‘The Waltons’ Star Richard Thomas Recalled His Final Interaction with Earl Hamner

by Joe Rutland

The Waltons and its stars owe creator Earl Hamner a tip of the hat. Richard Thomas remembers his last time chatting with him.

Thomas, who played John-Boy Walton on the CBS family drama, chatted with Blue Ridge Life Magazine publisher Tommy Stafford. This was in 2017 when Thomas was planning to visit Hamner’s hometown.

Stafford asked Thomas if he remembered the last time that he interacted with Hamner.

“No I don’t,” he said. “I’m trying to remember. You know, it’s been a while. We exchanged letters because, you know, I don’t get to the West Coast very often. So it’s been several years since we actually saw each other. We exchanged emails. I got a lovely one just a few months before he passed away.”

Hamner died on March 24, 2016, in Los Angeles at 92 years old. Besides The Waltons, he also created Falcon Crest for CBS, too.

Thomas played wanna-be-author John-Boy for five seasons and returned as a guest for Season 6.

‘The Waltons’ Creator Expressed Great Satisfaction In Having Thomas On Show

But there was a time when the creator and one of the show’s stars did connect.

Of Thomas, Hamner once said, “He was just perfect.”

The Waltons got a little boost from a Hamner book called Spencer’s Mountain. It was turned into a movie starring Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, and James MacArthur. Now MacArthur played a character named Clayboy.

A bit of foreshadowing there as Hamner changed the name and show geography for TV. He picked Thomas to be in The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.

Hamner and Thomas did an interview with the Archives of American Television.

Thomas said, “This was auteurism. This was an autobiographical experience that was turned into fiction, first in his novels and then in the movie and then the series. So we were dealing with source material that came from a place of great integrity and authenticity.”

Hmaner Opens Up About Ellen Corby’s Actions With Kids On Set

If you think Ellen Corby just acted like Grandma Walton on the TV set, then sit down. We’re going to have a little chat, Outsiders, about Corby and her attitude.

This comes by way of Hamner, who was interviewed by INSP. The Waltons set and cast was kind of like a big, extended family.

“They thought of themselves as brothers and sisters,” Hamner said of those child actors. “And I’ll never forget Ellen Corby, the grandmother, who off-camera was grandma, as well. I remember her very well shouting to one of the children, ‘Stop that running on the set! You’re gonna fall over a cable and kill yourself!'”

Corby had quite a history as an actress before taking on the Grandma Walton role.