HomeEntertainment‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals the Cast Didn’t Know the Final Episode Would Be Their Last While Filming

‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals the Cast Didn’t Know the Final Episode Would Be Their Last While Filming

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

All good things must come to an end. But sometimes, endings have a way of sneaking up on us. For instance, the cast of “The Waltons” didn’t know their show was coming to an end back in 1981.

In a recent YouTube video, series star Judy Norton took a look back at the final episode of the series. She revealed that the show’s cancellation took the cast by surprise. At the time, they had planned to return to the set for a Season 10. But the network canceled the show between seasons, turning the planned season finale into a series finale.

“‘The Revel’ was the very last episode that we filmed that was aired on the ninth season,” Norton said. “At the time we filmed this, we didn’t know this was going to be the last episode we would film. We didn’t find out the show was canceled until we were on hiatus. Between what would have been our ninth and tenth season, had there been a tenth season.”

Of course, that wouldn’t be the last time that Norton played Mary Ellen. The following year, “The Waltons” returned with three TV specials instead. Then a decade later, the cast reunited once more for three more specials to examine where their character’s lives were now.

“We did come back the following year and do three TV reunion movies,” Norton said. “Then it was 10 years later before we did three more reunion movies.”

‘The Waltons’ Finale Episode

But if “The Waltons” never filmed those six additional specials how might things have ended? The final episode, “The Revel” aired back on June 4, 1981. The episode didn’t necessarily feel like a series finale. But it would have provided a good final picture of the beloved family.

That episode featured John-Boy in New York dealing with a career crisis. His much hoped-for book was rejected by his publisher. But the character gets enough money to return back home and find the inspiration for a new book instead. But John Boy’s blues can’t bring down the rest of the cast. For one, the Baldwin sisters want to hold a grand ball.

But the Baldwin sisters’ friends and associates had either died or moved far away. The sisters join John Boy in depression. But the Waltons come to the rescue. They gather all of their neighbors and friends to throw a giant celebration with the Baldwin sisters.

The original show ends with the Waltons and their friends celebrating. In narration, John Boy reveals this encounter helps him to write another book.