January 1971: Eagle reporter catches up with Goober's girls

Posted 2/15/19

In case you missed it, "Wind and Water Balloons," the new documentary about Cordova's tradition of hosting water balloon battles on Halloween, will be screened at the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival …

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January 1971: Eagle reporter catches up with Goober's girls

Posted

In case you missed it, "Wind and Water Balloons," the new documentary about Cordova's tradition of hosting water balloon battles on Halloween, will be screened at the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival on Thursday, Feb. 28.

I tried to confirm with a festival spokesperson last week that Cordova native Jamie Jean will be the first local filmmaker to be eligible for the Clyde “Sappo” Black Sweet Home Alabama Award. The award was renamed for a Jasper native and lifelong friend of Lindsey's in 2007. 

Apparently, it's impossible to know for sure because the filmmakers' hometowns aren't closely tracked by festival organizers. In this case, Jean is a Nashville resident now, so they would have no way of knowing his roots had I not posed the question.

However, since no other local filmmakers have contacted the Daily Mountain Eagle in the past decade about being part of the festival, I felt pretty confident in saying the honor goes to Jamie.

Shortly after finishing the festival story on Tuesday, I made my weekly trip to the archives and randomly selected the bound volume for January-March 1971. I was making my way for this week in February 1971 when several advertisements featuring the face of Lindsey as himself and in character as Goober Pyle caught my eye. 

The Daily Mountain Eagle published a special section on Thursday, Jan. 28 in celebration of Lindsey's homecoming on Friday, Jan. 29. Advertisers were invited to offer "Goober Day" specials and announce them in the section alongside tributes to Jasper's favorite son.

The 12-page section included dozens of articles, some locally generated and others pulled from wire services.

One in particular that got my attention was headlined "A Lively Lot: George & His Gals."

Eagle writer Martha Pennington opened the article with a phone chat she had with Lindsey's wife, Joy. 

From the couple's home in Tarzana, a neighborhood in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, Joy Lindsey said she had plenty to keep her busy when her husband was working.

She was raising two children, George Jr. (whose age Pennington listed as "8 or 9") and 6-year-old Camden Jo.

Joy Lindsey also had an interest in the Girl Scouts. She had been employed by the organization at one time and had been the only adult chosen to accompany eight Girl Scouts to the National Encampment in Mexico City the previous year.

She assured Pennington that the couple could lead a normal life in California just as they might in Alabama.

"We attend the Presbyterian Church and we live quite simply with our children and our friends. George is a pretty good homebody, really," Joy Lindsey said.

The two had met when Joy was a student at Rollin College and Linsey was stationed at a nearby air base.

"I had a date with the piano player in an act he was performing in a base club. The first time I laid my eyes on him, he had on a cerise dress and a blonde wig and was singing 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend,'" Joy Lindsey said.

Pennington also mentioned some of the other women in Lindsey's life: mother, Alice; grandmother, Dode Smith; and aunts Ethel Smith, Gladys Kirkwood, Agnes Lee and Lucille Poulas and cousin Becky Lee.

All with the exception of Poulas and Lee were expected to make the trip to Jasper for "George 'Goober' Lindsey Day,' and their good excuses for being absent were duly noted by Pennington.

A detailed schedule of events was listed in the Jan. 26, 1971, issue. 

Lindsey's plane was expected to touch down at 5:05 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 at Birmingham Airport.

Officials with the city of Jasper and Chamber of Commerce met him and the Walker College Band celebrated his arrival with music. 

Lindsey was given a police escort to Jasper, where he attended a 7:30 p.m. basketball game between Walker College and the University of Alabama freshmen.

On Friday, Lindsey made visits to Jasper Shrine School, Walker High School and Walker College in the morning before arriving at T.R.Simmons School for the dedication of Lindsey Drive.

He then visited Jasper Arrow Plant on Highway 78, Top Dollar Headquarters, also on Highway 78, and three Jasper nursing homes before appearing as the speaker and guest of honor at the Jasper Area Chamber of Commerce's 24th annual Membership Meeting and Banquet at Walker College.

I haven't scratched the surface of the Eagle's coverage of Lindsey's homecoming in 1971. Expect a follow-up next week.


Jennifer Cohron is the Daily Mountain Eagle's features editor.