‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Reveals How ‘Homecoming’ Set the Stage for John Boy and Mary Ellen’s Relationship

by Clayton Edwards

The Waltons premiered in September of 1972 and ran for nine seasons. While it was on the air, the series dominated ratings and became one of the biggest television shows of the era. Before that, The Homecoming: A Christmas Story paved the way. That heartwarming Christmas tale introduced television audiences to the Walton family. The holiday special didn’t just pave the way for the series to be a hit. It also set several character arcs in motion. Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton in the original special and throughout the series recently talked about how it set the stage for one of her character’s relationships.

In a recent installment of Behind the Scenes with Judy Norton, the Waltons star talked in-depth about The Homecoming. At one point, she talked about how the holiday special laid the foundation for Mary Ellen and John Boy’s relationship.

According to Judy Norton, The Homecoming set the stage for Mary Ellen and John Boy’s relationship. The brother and sister duo’s relationship came across as very natural. The combination of the show’s writing and the performances of Norton and Richard Thomas truly made their interactions believable.

Judy Norton on Mary Ellen and John Boy’s Relationship

Before diving into the subject, Judy Norton said, “I love all of the sibling relationships that were established in The Homecoming.” Then, she talked about Mary Ellen’s interactions with John Boy in the special.

“Very early on, you see the relationship between John Boy and Mary Ellen,” she said. She continued, pointing out that on-screen siblings “squabble” throughout the special. Additionally, she added that they shared “a lot of looks,” and noted that John Boy gave Mary Elle a “hard time” often. So, basically, they acted like teenaged siblings.

However, they aren’t just picking at each other for the whole made-for-TV movie. Judy Norton points out how Mary Ellen went to John Boy, her older brother, for advice. Again, like normal teenagers. About that, she said, “There’s also quite a relationship there. When I question him about boys and about his relationship with girls and has he kissed many girls.”

Before moving on to talk about the younger Walton siblings, Judy Norton summed up her thoughts on Mary Ellen and John Boy’s relationship. “I thought it was a lovely relationship between the two of them.”

John Boy Actor Richard Thomas Looks Back on The Waltons

Richard Thomas played John Boy for most of The Waltons’ nine-year run. Today, long after he exited the role, people still think of him as the eldest Walton boy. He doesn’t mind, though. Like Judy Norton, he’s fond of the show and proud of his time on it. About that, he said, “I do love it and because it still means so much to people, I’m proud to be associated with it. So the older I get, the happier it makes me,”