‘The Waltons’: Tom Bower Calls Original Cast Members Being on the Show When He Joined a ‘Blessing’

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

In a special behind-the-scenes look at “The Waltons”, Judy Norton had guest star Tom Bower on her YouTube channel. Bower played Mary Ellen’s husband, Curtis Willard. Curt replaced doctor Vance in the season 5 episode “The Wedding”, and was initially hard to get along with. That all changed when he hired Mary Ellen as a nurse; she helped him open up and relate to people better, while still maintaining his outspoken nature.

Tom Bower took fans behind-the-scenes of his role as Curt, sharing what it was like being on the show with the original cast.

“All the original cast members were there,” Bower started, “which was a blessing for me to be there at a time when Richard [Thomas] and Will Geer, all the original people were still with the show, and it was a great benefit.”

Richard Thomas left the show after season 5, and Will Geer passed away in 1978, at the beginning of season 7. Tom Bower had just enough time to get to know the founding members, and then mourn them when they left.

Mary Ellen and Curt’s marriage on “The Waltons” was a bit unexpected, to say the least; Mary Ellen was actually engaged to David Spencer, but had instant chemistry with Curt when he comes to town. The two fight and flirt, and she ends up kissing him at a dance. Curt proposes to her, in a very roundabout way, but Mary Ellen refuses. When she is rehearsing for her wedding, she realizes that she can’t go through with it. She runs to Curt, and the two get married instead.

‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals a Bit of Editing Magic from the Show

In her behind-the-scenes look at “The Waltons” episode “The Chicken Thief”, Judy Norton spoke about an intricate bit of editing magic that the crew had to do. In the scene, it needed to look like John-Boy was continually walking down a flight of stairs. He then had to exit the building. But, the interior and exterior were on different soundstages.

“An opportunity to see editing in play,” she started, showing the scene. “In this case, you see John-Boy coming down the stairs and you’re shooting through the screen door. This would have been shot on stage 26. Interior. He comes down and exits. Then, he would have at a different time, been shot at the exterior of the house.”

Because the show needed to look seamless, the entire crew on “The Waltons” had to be on the ball; hair, makeup, lighting, everything needed to look exactly as it had the scene before.

“Everybody connected with hair, wardrobe, makeup, and had to make sure everything Richard was wearing, all matched so everything went together seamlessly,” said Norton.