Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. is an American television situation comedy that was originally broadcast from 1964 to 1969 on the CBS network. It focused on Gomer Pyle, a naïve but good-hearted private in the United States Marine Corps who served in a non-combat role while stationed stateside. The plots of the episodes often grew out of the contentious relationship between Pyle and his stern NCO, Sergeant Carter.
Main article: Gomer Pyle
Ribbons of Decoration Worn By PFC Gomer Pyle
Private First Class Gomer Pyle is the main character throughout the series. Pyle also wears the USMC Expert Rifle badge.
Gunnery Sergeant Vincent J. Carter is Gomer's stern, yet soft at heart (as shown in season 3,episode 10 Cold Nose, Warm Heart), drill instructor and later, his platoon sergrant. He was born on May 4, 1928, and raised in Wichita, Kansas, in a town not far from Leavenworth. Carter takes his role very seriously, as evidenced by the stripes he's earned (and is sometimes obsessed with) over the years. Carter is forever exasperated by Gomer’s ineptitude and refusal to surrender his naïve point of view and would like nothing better than to see Gomer transferred. He is always referred to as "Sergeant Carter," although under actual U.S. Marine Corps protocol, he would be addressed as “Gunnery Sergeant Carter" or the informal "Gunny Carter". In the episode, "How to Succeed in Farming Without Really Trying," Carter does specify his correct rank.
There seems to be some inconsistency concerning Carter’s age and time in the Marine Corps. By the beginning of the series, Carter had been in the Marine Corps for 16 years, which means he would have entered the service in 1948, when he would have been about 20. However, he wears the World War II Victory ribbon which was awarded to the Armed Forces through Dec. 31, 1946. In the episode "Old Man Carter" (season 1, episode 23), aired on 26 February 1965, he is said to be 35 years old. However, at the end of the show, Gomer discovers Carter subtracted incorrectly and was actually 36 years old, and not 35 as he believed. Carter also reveals to his men he joined the Marines in 1946. Therefore, his time in the service by 1965 would have been between 18 and 19 years. This would put him at the age of 18 when he joined. In the second episode he reveals that he has earned five Good Conduct medals, was cited for bravery in Korea and has had three honor platoons in a row. In "Come Blow Your Top" (Season 5, Episode 9), it is revealed Carter owns a sword from an enemy officer which he stated he captured at the Battle of Inchon (1950). At that time he was a corporal. (Later in that episode, though, he admits he won the sword in a card game while at Inchon.) In "A Tattoo for Gomer" (Season 5, Episode 15), Carter reveals he was with the 7th Fleet in Korea where he got his Semper Fidelis tattoo (upper right arm), but did not mention the year.
Carter wears his emotions on his sleeve. He has an explosive temper with a short fuse, which is triggered at the first sign of angst. This feature, in combination with Pyle's genial nature and naïveté, drive the show's plot in most episodes. Carter also expresses happiness and fear in dramatic fashion. His emotions also become a source of tension between him and his girlfriend, Miss Bunny Wilson. Despite Carter's desire to see Pyle out of his life, it is apparent he cares for Pyle and wants him to successfully fulfill his service in the Corps. Carter is Gomer's best friend and by the end of the show's run, it is obvious that Gomer is his.
Frank Sutton in real life served in the US Army in the Pacific Theater of World War II. When he was cast as Sgt. Carter he was allowed to wear some of his actual WW2 decorations with his Marine uniform.
Corporal Gilbert "Duke" Slater is Gomer's close friend in the Marines. Unlike Gomer, he has few scruples and is not above putting one over on Sergeant Carter, much to Gomer's consternation. A private in early seasons, Duke transferred to a different platoon at the end of season three, where he took a Corporal test and graduated in the top 10 of his class, earning a promotion to Corporal. Duke later returned to Camp Henderson and succeeded Boyle as Carter's second in command. As before his promotion Duke still addressed Gomer by his first name, sometimes calling him "Gome". He took over Cpl. Chuck Boyle's position for season 5 as the straight man putting up with Sergeant Carter's antics and sticking up for Gomer when actor Ronnie Schell returned to the series.
Corporal Chuck Boyle works under Sergeant Carter after Nicholas Cuccinelli. Boyle usually serves as Carter's conscience, making Carter treat Gomer civilly, even if it means that Gomer will continue under his beloved sergeant. Boyle is the straight man for Carter's antics and he also sticks up for Gomer a lot of times. Gomer never realizes it but Boyle, many times, serves as his advocate. Corporal Boyle left following the fourth season to be replaced by Cpl. Duke Slater (when actor Ronnie Schell returned to the series).
