Earl Hamner Jr. at a book signing for his book, “The Twilight Zone Scripts of Earl Hamner.”
To Honor, Earl Hamner Jr.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
There is a certain ache, a sense of mourning, a feeling of loss that lives within the chambers of my heart. In many ways, I still mourn the passing of Earl Hamner Jr. Then most recently, watching the Emmy Awards on television, I was so deeply hurt when there was no mention, no words of honor to remember the great television writer and producer, Earl Hamner Jr. I have to confess that it made me mad.
The incredibly talented writer, Earl Hamner Jr., held a certain strength of character that surfaced in all of his writings from his writings of episodes of Twilight Zone to one of his last books, “Lassie, A Christmas Story.”
Earl touched the hearts of thousands upon thousands of people, throughout the globe. He had a distinct style where truth prevailed through the simplest and most mundane events and moments of day to day ordinary life. He showed us the nobility of common people. He showed us the richness of character in people who had a few dollars in their cookie jar. He showed us the power of human love, kindness, compassion and understanding.
A great photo of Earl Hamner Jr.
I first came to know the incredible power of the talent Earl’s story telling, when I was in grade school and watched the Twilight Zone. All together, Earl penned eight Twilight Zone episodes. One of my all time favorite Twilight Zone episodes is the one Earl wrote entitled, “The Hunt.” There is such an earthy quality to this episode. An old man and his dog go out for a hunt. Tragedy befalls them both. You are not sure if the old man and his dog are alive or have passed away and are now walking and seeing the people that they know, as ghosts. It is a great episode and I do not want to give away the ending.
“The Hunt” is simply put, a great Twilight Zone episode. It has a certain earthy quality to it.
Way back in 1998, when I was writing for northern New Jersey’s Independent News, I wrote a tribute to Earl Hamner Jr. I remember that I was very honored by the reaction of some of the people, from my old hometown of Lincoln Park, to my tribute. I had a few people tell me that my tribute article had inspired them to visit Schuyler, Virginia in their travels. As most of you know, Schuyler is the real Walton’s Mountain.
In 1998, I was able to convince my editor to allow me to write a tribute to the talented Earl Hamner Jr.
I’ve been to Walton’s Mountain at least a dozen times. My dad and I used to visit Civil War battlefields a lot. We would take a week or so, during the summer and travel about to see the battlefields of Gettysburg, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Petersburg to name a few. We would always make it a point to visit Walton’s Mountain on our Civil War battlefield excursions.
My dad and I loved to visit Walton’s Mountain. It is really something special to see.
I try my very best to be true to the spirit of Earl Hamner Jr. I have always worked hard to be the best writer that I could possibly be. At times, I feel like I have fallen short of the mark. But truly, I have always done my honest best to bring a gem of truth through writing about those simple, ordinary moments of life. Earl Hamner Jr. has been a great inspiration to me.
I have tried my very best to carry forth the flame of quality, creative writing in my own works. For about ten years of my life I taught Creative Writing classes at adult night schools.
For some reason today, I felt a deep sense of mourning for the passing of Earl Hamner Jr. I think that how Earl was snubbed by the big wheels who run the Emmy Awards, affected me very deeply. I think that Earl Hamner Jr. touched so very, very many people’s lives for the good. It hurt me deeply that he was snubbed at the recent Emmy Awards. Earl made a huge contribution to American television.
A wonderful photo of Earl Hamner Jr. standing in front of Ike Godsey’s store at Schuyler, Virginia.
I do not hold myself in the same league as Earl Hamner Jr. But I do my very best to honor Earl by doing my very best to move the human heart, to find charm and wonder in life’s simplest moments, and to keep my eyes focused on truth, in all of my writings. I still, dearly mourn the passing of Virginia’s favorite son.