Fabulous 50: The Flim-Flam Man

Professor Guy Owen, author of the Ballad of the Flim Flam Man

Professor Guy Owen, author of the Ballad of the Flim Flam Man

(This posting of Special Collections News is co-written with Taylor Wolford, who has interned this past semester in Special Collections.   She is an English major interested in a career in archives and special collections libraries.)

Fifty years ago the movie The Flim-Flam Man premiered, based on the comedic novel The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man by NC State English professor Guy Owen (1925-1981).  Owen, who was at the university from 1961 until his death, became a best-selling author, poet, and editor.  He co-founded and edited the Southern Poetry Review and edited North Carolina Folklore.  The Special Collections Research Center holds his papers.  

Irvin Kershner directed The Flim-Flam Man, which featured such prominent actors as George C. Scott, Michael Sarrazin, and Sue Lyon. The movie traced the story of Mordecai C. Jones and Curley, two conmen wreaking havoc on small towns along the Cape Fear River Basin.

The Flim-Flam Man had its southern premier at Raleigh’s Cardinal Theatre in September 1967.  Owen and the Technician expressed disappointment with certain aspects of it, however, such as the filming location and George C. Scott’s portrayal of Mordecai.