Norris Goff

Norris Goff (May 30, 1906 – June 7, 1978) was an American comedian in radio and film best known for his portrayal of Abner Peabody on the rural comedy Lum and Abner.

Nicknamed "Tuffy," Goff was born in Cove, Arkansas, but soon moved to Mena, Arkansas where he met his longtime friend and partner Chester Lauck (Lum) and graduating from Mena High School in 1924. Despite their fame as backwoodsmen, both actors graduated from the University of Arkansas, where Goff became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Goff and his partner had experience as blackface entertainers, but had also worked up a hillbilly skit based on their own life experiences and friends. Performing on local radio, they soon landed their own network series in 1931. In addition to playing the role of the likable but naive, checker-playing Abner (who worked with Lum at the "Jot 'Em down Store" in fictitious Pine Ridge), Goff co-wrote the earliest episodes with Lauck, and played many of the other recurring characters, including postmaster Dick Huddleston (named after a real life friend in Mena), con-man Squire Skimp, Mousy Gray, and in the sentimental annual Christmas show, Doc Miller.

Goff and Lauck also guest starred as Lum and Abner on radio series such as Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall; Goff also made a handful of solo appearances, notably guesting as the father of Andy Devine in an episode of The Jack Benny Program. Goff reprised his role as Abner for seven films between 1940 and 1956. Unlike Lauck, who virtually retired outside of playing Lum, Goff continued to make occasional guest appearances on television in the 1960s. Goff appeared in one episode apiece of two situation comedies with rural themes: Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (as Gomer's grandfather) and The Andy Griffith Show (playing a local storekeeper).

Upon retirement he lived in Palm Springs, California. He died of a stroke at the age of 72 in Palm Desert, California.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 30th, 1906, Died June 7th, 1978

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1933 - 1935

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker

Notes: Played character of Abner Peabody on the "Lum and Abner" radio show.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor MS-77402 16-in. 7/28/1933 Lum and Abner Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Radio broadcast : Comedy speaker  
Victor MS-77403 16-in. 7/28/1933 Lum and Abner Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Radio broadcast : Comedy speaker  
Victor MS-77410 16-in. 7/31/1933 Lum and Abner Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Radio broadcast : Comedy speaker  
Victor MS-77415 16-in. 8/1/1933 Lum and Abner Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Radio broadcast : Comedy speaker  
Victor MS-77417 16-in. 8/2/1933 Lum and Abner Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Radio broadcast : Comedy speaker  
Victor CS-96494 12-in. 12/19/1935 Christmas greetings to Mr. Wm. J. Horlick Carlton Brickert ; Norris Goff ; Chester Lauck Talk speaker  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Goff, Norris," accessed September 23, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110511.

Goff, Norris. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110511.

"Goff, Norris." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 September 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110511

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