Lonesome George

The showbiz nickname of George Leslie Gobel, an easygoing, guitar-strumming comedian with a crew-cut who starred in the comedy variety program THE GEORGE GOBEL SHOW/NBC/CBS/1954-60.


For more than half a decade, George Gobel entertained a nation of faithful viewers with his wry, down-home, cracker-barrel style sense of humor, and catchphrases like “Well, I’ll be a dirty bird,” “You can’t hardly get them no more,” and “Well then there now.”

  • “College is a place to keep warm between high school and an early marriage.”
  • “If inflation continues to soar, you’re going to have to work like a dog just to live like one.”
  • “If it weren’t for electricity, we would all be watching television by candlelight.”
  • “If you build a better mouse trap, you will catch better mice.”
  • “I’ve never been drunk, but often I’ve been over-served.”
  • “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”

One of the skits on the show featured Lonesome George as a hapless, henpecked character who was married to a woman named “Spooky Old Alice” (played by Jeff Donnell). In real life, Gobel’s wife was named Alice).

Note: During his radio days, George was billed as “Little Georgie Gobel.” While touring with a country music band, he was called, “The Little Cowboy.”

While starring on his TV show in the later part of the 1950s, George appeared in two theatrical releases: The Birds and the Bees (1956) as George ‘Hotsy’ Hamilton II, and I Married a Woman (1958) as Marshall ‘Mickey’ Briggs.

In 1957, one of three US Air Force B-52  bombers (which flew non-stop round-the-word in less that 46 hours) was dubbed “Lonesome George.” And switching gears from fast to slow, George Gobel’s nickname was given to a Galapagos Island tortoise. It died in June 2012.

After his TV show went off the air, George Gobel resurfaced on THE RED SKELTON HOUR/CBS/1962-70 (playing characters like, Henpecked Husband, Jed Dinglejumper, George Goodbody, Mr. Winkle  and Dr. Ben Cagey); the game show HOLLYWOOD SQUARES in 1974;  and as Mayor Otis Harper, Jr. on the sitcom HARPER VALLEY, P.T.A/NBC/1981-1982.

Lonesome George also did guest spots on a variety of TV shows, such as LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, THE TONIGHT SHOW, THE BING CROSBY SHOW, THE LOVE BOAT, ROWAN AND MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN and CHICO AND THE MAN. He also provided the voice of Father Mouse in the animated holiday special ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Born on May 20, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois, “Lonesome George” Gobel died on Sunday, February 24, 1991 in Encino, California of complications after bypass surgery to a major artery in his left leg. He was seventy-one. He is buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Showbiz Nicknames

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