‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Goes Behind the Scenes of ‘The Journey’

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)

Judy Norton has blessed us with another segment of “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Waltons'” and this one is all about the season 2 episode “The Journey.” It’s heartfelt, touching, and a little bittersweet. Norton also gives us some cool behind the scenes tidbits from filming.

So, “The Journey” follows John-Boy as he prepares for the school dance and the rest of the kids as they help an injured seagull. John-Boy helps a woman named Maggie McKenzie fix her car, then looks through her photo albums. He spies a photo of her and her husband Michael; she then tells him the story of how they were married. On the ship from Scotland, as they reached the shore, she asked the captain to marry her and Michael. The captain does and gifts them a 20 dollar gold piece for a wedding gift.

Maggie wants to go to the seashore for her 55th wedding anniversary. She has a bad heart, though, and the doctor says the journey will kill her. She asks John-Boy to take her, but the anniversary is the same day as the dance. In the end, he knows that taking Maggie to the seashore is the right thing to do.

Norton shares an interesting scene, where Maggie and John-Boy first approach the beach. Maggie is the first so notice the sea air, and brings it up to John-Boy. “I reminded me,” says Norton, “of, I believe it was in ‘The Homecoming’, when John-Boy writes and speculates about wanting to go out and see the world, and wondering if he’ll ever see the ocean, and what would that be like, and wouldn’t that be a wonder? And I seem to think this is the first episode in the series where John-Boy actually makes it to the seashore that we see.”

‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Shares More Behind the Scenes Experiences

Judy Norton shared a few moments of John-Boy’s childlike wonder at the beach, and Maggie’s reminiscence of her marriage. Maggie imagines the ship that brought her and her husband from Scotland; she’s reminded that that was the last time she saw her homeland.

Next, John-Boy and Maggie go for dinner at the restaurant where Michael always took her on their anniversary. John-Boy and Maggie dance together, and Maggie gets swept away by her memories, imagining it’s her husband dancing with her.

Norton shared a camera trick that the filmmakers used when two people are dancing and they need to get up close. “When we do things like that,” she says, “because of the close-ups, the camera can’t get close enough with them actually in contact, so what usually happens is the actors will simulate. The hands are down below the camera and you can’t tell, and they sort of pretend that they’re still dancing with the other person, and yet in fact they’re merely pretending because the camera becomes the other person.”

In the end of this episode of “The Waltons”, Maggie’s heart gives out, but she thanks John-Boy by giving him her 20 dollar gold coin. Meanwhile, the seagull recovers and Judy Norton believes that was a metaphor for Maggie’s spirit going back to the seashore.