10 Great Moments in DBF History
Moment 7: Meeting Hal Needham (2011)

Jul 22, 2015

Meeting Hal Needham

Jim Baskett was elected Mayor of the City of Decatur in 2013. A longtime friend and volunteer of the AJC DBF, he is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the Regional Leadership Institute, founder of the DeKalb Library Foundation, and former chair of the DeKalb County Library System Board of Trustees. Jim and his wife, Mickey, live in the historic South Candler district and can be seen around town driving their electric GEM car. Now retired, they owned a book production company for many years.


As a volunteer for the AJC Decatur Book Festival I've had many memorable experiences. Every year I drive the author's shuttle, taking authors from one venue to another if they have a tight schedule, or they just have a lot of books or props to carry.

I had a great time one year with Hal Needham. He came to present his new book, The Stuntman, and he and I spent two days together as I drove him around and we really bonded. He told me about his first job on the TV show, Paladin, and then later about his friendship with Burt Reynolds. Somehow, I resisted the temptation to kidnap the director of the Smokey and the Bandit movies, Sally Field-style, and head out on a cross-country road trip in in my electric cart.

—Jim Baskett