Your word is your bond

I have been told there was a time when a person was judged upon the words which emanated from his mouth.
A person’s character could be seen in his deeds and by what he would say and sometimes what he would not say.
I have met many people in my life. Some, I would not trust them as far as I could throw them, while others — if they say it, it will be done.
When two people struck a bargain and shook hands there was nothing else to do.
Today, however, we are in a world filled will reams of contracts, agreements and endless disclaimers and visits to a lawyer.
My grandpa Bill was a man of his word. If he said he would help with something, no matter what hardship it placed upon him, he would do it.
In my association with music legend Bill Monroe, I learned quickly that his honor was paramount in his image.
There was never a bargain struck or a promise made between he and I that he did not make come to pass.
I remember visiting with him before his final illness. He walked up to me and with the strength of a 20-year-old he squeezed my hand. He looked at me dead in the eye and said, “I tell you man, there are not that many good men left any more. Men like us need to stick together and help each other out.”
More than his praise of my musical ability or all the things he had done for me in my life, those few words conveyed to me that he thought of me as a man of my word.
Working in the world of television and film, I quickly learned the lesson that many Hollywood movers and shakers tend to be the opposite. Most of these trendsetters simply tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth. This trend relates more to the stars and executives of the last two to three decades.
There are and were what I call “class acts” such as the late stars Gene Autry, John Wayne and Roy Rogers whose word was their bond. I wish there were more people like them today.
I cannot tell you how many times someone has promised me they would use me in a movie project, and then when the project came along that promise was forgotten.
I am afraid I have found the same to be true in the “real” world as well.
Sometimes it just makes you want to lose faith in the entire human race when a person tells you he will do one thing and he does another.
In my own life, I have never broke a promise or not followed through with an agreement. Being a man of your word also carries through to fulfilling the everyday tasks that we all do. Returning phone calls, fulfilling requests, replying to mail are just a few of the little things that some folks might miss.I know that I have probably misstepped by not doing a few things that I have said I would do in my life. For those touched by such an action, I ask for forgiveness.
But I also know when I have told someone I would do something, usually such an assurance has popped up in my memory over and over again until I finish the task. There have been times I have carried one of those little things around in my head for a couple of years until I could do something about it.
But no matter what, I always did it.
Despite trends to the contrary and those who we discover are not honorable by their deeds and words, I believe it is the responsibility of every individual to make every effort to rise above such people to make our community a place of honor. It is what we owe our forefathers who built this land, and what we owe those who fight and die for our continued freedom.

Randall Franks performs in honor of Fiddlin’ John Carson


Georgia’s Fiddlin’ John Carson contribution to country music as first recording star continues to be honored.

From left Randy Smith, Dan Daniel, Yvonne Smith, Pete Hatfield and Rick Smith perform in honor of Fiddlin’ John Carson.

Randall Franks joined Georgia artists at Sylvester Cemetery in Atlanta, Ga. recognizing the 149th Birthday of Country Music’s first recording star Fiddlin’ John Carson by playing his first hit “Little Ole Log Cabin in the Lane.”  The performance organized by the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame reunited Franks with musician Randy Smith who joined Franks as he produced a recording featuring TV icon Carroll O’Connor in 1990. Ken Starr was presented the Fiddlin’ John Carson Award at the event.

Randall Franks, Yvonne and Randy Smith pause in front of the Carson family monument in Atlanta’s Sylvester Cemetery.

Randall Franks appears with Stella Parton

Randall Franks made a special musical appearance with friend, country music star and former film co-star Stella Parton at her appearance for the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce in Ringgold, Ga. in February 2017.

(Photos by Mike Key)


A Mountain Pearl: Appalachian Reminiscing and Recipes

A Mountain Pearl : Appalachian Reminiscing and Recipes

A Mountain Pearl“A Mountain Pearl” follows the adventures of a young, Appalachian girl as she grows up in the secluded valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain during the Great Depression. She and her family and friends experience the ups and downs of pioneer life in a beautiful valley almost forgotten by time. The stories were inspired by Pearl Franks — late mother of Hall of Fame music legend and actor Randall Franks, who played “Officer Randy Goode” on the television series “In the Heat of the Night.” Illustrated by award-winning artist Cathy Cooksey, the collection includes 39 authentic mountain recipes and 55 country funnies sure to bring a laugh.

In the valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain, author Randall Franks spins the tales and adventures inspired for “A Mountain Pearl: Appalachian Reminiscing and Recipes,” by his late mother – Pearl Franks.

“My mother was a wonderful storyteller,” Randall said. “From my earliest bedtime stories, she mesmerized me with mountain legends, struggles for survival, leaving me often hanging waiting for what the next installment would hold.”

Franks, who played “Officer Randy Goode” on the television series “In the Heat of the Night,” shares stories spanning over a century of Appalachian reflections and experience much of it intertwined hopes and dreams in the almost fabled valley where the tales were spun from the people that called it home.

“In this book, I play tribute to my folks who came before and endured the hardships that came from carving a living out hills and hollers of the mountains,” he said. “It reflects on my mother’s life and the lessons she shared with me that she learned in that valley and applied to life when she left it.”

