‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Opens Up on How She Dealt With Emotional Scenes

by Keeli Parkey

If you want to know information about “The Waltons” a really good place to start is the YouTube channel of actress Judy Norton. She played Mary Ellen Walton in the classic family drama.

During recent months, she has been sharing her memories about filming the show online. Her videos have covered a variety of topics and episodes of the show. She also fields questions from fans. On Thursday (May 20, 2021) she posted another “Ask Judy” segment on YouTube.

“I’m going to be taking some more of your questions,” Norton said at the beginning of the video. “I try to pick up various different questions from the comments below. …”

One of the topics “The Waltons” actress covered in the recent video was what it was like working on the many emotional scenes that played out in the series. This discussion was prompted by a question from a YouTube user named Fiona.

“I would love to know how long it would take you to prepare for an emotionally trying scene and did those things affect you for a long time afterwards?” Fiona asked Judy Norton.

In her response, Norton said that different actors on “The Waltons” had different ways of getting ready for and coping with emotional scenes.

Judy Norton of ‘The Waltons’ Said She Required Time to ‘Switch Gears Emotionally’

The actress also said the scenes she filmed before the emotional ones influenced how she prepared for what followed.

“So yeah, you know, everybody had their own process for how they prepared for emotional scenes,” Judy Norton responded. “You know, it depended. If we’d just come from something that was really lighthearted and funny and everything, I would need a little bit of time to sort of switch gears emotionally.”

Luckily, the show allowed for the actors to get ready to film their scenes.

“But, there is always time between scenes because you do have to move the camera and, to a degree, change the lighting, probably change wardrobe, perhaps run by and get your hair and makeup checked,” Norton said. “So, there would be some time in there, which I found was plenty of time, to sort of reset emotionally, take a look at the scene again, if I need to, just reacquaint myself with where my character was at, emotionally.”

Norton also took time alone on “The Waltons” set to focus on her work.

“If I knew that I had a lot of emotional work during a day, I would pace myself,” she said. “I would know how much I could sort of step away from it during the day. … I would kind of just go off by myself and not sort of come completely out of that emotional state or the awareness of the circumstances I was dealing with.”

You can watch Judy Norton talk about dealing with the emotional scenes on “The Waltons” below. Her comments on this topic begin around the 3:30 minute mark of the video.