[Ads-l] Gomer Cool (1908-2012)

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Dec 3 10:50:02 UTC 2020

Given that Cool’s name was borrowed for the character Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show, and given that “gomer, noun” is a word subsequently (after the show) listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, American Speech (1989, 152), Green’s Dictionary of Slang, etc., here’s a bit more on the man.
Born in Missouri in 1908, Cool eventually became a fiddle player, composer, radio writer and performer. “Life at the Red Horse Ranch” at KMBC in Kansas City was one of his programs; his role was Tenderfoot. He also sang in a quartet. Further information is available in Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967 (2013), though note one error: Gene Autry’s birth name was given (p. 13) as Orvon Gomer Autry, but his middle name was Grover.
Also informative: “The Radio Career of Gomer Cool” by Ryan Ellett for “Radio Recall,” Feb. 2011.
http://www.otrr.org/FILES/Articles/Ryan_Ellett_Articles/The Radio Career of Gomer Cool.pdf<http://www.otrr.org/FILES/Articles/Ryan_Ellett_Articles/The%20Radio%20Career%20of%20Gomer%20Cool.pdf>
As a given name, not a family name, a search of authors at WorldCat suggests that the name is Welsh. (Since I don’t know Welsh, I’ll leave any potential etymology to others; I’m assuming Hebrew Gomer/gomer origin(s) differ.)
Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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