Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Forgotten Superstars: Paul James-the Gardener Guy?

The Forgotten Superstars universe features mostly standouts from the sports world,but it has a featured superstar with four legs (Skip Away) and a bass guitar master,so we do not limit ourselves to the sports world.
However,today's entrant might make a few of you wonder,just who is Paul James and why is a Gardener in the blog.let alone the FG Universe?

Well,Paul James was the host of an hilarious gardening show (Gardening by the Yard) on HGTV that made a person like me actually enjoy a show about things that I didn't really care about.
Try that sometime,school systems!
If you can capture your audience and as a result,they have an easier time retaining the information,
As an avid non-outdoorsman,I am not a fan of yard work,but the show entertained and as a result informed me on things that I could learn to grow and cook too.
Paul's show was about everything that was against the usual gardening show.
His yard looked excellent,but he was not afraid to show that he battled bugs,the weather hit his house hard and everything that he planted did not always turn out perfectly.
Gardening by the Yard also showed another thing that other shows did not-Paul actually worked in his garden!
The fact that Paul actually sweated in his yard showed that he was a real gardener and not a TV personality doing a gardening show reading cue cards and I think that came through among fans of the show.

As much as I liked GBTY,I enjoyed Paul's other show even more.
Home Grown Cooking spun off as the second show and featured a different food item each show.
It usually had a history piece,a segment on how to grow the item and finished with Paul in the kitchen fixing a recipe or two.,
Some of those are used here to this day on occasion both in the garden (Paul introduced Cherie and I to the world of composting) and the kitchen!
Now that I mention that,I could go for some "Bubbles and Squeak"!
Home Grown Cooking did not last as long as the original show,but I managed to look ahead enough to tape a ton of the shows to have the recipes and information on hand (the internet was in its infancy then),so as a result,I still have them to this day.

For a small period of time,Paul James was the face of HGTV back when they paid attention to the Garden portion of their name before the TV craze of selling fancy homes that no one I know can afford.
However,HGTV slowly began to phase Paul out in favor of a higher scale audience and eventually the show ended a few years back.

Paul James is still remembered well here as some of the lines from the show are staples and as I wrote earlier,the garden and kitchen help,but Paul may never be forgotten due to one small event.
HGTV came to our (then) cable system in early 1997 and the show quickly became a favorite.
Not only a favorite,an everyday part of the house as it was on everyday.
One day Ryan and I noticed,Rachel,who was still so small that she was not walking and in a playpen, was watching the show.
This sounds odd,but its true as every time the bumper music/theme song played,her head would turn to the TV and she would pull herself up and stand to watch!
I wonder if the seeds (Pun Intended) were planted for Rachel for her own home down the road then and there?

In any event,as an entertaining television personality,as a garden/kitchen resource and as an educator in his field-Paul James has left a terrific legacy behind with the two shows and it would be wonderful to have him return to the air in some capacity to enrich with his knowledge.
We welcome Paul James-the Gardener Guy to the Forgotten Superstars Universe and perhaps he could add a little bit of landscaping help to the decor!!!


Michael Battalio said...

I really miss Paul and GBTY. I had a ritual every Sat and Sun at 10:30 where I would drink coffee and watch the new episodes. I wish you could buy DVDs of the seasons, but alas, HGTV just doesn't care about gardening anymore. I've found a couple of places online where you can get some of the shows, but there were over 200 of them. Some of them are just lost to the ether unfortunately. It's also sad that Paul doesn't have much of an online presence. He had a couple of facebook pages, but they haven't been updated in a long time. He also shut down his website. You just have to hope to catch him when he makes a personal appearance somewhere. I really do miss his show; it was an important part of my childhood.

David Shingledecker said...

It's too bad Paul couldn't take a less strenuous job....say guest appearances on an established DIY show, kind of like Jody Marks did on Danny Lipford's show.

commenter said...

He's not forgotten here. I periodically flip through the TV guide menus searching for his show, hoping to find it during an odd time or on another network. His show was a ritual of mine also and it suddenly disappeared without my knowing why. Today I took to the web looking to find out what happened to Paul James (after trying to endure yet another horribly boring gardening show with hosts who are older than dirt). At least, now that I found your blog, I know he is gone, so I will quit searching. But I'm very sad this wonderful show is off the air. (and yes, I would buy videos of previous recordings if available).

I Love Movies said...

I found him! He's in Tulsa, blogging and doing a local show. I miss him too!

Debora Halpin-Barker said...

I actually ggot my husband to watch the show, and that is saying a lot. The only two shows I could get him to watch with my was The Gardener Guy and Holmes on Homes. I miss the heck out of you Paul! I really wish you could be on TV again!!! Love you ya man!

AndieX said...

This was such a good show, funny and informative, I always looked forward to watching it. Paul James was also great as HGTV's host for the Rose Parade. I missed GBTY when it disappeared from the lineup. HGTV changed so much I lost interest. I barely remember it exists let alone watch it. It would be nice to see Paul James with another show.