Nickname of Coach Woodrow “Wood” Newton (Burt Reynolds) on the sitcom EVENING SHADE/CBS/1990-94. He earned the nickname “Clutch” (jersey #22) when he played pro quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Wood played football for Evening Shade High School he earned the nickname “Thumper” (jersey #37).
Woodrow is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. He returned to his hometown to become the high school P.E. teacher and coach for the The Mules who were on a losing streak.
Wood and his wife, Ava [née Evans] live at 2102 Willow Lane in the town of Evening Shade, Arkansas. Ava is 33-years-old and a prosecuting attorney. In her pre-teen days she was overweight and nicknamed “Chubby Evans.”
Now married 16 years, Wood and Eva share their home with their four children: Taylor, a 15 year-old who attends Evening Shade High; Molly, an 11-year-old who attends Evening Shade Elementary School; Will, a 4-year-old; and baby Emily Frieda who was born 5/6/91 despite Wood’s vasectomy. Brownie is the name of their family dog. [Carl the mule is the high school team mascot.]
The Newton’s friends are Ponder Blue, the philosophical owner of a local rib joint named Blue’s Barbeque Villa; Dr. Harlan Elldridge, the town’s cranky physician and a member of the Civil War Society; Merleen Elldridge, his sexy wife; Evan Evans, Ava’s father, the publisher of The Argus, the town’s newspaper [Evan still holds a grudge against Wood for marrying his daughter when she was only 18 and he was thirty]; Frieda Evans, Eva’s outspoken aunt; Fontana Beausoleil, Evan’s new wife, a dimwitted stripper who likes to run naked [she discovers Merleen is her mother who had given her up for adoption]; Herman Stiles, a wimpy math teacher who works as Wood‘s assistant football coach; and Nub Oliver, a slow-witted newspaper delivery man who pulls around a little wagon nicknamed “Chariots of Fire.”
Some Evening Shade Highlights
- Wood discovers his most celebrated high school touchdown catch was actually out of bounds while reviewing old game footage.
- Wood’s high school flame, Becky Kincaid Winstead returns for his 30th reunion and causes some jealous moments.
- Two talented teenage girls (Yvonne and Yvette) want to join The Mules football Team. The women in town vote “Yes” and the men vote “No!”
- Ava goes into labor while Terry Bradshaw delivers a speech at the Booster Club Sports. The baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around its throat so Emily Frieda must be born via a Caesarian.
- The Mules 57-game losing streak is broken on 4/3/93.
- Wood becomes Mayor of Evening Shade in 1994.
Note: Another “Clutch” character on TV was “Clutch Cargo” (voiced by Richard Cotting), a rugged, muscular writer with white hair who flew a plane around the world on dangerous assignments on the five-minute serialized animated adventure CLUTCH CARGO/SYN/1959-1960.
His sidekicks included, a young boy named Spinner (voiced by Margaret Kerry), the boy’s pet Dachsund, Paddlefoot, and Swampy (voiced by Hal Smith), Clutch’s crusty friend who wore a pith helmet.
The program featured a unique form of animation that used actual footage of moving human lips superimposed over the face of the cartoon characters to simulate speaking.