Author Archives: James Riley

About James Riley

James Riley is the owner/operator of Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California and a senior partner in Colony Bay Productions. The father of six children, Riley performs "Patrick Henry" and supervises a living history program visited by hundreds of thousands of school children. He holds a degree in history from Stanford University.

If I Could But Atone..

Golf memories with my dad…

I really should be a better golfer. My dad — who was so poor as a child he never really knew how to stop working later in life — allowed himself one semi-unrestrained pleasure: golf clubs, a cart (if it was absolutely required), and a round of golf, perhaps, on average once a month.  He did build a mountain cabin vacation home on a golf course, as well, and we grew up playing the three closest holes, over and over, after hours in the summer. Continue Reading »

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The Charming Puzzle

Piecing it Together

The Langham PasadenaWe inadvertently stumbled onto a pretty big industry party the other night.  Mary and I were off to see a friend’s concert and we booked a room at Pasadena’s historic Langham Hotel, and, frankly, we fell into a crowd that was a tad intimidating.  There we were in our three year old Honda CRV, jockeying our way into a long, rude line of traffic for valet parking, and we were surrounded by Lincoln Town Cars, Mercedes, Bentleys, and host of smaller, but politically correct hybrids. Continue Reading »

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Courage Season II Update

why_are_you_hereIf you’ve been following our posts on Facebook, you know that last week, we called in cast and crew to shoot some second season footage and that we’ve been issuing invitations for crowd funding. Our hard-working director of photography, Drew Ganyer, used three cameras for this last shoot, all hand held, and it made for some really intimate fluid perspectives on what will be a flashback scene with the Pine family (above).

Even though we shot eleven pages of script in about 12 hours, (a very fast pace for us), we wound up generating so much footage, that I spent the better part of last week doing what I would call a “smooth rough cut,” syncing up all the sound and assembling the best takes into one reasonably finished looking scene. Continue Reading »

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Courage 2nd Season Shoot, November 16, 2013

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Sam Adams, My Cous…

Some years ago, I worked this up for the Riley’s Farm website, and my cousin Lani reminded me of the details tonight…
Samuel Adams,
My Third Cousin 8 Times Removed..Or..
“Samuel Adams Great Grandfather, Henry Adams, was my 10th Great Grandfather.”
Henry Adams& Edith Squire
Ursula Adams Joseph Adams
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Stephen Streeter John Adams
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John Streeter Samuel Adams
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James Streeter

Samuel Adams

(Father of the American Revolution)

Amos Streeter
William Streeter
Lucina Streeter
Erastus Snow
William Spencer Snow
Beatrice Snow Winsor
Bea RileyBeatrice Winsor Riley
Jim rileyJames Patrick Riley
“At the close of the drill a hollow square was formed, into which advanced Major John Mills, then first selectman, who delivered to each man a quarter of a pound of powder, and vendued their dinner for the coming muster-day to the lowest bidder,
the materials for which were to be, as declared in his own words, ‘good fresh beef, well baked or roasted, good wheat bread well baked; good old cider or new cider well worked.”–Edward Field, The Colonial Tavern

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Building Courage, New Hampshire

The Performance Art Angle

Our fundraising campaign for season II is now in full swing and you can make your tax-deductible donation here. Do it right now before you forget!

Several years ago the producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart called and asked if I would appear on the program. This was shortly after Dr. Phil’s producer called and asked the same thing. Our extended family was having a bit of a feud and they wanted us to appear in living history attire and hash out our disagreements on air for the amusement of the audience. Continue Reading »

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The Second Season

August to December, 1771

“Courage, New Hampshire” is fiction, of course, but we try to base many of the episodic plot points around actual news that took place in New Hampshire and the surrounding New England colonies.   Here’s just a glimpse of things taking place in the latter half of 1771, large and small.  If you were on our writing team, what would you do with this timeline?

Historical Background

The conclusion of the Regulator rebellion in North Carolina, with the news of death sentences arriving in New England by the end of July, must have given New Hampshire patriots some pause.  Continue Reading »

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Watch Carefully

We didn’t catch this when we were filming, and we didn’t even see it after several edits, but when were getting a promotion ready, my twelve year old pointed it out to me.  Watch carefully.  It takes a while for your eyes to catch up to it.











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For You Newcomers to Courage…

Catching up with Courage, New Hampshire

Welcome: This last week brought our show to a national audience on INSP, and the newcomers have questions.  Is this the end?  Will there be more?  Is this a true story?  What happened to __________ ?    One viewer said, and I was flattered by this, “wow, it looks like there’s a lot more to this story.”  There were a few, God bless ‘em, who just missed Little House on the Prairie.  We have a large following among living historians and Revolutionary War Reenactors, and a lot of them want to know when we’ll get to bigger battle scenes. Continue Reading »

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Our First Week on National Television

“Courage New Hampshire is some of the smartest TV I’ve seen in a while!”
“..Really enjoyed the series, wish there were more episodes…”
“.. loved it all. Can’t wait to see more. I love history and everything about the American Revolution. Can’t wait for tomorrow. I won’t miss one show. The more I see, the more I like it…”
“..LOVE IT!!!”
“This mini series is really good. I have seen plenty about what happened in the Colonies during the Revolution, but not too many before the Revolution…”

One type of response I didn’t anticipate, frankly (and naively), is the reaction of someone settling in on the couch for their nightly dose of “Little House on the Prairie,” only to find that their favorite re-run has been replaced by something entirely different. Continue Reading »

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