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Mary Beth McDonough,
Earl Hamner Jr.
Third Waltons reunion movie has most of the family split up on the days approaching Thanksgiving, c. 1946. But most of the family begins to arrive at Walton's Mountain begging with John-Boy recovering from a case of writers block in New York followed by Jason now a struggling musician as well as John Walton whom tries to get everyone together for the special event for Elizabeth, while newlyweds Erin and Paul plan to move out of the Walton homestead. Written by
This is the best of the three "Waltons" TV movies that were filmed the year following the series' cancellation. This installment finds the family members dealing with various personal issues and starting to go their separate ways, much to the alarm of youngest sibling Elizabeth, who wants to see them all reunited to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Unlike some of the other "Waltons" movies, none of these personal problems are overly dramatic or come across as major crises. Instead, the script focuses on small issues, which is what the original series did so well. Among the subplots: Erin's new husband, Paul, is feeling smothered by her family; John-Boy is suffering writers' block; Jason ponders whether he should leave the mountain to pursue a music career.
If there are any problem with this movie, it's that a few cast members from the series are absent. Robert Wightman fills in as John-Boy, as he did in the last few years of the series, but it's tough to forget Richard Thomas, who created the role. Michael Learned is again absent as matriarch Olivia, who's still recuperating in an Arizona sanitarium from what must be the world's toughest case of TB. Learned is really missed here -- the show is never the same when she's not around.
Still, the theme of everyone coming together for Thanksgiving is a good one, and it's always fun to see the wonderful character actors playing the Walton's friends and neighbors, such as the Godseys, Yancy Tucker, and the Baldwin sisters. The final scene is pleasantly nostalgic and provides some nice closure, as we won't see the Walton family for another 11 years.
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