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I can't help but be amazed at the few individuals who feel compelled to
give negative reviews to this totally entertaining television show.
It's one thing to accurately note that the quality of some specific
episodes weren't up to the normally high standard that had been set by
the vast majority, but it's a different matter completely when someone
who obviously either hasn't watched any episodes, or who is basing
their opinion of the entire series on one or two specific episodes,
takes the time to run the series down. In virtually every case of
someone taking the time to run down "The Waltons", it is obvious from
their comments that either they have never seen it, they haven't seen
enough of it, or they just "don't get it". "The Waltons" is fictional
entertainment based loosely on the Hamner family's experiences during
the thirties and forties (framed mostly against the Great Depression
and WWII). It was almost never overly sentimental or "soppy" and most
who have viewed the series agree that it was generally extremely well
acted, written, and produced. There were very few exceptions. My wife
and I raised three kids in the seventies and eighties, and "The
Waltons" was, and is, universally loved and (still) viewed by all of
us. The characters are almost like members of our family... and the
love, devotion, and family values displayed on that series, became an
integral part of the life lessons we chose to make a high priority in
the raising of our own children.
The standards generally set for kids today is worlds away from those of just a generation ago, and it's not hard to see why those who were, and are, being raised without benefit of a strong family ethic might see "The Waltons" as somewhat "simple" and overly sentimental. Thankfully, these people are still in the minority. Most people still "get it" and we are forever grateful to the people who were involved in any way with the production of this wonderful television show for giving all of us a standard to which we might aspire even as society in general continues to degrade and cheapen the concept of a nuclear family at every opportunity.
To those who haven't tried it... I suggest that you do so while it is still available. I'm sure that somewhere some group of "new thinkers" is trying to outlaw shows like "The Waltons" for the very reasons that it became so monumentally popular in the first place. As a country, our standards, morals, and sense of family values is being eroded every day... we parents are very much aware of how hard it is today to instill a sense of right and wrong in our children. "The Waltons" made the "medicine" go down in the easiest and most effective way... as an integral part of an extremely entertaining TV show that everyone in the family could/can view without a worry that the wrong values might be represented in a positive light. I've seen the entire series multiple times (except the "reunion specials) and I've never seen an exception to that statement. Again,I invite the "snobs" out there to take a look... or even a second look... the vast majority knows what I know... that a very pleasant surprise awaits you if you'll just give "The Waltons" a chance.
("Thumbs-down TVLand" and "Thumbs-up Hallmark Channel"
This is a delightful series with wholesome values that my own family
often watched together during my son's earlier growing up years. It
chronicles the ongoing story of a Depression Era family living in the
Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia...often seen though the eyes of the
oldest son John Boy, a budding author, who relates his family's
experiences in a journal. The series follows the Walton family through
both the Depression and World War II. It also portrays the career
paths, courtships, & marriages of many of the children, the births of
new grandchildren, and the illnesses, aging, & deaths of some of the
The mother, Olivia, is a devout Baptist who must deal with an extended stay in hospital as she suffers from tuberculosis. The father, John, though perhaps a little lapsed in his own faith, runs a saw mill and is a hard working man of integrity. The couple have seven children. John Boy eventually goes off to Richmond for college, Boatwright University, and later embarks upon a journalistic career in New York. Mary Ellen, a feisty tomboy, grows up to become a nurse and marries a doctor, Curtis Willard, sent to Pearl Harbour just prior to the Japanese attack. Jason is the family's budding musician, sometimes providing lively entertainment at the local Dew Drop Inn. Ben marries at a young age the pretty Cindy, and the two are set up with charming little accommodations adjacent to the main Walton house. Erin, the pretty one with her various beaux, is employed at the local telephone switchboard and later by G.W. Haines. Jim Bob is a mechanical tinkerer, and Elizabeth the rather spoiled and generally irritating baby of the family.
Also living under the same roof are John's parents, the devilish but wise old Grandpa Zebulun and the strict & proper but feisty Grandma Esther. Years ago, it became a family chuckle that if Grandma Walton wouldn't have approved of the language, then it just wasn't acceptable! The banter between these grandparents is absolutely precious. I liked the multi generational aspects of the program with eventually four generations of Waltons. An ongoing storyline involved the stroke suffered by Grandma (and actress Ellen Corby), which restricted her movement and left her with a severe speech impediment. Also, actor Will Greer passed away, so the family was forced to grieve the loss of Grandpa.
The likable country store keeper, Ike Godsey, and his prim & snooty wife, Corabeth, appear regularly on the show. Other local characters are featured, including Yancy Tucker and a succession of various parsons (one was portrayed by actor John Ritter). Of course my favourites are the charming, elderly Baldwin sisters with their legendary Recipe inherited from their dearly departed father! Olivia and Grandma were strongly opposed to alcohol, but Grandpa would sometimes stop by at the Baldwins for a wee nip of the Recipe, actually moonshine whiskey. Some episodes also featured interactions with 'outsiders', including circus acrobats and gypsies.
