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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sweet voices saying good night

“If you are a good writer - and I think I am - you are able to handle any kind of group and imagine their lives.” – Earl Hamner, Jr.

Hamner is best known for his both his work on the 1970s and 1980s television hits The Waltons and Falcon Crest, and for his award-winning novel Spencer’s Mountain.  The latter, inspired by his childhood, formed the basis for both a feature film and The Waltons television series, which ran for a decade and is still running in syndication.  He also is well-known as the voice of the elderly John Boy Walton, who opened and closed each episode.

Little known is that Hamner actually got his big break by writing eight episodes of The Twilight Zone – more than any other writer besides its creator Rod Serling.   It was that versatility that put him on the writing map as someone who could take an idea and make it his own, regardless of the genre’.  But, he said, he always was rooted in that Appalachian childhood that set the course for his life and his writing.

Earl Hamner, Jr., turned 92 this week

“I did leave Waltons Mountain to live and work in New York City, wrote more novels, and raised a family of my own,” he said.  “But no matter where I am, the call of a night bird, the rumble of a train crossing a trestle, the scent of crab apple, the lowing of a sleepy cow can call me home again. In memory I stand before that small white house, and I can still hear those sweet voices saying good night.”

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