Wandering around the Alabama Mosaic database recently, I came across the 1966 photo below showing actress, comedian and author Fannie Flagg with a model of Birmingham. The photo was taken at the city's airport.
By 1966 the Birmingham native was well-known locally and beginning her climb to much wider fame. She had appeared in productions at the Town and Gown Theatre before graduating from Ramsay High School. She entered the Miss Alabama pageant seven times and appeared in local commercials. By the early 1960's she was co-host of a morning show on WBRC-TV.
In 1964 she stepped onto the national stage as a staff writer for Allen Funt's popular Candid Camera program. The following year she moved to New York and developed a stand-up comedy act. Flagg soon started appearing as a regular on television game shows like The Match Game and Password. She recorded two comedy albums as well.
Her greatest success came after this photograph. She appeared in her first movie role in 1970 in Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson. Her first novel Coming Attractions was published in 1981. Since then she has concentrated on her writing career.
The current two-story terminal at the Birmingham airport opened in 1973, so this photo was taken at the previous two-story terminal which opened in 1962. The facility was known as Birmingham Municipal Airport until the name was changed in October 1993 to Birmingham International Airport.
Various questions arise from this photograph. I guess Flagg was making a hometown visit after moving to the Big Apple. Who constructed the model? Why was it in the airport? Perhaps to introduce people new to the city to Birmingham? And what happened to the model???
"Fannie Flagg looking at a model of the city of Birmingham at the Birmingham Municipal Airport."
June 23, 1966
Source: Alabama Dept of Archives & History Digital Collections