[“...television’s Gomer Pyle was based on [Sergeants’ lead] Will Stockdale, and even the latter day Forrest Gump borrows from Will’s childlike worldview.” —MoMA Blog]
Warner Bros. released its film adaptation of Levin's stage play (itself adapted and/or informed by both Mac Hyman's novel and Levin's own earlier 1955 TV adaptation) in 1958, shortly after the Broadway production finished its two-year run. Like its precursors, the movie too was a rousing success, with Broadway principals Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Myron McCormick all reprising their roles.
The film resides in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art's (MoMa) Film Department. Associate curator of the department, Anne Morra, noted in 2013:
“The influence of this lighthearted comedy was also quite enduring: television’s Gomer Pyle was based on Will Stockdale, and even the latter day Forrest Gump borrows from Will’s childlike worldview.”