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The Waltons (TV Series 1971–1981) Poster

(1971–1981)

Trivia

The "Walton House" was actually located in the northern section of the Jungle area of Warner Brothers studios in Burbank. Walton's Mountain, which could be seen from the house's front porch, was actually a slope of the Hollywood Hills directly south of the Warner Bros. Studios. Interiors of the house were filmed on Stage 26. The roadway leading to the Walton house through the remaining portion of the jungle still existed in 2003 and is visible during the studio tour, although Ike Godsey's store has long since disappeared. The house had been dismantled a few years before to make way for a parking lot and was moved to the Warner Bros. Ranch lot at Hollywood Way and Verdugo Avenue, where it still functions as a workable exterior set. If you check the Season 1 DVD's of "Gilmore Girls" you will note that the old "Dragonfly Inn" that Lorelai and Sookie purchase and then renovate is the exterior of the Walton house. This is also stated in the trivia section for "Gilmore Girls" here on IMDb.com.
In the series' first episode, after their debut movie, The Waltons: The Foundling (1972), the family gathers around their new radio to listen to the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show. This was a nod to Bergen, who played the original Grandpa in the series' pilot movie, The Waltons: The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971).
The series takes place from the spring of 1933 to June 1946.
When the show premiered on CBS at the beginning of the 1972-73 season, most media pundits felt it didn't have a chance, airing as it did opposite two longtime ratings powerhouses, Flip (1970) on NBC, had been the number 2 show in America for the previous two seasons, and ABC's Mod Squad (1968) was a long-standing favorite, as well. "The Waltons" out-performed both shows in the ratings by a wide margin. "Mod Squad" was canceled by the end of the season, and Flip Wilson, rather than have the same thing happen to his show, announced that the 1973-74 season would be his last. All this happened just a year after CBS felt that rural shows were "out," and set out to prove it, in a highly controversial move, as Fred Silverman canceled several long-running series, such as The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Green Acres (1965) which were still very popular and doing well on televisions weekly ratings.
In the closing scene of the series' final episode The Waltons: The Revel (1981), the remaining Walton's family members and the Godsey's gathered at the Baldwin sisters' mansion for a party. As the sisters thanked their guests for coming, the viewer can see that several unnamed guests have joined the crowd. These are none other than series creator Earl Hamner Jr. and other long running cast and crew members, giving the scene a wrap party look.
Ellen Corby was temporarily forced to leave the series after suffering a stroke, thinking that she could no longer act. However, she later returned to the show. A few viewers wondered if Corby's later appearances were straining her health, or were only to boost falling ratings. Her castmates always asserted, however, that she enjoyed being back on set, and the work helped her to recover.
Patricia Neal was cast as Olivia Walton in the pilot. She was unable to continue with her role, due to her past health problems, so the role was ultimately given to Michael Learned.
When Will Geer died after filming had ended for the 1977-1978 season his character, Grandpa Walton, was written off the show by having him die as well.
The basis for the Walton family was series creator Earl Hamner Jr.'s real life family members. Hamner grew up with 7 other siblings each of whom served as the basis for each young Walton character. He also based the characters of The Waltons' grandparents on composites of both sides of his Grandfathers and Grandmothers, his mother's mother, his mother's father, his father's mother and his father's father.
The character 'John Walton Sr.' was ranked #3 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
The college John-Boy Walton went to is known as BoatWright University. It was based on the University of Richmond.
Mary Ellen's husband, Dr. Curtis Williard, was written out of the show by having him killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, a couple of seasons later it was discovered that Curtis was among the few that survived the attack and was still alive and living in another city, but was rendered impotent due to the injuries he suffered during the attack.
John had an older brother named Ben that was killed during World War I. This led him to name his third son for his deceased brother and to keep the memory of his lost brother alive..
The name of the and musical and dance club that Jason played at to earn some extra money was the Dew Drop Inn. Jason purchased the Dew Drop in season 9
'Jon Walmsley' ("Jason") never knew his grandparents, while Ellen Corby ("Esther") never had grandchildren. The two "adopted" each other, attending events and visiting places together.
Former executive of CBS wanted a major star for the series. He suggested Henry Fonda to play the patriarch. The network screened him the two-hour pilot movie. Fonda, to quote executive producer Lee Rich, said "What do you want me for? The kid is the star! The whole family is the star! You don't need me."
Because of the title, the series has been mistakenly labeled as a sitcom due to wide number of television shows starting with family last names.
Richard Thomas came back to the show for a few guest appearances after his character role of John-Boy Walton was taken by Robert Wightman. His contract was for the first five seasons, not full time.
