Rock Hudson's name was back in the national news this past week, and became something of an historical reminder of just how far gay acceptance has happily progressed. According to a report by a Hawaiian television news station, Jim Nabors married Stan Cadwallader (his longtime companion of 38 years), sparking renewed interest in a decades-old (and totally untrue) urban legend about Jim and Rock getting married in the 1970s.
Over the years it's been widely reported that, according to Hudson, the legendary gossip originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach" who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together in the early 1970s. The joke that insiders got was when the group allegedly invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors' most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming "Rock Pyle".
Amazingly, the gossip took on a life of its own. Many people outside of the entertainment and gay communities had no idea that these two stars might be "like that." Both men were loved by their fans and admired for their popular roles. Mr. Nabors originated the character of the hapless but love able gas-station attendant Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and reprised the role in 5 seasons of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”. He also appeared on “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Muppet Show,” and his own variety series, “The Jim Nabors Hour.”
The situation probably wasn't helped when the October 1972 edition of MAD magazine (issue No. 154), included a spoof complete with a Rona Barrett type gossip columinst who stated, "...and there isn't a grain of truth to the vicious rumor that movie and TV star Rock Heman and singer Jim Nelly were secretly married! Rock and Jim are just good buddies! I repeat, they are not married! They are not even going steady! This is Rona Boring reporting from Hollywood!"
Fast forward to today's world, and Hawaii News Now reported that Mr. Nabors met Mr. Cadwallader, a former firefighter in Honolulu, in 1975. VGMH congratulates the newlyweds!