Home Television Drama Waltons, The

Waltons, The

1 9 7 2 – 1 9 8 1 (USA)
220 x 50 minute episodes

The extremely sentimental saga of the poor-but-happy and wholesome backwoods pioneer family (headed by Mr & Mrs Walton, John and Olivia) who operate a sawmill in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Depression of the 1930s.

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The tale is told through the eyes of the eldest son, John Boy Walton, who aspires to be a novelist. The other six Waltons kids were Mary Ellen, Jason, Erin, Ben, Elizabeth and Jim-Bob.

In the 1977 season of the show, John Boy achieved his American dream and had his first novel published, allowing him to move to the literary scene in New York.

Around the same time, his sister Mary Ellen married Dr Curtis Willard and the series moved forward in time to World War II.

Thereafter it all became terribly weepy: Grandma became ill, Grandpa died, Curtis Willard went MIA at Pearl Harbour and Olivia contracted TB.

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A shortage of manpower and materials forced John Walton to close the mill for a while. Then Mary Ellen fell in love with a former student, only to discover that Curtis was not dead after all (but she chose the student, Jonesy, anyway).

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At the end of the series, John sold his mill to his son Ben and moved to Arizona to help Olivia convalesce.

Based on the autobiographical novel by narrator Earl Hamner Jr, this wholesome (at times almost nauseatingly so) series also spawned three movies made for TV: A Day For Thanks on Walton’s MountainMothers Day on Walton’s Mountain and Wedding on Walton’s Mountain.

The series was a huge hit with Middle America and earned six Emmy awards before the BBC cleverly slotted it into Sunday evening schedules in Britain from 1974, and it took hold in the UK.

“Goodnight John-Boy”
“Look Grandpa, just go back to your own room!”

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John Walton 
Ralph Waite
Olivia Walton 

Michael Learned
John Boy 

Richard Thomas
Mary Ellen 

Judy Norton-Taylor
Jim Bob 

David W Harper
Elizabeth 

Kami Cotler
Jason 

Jon Walmsley
Erin 

Mary Elizabeth McDonough
Ben 

Eric Scott
Grandpa Zeb 

Will Geer
Grandma Esther 

Ellen Corby
Ike Godsey 

Joe Conley
Corabeth 

Ronnie Claire Edwards
Dr Curtis Willard 

Tom Bower
Jonesy 

Richard Gilliland
Narrator 

Earl Hamner Jr