When John Ritter left after the 1975-1976 season, his absence was explained by having his character, Reverend Fordwick, joining the army during World War II, after Pearl Harbor was attacked, by Japanese airplanes on Sunday, December 7th, 1941.
The Walton's pets, (animal and name) were: Blue the mule, Chance the cow, Wreckless the dog, Rover the peacock, Lance the deer, Myrtle the goat and Calico the cat. Although not Walton family members Yancey had Tyger, his laying hen and Miss Mamie bought Miss Emilie a dog which she named Dickie. She was expecting a bird. Anyone else?
Ralph Waite was fired from his role on due to budgetary issues. The show had become more expensive as Waite aged, usually at the same time the ratings start to decline. Originally, season 8 was supposed to be the final one. CBS gave the show a somewhat unexpected renewal for season 9, but with the caveat that the producers tighten the budget, with the misguided goal of making the show looked younger.
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Ike had a cool Harley with a sidecar. As postmaster he would have been provided this as a means to deliver parcels between the " post mid ". If the nearest posts were 10 mi and 7mi Ike had to deliver 5mi toward one and 3.5mito the other. He would be a sworn agent of the gov't, issued an ID and badge , pistol, shotgun , rifle, ammunition and a bi- monthly stipend( approx 10$ per day in the time period of the show.Although he was proprietor of a mercantile, his store would have been considered General since you could post and parcel there Prior to having a telephone he would need to visit the nearest telegraph office 3 times a week for "rural pick up". Living on site was required , making his store with a"Post" a "corner' meaning any delivery agent could feed and water himself and his team or his "dob" as needed at no cost. In some areas postmen still refer to mail trucks as "dobs" and gas stations as corners. The gov't had responsibility for the installation of his phone or "drop" and a postal inspector would check weekly to insure that it was in good working order and he would work closely with the local operator to make sure long distance patches made from his drop we're accounted and billed out properly .Ike was the defacto civil air patrol officer for his area and needed to work closely with the local law enforcement and National Guard. Cities and towns would grow around the "post " and to this day there postal locations that predate the founding of the USA.
Up until the middle of Season 9, Ralph Waite had acted in every episode.
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The name of the newspaper that John-Boy published was the Blue Ridge Chronicle.
Tom Bower, who played Mary Ellen's husband, Curt was in a 1975 episode named "The Wing Walker". He played an airplane pilot named Rex.
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Ralph Waite was a licensed minister in real life. This was in contrast to his character, which rarely went to church. He actually assisted John Ritter in his role as Reverend Fordwick.
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The first season was the only one in which the opening credits showed live shots of the Walton Family. They are all involved in various activities when John brings a new radio home, and the family stops what they are doing and gather around him.
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The "goodnight" routine at the end of each show was an actual activity in creator Earl Hamner, Jr.s home when he was a child. He said the activity would go on until his father finally told them to be quiet. One instance where this activity did not occur was in the two part episode "The Outrage". at the end of part 2, President Roosevelt dies, and the family goes to Charlottesville early in the morning to pay their last respects as the train carrying his body passes by.
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Store manager, Ike Godsey and actor with the role, Joe Conley have a 3 letter first name (Ike & Joe) and 6 letter last name (Godsey & Conley).
"The Changeling" was inspired by the movie "Carrie" and is one of the most infamous episodes of the series.
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This wasn't the first time that Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas played father and son. The two worked together three years earlier in the film Last Summer (1969). Thomas played the role of "Peter" and Waite (uncredited) played his father.
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In the Best Picture Oscar winning film Ordinary People Conrad Jarrett tells Dr. Berger his psychiatrist that when his brother Buck died he "was wondering what John Boy on The Waltons would do".
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The tv series is loosely based on the movie "Spencers Mountain" , staring Henry Fonda and Maureen O'hara.
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When John Ritter left the show after the 1975-76 season, it was because he was offered the lead role in "Three's Company". He said his only regret in taking the Three's Company role was leaving his role as Reverend Fordwick.
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In one episode, Grandpa gives his middle name as Tyler.
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John's truck was a 1929 Ford. His station wagon was a 1940 Plymouth Woody. The car John-Boy had, which he bought from neighbor Hyder Rudge in the season 2 episode "The Car" was a 1930 Ford five window coupe.
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There's a humorous lady storekeeper in The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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