Lou-Ann Poovie is Gomer's girlfriend throughout most of the series. She is from North Carolina as well, and a sweet, somewhat naïve, but always willing partner to Gomer's misadventures, although she can also sometimes be fickle, capricious and prideful and can also get needlessly jealous and make incorrect assumptions when another woman makes a move on Gomer, even though Gomer makes clear he only has eyes for Lou-Ann. Although very interested in music (she came to California for a music career), she is considered tone-deaf. Her catchphrase is "Well...actually..." Lou-Ann Poovie was introduced and appeared in three episodes in the show's third season. She played Gomer's girlfriend in the show's fourth and fifth seasons.
"Miss" Bunny Wilson is Sergeant Carter's girlfriend throughout most of the series.
Staff Sergeant Whipple was born sometime in the 1920s or 1930s. Whipple and Carter dislike one another and are prone to competition, especially in platoon ratings. The season one episode "Private Ralph Skunk" highlights Carter and Whipple's rivalry and mutual contempt: When Whipple used underhanded tricks to embarrass Sgt. Carter just to keep his own platoon ahead in the ratings, Gomer (without Carter's knowledge) snuck his pet skunk inside Whipple's barracks to scare his troops outside, which got Whipple into trouble with the camp commander, who punished Whipple and his men by confining them to their bunk to clean up, much to Carter's delight.
Staff Sergeant Charley Hacker runs the company mess hall and served at battle of Iwo Jima; unlike his feud with Whipple, Sergeant Carter's rivalry with Hacker is less contemptuous, and on occasion the two are able to put aside their differences. One example was in the episode "Third Finger, Left Loaf", Hacker and Carter have to search 600 loaves of bread for a wedding ring Pyle accidentally dropped into the dough (which was in Pyle's back pocket), nearly driving themselves crazy in the process. You rarely hear Hacker call Carter 'Carter'. He usually calls him by his first name Vince.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gray was born in 1925. He was the officer in charge of the base on the show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. He served at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II in 1945. Gray, in contrast to Sgt. Carter, seems to respect Gomer more, especially on a personal level. Gray is portrayed as no-nonsense and running a tight ship. He rarely smiles and most scenes with Gray are in his office as he sits behind his desk chewing out Sgt. Carter.
Lieutenant Colonel George Van Pelt was born in 1911. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and saw action in World War II against Japan. He was in the first season of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..
Corporal, then Gunnery Sergeant Carol Barnes was in an episode in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. of season 4 entitled "Corporal Carol", during which she falls in love with Gomer but then finds out that he is dating someone else. She also appears in an episode of season 5 entitled "Show Time with Sgt. Carol", in which Gomer and Carol sing a Duet at Camp Henderson's Base Variety Show.
Corporal Johnson was born in 1944 and worked with Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter during the first season of the show.
Corporal Jensen is Sergeant Hacker's second in command.
Corporal Nicholas Cuccinelli was born in 1939. He served under Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter in the first season in 1964 - 1965.
Private Frankie Lombardi, introduced in season 2, served as a recruit under Sergeant Carter. He is partner-in-crime and best friend to private Duke Slater and a constant confidant to Gomer.
Private Joey Lombardi is the brother of Private Frankie Lombardi. Lombardi was a recruit under Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter. He was in eleven episodes of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and was portrayed by three actors. He had a girlfriend named Rosie, whom Gomer snuck in to base to see him, although the rules strictly prohibited visitation until after four weeks of training. Though Joey confessed that she was his girlfriend, Gomer was still punished by Gunnery Sgt. Carter for sneaking Rosie in without permission.
Another of Gomer's friends. Usually a philosopher-like type of Marine. He is the most seen from seasons 3-4 next to Duke Slater.
Another of Gomer's friends. He, Gomer, Duke, et al. were in boot camp together. He only appears in the first half of season 1.
One of Gomer's barracks mates, also an occasional foil to Duke Slater. Appears only in season 1 (1964-1965); actor Larry Hovis left the series to appear as Lieutenant Carter in the pilot episode of Hogan's Heroes, oddly enough, that role would be revamped, and made regular, as their own Sgt. Carter.
Sgt. Carter's Navy foe; a bully to some Marines. His catchphrase is "What's this? What's this?". Simpson once knocked Carter out during a boxing match with one punch, and makes fun of the platoon when Gomer messes up. Nicknamed "The Rattlesnake", he was the Fleet boxing champion for four years: 37 KOs and only retired from the said position because he couldn't find someone brave enough to challenge him. Simpson also has his own gang of men following him around. In "Cat Overboard", Carter and the other Marines laughed at Simpson when they learned about the romance magazines he reads aboard ship. He got offended and told Carter off that his choice of reading romance magazines are none of his and the Marines business. Simpson has a strict rule on contraband, evident when he threw a pet turtle over board and confiscated a transmitter radio. Although angry that Gomer had snuck his pet cat, Henrietta, aboard ship, Simpson has shown compassion when he learned about her pregnancy and took her to the sick bay so some of his corpsmen can have some training in delivering kittens.