‘The Waltons’ Icon Michael Learned Breaks Silence on New ‘Homecoming’ Reboot

by Maria Hartfield
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The CW is bringing the Walton family back this holiday season. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the original, The Waltons’ Homecoming will premiere on Sunday, November 28 at 8 p.m. ET. Michael Learned who played Olivia Walton in the original CBS drama opens up about her feelings on the reboot.

“I support anything that puts our fellow actors to work,” she said. “’The Waltons’ is all about family, which is timeless. I was invited to a preview. However, a family emergency kept me from attending.  I love every member of the original cast as if they were my own. Best wishes to the new cast.”

The film marks the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1971 film, The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.

Cast member Richard Thomas, who starred as the original John-Boy Walton, will serve as the narrator on Homecoming taking the place of the late Earl Hamner Jr. The film also stars Bellamy Young, Ben Lawson, and Marcelle LeBlanc.

Fans can look forward to a “wholesome and heart-warming holiday movie that highlights the importance of family and kindness.”

Richard Thomas Is Happy to Return

In an interview with Fox News, Thomas emphasized how excited he is to be a part of the remake in time of the holidays.

“My opinion is that ‘The Waltons’ is a 50-year-old classic,” he said. “Classics are eventually adapted, updated, remade and reexamined. I’m just happy that our show is in that category, and I hope the new version finds its audience as ours did in 1971. Good luck to them.”

The original series focused on a family living in the Virginia mountains in the ’30s and ’40s and quickly won the hearts of audiences around the world. As a result, the show became the second-highest-rated series in all of primetime by Season 2 as reported by Forbes.

Over a span of nine seasons, it earned a total of 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and a Peabody Award.

Original Castmembers Weigh In on the Remake

Cast members of the original series spoke with Fox News about their feelings on the reboot.

Mary McDonough who played Olivia Walton’s daughter, Erin Walton said, “I haven’t seen it yet, but I am looking forward to watching. I hear lovely things about the new Homecoming. Looking forward to seeing the new ‘Erin.’ Many Walton fans have asked me for years why there isn’t a show like ‘The Waltons’ to share with their kids. Now there is. I think it’s time for a fresh family show.”

Additionally, Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton gave the network credit along with the new cast for respecting the original show’s memory during filming.

“Think of it like getting a new step-parent,” she said. “They are not meant to replace your parent, but to be another part of your life. Although we appreciate all the love and support our viewers have given to ‘The Waltons’ these past 50 years and hopefully many more years to come – you are welcome to embrace this new rendition – not as a copy – but as something new.”

Norton continued by sharing that now is the perfect time to revisit the treasured story.

“The story of love, family, and the support of one another is timeless,” she said. “The show is about the human spirit. The innate kindness and compassion of man when demonstrated at its very best. Something we can all achieve – together.  This show gave me so much, but what I treasure most is the ‘family’ it has given me.”

Outsider.com