Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #30 – The Reynolds Boys

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

A couple of weeks ago, XL7-TV in Mountain Home held a day-long telethon for the Humane Society.

I was scheduled to appear and talk about what good work the Society does and plug this column a time or two, but as luck and life would have it, I wasn’t able to do my bit. Gwen the Beautiful and I had to make a run down to Little Rock instead.

Missing my shot at television stardom’s gotten me thinking, though, about my old area of expertise—Showbiz!—Paradise style.

I met the owner of XL7-TV, Dan Reynolds, at the Baxter County Fair awhile back. Just a few minutes into the conversation I understood that Dan was a Man with a Plan.

He’d already started and sold one local television station, and was a couple of years into this one.

Dan’s programming philosophy impressed me. He was concerned about two elements that many people find difficult to reconcile. Entertainment and public service.

Working with low power and an even lower budget, Dan was taking care of the public service side with syndicated news and weather reports, high school sports coverage, and specials like the telethon.

He even gave Chet the Unhandyman a job as a cameraman. (Yes, regular readers already know what happened. This is one of those jobs Chet managed to stretch out to last all of three days.)

It was Dan’s approach to the entertainment side that hooked me though. I’m a sucker for exactly what he was putting on the air. Old TV series like The Lone Ranger and Lassie and even The Cisco Kid. The shows that had inspired me to go to Hollywood years ago and write some shows of my own.

As I’ve gotten to know Dan better I’ve learned that he has no intention of stopping at this mix of current events and TV classics. His goals are far loftier.

Dan produces several nature series, does production work for various reality shows, and, the last time we talked about it, was planning a series to be hosted by his childhood hero and mine, actor Clint Walker.

And then there’s the upcoming independent TV distribution company he’s been working on and…

You get the idea. The man’s working toward the future. And he’s doing it all from right here in Paradise.

Well, not really doing it all. He’s got a couple of partners.

His sons.

Ian’s in his mid-twenties, married, with a son. Gil’s recently out of college, single and lookin’. Ian’s the tech guy. He directs and edits. Gil’s in charge of graphics and edits as well.

And all three of the Reynolds Boys do everything else that’s necessary too. They even take turns climbing to the top of the broadcast tower and messing with their antenna when it goes out of whack.

Dan hasn’t said it in so many words, but I think his hope is to be to Ian and Gil what Ted Turner’s daddy was to him: The creator of a burgeoning business empire his sons can expand. But when I watch these three I see something else building as well.

I see three men who love each other. Whose work and life are so intertwined that Ian’s even gotten himself a fine new home on the property where he grew up. Right through some trees beyond his mom and dad.

The Reynolds Boys hope together and dream together and laugh and cry and roll their eyes at each other and argue a bit and then get back to the business at hand.

No matter what situation I’ve seen them in together I’ve known I was looking at folks who enjoy every minute they spend with each other.

I admit it. This isn’t something I’ve had much experience with in my own life. When my children came around while I was working odds are that I wouldn’t even look up. I’d keep on at my lonely act of creation…after a yell for their mother to come and get them, “Now!”

I’m sorry I missed the telethon and all the Reynolds Boys’ action I know went into it. This column is my way of apologizing.

And of letting Dan Reynolds know that although I have no idea whatsoever if he’ll ever be a Bigtime Television Mogul he’s already as successful as can be.

Dan’s created something much more valuable than CNN.

He’s created a real FAMILY.

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.