In 2009, I met Jonathan Wilson during the beginning of the Tea Party movement. We shared a vision for the future and a hope for television and film. He stated emphatically an ambitious intention to produce exciting, family-friendly entertainment! Wilson exudes joy and an infectious enthusiasm. It was clear to me at the time of our conversation, that he would execute his idea. The vision of creating exciting, family-friendly entertainment is not only reality, but is something to be quite proud of.
The collaborative effort that Wilson created with James Patrick Riley comes from their Colony Bay Productions series, “Courage, New Hampshire”. Episode 4 – “Ambition” was just screened in Pasadena, CA on Monday, September 17 to a full theater of enthusiastic audience members.
Riley owns Riley’s Farm in Oak Grove, CA. Riley is well known and loved to Tea Partiers, tourists, and thousands of school children for portraying Patrick Henry. Out at Riley’s Farm, the past is brought to life, including the American Revolution, Civil War and the Gold Rush Era. Visiting the farm and eating the delectable food is recommended when visiting Southern California. (http://www.rileysfarm.com/index.html)
When I first learned of the “Courage” series, admittedly I was a little skeptical. I questioned how relatable characters from pre-Revolutionary America would be. I also wondered about authenticity of sets and costumes on a very small budget. (See trailer here: http://www.colonybay.net/courage_nh.htm ) My husband will tell you that I’m not much fun to watch TV with because I tend to be slightly critical. I can be a little hard to please. Producers of “Courage” have done something special. The magic is back in Hollywood and it was created on a shoestring budget. “Courage” is a series you can watch and enjoy with your children, your parents, and your grandparents. I love this series and I’m excited for more episodes. I’m hooked! I’m purposefully not divulging information about the episodes because you must see them for yourself. Yes…they are that enjoyable!
Riley is a brilliant historian and his story telling (as writer on the series) brings pre-American Revolutionary times to life. The costumes, set and locations are beautiful. Bravo to the cast, which continues to get better each time. No episode is stale. No episode stagnates. I marvel at how Riley takes history, facts, and lessons from the past to intertwine them with the present. Their struggles are our struggles today.
After Episode 4 – “Ambition”, I understood something more about human nature. If you are a parent, you might relate to this: We try to help our children by telling them, “Please don’t make the mistakes I did”. “Learn from the mistakes of my past”. We try to shield them. More often than not, our children don’t listen and head in the direction that leads to almost certain pain and suffering. The same can be said about learning from our triumphs and successes. We suggest, beg, and plead that they follow our good examples to do the right thing. Again, our children may rebel in trying to find their own way. If they fail, or get hurt, we weep for them.
“Courage, New Hampshire” reminds me of what we did right as a nation: Citizens of moral integrity standing strong in the face of Tyranny; a community facing troubles and trials together; united despite differences; making mistakes, admitting them and moving toward resolution; being humble and Godly; listening, encouraging and loving one another out of mutual respect; protecting freedom and standing for justice.
We, as a nation, stand at the precipice, not unlike what the citizens of “Courage” live out in this fictional, dramatic series. Riley knows history and is mixing it masterfully into each story. Can we remember and learn from our past? Will we read from the pages of history while keeping an eye out to see what is happening all around us?
The Sons of Liberty live their lives bravely on screen in “Courage”. I pray that today, in each and every community in America – Daughters and Sons of Liberty imitate the lives of our Founders. Let us not ignore our past history. Let us follow the good and honorable examples set before us. As Jonathan Wilson would say, “Huzzah!”