Television audiences loved The Waltons because it felt real. The long-running series focused on a tight-knit and hardworking family during the Great Depression. They lived in the Appalachian region of the United States. So, it all took place in a rural area. However, the members of the Walton family weren’t shown as rednecks or hillbillies. Instead, they were salt-of-the-earth types just dealing with life and family. The show was based on the novel Spencer’s Mountain and the film of the same name. Both of those properties were based on the life of their creator, Earl Hamner Jr. In fact, the fan-favorite character John-Boy is an analog for Hamner. In much the same way, Ben Walton, played by Eric Scott is an analog for one of his younger brothers.
Hamner was deeply involved in the production of The Waltons. After all, he was bringing his life to the small screen. At the same time, millions of people were watching. So, he wanted to make sure that everything came out right. His involvement in the series was one of the behind-the-scenes elements that helped it become a success. Eric Scott recognized this even at a young age.
Eric Scott sat down with MediaVillage back in 2011 to talk about his time on The Waltons among other things. In that interview, he discussed the importance of having Hamner on the set of the series.
Eric Scott on Having Earl Hamner Jr. on the set of The Waltons
Eric Scott came around to talking about Earl Hamner Jr. while discussing teamwork on the set. He said that they were a “troupe all the way,” and that extended to the show’s creator. “I had never worked with a producer/writer like we did with Earl,” Scott recalled. He went on to say that having Hamner on set was like having an in-house writer on hand.
Eric Scott went on to say that Earl Hamner Jr. paid close attention to the scripts for the show. At the same time, he was always there to talk to about the characters and the plotlines, according to Scott. Hamner looked over each script with metaphorical “magnified glasses.”
Eric Scott summed up Hamner’s attention to the scripts by saying, “every word was under the microscope.”
The attention to detail paid off. The Waltons ran for nine seasons. Additionally, the series spawned six made-for-TV movies. While it was on the air, the series brought in a huge percentage of the overall television viewership in the United States. In fact, it was the number one show in the nation for quite some time.
The series made young actors like Eric Scott and Judy Norton household names. They had both held roles before becoming members of the Walton family. However, the series opened doors for them that helped them maintain long careers.