The 202-page softbound book is illustrated by award-winning Catoosa County artist Cathy Cooksey featuring a variety of full color paintings and black and white drawings.

The collection also includes 39 authentic mountain recipes, most from his mother and grandmother’s favorites.

“Whether it’s a snack like Honey Tastes, Pearl’s Fried Chicken or Oatmeal Pie, there is a recipe here that cooks will sure want to try,” he said. “The featured recipes often reflect something interwoven within the stories.”

Randall also features over 50 lighthearted country funnies depicted through some of his best-known comedy characters such as Uncle Elige Doolittle and his twin boys Will Doolittle and Won’t Do-a-Lot, he said.

“These reflect the spirit and whimsy of Appalachian humor that have made generations crack a smile,” he said.

Actor/Entertainer/Author Randall Franks book Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand highlights celebrity stories, photos and recipes

Encouragers III Front CoverAuthor/actor/entertainer Randall Franks said he hopes the third book from his Encouragers series will inspire people to make a difference in the lives of others.

Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand,” released this month worldwide from Peach Picked Publishing, shares 58 stories of actors, musicians and everyday folks who played a role in Franks’s life.

The two earlier books in the series are “Encouragers I: Finding the Light” and “Encouragers II: Walking with the Masters.”

“Through this wonderful process of writing this book series and seeking to explore the gifts of encouragement shared with me by others, I have tapped over 150 stories of folks who God sent into my path and they were willing and able to realize their role in nudging me forward,” he said. “This latest volume by far does not finish the list of those who impacted my life or those that God will send my way in future but it does allow me to acknowledge a few who have spent some time with me along the way.

Randall Franks Violet Hensley Encouragers III a

Randall shares his new “Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand” for centenarian Violet Hensley when the American folk legend debuted as a Grand Ole Opry guest star. Hensley is seen in the book’s Moments in Time section and will mark 50 years performing at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. this fall. (Photo: Randall Franks Media/Sandra Flagg)

“Whether for simply a moment in time, or for an extended period, we are here to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” he said. “I pray by reading these stories, looking at the photos, or even cooking one of the celebrity recipes, your day might be improved. Possibly this time shared will propel a life towards an uplifting goal through the blessings of your and God’s guiding hand.”

The third volume highlights performers such as “Star Trek” luminary James Doohan and Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens; American icon Bill Monroe and “The Dukes of Hazzard” legend Sonny Shroyer; country music masters Harold Bradley and George Jones; bluegrass hall of famer Kenny Baker; “In the Heat of the Night” star Alan Autry; and heralded gospel music performers Karen Peck, the Watkins Family and Tim Lovelace.

Franks said guiding hands who share their knowledge, skill, hopes and dreams can bring forth destinies yet undreamed. His book features narratives about and interviews with those who contributed to the direction of his life and career.

Franks, who is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from the TV series “In the Heat of the Night,” starred in three TV series and 15 films. He became a country music personality as a youth beginning appearances at major country, folk, bluegrass and gospel events such as Country Music Association Fan Fair, National Folk Festival, National Quartet Convention, National Black Arts Festival and for the Grand Ole Opry. With 24 career albums in four genres, his latest is “Keep ‘Em Smilin'” He has performed to over 145 million fans around the world. Musically, he is recognized as an International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend and Independent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist featured across the Southern and Midwestern U.S.

Randall Franks Glenda Jones Encouragers III

Randall Franks signs his latest book “Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand” for Glenda Jones at Georgia on My Mind Day at the I-75 Visitors Information Center in Ringgold, Ga. (Photo: Randall Franks Media/Bill Jones)

The 448-page book includes over 58 stories and 395 photos including special Moments in Time photos featuring over 125 stars from Dean Cain to Dolly Parton and Jeff Foxworthy to Third Day from Randall’s personal collection and 72 celebrity, family and friend recipes.

The book is available for order at for $25 including postage and handling, and through book outlets around the world.

It is also available from Amazon here

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Featured stories in Encouragers III: 

TV and film personalities: Alan Autry, James Best, Dan Biggers,  James Doohan, Jeff Foxworthy, Robert Goulet, David Hart, Geoffrey Thorne, Sonny Shroyer, Tonea Stewart,  and Robert Townsend.

Country and pop music personalities: Harold Bradley, Johnny Carson, Phyllis Cole, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, The Jordanaires, Merle Kilgore, Patty Loveless, Mac Magaha, “Doc” Tommy Scott, Frankie Scott, Buddy Spicher, Buck Trent, and Leona Williams

Bluegrass artists:  Eddie and Martha Adcock, Kenny Baker, Byron Berline, Jerry and Helen Burke, Vassar Clements, Peanut Faircloth, John and Debbie Farley, Otis Head, Bobby Hicks, Barney Miller, Bill Monroe, and Tater Tate

Gospel artists:  Albert E. Brumley, Jason Crabb, Ernie Dawson,  Lou Wills Hildreth, Tim Lovelace, Karen Peck, Dennis Swanberg, Tim Surrett, and the Watkins Family