It was while listening to several faculty oral histories collected by Dr. James J. Barnes that I first encountered the name Jim Goode. It was in an interview with Bob Harvey who was reflecting on previous editors of The Bachelor. Of all the young men who worked on the student newspaper over the years, Harvey spoke particularly favorably about one young editor, Jim Goode, Wabash class of 1949.
Jim Goode graduated from Shortridge High School and attended Purdue for only one year as he found he did not care for the large university environment. In 1942 he transferred to Wabash, pledged Beta Theta Pi and worked on The Bachelor.
As with so many young men of this era, Goode’s time at Wabash ended in February of 1943 when he was ordered to active duty. Goode served three years in the Navy and returned to Wabash in the fall of 1947. He returned to The Bachelor as well, starting as a lowly reporter, then he was the copy editor, then managing editor, before assuming the Editorial chair.
Here is one of his editorials from October of 1947.
Here is another piece by Goode as he prepares for Commencement and the end of his work at Wabash, especially at The Bachelor.
In a letter of recommendation written by Byron Trippet in 1949, Goode’s talents are made clear. “Goode in my opinion is a young man of superior intelligence and considerable talent, especially along literary lines…He has an excellent sense of humor which made his satirical writing amusing and sometimes quite effective.”
A quick look at Goode’s career after he graduated shows that Trippet was spot on regarding Goode’s talents. Happily others noticed them as well. In 1953 Goode was part of an expedition to the Arctic for LIFE magazine. Below is a link and a short snippet of text describing their harrowing adventure.
“On the frozen fastness of the Canadian arctic, LIFE Photographer Fritz Goro and Reporter James Goode worked for seven weeks in silent isolation, photographing a corner of the world few men had ever seen before, where the weather extremes far surpass the farthest reaches of the arctic. Their radio could receive messages but could not send. Movement was so difficult that it once took them five days to reach a photographic objective barely ten miles from their two-tent camp. For another five days, rising water in the spring thaw completely cut them off from land. As their provisions dwindled, they lived on canned macaroni alone, because the fish they hooked were too big to land on their lines. When an airplane finally picked them off the permafrost, LIFE printed their memorable full-color photographs of the Canadian tundra.”
Goode’s skill as an editor was polished as he moved to TIME/LIFE Books. In 1963 he published a book about the making of the movie “The Misfits.” He became the editor of Penthouse Magazine until he was offered the position of articles editor for Playboy. It was Jim Goode who developed the concept of the long-form Playboy interview.
In his obituary from the New York Times, writer Bruce Lambert has this to say, “In his first job at Playboy as the articles editor in the 1960’s, he helped give the magazine intellectual credibility by creating the Playboy Interview and by arranging for Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court to be an early subject. Playboy’s circulation doubled during that period.”
Here is the full text of his NY Times obituary.
By Bruce Lambert
James A. Goode, an author and a top editor of several major national magazines, died Sunday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, Calif. He was 68 and lived in Los Angeles.
He died of a heart attack, said Harry W. Carey, his companion.
In the 1970’s Mr. Goode was the executive editor of Playboy, Playgirl, Penthouse and Viva. In 1982 he was the publisher of Oui.
In his first job at Playboy as the articles editor in the 1960’s, he helped give the magazine intellectual credibility by creating the Playboy Interview and by arranging for Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court to be an early subject. Playboy’s circulation doubled during that period.
At his death, Mr. Goode was the founding editor of The National Times magazine. Earlier he was the editor of the magazines Film News International, Platinum and The Robb Report, and was the editorial director of Hustler and Chic.In the early 1970’s he founded Earth magazine and Earth News, an alternative news service for radio. He also produced news films for ABC and wrote for Show Business Illustrated.
From 1952 to ’61 he was a correspondent for Life, then became an editor at Time-Life in charge of several large-format books and as the photography editor for cookbooks.
His first book, “The Story of the Misfits” (Bobbs Merrill, 1963; Limelight, 1986), was about Marilyn Monroe’s and Clark Gable’s last movie. The New York Times called it a contender for “the model book on the making of a movie.” He also wrote “Wiretap” (Simon and Schuster, 1988) about the Mafia.
Mr. Goode was born in Indianapolis. He graduated from Wabash College, where he was the editor of the campus newspaper. In World War II he served in Europe as an editor of the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Besides Mr. Carey, his survivors include his mother, Mary, and brother, Damon, both of Indianapolis.
New York Times, December 19, 1992, PAGE NUMBER 11.
Many outstanding journalists have passed through the offices of The Bachelor. Honing their wordsmithing skills, tightening articles written by their friends and covering the day to day life of the College. James Arthur Goode , Wabash class of 1949 was one such. Or, as Bob Harvey put it years ago, he was a “good” darn editor.