Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Waltons: 5 Interesting Facts About This Timeless TV Show



'The Waltons' was one of my favorite shows when I was growing up in the 1970s for a variety of reasons. Tens of millions of people joined my family and me every Thursday night at 8 p.m. to watch the latest episode. Today, the iconic television show can still be seen in reruns, or online, which has helped to create a new generation of fans. 

Here are 5 surprising facts about this timeless TV show:

1. Earl Hamner is widely known as the author, whose book Spencer's Mountain inspired a movie and the subsequent television show. 

But, that marvelous writer also developed the idea for the 1981-1990 CBS nighttime soap opera 'Falcon Crest'.

2. 'Spencer's Mountain' was released in theaters in 1963. Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara portrayed John and Olivia Walton. 

3. 'The Homecoming' was a Christmas special that served as the series pilot. Andrew Duggan and Patricia Neal portrayed Clay and Olivia Spencer. Edgar Bergen (a famous ventriloquist, whose radio show included his most popular pupped 'Charlie McCarthy) portrayed Grandpa Walton.

Each of the actors who portrayed the Walton children (Richard Thomas, as John-boy, etc.) remained in the cast when the pilot was greenlighted for a regular television series.

4. 'The Waltons' ran on CBS from 1971 through 1981. CBS believed that the show wouldn't succeed, so it slotted it on Thursday night at 8 p.m. against 'The Flip Wilson' Show (NBC) and 'The Mod Squad' (ABC). 

'The Waltons' not only beat those two popular series, it went on to become television's most highly-rated show for many years.

5. After 221 episodes, the series was canceled in 1981. However, NBC picked up 'The Waltons', releasing three 2-hour TV movies in 1982. The show returned to CBS for an additional three TV movies (1993, 1995 and 1997). 

According to current information, none of the major networks have interest in creating any further reunion movies. 

Goodnight John-boy and good morning

'Hollywood' believed that a show based upon so-called 'traditional values' wouldn't be accepted by the public. But, 'The Waltons' proved that flawed ideology to be wrong. 

More importantly, Earl Hamner's message (based upon his family life in Virginia during the 'Great Depression') has been, is and will always be lived by good families across the globe.

(Photo courtesy of tvtroupes.org)
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Thank you to Stacey Stauffer (Fox 29 Philadelphia). She interviewed Maddie Woytovich, her parents (Jeff and Betsy Woytovich) and me recently about the latest chapter in this inspiring story. The feature will be shown on an upcoming newscast. 

Professional reporters and video journalists are vital in an ever-changing media world. Stacey and the Fox staff were first-rate. 

I will be donating one-half of all proceeds from the sale of my soon-to-be-released illustrated children's bookMaddie: Teaching Tolerance with a Smile to the non-profit group: Children's Alopecia Project (CAP).

More news about the book and the story behind it will be posted in this blog as the release date nears.
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