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I was in fifth or sixth grade when the Waltons debuted.   The older I got, the less I watched.   I was in high school by the time season 5 rolled around, so I never saw John Boy's departure until just last month (I'm rewatching the series from start to finish on Amazon Prime).

I was surprised by the hurried manner in which the show ushered John Boy out the door.   An improbable story patched together with a handful of clips and capped off with a sentimental but predictable round of "Good night, John Boy."

More disquieting though is the sharp decline in story quality and production values that followed in Season 6.   The show has a much different feel and not merely because Richard Thomas is absent.   The stories seem painfully contrived as the Walton home is no longer the scene of family drama as much as a venue for other people's drama -- and often at the expense of credibility.  Yesterday I watched one of the most preposterous stories thus far: an elderly Indian and his grandson arrive to lay claim to an old Indian burial ground beneath the Walton's barn.  

There was a scene in this episode that brings me to my next criticism: the characters often no longer act in accordance with the personalities established in Seasons 1-5.   For example, in this episode, John Walton tackles a young Indian boy, maybe 14 years old, dashes him to the ground and pulls back his fist, ready to bash the kid's face in.   John's own face is twisted with rage, until at last a glimmer of sanity prevails.   We see a hint of the same fury an episode earlier when John lashes out at Zeb, causing Zeb to leave (temporarily).  This radical change in personality flies in the face of the patient, determined and gracious man John Walton always was to this point.

Zeb isn't himself either.   I'm several episodes into Season 6 and Zeb hasn't once mentioned Esther, this after pining away for her and literally camping out outside her hospital just the season before.   When the old Indian asks Zeb if he was ever married, Zeb only replies "Yes," failing to mention Esther or the fact she's laid up in the hospital.   He seems to have almost completely forgotten her.  Maybe the show was hedging its bets following Ellen Corby's stroke, not sure if she'd make it back.  Even so, Zeb's reticence where Esther's concerned sticks out like a sore thumb.

I did like "The Recluse."  It's a story that feels like it was written for John Boy, but Jason pulled it off anyway.  

I guess I have noticed the differences in Will Geer's and Ralph Waite's characters because they are the two actors who, in my estimation, deserve the most respect in this series.   It must have been a delight to know Will Geer and I envy those who were lucky enough to work with him.    

Edited by millennium
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Following up on my previous post -- another thing that disturbed me was the way in which John Boy simply abandoned The Blue Ridge Chronicle.  Not a word about its future.   He spent all of Season Five establishing the newspaper and insisting on how important it was that the local region be kept informed, especially with war brewing in Europe ... and then he just walked away.   In less conscientious shows this kind of oversight might be expected, but in the first five seasons The Waltons established its respect for continuity: scripts often included callbacks to turning points and incidents from previous episodes.  So it seems odd to me that the Blue Ridge Chronicle's fate would be left in limbo.  Then again, the show gave Esther the same treatment (as of "The Seashore," Zeb still hasn't addressed Esther's whereabouts; he joins the family at the seaside for an impromptu vacation and utters not a single memory about a visit to the sea with Esther when they were young -- which would have been typical of his character -- or how he wished Esther could be there, not a word).

In the Season 6 episode, "The Stray," we see Ben polishing/oiling the old Blue Ridge Chronicle printing press but are given no clue whether it is still in use or if the paper is still being published.  Maybe not, since in that episode the shed was used as a bedroom for the runaway child, Josh.  A few episodes later, in "The Volunteer," Ben enlists G.W. Haines to "help him with the press."  When G.W. asks why, Ben says "Because it's not working."   Period.   Do we infer that Ben has taken over as publisher of the Blue Ridge Chronicle?   It was established in Season 5 that Ben learned how to operate the press under John Boy.  But at no time has Ben ever shown an inclination for reporting, writing and editing, all of which would be necessary talents to run the paper the way John Boy did.    I suppose Ben could have cut back on the editorial and reduced it to a local advertising sheet ...   I know, I know, we're not supposed to think about these things so much.  

Edited by millennium
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Continuing my observations on Season Six's seeming inconsistencies, I come to the matter of Maude Gormley's paintings.   Maude was introduced in an earlier season as an elderly neighbor woman who gave the Waltons custody of her pet goat.  She was then temporarily confined to a nursing home by her son.  Upon her release, Maude ran up quite a tab at Ike's store, well beyond her ability to pay.   However, when it was discovered that Maude was a skilled amateur painter of birds, she was invited to display and sell some of her work at Godsey's store to offset her bill.

Maude's artistic ability is revisited in Season 6's "The Volunteer," wherein Maude contracts with Ike to act as an agent for her work.  Opportunistic Ike hears Maude is planning to hire an agent in New York City so he talks her into displaying her work at the store instead.

