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Capital Region Scrapbook: ‘Walking Tall’ hero paid visit, and Big Sisters got started

Capital Region Scrapbook: ‘Walking Tall’ hero paid visit, and Big Sisters got started

Scottish pipers, shining armor and sheriffs all were in the limelight in Schenectady during the firs
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Scottish pipers, shining armor and sheriffs all were in the limelight in Schenectady during the first weeks of 1974.

So were sisters — both the “big” and sorority types.

Young women from the Theta Sigma Sorority helped start the Southern Adirondack March of Dimes’ Mothers March by walking door-to-door and collecting $1,529. Other sisters were just getting started: The Carver Community Center organized a “Big Sisters” program to give social and cultural experiences to girls aged 6 through 12. Director Connas Taylor planned excursions, arts and crafts and tutoring.

Schenectady’s Scottish celebrated the 225th birthday of poet Robert Burns with food and drink on Saturday, Jan. 26. The Scottish food haggis, made of sheep or calf innards and seasonings that are boiled in the animal’s stomach, received a special parade to the supper table.

The food was authentic. It had been brought from Scotland by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Gilchrist, who were visiting family members in Schenectady.

James and Doug Faulisi had a little fun when they opened their new Busby’s lounge and kitchen on Union Street. A faded set of knight’s armor became a conversation piece among customers.

Famous figure

Buford Pusser was the most well known of the January bunch. The former sheriff from Tennessee, famous for big sticks and big strides, visited the city on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Southern lawman’s big movie, “Walking Tall,” was part of a benefit at Northway Mall’s four-theater cinema. Proceeds benefited the Schenectady Boys Baseball League.

Mayor Frank J. Duci presented the 36-year-old Pusser with the key to the city. Sheriff Bernard T. Waldron and several members of the sheriff’s department also met the 6-foot-6 sheriff.

Pusser shut down gambling, prostitution and gambling operations in Tennessee’s McNairy County during his time as sheriff from 1964 until 1970; in 1967, his wife, Pauline, was murdered by criminals.

The cinematic Pusser was played by actor Joe Don Baker, and the lawman said most of the movie was accurate.

In a key scene from the film, Baker’s Pusser enters a local tavern. The woman proprietor blasts a shotgun at him but misses. Pusser returns fire and kills the woman.

The sheriff said the scene was nearly an exact duplicate of the real-life incident. “You don’t realize how bad she really was,” he told reporters. “She was responsible for 12 to 15 deaths.”

Pusser also mentioned a sequel. “There’s only so much you can get into one movie,” he said.

The second story was filmed but without Pusser’s involvement. On Aug. 21, 1974, he was killed when the car was driving crashed near Adamsville, Tenn.

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