‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals Scene That Made Her Smile, Think of Michael Learned

by Lauren Boisvert

Judy Norton is back to grace us with a new behind-the-scenes video of “The Waltons.” This time, we’re talking about the episode “The Substitute” from season 2.

In this episode, their teacher learns that her sister has been in a car accident, and she needs to leave immediately to take care of her nieces and nephews. So, the school is without a teacher, the schoolboard must meet to decide what to do.

But, there was one scene in the episode that reminded Judy Norton of her on-screen mom Michael Learned, who played Olivia Walton. “I enjoyed seeing this scene here,” she started, showing a scene from the episode, “where Mary Ellen is pouring coffee for her dad. It just made me smile. Because one of the things Michael Learned has said for years about playing Olivia Walton, was that she felt that she hit a point where all she did was pour coffee […] and yet here I am, sort of taking on that role for that moment.”

She also said that when Michael Learned went on to do other work, “Mary Ellen did end up pouring a lot more coffee,” she laughed.

‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Talks Color Scheme

In her video, Judy Norton also discusses color scheme on “The Waltons.” She mentions that there’s a wonderful moment where the family is gathered in the living room, and there are beautiful shades of blue all over the place; most notably in the denim clothing the boys are wearing.

“I used to just think of wardrobe as ‘what am I wearing?’ and ‘is it right for the period?'” she began. “But, over the years I came to learn that for the wardrobe and the costumers, that design work that they do is not just about the period and the social status of whether someone’s poor, rich, or whatever, impacting what they wear. But also, what is the set? What are the colors in the set? What are the colors against each other? You don’t necessarily want just a mish-mash of he’s wearing red, she’s wearing orange, she’s wearing yellow; it can be very distracting.”

Norton summed up succinctly, “You’re looking to create a whole part of the picture. And so in this case, this was beautifully represented in this episode.”

The blue moment in “The Substitute” episode is gorgeous, and Norton does a great job of explaining why color scheme is important. Blue denim is a symbol of the working class; it represents the Waltons’ place in society, but also blue is a beautifully comforting color. It brings the family together symbolically, as they’re all similarly dressed; the blue makes them a comforting presence, a familial group that you know would welcome you with open arms. Just a color, impeccable wardrobe, and set design can convey all of that.