Most of the individual episodes are quite engaging, and the family's interactions even during conflict show an underlying warmth. Their famous extended calls of Good Night are of course legendary! Many plot lines revolve around their various financial struggles to live a decent life during the Great Depression. The marital relationship between John & Olivia is well captured, as well as the siblings' interactions and their relationship with their parents & grandparents.
Sadly, I am not surprised that this heartwarming series is receiving a few disparaging reviews these days. Perhaps life wasn't all rosy and moral back in the 1930's with issues of poverty, racism and so forth. However, its values were generally preferable to the decaying ones of today, where materialism reigns supreme, parents & offspring alike feel entitled to their self absorbed attitude, rudeness is the norm in human interactions, the nuclear family and moral absolutes are becoming obsolete, and faith is mocked everywhere. This series represents the very antithesis of all such modern views, but thankfully, the vast majority of reviewers here still seem to appreciate it. Yes, better the Waltons than the Simpsons. My son is now a college sophomore, but admits to looking back fondly upon the series.
Indeed, these Walton characters are almost like family members in many homes, including my own. My compliments to actors Ralph Waite (John), Michael Learned (Olivia), Richard Thomas (John Boy), and all the others who brought them so vividly to life. Yes, the series can be sappy at times and may not always be realistic, but it is really not overly sentimental as some claim. Rather it is a depiction of the way we should ALL treat each other and the love, closeness, concern, warmth, and often unselfish giving that should be found in ALL our homes. Pity there aren't more TV programs nowadays that give us something worthy to aspire to.
Television has been going to the dogs over the past few years. I recently picked up the DVD set of the first season of The Waltons and have been engrossed with every episode. Each episode is like a miniature movie, with good acting and stories. And what people used to make fun of (the syrupy quality of the show) now is a welcome relief. I'd watch this over 99.9% of the junk on TV these days. One could have a field day writing about this show and comparing/contrasting it to The Sopranos. The Sopranos, a show that I enjoy equally for other reasons (I'm not counting HBO's shows as regular TV shows), is the polar opposite. That family is rich, profane, powerful, violent, confrontational, unhappy--while the Waltons are struggling (not exactly poor, despite the fact that it takes place during the Depression), wholesome, spiritual, loving, and HAPPY. The only thing I can quibble about The Waltons is the outdoor scenery. The tall mountains and pine trees are clearly in California, not Piedmont Virginia. The real Waltons mountain and home is not too far from where I live. There are signs off U.S. Route 29 directing tourists to the home, which I believe is now a museum. It may be worth a visit. All in all an excellent program. Definitely a collector's item.
Both my parents are dead and gone, but where raised in the Southwest mountains of Virginia during the depression, as Baptists, they along with myself and other members of our family watched this show every week. Several of us still watch it every morning, it comes on here at 7 am, it's a great start to my day. Every episode may not be exactly as some remember, that lived during that era, but it's a lot more true to life than most of what is on TV today. It would be nice if there were shows that even came close to this one, made now. Children and grown-ups alike could benefit from acting a little more like the Waltons, than a lot of people they try to imitate from TV in this day and time.
I truely believe that this program is my all-time favorite. I had been married two months when, on September 14, 1972, Earl Hamner Jr. came on the TV screen just prior to the first episode of "The Waltons" to explain the nature of the series. I remember well his dialogue of introduction and the episode that followed. "The Waltons" was well acted, well scripted and very down to earth and touching. I wasn't living during the Depression, but, my parents and my in-laws were and their stories and descriptions of the life back then during those trying times was exactly reinacted in the series "The Waltons". The writing and the cast are truely amazing as they literally make the characters portrayed come alive. I will always love the series, "The Waltons". I only wish they produced programs of this calibre today.
This was one of the most popular series on CBS in the mid-1970's and it is one of the most ironic. This show came one year after CBS's infamous purge of all of its rural comedies. In 1971 hugely popular shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry RFD, Green Acres, He Haw and The Ed Sullivan show were all canceled because of the perception that they didn't appeal to urban dwellers or young people. Ironically all these shows were still in the top-10 at the time they were canceled. The next year The Waltons debuted and quickly became one of the most popular shows in the network's history, it even was responsible, in part, for the cancellation of the hugely popular Flip Wilson Show on NBC. I wonder how Fred Silverman, the man responsible for the purge, felt after this show became a hit.
TV Land is showing the series in sequence (for the most part), and I'm
enjoying seeing it again, for only the second time. The acting is
excellent, as are the production values. The terrible reunion shows of
the 90s did not do justice to the series. They "messed" with the
chronology, jumping ahead in time, for the sake of historical
landmarks, when they should have respected the reality of the series.
