Glenn Goode's Big People
Glenn Goode, self-proclaimed as "The Fiberglass Man," is a regular-size human being -- albeit a real north Texan character.
But he truly appreciates the Big Men of Fiberglass. His chain of businesses featured these looming figures of the 20th century. A unique line of roadside giants congregates in front of Glenn's headquarters -- the first ever public gathering of a two Muffler Men, a Uniroyal Gal, and two Big Johns. Texas has its share of commercial colossi, but this quintet, north of Dallas near Gainesville, is a welcome stop before venturing into the statue-sparse Oklahoma territories...
Glenn is an artist and businessman, operating a variety of ventures over the years. He still has his hand in the fiberglass molding and repair side of things (he was 76 in 2014); his main business is custom sandblasting in the Denton area.
He recalls how he started his M-Man collection in 1971, when he bought one from a Go-Cart track in Garland, Texas for five dollars (!).
It was absent a head, hands, and hat, but that didn't discourage Glenn. "I made the missing head and cowboy hat from a cast of a Muffler man that was in Canton, Texas. It's now gone." For the hands, Glenn negotiated with the owner of the Halfwit at Dallas' Ken's Mufflers for an opportunity to create a cast in exchange for some repair work on the Dim One.
Glenn used the molds of his slightly non-standard 22-ft. tall Muffler Man (right arm raised in a wave, left arm at his side) to clone versions for his son's nearby businesses. Jay Goode's man still stands at Big Cowboy Custom Sandblasting in Sherman. The Sanger guy has been moved to the Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo, TX.
Patience, along with an unlicensed surgeon's zeal for ad hoc operating, allowed Glenn to systematically restore M-Men and their associates.
"The Uniroyal Gal was bought from a car dealer in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was blown down in a storm, and I repaired her and put her up in about 1984." Price? "$500." The 17-ft. tall Jackie Kennedy knock off originally wore only a red bikini - if you look up her skirt you can see it - with the miniskirt accessory. Glenn added a more conservative, knee-length skirt - though the carefully shaped rear shines with an unholy gloss. He has a long pending project to lengthen her stunted right arm, missing the standard issue wristband we've seen on other Uniroyal Gals.
His next acquisitions were two Big John grocery goliaths, from a grocery chain in Hickman, KY. The statues were lying behind a bowling alley until Glenn convinced the owner to part with them.
His chief gripe about the 24-ft. tall Big Johns: "They were so heavy... whoever made them didn't make 'em right. There's steel plate at the bottom, and half inch steel up around his waist, and pipe running up to his head. " Due to highway transport restrictions, "I had to cut their arms off to haul them back to Gainesville."
He eventually restored both Big Johns, which bookend his M-Man and Uniroyal Gal. The giant grocery bags are out back, undeployed.
During our recent visit, Glenn reminded us to tell all that he will pick up any unwanted Muffler Men and give them a home in his line-up. He'll also part with the M-Man molds in sale or trade to enterprising fiberglass crafters.
And the devoted M-Man booster has advice for owners whose statues are plagued by wind damage.
"The best way to stand a Muffler Man up with no guide wires is to drill a hole to put a telephone pole in the ground about 11 feet, and stand out of the ground about 16 feet. The pole must be loose in the hole so you can move it to go in the left leg of the Man. Then lift the Man up with a crane - one that will lift about 45 feet, and put the Man's left leg over the pole. Then concrete in the hole and the pole. Mine was done 30 years ago this way, and has withstood winds of 70 miles an hour."
One storm his statues almost didn't weather blew in a few years back, courtesy of the litigious stewards of another Texas giant, the legally trademarked Big Tex. This high profile brand mascot of the Texas State Fair is diligently protected by lawyers watching for infringing statues and uses of the name. As we recall, at the time at least one of Glenn's was referred to in his flyers as "B-g T-x." The lawyers first demanded the statues come down, but happily in the end they were allowed to remain.
Glenn told us in late 2006 that he'd added a baby calf to the line-up, after we'd visited a month or two earlier. That was a fun interlude, clambering around the garage to look at the molds, then making a pilgrimage back to Big John's grocery bags. Glenn's wife, Mary Jean, even brought out some photo albums chronicling how the Goode family grew up around their dad's crazy statue collection.
His main pursuit is still the Big People. What's next? "I'd like to have a Kip's Hamburger big man, or one of the Big Indians that they made..." Glenn said, "Or I'd like to have one of those Half Wits."
September 2014: Glenn told us he spent a year working on what might be his final Muffler Man, identical to his Cowboy Man, sans Stetson. He planned to make a new figure, but "I didn't have nobody to help me," so halfway through the project he cannibalized the molds into the torso and legs. The new M-Man stands with the rest now, a little work still needed on the shoes. Glenn made a cowboy hat for it but decided to leave it off.
May 2012: Glenn called to remind us that if anyone needs custom sandblasting in the Denton, Texas area, they should give him a call, and come on by to see his big people.