The first Walton grandchild was born during the sixth season of the beloved classic television series The Waltons. And audiences couldn’t get enough of this newest addition! However, there is one secret that some fans of the series may not know. The secret? That one favorite character was played by more than one actor in the hit series.
When baby John Curtis was born to one of the Walton daughters, Mary Ellen, he was actually portrayed by not one, but two actors. A set of young twins to be exact. This would explain why audiences were immediately impressed with baby John’s calm demeanor. A demeanor so calm, in fact, that one critic even deemed the young television stars as “the perfect child” after they were added to the series, per MeTV.
Two Young Identical Twins Portrayed John Curtis In ‘The Waltons’
Viewers were introduced to the newest addition to the Walton clan during the popular show’s sixth season. And audiences fell in love with the character almost immediately. And, it seems this love is doubled as the character, baby John Curtis is portrayed by identical twins named Michael and Marshall Reed.
Of course, we know it’s not uncommon for producers and television shows to hire identical twins to portray children on TV. The practice has been quite common for decades and was even implemented in the iconic series I Love Lucy. When Little Ricky arrived on the series, the show hired a set of twins to portray the young Ricardo.
This practice began largely to adhere to child labor laws. Children are allowed only a few hours of work each week. A set of twins allows the young characters to continue working, filming more scenes each week.
This practice continued throughout the years on some of our favorite television shows. Two sets of twins were hired to portray characters on Little House on the Prairie. These twins portrayed the characters Grace and Carrie Ingalls on the classic television series. Of course, one of the most well-known sets of twins employed on a series to portray a young character came in the 1980s as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen portrayed the fan-favorite character Michelle Tanner on Full House.
Judy Norton Remembers The Young Actors Responding To The Cast’s ‘Energy’
Michael and Marshall Reed appeared in over fifty episodes of the popular series between 1978 and 1980. And, according to The Walton’s star Judy Norton, the twins were always a hit on-screen.
“At that age, they’re not acting,” Judy Norton recalls of the young boys.
“Everything you see from a toddler that age is responding to the actual energy that they are getting off the actors they’re working with,” the Waltons star continues.