when screaming, “Move it, Pyle!”

The third season had Cpl. Chuck Boyle become more of a presence as a release valve for Sgt. Carter. The venting sessions keep his commander from going homicidal on Pyle. The barracks were lightened when Pvt. Lombardi (Ted Bessell and his impeccable hair) transfered to That Girl. William Christopher picked up screen time as Pvt. Hummel. He’d be a moral voice to battle Pvt. Duke Slater’s plans that tempt Gomer during paydays. Christopher’s morality would assist in his rise to fame as Father Mulcahy on MASH.

The third season starts with “Lies, Lies, Lies.” Gomer gets off the bus during a tour of the Hollywood stars homes. He meets a famous actress when he creeps into her backyard. Nowadays they call security on a guy like Gomer. But this actress offers to throw a cookout for his platoon. When Gomer and his boys arrive at the showbiz mansion, the butler sends them packing. Sgt. Carter thinks Gomer has finally snapped and become a liar. Gomer has to restore his credibility. “Crazy Legs Gomer” continues the pissing contest between Sgt. Carter and Sgt. Hacker. Carter just wants to win one competition against Hacker, but Gomer keeps screwing up the wager.

“Gomer and the Little Men from Outer Space” is a classic episode. Gomer thinks he’s discovered a UFO filled with aliens. Sgt. Carter thinks his least favorite private has finally flipped, but then he has a close encounter. No need to spoil if the extraterrestrials anally probe anyone in Camp Henderson. “The Secret Life of Gomer Pyle” is a loaded title. There’s always been suspicions about what Gomer did with his two day passes. Unfortunately this episodes doesn’t expose the torrid truth. Gomer spends the weekends doing needle point with old ladies. He meets two men on the beach that want him to pose for pictures. While Gomer poses solo, they use trick photography to make Gomer look like a stud with the ladies. Gomer finds himself the star of a gentleman’s magazine. Carter think his private has been holding back on the lady action. The episode is confusing since Hope Summers plays Clarice instead of being Clara Edwards, her character on The Andy Griffith Show.

“Gomer, the Welsh Rarbit Fiend” has the sweet tempered private tear Sgt. Carter a new one. Jim Nabors turns into Lee Emery of Full Metal Jacket fame. What inspires this attitude change? Gomer’s favorite new food. Even more hilarious is when Sgt. Carter assumes Gomer’s role in the argument. These two played the switcheroo to the extreme.

As the conflict in Vietnam increased, Gomer Pyle remained a Top 10 show. Why? Because Gomer lived in a universe that didn’t have the Marines off fighting Communism. He was a camouflaged break from the Saigon headlines. “You Bet Your Won Ton” finally puts Gomer in the middle of an Asian mission. One of the platoon members gets accepted into Officer Training School so Gomer suggests a farewell dinner. He wants to hold the banquet at a quiet Chinese restaurant run by the legendary James Hong. What Gomer doesn’t understand is that place is a front for a gambling casino in the kitchen. It’s sweet when Gomer reasons a harden criminal into going straight.

Like season 2, there’s a couple episodes that have been cut down from the 25 minute original broadcast version. “To Re-Enlist Or Not to Re-Enlist” is sliced down to 24 minutes. Pyle’s three year hitch with the Marines is up. Carter does his best to introduce Gomer to the joys of the civilian life. He wants him out of the Corp. There’s a bit of jealous glee in Sutton’s eyes when he thinks the plan has worked. “Lou-Ann Poovie Sings Again” (23:42) seems to be missing a song or two. The sweet Southern songbird (introduced in “Love’s Old Sweet Song”) attracts the attention of Gomer, Carter and Duke. Who will win the singer’s charm? This episode does show how far the producers went to avoid Vietnam references. Even though Poovie sings at a tiki bar that’s filled with Pacific decor, the joint is called the Congo Room. Gomer Pyle went that extra step to deny contemporary military life. The horny trio also have a bit of denial when it comes to their lust object. Poovie is a hot woman, but stinks as a singer. She’s a role model to Ashlee Simpson, Fergie and Britney Spears.

Plenty of series during the third season either get slack or introduce new characters to keep things interesting. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. didn’t coast or draft fresh recruits. There was no stunt casting to shake up the barracks. They didn’t need a gimmick like sending the platoon overseas. There was no drop in the show’s energy level since Sgt. Carter was an endless volcano of anger when Gomer smiled. What made Gomer Pyle a popular show wasn’t merely the private’s follies, but the sense that Sgt. Carter would finally beat Gomer to death with a shovel.

The Episodes

“Lies, Lies, Lies,” “Crazy Legs Gomer,” “Gomer the Carrier,” “Caution: Low Overhead,” “Show Me The Way to Go Home,” “How to Succeed in Farming Without Really Trying,” “Gomer and the Little Men From Outer Space,” “The Borrowed Car,” “Gomer Pyle, Super Chef,” “Marry Me, Marry Me,” “Cold Nose, Warm Heart,” “Follow That Car,” “It Takes Two to Tangle,” “Whither the Weather,” “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” “Gomer the Recruiter,” “The Secret Life of Gomer Pyle,” “Go Blow Your Horn,” “You Bet Your Won Ton,” “Sue The Pants Off ‘Em,” “Gomer the Card Shark,” “To Re-enlist or Not to Re-enlist,” “Lou Ann Poovie Sings Again,” “Gomer, the Welsh Rarebit Fiend,” “Sing a Song of Papa,” “Where There’s a Will,” “Lost, the Colonel’s Daughter,” “The Crow Ganef,” “One of Our Shells is Missing” and “Lou Ann Poovie Sings No More.”

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are sharp. They seem to have cut back on Gomer’s eye shadow this season. Perhaps the Marine Corp didn’t like packing Max Factor in their duffel-bags.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono.

EXTRAS:
None.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C: The Third Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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