Today on September 14th 1972, the television series, “The Waltons” premiered on CBS-TV.
I still catch the reruns on Hallmark and ISP Channel, but I must say I enjoyed the episodes with the actor Richard Thomas in it, after he left the show it sort went downhill from there.
The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer’s Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name. The show is centered on a family in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War II.
The series pilot aired as a television movie entitled The Homecoming: A Christmas Story and was broadcast on December 19, 1971.
Beginning in September 1972, the series originally aired on CBS for a total of nine seasons. After the series was canceled by CBS in 1981, NBC aired three television movie sequels in 1982, with three more in the 1990s on CBS. The Waltons was produced by Lorimar Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution in syndication.
Today’s YouTube video presentation brought to you by user name, TV Intro Channel, is the theme song from The Waltons.
The story is about the family of John Walton Jr. (known as John-Boy), his parents, John and Olivia Walton, their seven children, and John’s parents Zebulon “Zeb” and Esther Walton. John-Boy is the oldest of the children (17 years old in the beginning), who becomes a journalist and novelist. Each episode is narrated at the opening and closing by a middle-aged John Jr. (voiced by author Earl Hamner on whom John-Boy is based).
John-Boy Walton’s fictional alma mater, Boatwright University, is patterned after Richmond College, which became part of the University of Richmond on Boatwright Drive near Westham Station in The West End of Richmond, Virginia, about seventy miles east of Schuyler.
The town of Walton’s Mountain was built in the rear area of the Warner Bros. Studios, but the mountain itself was part of the range opposite Warner studios in Burbank, California.
The Waltons’ house facade was built in the back of the Warner Brothers lot. After the series concluded, the set was destroyed.
For the reunion shows, a replica Waltons’ house facade was built on the Here Come the Brides set on the Columbia Ranch studio, now part of the Warner Brothers studios.
The Waltons’ house is still used as scenery at Warner Brothers. For example, it served as the Dragonfly Inn on the show called, The Gilmore Girls.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
As we remember today’s to remember how the series The Waltons premiered today on CBC on September 14th 1972.