‘The Waltons’: Michael McGreevey Explained Why One Scene With Richard Thomas Was So ‘Exciting’

by Chase Thomas
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You won’t find many shows as impactful on American life as “The Waltons.” The show ran for nearly a decade and is still loved and adored by so many folks everywhere today because of it.

On Judy Norton’s YouTube show, she is going back in time and looking back at each episode of the show. Her show gives a behind-the-scenes perspective that only somebody like Norton, who starred as Mary Ellen on the program, can offer. On the latest episode, she had Michael McGreevey on, who played the role of Hobie Shanks. In it, he revealed why one scene with Richard Thomas was so exciting for him.

He speaks glowingly about Thomas. However, the culmination portion of the episode between John-Boy and Hobie stood out to McGreevey. It was an intense scene between the two stars. “We rehearsed it sort of quietly at first and first take, boy, he came at me,” McGreevey said about Thomas. It was intense and “exciting” for him to work with Thomas in that moment.

The scene was a nice ending to the character’s journey, as McGreevey points out.

Judy Norton on ‘The Waltons’

Norton was a star as a child on the program. Like Richard Thomas, she grew up on the show. But how much was she like Mary Ellen? She told Zoomer, “I liked that she was rebellious. I probably was too, but didn’t always have the nerve to express it.”

Same feelings perhaps, just a bit different way of expressing them.

Norton continued, “I didn’t like to get in trouble, so I would tend to rebel on the inside. So being able to express that nature through a character gave me a safe way to be rebellious. (laughs) She fought back and was outspoken, and I enjoyed those characteristics.”

She enjoyed playing the character and what she was able to do with it.

Norton concluded, “It has timeless values and it features the very best in human nature. If The Waltons had been set in the 1970s, the messages might have come off as too preachy or goodie-goodie. But the fact that it was a period piece and featured simple people living in a simple town, struggling through life, audiences were drawn to it. And, because there were three generations in the Waltons family, there was a character that everyone could relate to. It’s nostalgic and represents something that we don’t see in the world today; that sort of simplicity where you aren’t inundated 24/7 with news and danger. It allows people the opportunity to escape and, even if you’re crying by the end of an emotional episode, it’s cathartic. I’ve literally had fans come up to me and say, ‘You raised us. Your TV family raised us.’ To have that kind of an impact just doesn’t happen anymore.”

You can watch “The Waltons: Homecoming” on the CW.

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