The little known sequel to “SLIM” is on its way back
By Alan Drew
Senior Vice President of
Research and Development
Northwest Lineman College
SLIM has been an icon for the legacy of the lineman profession for many years. It it is a rare instance that a veteran lineman is not familiar with both the book and the movie. William Wister Haines, who worked as a lineman in his younger days, is responsible for creating Slim as the trade’s most legendary lineman who lives on today. In 1934, once SLIM became a best seller,Haines hung up his hooks and evolved into a very successful writer. Warner Brothers became interested in the story, as a movie and made an agreement with Haines for the rights to make a film. Haines wrote the screen play and provided technical guidance to the movie which made its debut in 1937. Both the book and the movie, which starred Henry Fonda, garnerned great reviews when released. Haines would go on to author several more books and magazine articles on line work, World War II and other themes.
What the majority of linemen are not aware of is that William Wister Haines authored another great lineman story titled HIGH TENSION in 1938.
I have worked in the electrical line for 45 years in many roles, but none more rewarding and impactful as the Director of the Fallen Linemen Organization (FLO). Since our beginning in April 2013, the electrical line industry has lost over 110 linemen. For every one lost, we estimate 3 to 4 times that number have been impacted by life altering injuries. The topic that has impacted me the most in my position at FLO has been safety. I always considered safety as of the utmost importance, but I did not take the time to research what safety really meant. Watching families suffer after they have lost a loved one really makes me think, “How can I help make a difference?” Being in a hospital room with a lineman that realizes that, while he is lucky to be alive, he will never climb a pole again. These instances have motivated me to learn more about safety and the culture of safety in our industry.
I came to the game late. I knew so many that had joined the ranks earlier. And though I was witness to their involvement, and had some admiration for it, I really didn’t have an interest….until.