Earl Hindman

October 20, 1945 --  December 30, 2003


October 20, 1942, Earl's journey began in the Copper Queen Hospital in the mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. We lived in a small settlement on the outskirts of Bisbee, The settlement was started to provide housing for the "Jigger Bosses"of the Calumet and Arizona Company, the only serious rival to the Copper Queen Consolidated, and was named "Jiggerville." 


Jiggerville was our "Magic Kingdom", and all of our houses were at different levels because of the terrain. We weren't jammed into the canyons like Bisbee was, but we had some really steep roads, a gulch running through it, and a place we called "The Dump", which was above Jiggerville, and you could go up on the dump and get a birds eye view of our houses. I was 4 years old when Earl was born, my brother Ray was 8. Earl started walking and talking at a very early age, so us older kids had this really cute little kid to play with. As Earl got older, my brother Ray and his buddies teased Earl unmercifully. But there was something so special about Earl, he liked all the attention, and he never got angry or upset, except the time Ray strung a rope across Earl's favorite bike path. He went racing along and never noticed the rope. It caught him and flipped him off the bike. Earl cried, and so did Ray, because Mom spanked Ray's butt. 



Our childhood in the magic kingdom was filled with games of hide & seek, making rubber band guns with pieces of wood, a clothespin, and shooting each other with rubber bands. We made telephones with 2 tin cans and a string, pulling the string tight and then yelling into the can. Neighbors hundreds of yards away could hear us better than we could hear each other. Our older brother Ray made "crystal radios." that actually worked, but I have no idea how.  We built coasters so we could coast down the steep hills. We would put our ear on the railroad tracks to see if a train was coming, so we could flatten a penny by placing it on the track. We would go up on "the dump", build big bon-fires and throw potatoes in to bake. We explored old mine shafts. We walked around Sacramento Pit to go to the Lyric Theater in Bisbee. Earl was fascinated by the movies, and he loved comic books, Superman especially, and he pronounced muscles "Muskleeze." To this day, some of us in the family still say Muskleeze. He had goals even at that early age. He was going to go on an African Safari like Frank Buck, and I believe he would have done that, had his journey not been interrupted.


Earl's dad, Burl Hindman, was a master mechanic. He worked at Bledsoe Mauzy Motors in Lowell, but times got tough and we had to leave Jiggerville to go "pipelining" with El Paso Natural Gas. We moved all along the pipeline they were stringing, changing schools about three times a year. From Texas, New Mexico, Blythe California, Kingman, Wickenburg, we lived everywhere. Then we settled back in Bisbee and rented a house across from the "Iron Man" and Bisbee Court House. In the early '50's, we moved to Tucson, and my 87 year old Mom Eula still lives in that Tucson house. (I think she was really tired of moving.) I hated leaving Bisbee, hated Tucson, hated Amphi School, but Earl took it all in stride, as he has always done.


When he went into Amphitheater High School in Tucson, he signed up for photography classes. In the meantime, he started acting in some of the school plays. The yearbooks from Amphi are full of Earl's photos, and he attended Phoenix Junior College on a photography scholarship and had aspirations of becoming a Life photographer like Jean Smith. When it came to photography, Earl was a purist. He was not impressed with my photos because my 35mm camera had auto focus, auto exposure, etc. He would never buy a digital camera, no matter how much I raved about my Sony Mavica. Photography was his first career choice, but his deep voice and size, (6 ft. 3") lent itself to drama, and the rest is, as they say, History.


When Earl left Tucson to follow his dream, he left his photos and Hank Williams albums in the back bedroom in the Tucson house. He left them there so any time he visited Tucson, he could go through his stuff. He was working from one end of the country to the other, taking whatever acting jobs became available, and he didn't want to drag his photos along with him.


During my visits to Tucson, I would go through his photos, take a few of them and smuggle them out in my suitcase. I also took some of his Hank Williams albums. I figured no one would notice, and no one would miss them. I was wrong. Earl noticed, and I think that was the only time he ever got mad at me. Needless to say, I put them back where they belonged.


I. typed Earl's name into the Google Internet search, and was able to learn all about his acting career, but didn't see anything about how much he loved Hank Williams, or how he decided to teach himself how to play guitar while filming "Murder In Coweta County" with Johnny Cash. Earl's wife Molly told me to read the book "The Five People You Meet In Heaven, by Mitch Albom." I can see Earl sitting there with Johnny Cash, strumming his guitar, singing along with Johnny and Hank Williams, while my Dad and my Son Doug are cheering and yelling "Encore."


 Jiggerville is gone now, also. Phelps Dodge went in, put all the houses on flat bed trucks, moved them to below Lowell, naming the new settlement Saginaw. It was totally flat, and totally ugly. Then they started digging Lavender Pit where our houses used to be, a huge open pit copper mine. You can see that huge gaping hole when you drive from Bisbee down to Warren. It's a tourist attraction now.


A friend of mine said, Earl is Immortal. And I believe Jiggervill is also. I have often wondered: did Jiggerville make Earl special, or did Earl make Jiggerville special? I think maybe a little bit of both.


January, 2004

Dean Shields, Earl's Sister 


Earl Molly and Grandbaby