The Flim-Flam Man  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Flim-Flam Man (titled One Born Every Minute in some countries) is a 1967 American comedy film directed by Irvin Kershner, featuring George C. Scott, Michael Sarrazin, and Sue Lyon, based on the 1965 novel The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man by Guy Owen. The movie has well-known character actors in supporting roles, including Jack Albertson, Slim Pickens, Strother Martin, Harry Morgan, and Albert Salmi.

The movie is set in the countryside and small towns of the American South, and it was filmed in the Anderson County, Kentucky, area. It is also noted for its folksy musical score by composer Jerry Goldsmith.


Plot summary

Mordecai C. Jones (Scott)Template:Snd a self-styled "M.B.S., C.S., D.D.Template:Snd Master of Back-Stabbing, Cork-Screwing and Dirty-Dealing!"Template:Snd is a drifting confidence trickster who makes his living defrauding people in the southern United States using such tricks as rigged punchboards, playing cards, and found wallets. He befriends a young man named Curley (Sarrazin), a deserter from the United States Army, and the two form a team to make money. In their escapades, they wreck a town during a hair-raising chase in their stolen car, steal a truck loaded with moonshine whiskey which they sell, break out of a sheriff's office, and discover a riverboat brothel.



Template:Unreferenced section The movie was filmed on location for the most part in Central Kentucky during the second half of the year 1966. Exterior filming was done in a number of locations including near Frankfort, Midway, Winchester, Irvine, outside Georgetown, and several other places. Filming involving trains was done in conjunction with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and for a smaller part the Southern Railway System. Some interior filming (the inside of the Packard home, and campsite sequences) was done on a sound stage specially built in Lexington, Kentucky at the Vaughn Tobacco Company Warehouses.

On location filming locations included:

Paynes Depot, Kentucky: The opening sequence where Curley meets Mordecai after getting thrown off a freight train was filmed here. The small railroad yard is now gone but the roadside store seen in the background just before the title card still remains as well as the base of the tank car station seen briefly in the movie. Filming was done with a rented train from the Louisville and Nashville Railroad headed by Alco RS-3 #136.

Old Crow Distillery – Frankfort, Kentucky: The location of Curley's hideout in the overturned L&N caboose was filmed just north of the Old Crow Distillery on Glenns Creek Road in Frankfort, Kentucky. The concrete "railroad bridge" in this scene was actually an access road on the distillery grounds and had fake tracks laid across it that ended just out of frame. The caboose was placed in the creek by a local crane company who would later move it to the banks of the nearby Kentucky River after filming. It washed away in a flood sometime during the 1970s. The concrete bridge still remains at the site. Also filming for the parts of the movie involving a moonshine still and the sequence where the green flatbed truck is stolen by Mordecai were also done on various places of the Old Crow Distillery grounds.

Main Street – Midway, Kentucky: The establishing scene of the small town where the "3 card monte" scam occurred is Main Street in Midway, Kentucky which has the distinction of having a railroad line run directly through the centre of town. The passenger train seen in the scene was the Chesapeake and Ohio "George Washington" which operated between Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky over the L&N Railroad via trackage rights.

Glenns Creek Road – Frankfort, Kentucky: The scene that introduces Sheriff Slade and Deputy Meshaw (where Curley and Mordecai dive off the road) was filmed on Glenns Creek Road about 1/2 mile north of the Old Crow Distillery. The large tree in front of which Curley and Mordecai talk still stands as of 2014 although it is dead.

Old Frankfort Pike – Lexington, Kentucky: The "Packard" farm is located off Old Frankfort Pike outside Lexington, Kentucky. As of 2014 the house exterior is mostly unchanged with some minor remodelling. No interior filming was done at this location as the "inside" of the house was a soundstage.

Duckers, Kentucky: The country store where Sheriff Slade and Deputy Meshaw first see the red convertible "borrowed" by Mordecai is located in Duckers, Kentucky. The store still stands but is now a private residence with the "porch" the sheriff sat on now enclosed.

Clifton Road – Versailles, Kentucky: The place where Curley first notices that the "POLE-LEASE!" are following the convertible was filmed on Clifton Road in Versailles, Kentucky. The wooden house that the police car passes by no longer exists.

Court Street – Lawrenceburg, Kentucky: The scene where the convertible narrowly misses a Southern Railway locomotive and boxcar at a grade crossing was the Court Street crossing in Lawrenceburg, KY. The crossing still exists and is now Norfolk Southern territory.

Main Street – Lawrenceburg, Kentucky: The whole of the "convertible destroys a town" sequence during the car chase was filmed along Main Street in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and two alleys that split off either side of it. Most of structures seen in this sequence remain as of 2014 including the tobacco warehouse where the convertible "detoured" through the loading dock. The alley where the convertible ran through Christmas merchandise being unloaded also still exists but the brick building seen in the movie has been torn down and replaced with a modern bank. The scam where Mordecai and Curley sell bourbon cut moonshine to a store keeper was also filmed in Lawrenceburg directly behind the former offices of the Anderson County Observer newspaper. The back of this building is no longer accessible due to remodeling.

Main Street – Irvine, Kentucky: The near ending of the car chase where the convertible and sheriffs car run around an A&P grocery store and across a green highway bridge was filmed on Main Street in Irvine, Kentucky

Corner of Lemons Mill and Newtown Pike – Georgetown, Kentucky: The country store where the "Peg Game" scam took place was filmed here. The bridge where Curley is first dropped off at the beginning of the scene was removed in a road realignment during 2001. However, as of 2014 the buildings seen in the scene still remain but in a state of disrepair.

Valley View Ferry – Tates Creek Road – Valley View, Kentucky: The ferry seen in the movie operates on Tates Creek Road on the Madison County and Fayette County borders. The ferry is still operating as of 2014 although the barge and power unit has been replaced several times since making the movie. The large steel towers seen in the background (part of an abandoned railroad bridge) can still be seen.

Main Street – Winchester, Kentucky: The "Pigeon Drop" sequence with Slim Pickens was filmed in Winchester, Kentucky along Main Street. The building Slim Pickens first exits was the St. George Hotel, and was located at the corner of Washington Street and Main. This has since been torn down and the whole block is now occupied by the Winchester Post Office. The scene in the alley where the pigeon drop scam occurred was behind the Sphar Feed Company building on North Main Street. Today, the building is owned by the City of Winchester and is on the National Register for Historic Places. Plans call for rehabilitating the warehouse and repurposing it to serve as Winchester’s welcome center and professional office space.

See also

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