Two things:  First, Maude had already been displaying her works at Ike's, so why do the characters act as if the arrangement is a brand new concept?  And second, Maude was introduced as a painter of birds and wildlife, her style primitive yet realist.   But the paintings Maude exhibits in "The Volunteer" are really bad folk art pastiches of meeting houses, farm fields, etc.   The one wildlife painting -- of Rover, the peacock -- is garish and resembles the work of a fourth-grader.

But the most aggravating part of this episode is that it begins with Maude painting a portrait of Erin.   Erin asks to see the painting, but Maude tut-tuts, "Not until I have put my special touches on it."   It is only natural to expect a reveal later.  But by the end of the episode, Erin's portrait is entirely forgotten and never shown.  No such thing as "Chekov's portrait," I suppose.

Maude's sass is consistent throughout the series but her skill as a painter has declined so drastically by "The Volunteer" that either she's secretly subcontracting the task of painting to Elizabeth or she has possibly suffered a mild stroke and nobody realizes it.  

Edited by millennium
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I recently found The Waltons in the INSP channel (wish it were being shown ANYwhere else).  INSP was about mid-way through season 2 when I picked up, and now nearing the end of S3.  It's already starting to feel a little repetitious and occasionally contrived, but the quality level is still pretty high.  I wish I'd been able to pick up from the start.  I'll keep an eye out for when INSP gets back to that point.  I've skipped a few episodes in S3.  The acting by the youngest siblings was not very good -- those playing Ben, Erin, and Jim-Bob tended to rush their lines and not sound very natural.  Elizabeth, the youngest, was actually better than them, IMO (Kami Colter).

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I'm getting tired of the way everyone treats Elizabeth like a baby.  Yes, she's the youngest by far, but by Season 4, which I'm now watching, she has to be at least 7, and she's a sharp little cookie, when she wants to be.  In yesterday's episode, The Search, a tire blows out while Olivia is driving with Elizabeth and Jim-Bob to visit a friend on the other side of the mountain.  The older boys, Ben and Jason, had been instructed to replace that tire before Olivia set out, but they neglected to do so, and were chastised for this later.  But here's why fries me:  Elizabeth goes wandering away from Olivia and Jim-Bob to follow a loose chicken without saying anything to either person.  As a result, they go looking for her and find themselves lost in the woods, away from the road.  And no one EVER says to Elizabeth "Don't you ever do that again."  I can understand not coming down hard on her while they're lost and she's afraid, but after they were rescued and safely back home?  She would have gotten an earful from me.  

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I was never an avid viewer of the Waltons as a kid and am seeing some of these episodes for the first time.  I  believe I'm watching on borhHallmark Drama & Insp.  

I thought Richard Thomas was great in this show.  The next oldest boy,  the music one, did a very good job also.  The red haired boy was ok... not great but not painful to watch.   The youngest boy was ok when he was young but just seemed very bored the last few seasons & it showed in his acting.  He basically mumbled his lines.  His acting was exactly the same if he was angry or in love.

The oldest girl was ok. The middle girl,  who was suppose to be the "beautiful" one always seemed angry.  She always had a scowl on her face.  I thought the youngest was ok in the first couple of seasons,  but grew into a  horrible actress.  She always sounds as if she needs to blow her nose.  Her timing was always off... one episode I saw recently,  she was mid teen age... they were sitting in the sofa & the phone rang.  The phone was on the other side of the room,  she got up & walked across the room with her arm outstretched,  like she was reaching for the phone from the sofa.   Episode I just saw where the store owners wife opened a dance studio & the youngest girl is learning to drive.  Turns out store owners wife (SOW) is drinking!  She & the 2 girls go to leave the studio & SOW is stumbling so youngest Walton girl (YWG) says to let her drive, she knows how,  SOW & her blonde daughter (BD) say no,  then SOW passes out at the wheel.   BD tells YWG she needs to take over.  YWG cries that she's can't,  she doesn't know how to drive. 

Also notice the last couple of seasons,  they gave up trying to keep the clothing & hair styles to the times.   

Just some nitpicky  observations

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I went through the entire series a few years back...and like with many shows, I felt the early seasons were best. 

Once Cousin Rose moved in, forget it.

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I'm just about done watching the first season on INSP now.  I'm staggered by how many episodes involve the Waltons' lives being disrupted by outsiders:  carny people, a stranded actress, gypsies, a roving minstrel, a runaway, an abandoned child, a Jewish family fleeing Germany in 1934, a wrtiter, a boy from the CCC, etc.  For such an out of the way place, Walton's Mountain sure attracted a LOT of eccentric visitors.

Re the acting of the children:  I think they were all pretty natural in their younger years.  Mary Beth McDonough (Erin) became downright awful as she moved into her teens. And I agree that David Harper (Jim-Bob) seemed bored as he got older. 

