Judy Norton played Mary Ellen on The Waltons. She was there throughout the entire series as well as the movies based on the show. So, she is the perfect person to give fans of the show a look behind the scenes. She does so in her web series. For Memorial Day, Norton talked about the season six episode, “The First Casualty.” In that episode, the War touches Walton Mountain for the first time.
The Waltons was a touching and wholesome show. At the same time, it didn’t shy away from hard topics. By the time season six arrived, WWII was on the rise in the timeline of the series. So, men from the Mountain were being called upon to stand for their country in the coming war. Among those men was Mary Ellen’s husband and the Waltons’ family friend GW Haines. Unfortunately, Mr. Haines died in a training accident at Camp Lee.
In the latest episode of her web series, Judy Norton talked about the death of GW.
Judy Norton on the Death of GW Haines
The news of GW’s death marks a turning point in the episode. Before Curt comes back to deliver the news, the episode was fairly light. Then, with just a few lines the episode delves into the grief of losing a close friend. Judy Norton said that her character was the one who had to relay the bad news to Erin
Then, things get heavier. Judy Norton says that John Walton has the unenviable task of reading a letter that GW left with him to Erin. In the corner of the screen, the scene plays out silently. Erin is absolutely crushed and she weeps as John reads the letter.
Judy Norton goes on to say that The Waltons never shied away from “heavy, emotional subject matters.” She went on to say that GW’s death was the first time that WWII touched Walton Mountain. However, it would not be the last.
Judy Norton says that many people have asked her why showrunners decided to kill GW. About this, she gave her opinion, saying, “They wanted to start bringing the war closer and having more of its impact on the Mountain. Initially, they would not have wanted to kill off one of the Walton men. GW was someone we were very familiar with. So, it was definitely an impact.”
She went on to say that they all knew and cared about him. In fact, Mary Ellen taught GW to dance. The cast had a connection with the character. At the same time, the audience cared about him. However, he was not one of the main characters of the show. So, they could kill him off and it would make an impact. At the same time, they wouldn’t have to lose one of the core cast members.