Granted, the last two seasons were strained, but I am currently viewing
Season Six, the first without John-Boy, and it works quite well. Some
complain that the series is a 70s version of the 30s/40s, but in 2004,
I would not agree. I grew up in Virginia during the 60s, and I
definitely feel that the series creators have adequately presented the
dignity and attitude of the Southeast. Again, the reunion shows were
idiotic. (Did these people never buy new appliances, or pave their
driveway? The last reunion, set in 1969, was ridiculous. The characters
were ten years younger than they should have been. The youngest child
would have been around 41 years old, not 30.)
12/2006 NOTE: The current Walton's home set is NOT the original - just check with the studio.
The Walton's series and specials really helped so many people to realize that real families do exist and that one can create the love and caring in their own lives that we saw lived on the screen. My family was a good family, but did not have the love and warmth that the Walton's did. But because of the effect the series had on me, I was able to marry and have children, and raise them to have that bond and that love that I did not know was possible until I saw The Walton's. The acting was wonderful and I watch anything that stars Richard Thomas. He can play an evil man just as realistically as the well-loved John Boy,
This is my favorite show! I have my own Top 100 TV Shows and this show is #1. I don't know exactly what it is about this show that attracts me to it so much. I love it though. I have every show's name memorized. Some of my favorite characters are Leslie Winston as Cindy Brunson Walton, Lisa Harrison as Toni Hazelton Walton, Mary Beth McDonough as Erin Walton Northridge, Kami Cotler as Elizabeth Walton, Jon Walmsley as Jason Walton, Will Geer as Zebulon "Grandpa" Walton, Robert Donner as Yancy Tucker, Merie Earle as Maude Gormley, David W. Harper as James Robert "Jim Bob" Walton, Eric Scott as Ben Walton, and Ellen Corby as Esther "Grandma" Walton. I loved all of the characters even the ones I did not mention.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The year was 1972 when this show hit the air wave on CBS September 14 as a weekly series. The Waltons was based on a large close-knit family living in rural Virginia during the Depression. The Creator Earl Hamner Jr. based the series on his own childhood, which he previously fictionalized in his novel, "Spencer's Mountain". The Waltons debuted on with Richard Thomas playing the role of John Boy Walton. In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, during the Great Depression, the Walton family makes its small income from its saw mill on Walton's Mountain. The story is told through the eyes of John Boy, who wants to be a novelist, goes to college, and eventually fulfills his dream. The saga follows the family through depression and war, and through growing up, school, courtship, marriage, employment, birth, aging, illness and death. This is the true story of the Waltons. The show takes place during the Depression and then during World War II. The other case members were as followed Ralph Waite played the role of John Walton Sr. Michael Learned played the role Oliva Walton, Judy Norton Taylor played the role of Marry Ellen, Jon Walmsley played the role of Jason Walton, Mary Beth McDonough played the role of Erin Walton, Eric Scott played the role of Ben Walton, David Harper played the role of Jim Bob Walton, Kami Cotler played the role of Elizabeth Walton, Will Greer played the role Grandpa and Ellen Corby played the role of Grandma. Other original characters included Joe Conley as general store owner, Ike Godsey, John Crawford as Sheriff Ep Bridges, Mariclare Costello as schoolteacher Miss Rosemary Hunter and Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson as eccentric sisters-- Mamie and Emily Baldwin, respectively. The Waltons' first season brought critical acclaim and several awards. Both Richard Thomas and Michael Learned took home Best Actor Emmys, Ellen Corby was awarded the Best Supporting Actress honor and the series was given the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. The show also earned Emmys for writing and editing in addition to receiving the prestigious Peabody award. The series entered the top-ten in its second season and finished second that year to All in the Family. The show remained in the top twenty for the next few seasons and received several more Emmys, including two more for both Michael Learned and Ellen Corby and a Best Supporting Actor award for Will Geer. In all, The Waltons received 37 Emmy nominations and took home 13 of the golden statuettes. Three reunion movies have been produced in the 1990s for CBS. "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" (1993), "A Walton Wedding" (1995) and "A Walton Easter" (1997) all feature the original cast with the exception of the late Will Geer. The series opened in the fall of September 1972 with the first episode titled The Foundling. A six-year old deaf and dumb girl is abandoned on the Walton's doorstep. With loving care they teach her to "talk" with sign language. But their kindness to the foundling causes a family crisis. Elizabeth, playing hide-and-seek with the deaf and dumb girl Holly, runs into an old abandoned shack and hides inside an empty trunk, but the lid falls shut and locks itself. Holly sees what has happened and runs to get help but is picked up by her father who doesn't understand sign language and takes her away. John and the family pursue and Holly then tells them by sign language what has occurred, and Elizabeth is rescued in time. Holly's parents now realize that their little girl is not retarded and are now able to communicate with her. Based on the feelings of love this show gave I give it 9 weasel stars.
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