Ask anyone here at the Tower and they’ll tell you that one of our all-time favorite movies is 1959’s “Attack of the Killer Shrews” … or simply “The Killer Shrews” to true film nerds.
It has it all: terror on a tropical island full of maple trees, a hard-hitting lesson in the dangers of over-population, the 1956 Miss Sweden, TV’s Festus from Tv’s Gunsmoke, a bunch of cute lil’ doggies wearing coats, and of course the man himself: James Best.
Growing up inIndiana, you heard a lot about James Best, especially if you lived anywhere near Corydon Indiana. Which I did. And so did James Best. Yes, before being seduced by the silver screen, a young James Best spent his formative years in this small Indiana hamlet. The town happily latches onto their link with Hollywood, so much so that they mounted this sign on the front porch of their most famous son’s boyhood home:
I made a pilgrimage to Corydon on Friday …. to, uh, buy some batteries at the Walmart … but I could not resist the urge to drive down that famous street one more time. Yes, the Best house is still there. Yes the sign is still there. And yes, the town is still full of pride for their favorite son. As proved by this sign on the front porch of the house directly to the left of the Best house:
By the way, I noticed that the house on the other side of the James Best House, the one directly to the right, is for sale. Just saying … if you’re in the market … and into potential signs.
So, why all the hub-bub for this Hollywood icon? Well, it’s because actor James Best is most associated with the word “sheriff.” Of course I’m referring to Sheriff Andy Taylor, and The Andy Griffith Show, where James Best played hot young guitar slinger Jim Lindsey. He appeared on the show from time to time to jam on electric guitar with Andy, causing Aunt Bea no end of noise- and stress-enduced headaches. The music was also Opie’s gateway into a world of drugs and defiance in his teenage years … after the show went of the air of course. How do you think he lost his hair?