July 12, 2005

Love Thy Nabor

I didn't know Jim Nabors is gay! I clearly remember sitting in my grandparent's den watching television after school and being entranced by the lanky, simple marine, Gomer Pyle. Whew. Even way back then military trade did it for me. Of course I had no idea what "it" was. Nowadays Mr. Nabors lives in Hawaii and grows nuts. Hah! While searching the web for clues to Jim Nabors' sexuality, I found a tantalizing rumor: Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors had a secret gay marriage! (the following is borrowed from a tawdry list of gay and lesbian Hollywood urban legends including Rod "cum-tummy" Stewart and Richard "gerblin'" Gere. )

4) Jim Nabors' secret husband, Rock Hudson: One of the most talked-about gay rumors of the early '70s involved the secret marriage of Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson.

Stories (true) about Hudson's sexuality had been swirling around Hollywood for years, but the strange inclusion of Gomer Pyle into the leading man's secret love life lent the gossip a certain oddball credibility. Hudson himself offered this explanation of the origin of the rumor: "There appear to be a couple of elderly, or middle-aged, homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach, which is just down the coast from Los Angeles, who every year give a party, a big party, 500 people or so. And they invite everyone they know.

It's an engraved invitation, and to make it amusing they will say, 'You're cordially invited to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in Huntington Beach.'

One year, the invitation was, 'You are cordially invited to the wedding reception of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors.' And it went all over the country."

One person who apparently did not find the story amusing was Nabors, who at the time was trying to revive his career as a serious actor and singer. Unfortunately for him, he was branded in our collective unconscious as the simple but lovable Private Pyle -- who, in retrospect, may have been the first theatrical representation of "Don't ask, don't tell."

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