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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Entertainer Jim Nabors grew up on Broadway — not the famous Broadway in New York City but Broadway Avenue in the south part of Sylacauga. An artist’s painting of the childhood home was presented to him as a gift during official Jim Nabors Day celebrations in 1978, with a nearby section of U.S. Highway 280 named The Jim Nabors Highway.

Nabors, who died at age 87 in 2017, proudly promoted his Sylacauga hometown throughout his career. Now, he has been further immortalized with a local off-Broadway appearance.

This past February, Sylacauga’s Planning Commission dealt with address issues for an alley between South Broadway and South Norton Avenue at Bay Street, just a few hundred feet from the former Nabors family residence. It needed a name so mail and packages could be delivered, and the suggestion “Nabors Way” in his honor was approved. The sign is now up.

Best known as Gomer Pyle on both the Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., Nabors was a popular television guest from the 1960s through the 1980s. His own 150-episode series ran from 1964-1969 and always placed in top 10 in the national Nielsen ratings, finishing at number two. It was followed by The Jim Nabors Hour from 1969-1971.

Considered Carol Burnett’s good luck charm, Nabors appeared in every season opener of The Carol Burnett Show, which aired on CBS from 1967-1978. He also recorded 28 albums and numerous singles, with six certified Gold or Platinum, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991.

The Favorite Sons area of the Isabel Anderson Comer Museum and Arts Center showcases Nabors’ memorabilia and gold records. His pool table is part of Old Tom’s Pub in the Inn at Pursell Farms, where the original scripts from Gomer Pyle and the Jim Nabors Hour are also stored.

When you find yourself passing Nabors Way, think “gollee”, “shazam”, and, of course, “surprise, surprise, surprise.”


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