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Wanted to add that I think Jason's age is off.  The first season is set in 1934, I believe.  John-Boy is 17, born in 1916.  Jason is 15, so born in 1918. The US entered The Great War (WWI) in spring, 1917.  John Walton fought in that war, so likely would have been away from home for the remainder of 1917 and much of 1918.  So when was Jason conceived?

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21 hours ago, Inquisitionist said:

Wanted to add that I think Jason's age is off.

Do not try to figure the kids' ages out.    Remember, John Boy went to college in the 30s.   But by the time of the movies, set around the Kennedy Assassination, he is just getting around to getting married.    Elizabeth who is not THAT much younger than John Boy is only now finishing college and joining the Peace Corps.    Jason's wife is having her 4th or so kid.   They got married sometime shortly after WWII and in the movies had young kids at home.

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 6:20 AM, merylinkid said:

Do not try to figure the kids' ages out.    Remember, John Boy went to college in the 30s.   But by the time of the movies, set around the Kennedy Assassination, he is just getting around to getting married. 

But I'm going by just the info in S1, which is set in 1934, and during which we learn that John Sr. served in WWI.  Given how bad the last few seasons were, I won't ever watch the movies!  ;-)

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I grew up when the show was new and "must see" TV.  I've flipped the Hallmark marathon on and off this weekend as background noise.  Thankfully, they are all the older shows.

One thing that hasn't changed for me may be an UO, is that Grandma was a miserable, old, rip roaring bitch.  Griped and grumbled all the time, never smiled and always acted like her shit didn't stink.  I couldn't imagine Debbie Downer pissing and moaning in the kitchen with me all. damn. day.

I know it was a hard life, etc, but jeez.  If I was Olivia, John would have needed to build his parents their own place if he wanted to keep squeezing the bedsprings with me.

Edited by zillabreeze
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On 1/25/2019 at 7:31 PM, millennium said:

Following up on my previous post -- another thing that disturbed me was the way in which John Boy simply abandoned The Blue Ridge Chronicle.  Not a word about its future.   He spent all of Season Five establishing the newspaper and insisting on how important it was that the local region be kept informed, especially with war brewing in Europe ... and then he just walked away.   In less conscientious shows this kind of oversight might be expected, but in the first five seasons The Waltons established its respect for continuity: scripts often included callbacks to turning points and incidents from previous episodes.  So it seems odd to me that the Blue Ridge Chronicle's fate would be left in limbo.  Then again, the show gave Esther the same treatment (as of "The Seashore," Zeb still hasn't addressed Esther's whereabouts; he joins the family at the seaside for an impromptu vacation and utters not a single memory about a visit to the sea with Esther when they were young -- which would have been typical of his character -- or how he wished Esther could be there, not a word).

In the Season 6 episode, "The Stray," we see Ben polishing/oiling the old Blue Ridge Chronicle printing press but are given no clue whether it is still in use or if the paper is still being published.  Maybe not, since in that episode the shed was used as a bedroom for the runaway child, Josh.  A few episodes later, in "The Volunteer," Ben enlists G.W. Haines to "help him with the press."  When G.W. asks why, Ben says "Because it's not working."   Period.   Do we infer that Ben has taken over as publisher of the Blue Ridge Chronicle?   It was established in Season 5 that Ben learned how to operate the press under John Boy.  But at no time has Ben ever shown an inclination for reporting, writing and editing, all of which would be necessary talents to run the paper the way John Boy did.    I suppose Ben could have cut back on the editorial and reduced it to a local advertising sheet ...   I know, I know, we're not supposed to think about these things so much.  

Very interesting points re the Blue Ridge Chronicle! Yeah, after all that build up of John-Boy having essentially having  re-constructed the printing press itself, interviewing folks for it, working the press, then even hand delivering the finished product (and endlessly promoting it), there SHOULD have been a mention of what became of it besides just Ben frittering it away like that in a single throw away line. There could have even been a two minute exchange of John-Boy having gotten Ike to have sold the press itself to fund his move then maybe a reference of the new owners. Would it have killed them for John-Boy to have put out a 'Farewell Edition' before his big move? It also seems when JB#2 returned to become a hermit in the woods, he NEVER mentioned what had become of it. 

 Also, I agree with you about Zeb's failing to acknowledge Esther during most of her long  recovery away from the Mountain. However; I think it's probable that TPTB weren't sure Miss Corby would ever return (or even survive) so they thought it might have been for the best to have Zeb act as though he was in a limbo state re his own marital state.  Yeah, I recall him going to a girly show with his eldest grandsons and John reprimanding them but even though John acknowledged that Zeb was too old to punish, it's surprising to me that John wouldn't have at least put in a 'Shame on you carrying on like that with those girls with poor Ma fighting for her life in the hospital!' line! 

