There were several notable TV and film celebrities from Jasper, Alabama, the once-thriving coal mining town where I grew up. There was George Lindsey, better known as Goober on “Andy Griffith” and, later, “Hee Haw.” There was Polly Holliday, who popularized the catchphrase “Kiss my grits!” as Flo on the TV series “Alice.”
Then later came the dynamic actor Michael Rooker, who burst upon the scene so dramatically in “Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer,” and then became a beloved figure of geeks everywhere (including me). Last but not least, there was Gustav Hasford, the man who wrote the novel “The Short-Timers,” which Stanley Kubrick would adapt into “Full Metal Jacket.” Kubrick hated Hasford so much that he passed notes under the table to his collaborators, complaining about the author, saying “There’s no way I can work with this man.” Hasford was left out of any meaningful participation.
Sadly, Jasper was decimated by short-term strip mining interests and is now just a shell of its former self. But today — April 6 — is Michael Rooker’s birthday, so Happy birthday, Michael Rooker!