‘The Waltons’: Actress Judy Norton ‘Distinctly Remembers’ Meeting Show Creator Earl Hamner Jr.

by Joe Rutland

Actress Judy Norton had the opportunity to meet “The Waltons” creator Earl Hamner Jr. and it made quite an impression upon her.

Norton, in her ongoing video series “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Waltons’,” remembers meeting Hamner for the first time when she auditioned for the role of Mary Ellen in “The Homecoming.”

“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.’

“When we went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to film all of the snow sequences for the last week of ‘The Homecoming,’ Earl was there and he brought along his wife Jane and his children Scott and Carrie.”

‘The Waltons’ Creator Grew Up In Virginia With His Siblings

Norton said Hamner grew up in Virginia and added that his childhood home is now a tourist attraction. She said that she had the opportunity to meet a number of Hamner’s brothers and sisters.

Earl Hamner Jr. came from a family of eight children, not seven as portrayed on “The Waltons.”

Hamner grew up wanting to be a writer and went to New York, Norton said. That tract follows the same one John-Boy Walton, played by Richard Thomas, took in the CBS family series.

He wrote for live radio shows at that time, then moved to Hollywood and started writing for television and movies.

‘Spencer’s Mountain’ Paves Way For TV Movie, Series

Because of his book “Spencer’s Mountain,” Norton said that opened up an opportunity for him to have a film made based on it.

“Spencer’s Mountain” would lead to “The Homecoming” which, yes, led to the creation of “The Waltons.”

Norton spends a number of minutes talking about Earl Hamner Jr. at length. Hamner Jr. died on March 24, 2016, in Los Angeles at 92 years old.

Listen to her recollections of him and her time on “The Waltons.”