If “The Waltons” taught us anything it’s that it’s the little things in life that mean the most. And that’s exactly what actor Judy Norton talked about in her latest episode of “Behind-the-Scenes with Judy Norton.” Norton, who played Mary Ellen on the show reminisced about the season one episode of “The Waltons” titled “The Actress.” During the episode, a famous actress named Alvira Drummond is stranded on Waltons Mountain when her car breaks down. She ends up staying with the Waltons until her car is fixed. While there, she befriends the family.
The episode was directed by Vincent Sherman, who directed several episodes of the show. Norton said that the “little touches” that Sherman included while directing made the episode special.
“And there’s wonderful little touches in this episode from season one that were very sweet. And definitely showed his creativity as a director, said Norton. “Some of the things, little touches that he put in there that really made it come to life. And gave audiences a real sense of the era, of the family, the dynamics within the family.”
The Actress Who Guest Starred On This Episode Of Also Appeared In ‘Gunsmoke’
One of those touches was the actress who guest-starred on the show as the actress. The actress who played Alvira Drummond was Pippa Scott. Norton said that Scott had “quite a career in Hollywood” before appearing on “The Waltons.” Prior to her appearance on the show, Scott had appeared in “Mission: Impossible” and “Gunsmoke.” Norton also revealed another interesting fact: Scott was married to “The Waltons” executive producer, Lee Rich. But Norton was quick to point out that Scott got the role because of her talent, not because of her husband.
Alvira’s entrance into the Walton home isn’t the smoothest. Both Grandma and Olivia are hesitant to have a famous actress in their house. And things get worse when, as Norton said, Alvira “crosses the line” and gets drunk in the home. Luckily, Norton added, Olivia and Grandma “show their compassion and humanity when they realize that she really doesn’t have anywhere else to go.” Alvira begins to soften to the family and release her judgments. And, eventually, the family befriends the actress.
Why Did The Waltons Family Look Down On The Actress?
Fans today may find it difficult to believe that the Waltons didn’t welcome the famous actress into their home with open arms. However, Norton pointed out that there was a time when actors were looked down on in society.
“It was not uncommon for a long time for actors to be really looked down upon in society,” said Norton. “They were not looked up to the way we look up to and admire and revere some of the big actors and stars in today’s Hollywood. At times they would say ‘Actors and animals not allowed.’ So, that’s pretty hard when you were classified with animals. There was just a stigma around what show people were like, and perhaps they had loose morals.”