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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Winchester, Massachusetts, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameLawrence Carter Barnard

Mini Bio (1)

Lawrence Carter "Slim" Barnard was born in Babylon, New York and raised and educated in Winchester, Massachusetts. Almost from the beginning, it was evident that he had that special something that would somehow distinguish him from other men. A six-foot, three-inch New Englander of boundless energy, his friends nicknamed him "Slim" because they were certain that his continual activity would always keep him thin.

A self-made man, Slim Barnard has been a success at everything he has put his hand to. Until 1961 he wrote a popular weekly column for the Los Angeles Examiner called, "Slim's Pickins." And since that time, he has stood at the helm of Slim Barnard Enterprises which produces the vastly successful television show, "The Happy Wanderers."

But it wasn't always this way and Slim remembers the early years when he came west. He arrived in Texas as a wide-eyed youth of eighteen and witnessed the Battle of Juarez. Crouching on a rooftop, he observed the protracted struggle between the renegade Pancho Villa and the Mexican Army.

These were the years of growth for both the West and Slim and adventure was never very far away. In 1919 he landed a berth as a mechanic on one of the cars in the El Paso to Phoenix Road Race. Dust flying in his face, he rode the entire race pumping air into the gas tank of a Stutz Bearcat as it bounded over four hundred miles of unpaved desert road. Slim vividly recalls the experience and laughs heartily when he speaks about the winner of that race who averaged a scant 48 m.p.h. through the sage brush and sand.

For a time, he rode fence on an Arizona cattle ranch and slept under the stars. In 1921, he moved to Redondo Beach, California and put in a short stint as a bit actor. And in 1922 he met the beautiful Henrietta Seipp and they were married shortly thereafter.

The early years were not easy but he managed to land a $12 a week job as a salesman in the Classified Department of the Los Angeles Examiner. He called on automotive people and quickly became familiar with the industry. In 1932, the rival Daily News offered him a job as Automotive Editor and he accepted. Immediately he launched into a series of motorlogues which were both a sightseeing tour and a critical evaluation of new cars. Now he was creating competition for his old firm and in 1934, the Examiner wooed him back to head-up their Automotive Department. He continued his weekly column which ran right up to his retirement in 1961.

For the first time in his life, Slim took a breather but it didn't last long. He wasn't a man to "take it easy" and the idle hours soon prompted him to accept a position as Public Relations Counsel for the Los Angeles and Southern California Motor Car Dealers' Association.

His followers and fans hadn't read a decent travelogue since his retirement and a small group of friends approached him with the idea of filming them. He had worked hard all his life and was reluctant to risk the nest egg he had saved on such a venture. But his last objection was quickly dispelled when his friends presented him with a check for $50,000 as an indication of the confidence and faith they had in him.

He immediately set up Slim Barnard Enterprises, Inc., and began the business of putting together a series of television travelogues.

The first show was aired on October 15, 1963, and the program has been a smashing success every since. In nearly four years, it has presented more than 155 separate trips, of which 75% are within a 300 mile radius of Los Angeles, Those early travelogues, begun in 1932 for the newspaper, had paid off.

The Happy Wanderers show succeeds for the same reasons that Slim does: hard work, a refusal to settle for less than the best, and a sense of humor. It has had consistently high ratings since it began and, when opposite Walter Cronkite of CBS, out polled him, and all other competition.

A further testimonial to the show's acceptance is the popularity of the maps and accompanying stories that the organization publishes each week. Distributed by the show's sponsor, The Southern California Ford Dealers, these maps detail the history and points of interest of each journey They not only present the best driving route, but indicate the season, proper clothing, and a full breakdown of expenses. The loyal fans, who tune in every week, support the claims of the television rating services as they have snapped-up more than 2 ½ million copies of these maps in two years alone.

Putting the show together is an arduous task and Slim and Henrietta log better than 50,000 miles a year in the process of finding and presenting new and familiar locations.

Slim computes that he has spent more than ten years of his life behind the wheel of an automobile. He has driven well over a million miles without a single mishap.

His personal life is very much like his public one insofar as there is a great deal of activity which he divides among committees, clubs and chairmanships.

The Barnards have six grandchildren from their daughter Beverly, who lives in San Diego and their son Larry, who is the Automobile Editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.

Slim and Henrietta live on a quiet street in Glendale and maintain a mobile home in Palm Springs. For relaxation, they escape to a 27 acre ranch they own in British Columbia. Here Slim can pursue his hobbies of fishing, hunting and photography while Henrietta looks on and happily appraises the good years that have followed since that day in Redondo Beach, forty three years ago.

Somewhere in his sea of activity, Slim finds time for clubs and charity work. He is a Charter Member of the Greater Los Angels Press Club, a past president of the Automobile Dealer's Shrine Club, and past President of Al Malaikah Shrine Victory Patrol, and a past Director of the Royal Order of Jesters.

His trademark is his laugh which aptly conveys the spirit with which he approaches every task. Higher than his unusual resonant voice, it is at once both infectious and jovial. It is distinctively his, as are the long list of achievements which he always understates when asked about them.

Still the human dynamo he has always been, Slim refuses to rest on his accomplishments and talks excitedly about his plans for the future. He wants to continue to explore the West and find new places of interest and he plans to syndicate the show in order to reach travelers in other cities.

The Slim Barnard story in one of a man going places. Throughout all, he has kept. a sense of humor and perspective and the West can be certain that there will be more surprises and new discoveries from the original Happy Wanderer, Slim Barnard,

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Art Lauring

Spouse (1)

Henrietta Barnard (? - 3 January 1975) (his death) (2 children)

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