|Jim Nabors 1930-2017|
Between 1870 and 1920, eleven million Americans moved from rural areas (villages or hamlets surrounded by countryside) to urban areas (cities surrounded by villages or hamlets, i.e., suburbs.) Additionally, the twenty-five million immigrants who arrived on these shores chose to settle in cities, so that by 1920 more Americans lived in urban than rural areas for the first time in US history. Now, this majority living in cities didn't necessarily forget about those few that had remained behind. Indeed, they took great interest in them. Or rather, they took great amusement in them. An amusement stoked by various forms of pop culture, from comic strips (Li'l Abner, Snuffy Smith), radio (Lum and Abner, Fibber McGee and Molly) movies (Ma and Pa Kettle, No Time for Sergeants), animated cartoons (Foghorn Leghorn), and, especially, television. So much television, I'm not even going to put it in parenthesis: The Real McCoys, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Hee Haw, The Andy Griffith Show, and Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. It was last two TV shows that plutonium-fueled Jim Nabors' pop bottle rocket-ascent into stardom.
So what was with all these people with disposable incomes willing to try new products anyway? They they lose all interest in what was going on in the sticks. I don't think so, but the television's depiction of comings and goings of rural types had become dated, even anachronistic, by the 1970s. Terms such as country bumpkin, hillbilly, hick, hayseed, clodhopper, rube, and yokel, all gave way to a new term, redneck. The city slickers were still very interested, but just that they saw such a person less as a charming innocent and more willfully ignorant menace...
...and not all that amusing.
Here's Jim Nabors at this best:
Well, that's about it--Oh, wait, I almost forgot. Earlier I told you Nabors had a narrow range. I meant as an actor, as he could only play one character, but as an entertainer, it's a different story. Jim Nabors could sing.
Not bad for a country bumpkin. Surprise, surprise, surprise!