Jim Nabors got booed his first time on a professional stage

Luckily, the rest of the crowd stood up for him.

If you were lucky enough to catch Jim Nabors on variety shows in the '60s and '70s, then you know how incredibly well-suited he was to live performance. The guy was a natural. But his road to the top wasn't a direct path, and he certainly wasn't an overnight sensation. What eventually became a success story started as a saga filled with trials and tribulations. 

What began as a guitar-and-vocal act at Santa Monica open mics slowly built toward a more polished, professional routine. Eventually, Nabors made his way to San Francisco, where he was invited to perform at the famous Purple Onion nightclub for what would be his initial appearance as a professional. According to a 1963 interview with The Buffalo News, Nabors had most of the crowd on his side, but one spectator in particular made his displeasure known.

"I was singing along there minding my own business when some guy in the audience stands up and says 'Get off the stage, you big hick, and bring on the girls!'"

Now, granted, Nabors wasn't yet as famous as he would become. He'd not yet appeared on The Andy Griffith Show or even The Steve Allen Show. However, he was still a great performer. Deeper than that, though, he was a human person with emotions and didn't deserve to be treated that way.

"Well," Nabors continued. "I was so embarrassed all I could do was stand there and look ashamed of myself. For about a minute I just looked down at my shoes and felt like crying or something. I didn't have any smart alec thing to say to that fella, so I just stood there feeling real bad.

"It was awful quiet. Then some of the crowd got riled up at that man and told him to get out. Then they clapped for me and I started singing again. So everything worked out." 

That last sentence might be one of the great understatements in show business. Nabors went on to be one of the most beloved television personalities of all time, and people still enjoy his work today.

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17 Comments

Benet2slr 2 months ago
I think Jim Nabots was an incredibly talented actor however my comment has to do with labelling lNorman Lear as a comic genius, All of his shows, plots, characters are direct reproductions of 1960s and 1970s bbc shows, Sanford and son is a poorly made reproduction of Steptoe and son with Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett, all in the family is a poor attempt at copying till death do us part with Alf Garnett etc,
Zip 2 months ago
"Shame, shame, shame!" On that heckler. Jim was a nice guy.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
That one guy was super rude. I'm glad that other audience members stood up for Nabors.
Snickers 2 months ago
Seems like there's one in every crowd that has to be a jerk.
justjeff Snickers 2 months ago
My own personal mantra is "If it wsn't for people, this would be a beautiful world"... This comes from 60 years of living in South Florida... Now, I *know* there are nice people everywhere (like on this forum) - but stupid is universal, and many people set out to *prove it*...
CaptainDunsel justjeff 2 months ago
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."
justjeff CaptainDunsel 2 months ago
Here in the Miami area we have many fools and few silent ones...
harlow1313 2 months ago
In loving memory of Moriyah, I ask that we never besmirch the good name of Gomer Pyle.

Jesus on my TV screen.

Eb Dawson is the Buddha.
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LoveMETV22 harlow1313 2 months ago
" I ask that we never besmirch the good name of Gomer Pyle."
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Sure there are some posters that don't care for Gomer ("and that's their prerogative"), so it's possible there may be some smirching. Hopefully the smirching is only about Gomer and not Moriyah. I agree with your ask or request as I like both Gomer and Moriyah.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 2 months ago
" To my knowledge, she happily lives on! She is only dead on this here site. "
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A quick follow-up to previous comment. What you do with it is of course your choice. Here is a screenshot of the link to the survey she made, also the room she sent you the link in. It looks like the link is still active, however again it's your choice.

Coldnorth harlow1313 2 months ago
Did something happen to her? I never see her posting anymore
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