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The original Walton's movie was on tonight,  I believe it was called The Homecoming. I have never seen this before. The only actors in the movie & the show were all of the kids and Grandma. Patricia Neal played Olivia, Edger Bergan played Grandpa,  I have no idea who played John (dad), Ike & the Baldwin sisters were different actors.  I guess I'm use to the show because I felt like they were a better fit to the characters.  

The movie was from 1971, the kids were so young!  The house was totally different.

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On 12/3/2019 at 2:12 PM, Inquisitionist said:

I watched the movie on youtube a few months ago.  It felt grittier than the TV series.

Yes...the book is too. It's been said this was a more realistic portrayal of a poverty-stricken family in Depression-era Appalachians. But parents in the '70s were more about feelings and such, so the show adapted. The same thing happened to Little House on the Prairie.

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I was reading an article about the TV series of Waltons.  Was surprised to find out Olivia was only 12 years older than John Boy! Also said that Michael Learned & Ralph Waite were actually very attracted to each other in real life.  

Watching the episode now where The Rev & The Teacher get married,  Olivia is the sub teacher & John Boy was the sub Rev. I laughed so hard when Grandma was giving John Boy tips on preaching. The look on his face was hilarious 

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Just rewatched The Burnout and I know the whole plot device was to separate the family, but I did wonder why no-one stayed in the ‘shed’ that had by that point been used as a guest room for multiple people. Surely it would have at least been a better option for John and Olivia than the barn. 

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As the pandemic continues and the economy tanks, I think about this show a lot.   Might want to rewatch for tips to surviving a depression.

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In modern parlance John-Boy would be known today as a "softboi".

Edited by VCRTracking

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Just rewatched The Burnout and I know the whole plot device was to separate the family, but I did wonder why no-one stayed in the ‘shed’ that had by that point been used as a guest room for multiple people. Surely it would have at least been a better option for John and Olivia than the barn. 

I watched this yesterday on INSP. What made John and Olivia think that sending Ben to live with Yancy Tucker was such a good idea? And the Baldwin sisters had a huge home. You'd think they could have accommodated more family members than just Jason. Heck, the Reverend and his wife took in Erin and Jim Bob and their home wasn't very big.

I found it interesting also that when Zeb was telling the story about the jackass, INSP censored the word jackass.

Edited by mmecorday
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On 5/2/2020 at 2:36 AM, mmecorday said:

I watched this yesterday on INSP. What made John and Olivia think that sending Ben to live with Yancy Tucker was such a good idea? And the Baldwin sisters had a huge home. You'd think they could have accommodated more family members than just Jason. Heck, the Reverend and his wife took in Erin and Jim Bob and their home wasn't very big.

Yeah, I thought the same thing, the Baldwin’s could have at least taken Ben as well, but I guess Yancey was used for comic relief. But Olivia/John in the shed and Johnboy in the barn would have made more sense than Olivia and John in the barn. 
 

Does the shed also magically get bigger once the press is moved in there or did they actually expand it? 

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I have had this show on when I’ve been working night shift. I wanted to officially announce that at my age now (53), I think Ralph Waite’s John Walton is sexy. There is something about his eyes and smile that remind me of Gerard Butler. 

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23 hours ago, 4Sibes Redux said:

I have had this show on when I’ve been working night shift. I wanted to officially announce that at my age now (53), I think Ralph Waite’s John Walton is sexy. There is something about his eyes and smile that remind me of Gerard Butler. 

As I got older (51 now) John Walton changed from the daddy I would have always wanted to a sexy, rugged & enchanting man.  Some of the later episodes where he's flirting with Olivia are just...hot.  There are moments here and there when you just know that Olivia and John had a good, active sex life (if they were real).  A good Baptist girl doesn't run off & elope with a bad boy because she wants to convert him to a Jesus lover.  lol 

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On 6/2/2020 at 1:57 AM, Steff said:

As I got older (51 now) John Walton changed from the daddy I would have always wanted to a sexy, rugged & enchanting man.  Some of the later episodes where he's flirting with Olivia are just...hot.  There are moments here and there when you just know that Olivia and John had a good, active sex life (if they were real).  A good Baptist girl doesn't run off & elope with a bad boy because she wants to convert him to a Jesus lover.  lol 

I wholeheartedly agree.  Ralph Waite and Michael Learned had great chemistry onscreen.  Whoever cast them deserves a gold medal!

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Great show

It's really amazing and sad to think that Ellen Corbin's first episode back from her stroke was also Will Geer's last

Glad they got a last moment together

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"Congratulations, you're the mother of America."   Yep, Yep, Yep.    So wonderful to see that.    She's right she and Patricia Neal were very different.   I think the show would have had a whole different tone if Patricia Neal played Olivia.   I'm glad they went with Michael Learned (nothing against Patricia Neal but the way they wrote the part was not right for her)

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