NBC comedy series has Albany ties

Posted December 30, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Arthur Wake preaches.psd

by Al Gibson

A new comedy show on the NBC network has spawned a considerable amount of publicity from the Kentucky media in the past few weeks, simply because of where the sitcom is set.

“Perfect Harmony” is a 30 minute weekly comedy show that airs on Thursday nights and is set in the fictional town of Conley Fork, which has been hinted of being located perhaps in McCreary County,

However, other mentions in the show have revealed that the fictional town is located near Lake Cumberland and several metions have included the Univeristy of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team and former coach Rick Pitino.

The show stars well known actor Bradley Whitford as Arthur Cochran, a former Princeton music professor whose wife was from the Lake Cumberland area.

After the death of the fictional character’s wife, Cochran moves back to the Lake Cumberland area and begins directing a small church choir that needs help and direction.

The show is the creation of Lesley Wake Webster, who is the granddaughter of the real life character she based the show on, Arthur Wake.

While several communities in the Lake Cumberland region have laid claim to the character, most Albany and Clinton County residents probably aren’t aware of the close and unique relationship Wake had with our community

On several occasions in the 1970s, Wake served as an interim pastor for the First Christian Church of Albany.

On other occasions when he wasn’t serving as the church’s interim pastor, it wasn’t uncommon for the Wakes to be found in the church sanctuary to attend a regular church service.

With a weekend retreat cabin located on Lake Cumberland, the Wake’s were often, especially in the summer months, just a half hour’s drive or so from Albany and the First Christian Church.

Because of his tenure with the Lexington Theological Seminary, coupled with the fact that the Wakes owned a small vacation cabin in neighboring Wayne County on Lake Cumberland, he was an easy pick to fill in as a pastor when the Albany church found itself searching for a new minister.

A large framed man with an impressive baritone voice, Wake often boasted that anyone could be taught to sing – later admitting that he was incorrect about that statement, after working several times with one of the church’s members who famously sung in monotone fashion.

A music professor at Lexington Theological Seminary, Wake’s sermons were appreciated by the small local church, but it was his ability to sing that was the most impressive.

A church pianist and organist for many years as a teenager, this reporter played often as Wake led the singing from the pulpit.

On one occasion, after attempting to “jazz up” one of the hymns as I played the organ, Wake took me aside after the service and “urged” me not to deviate from the notes that were printed in the hymnal, implying that perhaps I was attempting to play beyond by abilities.

The hymns were played as written from that point on.

Still, the memory of “Bro. Wake” and his wife, Jean, stepping in to assist a small, local congregation in their times of need, remains vivid in this writers mind.

Knowing that his work is now being loosely portrayed on a major network comety series makes the memory of that relationship even more special.

Authur Wake is shown speaking from the pulpit of First Christian Church of Albany during the 1970s, when he was often an interim minister there. The NBC comedy series, “Perfect Harmony” was created by his granddaughter, Lesley Wake-Webster, and is loosely based on his life.