‘The Waltons’ Star Tom Bower Called Joining the Cast ‘Intimidating’

by Jennifer Shea
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

For Tom Bower, who played Curt, Mary Ellen’s (Judy Norton) husband, on The Waltons, it wasn’t easy joining the sprawling television clan. Not to get into the cast and not to fit in once he got there. But he persevered, and he’s grateful he did.

In a new episode of “Behind the Scenes of The Waltons,” Norton’s YouTube show, Bower opened up about what it was like to join the cast of The Waltons midway through. And he explained a principle that will be familiar to fans of the CBS drama Blue Bloods, with its epic family dinner scenes. The actors have to film multiple takes. So whatever the camera catches them eating on the first take, they may get stuck eating over and over again for several hours.

“I did have quite an extensive audition period,” Bower recalled. “I probably had to come back three or four times. But yeah, they put me through the hurdles to get that job, and I felt so very lucky to have gotten it. It was a perfect time for me to be a part of the show.”

“It was a little intimidating” to meet the family, Bower said. “Because all of you had been together for a while. And you really had your drills down. I think one of the hardest things to learn was what to do and what not to do when you had a big family dinner. [Ideally I] would not get caught eating a lot of mashed potatoes. I’d be eating a bushel of potatoes before the episode was through.”  

Watch the full interview here:

The Waltons Cast Say Fans Should Give Reboot a Shot

Late last year, the CW celebrated the 50th anniversary of the TV movie that launched The Waltons by airing The Waltons’ Homecoming. The latter is a new TV movie about the importance of family and kindness.

In the lead-up to its release, some members of the old cast were urging audiences to give the new TV movie a chance, Fox News reported. Among them was Richard Thomas, 70, who narrated the new TV movie and starred in The Waltons as John Boy.

“My opinion is that The Waltons is a 50-year-old classic,” said Thomas. “Classics are eventually adapted, updated, remade and reexamined. I’m just happy that our show is in that category. And I hope the new version finds its audience as ours did in 1971. Good luck to them.”

Norton, for her part, cautioned fans not to expect a revival of the original show so much as a new take that respects The Waltons’ legacy.

“Think of it like getting a new step-parent,” Norton said. “They are not meant to replace your parent, but to be another part of your life. Although we appreciate all the love and support our viewers have given to The Waltons these past 50 years and hopefully many more years to come, you are welcome to embrace this new rendition, not as a copy, but as something new.”

As for the original show, it continues to air on MeTV weekdays at noon ET.