‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Points Out Unique Fact About Headstones in the Series

by John Jamison
(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)

Television shows love burying little details that only the most knowledgeable fans would ever recognize. “The Waltons” is no exception. And over the course of 11 years, the show included plenty of Easter eggs that are still delighting fans to this day. Of course, it helps that one of the show’s cast members is helping us along with behind-the-scenes information.

Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton on the classic TV series, knows what she’s talking about when it comes to “The Waltons.” She stuck around for the entire series and still maintains relationships with her fellow cast members to this day.

Fortunately for fans everywhere, she has a YouTube channel wherein she answers questions from curious viewers. Further, she breaks down entire episodes from “The Waltons” with an insight that no one else can match. Recently, she tackled an episode titled “The Hero.” There are multiple scenes in “The Hero” that feature the graveyard on Walton’s Mountain.

In her YouTube video, Norton points out a detail about the graveyard that most would easily miss.

“When they go up to clear up the graveyard, and take the weeds out, and prepare it. As they walk through the graveyard, some of you have commented on this before,” Norton said. “But the headstones, just a piece of humor, the names on the headstones were, for the most part, members of our crew at one point.”

‘The Waltons’ Graveyard Was Home to the Show’s Crew

What better way to honor the unsung people who helped make the show than by putting them in the graveyard? They’re not literally there, we hope. But including their names on the headstones is a fun, easy way to give them some extra credit.

“You see Robert Jacks, who was our producer. And you see Patrick Norris, who was our costumer, and Laurence Dobkin, who was one of our actor/directors,” Norton continued in her video. “A little bit later, you see Earl Hamner’s name on one of the headstones, and then Harry Harris, one of our directors, and Ralph Ferrin, who was one of our first assistant directors, and also Ed Graves, who was our art director.”

The headstone list is extensive. It even includes the show’s creator, Earl Hamner Junior. And while it’s a clever way to honor the crew members who made “The Waltons” such a success, there’s another reason for it entirely.

TV shows and movies are generally not allowed to depict the headstones of real people who are buried. Because of this, productions have to blur the names out. The other option is simply making their own graveyard. They can populate it with people who are willing to give the show permission to use their names.