Introducing.... Gerald McRaney ( AKA Johnston Green)
During the 1980s I recall watching Gerald McRaney and always thinking "this man seems so nice!" And when I began watching Jericho, I quickly came to the conclusion that though the writers may indeed have written his character on the show, Johnston Green was simply a layer of the person Gerald McRaney, an extension of his character as a man.
Imagine my surprise today when I went to his IMDb page, and saw that in 1969 he played a KILLER in a show called Night of Bloody Horror. And to see that he was the last person to have a shoot out with Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, wow! ( his character lost I read). I saw immediately that doing this post on Gerald McRaney was going to be more in depth than I had realized. His career is immense and interesting, what memories he must have!
His list of credits is impressive, starting as I said with the 1969 Night of Bloody Horror, and moving into the 1970s where he was on some of the best of television, Cannon, Alias Smith and Jones, Night Gallery, Mannix, Gunsmoke, The Waltons, Police Woman, Petrocelli, to name a very select few.
In 1981, Gerald costarred in a show called Simon and Simon, which went on for 156 episodes, ending in 1989 as a hugely popular show with a large following.
After Simon and Simon ended Gerald continued to do wonderful television, in such shows as Touched By an Angel, and Promised Land. In the mix of wonderful parts and shows he has been in, Deadwood was said to be one of the best. I have not watched before, but have been told by many fans how great he was in the show. Then for a little while, we got to have him on our show, Jericho. He played the father of Jake and Mayor of Jericho; Johnston Green. From the first episode, I feel in love with his character, but not in the way you would think.
He so reminded me of my father, his mannerisms, his strength in times of trouble, the way you just feel his integrity. I hold people up to my father, and if they resemble him then they pass muster with me. I could not see this for the reason why I always enjoyed Gerald when I was a younger person in the 80s, but I do see it now. And when I found out that he had been ill, I was a bit confused because although he did look older ( as we all do) he still had that vigor and strength emanating from him. I just could not see him any other way. I was very glad to hear that his illness is a thing of the past and that he is doing great!
When the character he played on Jericho, Johnston died in Why We Fight, I was deeply affected. I had come to love being able to hear his sage words, and feel his comforting presence during the terrible times Jericho faced. Never did his character lose control of the situation. This is of course mostly due to the writers, but in a large part it is more due to Gerald McRaney because he just shines with assurance, with the promise that all will be well. It was in a small way like I had lost a father figure as well. I recall that night after the episode aired, feeling the deep need to tell my Father just exactly how important he is to me, and feeling so happy to know that I have the relationship I do now with my Dad. The scene where he is walking down the street with his father, and Jake is looking on, well....still cant recall it without feeling both sadness and great happiness; it was a prefect scene.
I will miss Johnston and I am quite sure all the fans of Jericho will as well. I know for the sake of the story that his death was important however I wish I could still count on Dad being there to see each week. His character on the show was just one of a collection of great characters, but without his Jericho would not have been the same show.
Reading this personal quote attributed to him from IMDb, I cant help but see that my opinion of him ( thought I do not know him personally) is dead on, Gerald McRaney is the man I see him as...
"It occurs to me that the only way you can have a positive effect on people's lives through your work is by filling the loneliness -- letting people know they're not in this thing alone."
I hope with all my heart that he knows the impact he has had on his fans, we will miss him in Jericho very much.
I wish him all the best in his next venture, and have all hopes of seeing him in yet another great show in the future.
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