Thirty years ago, Ralph Waite, the dad on the Waltons, fell in love with the story of my dad playing gospel music at the revivals in Oklahoma. He especially loved the image of little Kenny wiring a pie tin collection plate to the straps of his overalls, marching down the aisle, picking his guitar and pretending these poor farmers in this dusty old revival were really adoring fans at the The Grand Ole Opry, tossing money at him.
Ralph Waite bought the rights to the story and I wrote it as a CBS Movie of the Week. Ralph was going to play Kenny's disapproving preacher father who tried to steer his son away from the sinful clutches of "worldly" music. It was called Oklahoma Christmas.
Alas, it never got made. But I think Ralph Waite and Kenny Montgomery are both smiling down on this production and saying, "It's about time."