‘The Waltons: Homecoming’ Composers Discuss How They Tried to Honor the Show’s Original Music

by Joe Rutland

Imagine getting an assignment to compose new music for a movie based on the classic TV show The Waltons and do it differently. You have the theme song composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who was an Oscar and Emmy winner. Now change up that song a bit. Wow. Talk about a tall task. This is what composers Tena Clark and Tim Heintz for the movie The Waltons: Homecoming were supposed to do.

Composers Were Very Careful Around Their Version of ‘The Waltons’ Music and Songs

Clark talks about how they approached it. “We never looked at how do we do better than this,” Clark says in an interview with Gold Derby. “We looked at how do we honor this and move forward.” As for Heintz, he says, “We don’t want to try to copy and do the same thing.” You will hear some piano playing at the beginning of this version. “Then we developed it with strings and it kind of became its own sound. That also helped inform the sound of the movie.”

The movie gets released in 2021. This new theme song is in it. Still, there are generations who grow up watching The Waltons in its TV iteration. Many have fallen in love with Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy Walton. The show’s themes surrounding family, strife, and compassion remain solid to this day. It has a place among the classic TV world just fine these days.

Richard Thomas Says That He Was ‘Shocked’ To Win Emmy For His Role

Meanwhile, in looking back on the TV show itself, Thomas says he was shocked to win an Emmy for his role. “It was amazing in the best possible way,” Thomas said in an interview. “I didn’t even think about Emmys.” As for Michael Learned, who played Olivia Walton in the CBS drama, she talks about why she never stopped acting. “I love to work,” she tells Fox News in an interview. “When I’m at home, all I do is housework and grocery shopping—it’s so boring! So when I go away to work, I feel alive again.”

Additionally, The Waltons had a lot of its storylines based at the family home on Walton’s Mountain. In another interview, Learned reflects on her time on the show as Olivia. “I thought it was corny and it was gonna die,” Learned said of the show. “I was going through a divorce and I had three kids. They were going to pay me $1,200 a week. I thought, ‘I’ve never seen that much money in my life!’ It was like God’s hand was on my shoulder.” Finally, Learned played opposite Ralph Waite and would help make their on-screen relationship come alive.