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Evening Shade (1990-1994)



Created by Linda Bloodworth Thomason and produced by her husband, Arkansas native Harry Thomason, football team (the Mules), which had not won a game for two years. His wife Ava was elected the town's prosecuting attorney while pregnant with the couple's fourth child. Although their eldest son Taylor was the team quarterback, he inherited little of his father's sporting prowess. Assisting Wood is Herman Stiles, a fragile mathematics teacher uncommonly unsuited to the task of football coaching. Other regulars included cantankerous Dr. Elldridge and Ava's father Evan, who disapproves of Wood's laid-back lifestyle and who has never forgiven him for stealing his daughter away at such a young age. (Ava was 18 when she got hitched to the 30-year-old Wood.) The series was narrated by Ossie Davis as Ponder Blue, the laconic and philosophical proprietor of Ponder Blue's Barbecue Villa, around which much of the action takes place.
Evening Shade was marked by its sharp writing and measured, almost leisurely pacing, a style dictated by Reynolds with his deliberately understated performance as Newton (he also produced, wrote and directed episodes). 

The opening segment included clips from around Arkansas, including the famous McClard's Bar-be-que,

Many exterior shots were filmed in the actual town of Evening Shade and other Arkansas locations, including the Wilson-Mehaffy House in Little Rock's Quapaw Quarter,  standing in for the home of the main characters. The Colonial Revival style house—a private residence at 2102 Louisiana Street that was named for its former owners, William Wilson and Tom Mehaffy—was built in 1883. 




When the Thomasons' were seeking suggestions about a location and title for the show, it is said that the winning idea came from their friend Hillary Clinton.