‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Explains How One ‘Great Fun’ Scene Involving a Garden Hose Was Filmed

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)

Judy Norton played Mary Ellen on The Waltons for the series’ entire run. Then, she came back for all six of the made-for-TV movies. On top of that, Norton has appeared in several other films and television shows. Her career started in the mid-sixties and she is still working today. So, she has collected a wealth of knowledge about The Waltons as well as filmmaking as a whole over the years.

Currently, Judy Norton hosts a web series in which she takes fans behind the scenes of The Waltons. She goes about this in several different ways. In some installments, she breaks down episodes of the classic series. In others, she discusses broader topics related to the show. Sometimes, Judy will even take questions from her audience. However, the one thing that you can count on is the fact that the information she provides will be funneled through her decades of experience.

In an installment of her web series from February, Judy Norton talked about the episode, “The Genius,” from the fourth season of The Waltons. During that installment, she talked about how they would film scenes that involved water. More specifically, she talks about how they shot the scene in which Mary Ellen soaks a would-be suitor with a water hose.

Judy Norton on the Hose Scene for ‘The Waltons’

To set the scene, Norton says that Lyle comes over to try to chat up Mary Ellen. However, he isn’t good at talking to girls. What’s worse is that he doesn’t know he’s no good at it. The scene culminated in Mary Ellen soaking her would-be suitor with a water hose.

Looking back, Judy Norton said that she was sure she thought the scene was “great fun,” as a young actress. Then, she gets into how a scene like this one would work. The big consideration for something like this is that once the actor is soaked, it is hard to get another take. They would have to dry both the costume and the actor. Furthermore, they would have to fix his hair and makeup again.

So, Judy Norton said that the cameramen and director would keep a close eye on the scene. They would make sure that everything went smoothly up to the point of no return. On this, Norton said, “The director would role the camera. We’d do the scene. If there’s been any problem with the scene prior to the part where the water comes into play, the cameraman or someone will signal or the director will cut it.” That way, they have everything they need before the hose comes out.

On the other hand, Judy Norton noted that they would sometimes film scenes like this in two sections. First, they would film everything before the water-spraying moment. That way they had the whole scene before they ruin the actor’s hair, makeup, and wardrobe. Then, they would film the last bit separately.