‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Explained a Day on the Set of the Show

by Katie Maloney

Actor Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton on “The Waltons” is bringing fans behind the scenes once again in the latest episode of her video series. This episode is unique in that it combines two of Norton’s regular segments: “Ask Judy” and “Behind-the-Scenes.” So, not only does Norton answer fan questions during the episode, but she also reveals behind-the-scenes details about “The Waltons.”

To start, Norton talked about a day in the life of an actor on “The Waltons” set, from start to finish.

“A day on the set varied in many ways,” said Norton.”Were we shooting outside, were we shooting inside? That would affect the time everyone was called in.”

Norton said that there were different things to consider when filming outside, such as how many hours of daylight the cast and crew had to capture all the scenes they needed. She also revealed that the show did not film on weekends, so the crew had to navigate around that schedule as well. Norton said that it took six and a half days to film one episode. She added that the crew usually tried to film all the outdoor scenes first, then they finished with the indoor scenes.

“So they would oftentimes want to get the outside things shot first,” said Norton. “So that they had that as a backup to go inside if it was not good weather to shoot outside.”

How Did The Cast Prepare For An Episode Of ‘The Waltons’?

Norton said that “The Waltons” cast and crew usually started filming around 8:30 am. So, each actor’s call time depended on how long it would take to do hair and makeup and whether or not they were in the first scene.

“That would depend, of course, on who is in the first scene. Let’s say everyone is in the first scene, they would stagger it. Because we had a hair person, a makeup person,” said Norton. “…So, you would arrive, you would check in with the assistant director. And then you’d be sent to hair and makeup.”

Once everyone was in their costumes with their hair and makeup done, Norton said that the assistant director would call all the actors to the set for rehearsal.

“So we would go into the set and…the director would walk us through the scenes and the places he wanted us. We would run through the scene and deal with any particular questions, issues, problems that may be there,” said Norton. “Once they felt they had enough to set the camera and do all the lighting, they’d send the actors back while they finished getting ready.”

So, all of that, and they haven’t even started filming an episode of “The Waltons” yet!?

“When camera and lights and everything were ready, the assistant director would call everyone back in. We would have final rehearsals,” continued Norton. “When all of that was ready to go, we would shoot it.”

Judy Norton talks about a day in the life of an actor on “The Waltons”