Because of planned heart surgery, television actor and singer Jim Nabors — best known as "Gomer Pyle, USMC" — has had to come up with a new way to keep a tradition alive, USA Today reports.
Nabors first appeared live at the Indianapolis 500 to offer a rendition of "Back Home Again in Indiana" in 1972, and since 1987 he has performed it almost every year. But because of the surgery scheduled for later this month, Nabors will be in Hawaii and will be unable to travel to Indy.
So a video team associated with Indianapolis Motor Speedway will fly to Nabors’ home in Hawaii this month, and will tape his performance. Doug Boles of IMS told the newspaper, "He offered that. You’ve got to remember that (the 500) is as much a highlight of his year as it is for the hundreds of thousands of fans who hear him sing."
Nabors, 81, has only missed the appearance once since 1987 — skipping the event in 2007 because of health issues.
The race, scheduled for May 27, will be televised on ABC.