‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Remembers Show Creator Earl Hamner Jr. on What Would Have Been His 99th Birthday

by Joe Rutland

One of the most memorable classic TV dramas is The Waltons and star Judy Norton is remembering show creator Earl Hamner Jr. Norton had quite a turn on there as daughter Mary Ellen opposite Michael Learned and Ralph Waite. On Sunday, the actress, who shares her memories of the show in a YouTube series, paid homage to Hamner Jr. He would take experiences from his growing-up years and find different storylines for the CBS show. Let’s see what Norton writes here along with a sweet photo of them together.

A few of the show’s fans even had some tender comments upon seeing this on Twitter. One writes, “Love your YouTube channel and all the interviews with the cast. How rare to have such a life filled w/those friendships!” Another one says, “Beautiful photo of you both Judy, all those of us who’ve watched the show thru the years and still enjoy it today owe so much to this man.” This one simply writes, “Great story teller! Nice photo!”

One time, Norton “distinctly remembers” meeting Hamner Jr. She said, “I remember a lot of adults in that room (for the audition), but Earl was distinctive with his soft, gentle Virginia accent,” Norton said of The Waltons creator. “I got to know Earl a bit while we were on the set of The Homecoming.” That TV movie would act as a pilot for the beloved TV series.

Judy Norton of ‘The Waltons’ Recalled Working With Ron Howard

The stories that played out on The Waltons were themes from the Depression-era time. Yet the closeness and love among family members still tug at viewers’ heartstrings. Of course, longtime fans remember Richard Thomas for his portrayal of John-Boy Walton there. Mary Ellen went through a number of things, which included marriage. Norton played the role quite well and that work stands the test of time.

Here’s another of the classic TV crossovers that are quite amazing. Now it doesn’t have to do with this actor’s own shows but Ron Howard did appear in an episode. He, of course, is known for his work on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days. Norton said that she was in awe of working with him. “But certainly, Ron Howard was one of those people because I was very familiar with who he was,” Norton said in her YouTube series about working with a number of high-level guest stars. “It was like, ‘Oh my goodness! We’re working with Ron Howard!’ So that one I really remember.” The Waltons might appear dated to some viewers in today’s TV world. But the family stories and plots of different episodes reflect morals and values worth noting at any time of life.