A great photo of Earl Hamner Jr., when he was a young man.
The Precious, Golden Rod Has Passed
By Richard Mabey Jr.
To say that I am mourning for the passing of Earl Hamner Jr. is an understatement. I think that I had my heart set on seeing him receive the Kennedy Center Honor this year. I thought that his biography film would make it to television, while he was still alive. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I am profoundly sad.
I loved the Twilight Zone from the time I was a little kid. I didn’t watch the Twilight Zone when I was a kid, I absorbed it. I would sit on our living room floor, really close to the television set. My mom would tell me to sit on the couch because I would hurt my eyes sitting so close to the TV. I remember pretending not to hear Mom. Then dad would say, “Richie did you hear your mother?” And, I knew it was time to relinquish my “front row seat” and return to the living room couch.
I was helping my dear mom cook supper tonight. I mentioned to her that all of the writers from the Twilight Zone had all passed. I told her that Earl Hamner Jr. had been the last living script writer of the original Twilight Zone show. I told Mom that Twilight Zone was television at its very best.
My mom was quiet for a moment, then said to me, “well, Richard, it’s up to you to bring good programs back to television.”
I kind of laugh and said, “yup, it’s all up to me.”
Then mom said in a very serious tone, “I’m not kidding. You worked in television. It’s not too late for you to go back to working in television.”
Her words hit me like a speeding train.
Here’s the bottom line: the precious golden rod of quality, creative arts has been passed to each and every one of us. You know who you are. You really do.
Here’s what it all comes down to: what would Earl Hamner Jr. want you to do? Would he want you to mope around, walk around depressed. I don’t think so. I think that he would want each and every one of his dear and loyal fans, to pick themselves up, pull up their bootstraps, get back on the horse and give it all they got in pursuing the dreams of each and every one of us.
We need to do this in Earl’s honor.
Look at the television programming that filled the networks just before The Waltons came on the scene. Nothing came close to the quality of television programming that The Waltons offered. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but we know deep in our hearts that The Waltons changed the face of television dramas. The Waltons was way ahead of its time. Ironically, it was a television drama about an almost forgotten time, in the shadows of time past.
I don’t know where to go from here. My heart aches. The world has lost a very talented, kind, unassuming, accomplished writer. There’s this aching gap. I know you feel it too.
That is exactly why each and every one of us needs to dig deep into the inner chambers of our hearts and work twice as hard on our artistic and creative endeavors. It is probably the single best thing we can possibly do to honor the great Earl Hamner Jr.!