‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Would Often Hang Out on the Set For ‘Fun’

by John Jamison

Everyone knows the stereotypes about child stars. They face challenges unique to fame from a very young age. These kinds of things make life tough on a kid, and many of them struggle with issues stemming from their stardom for the rest of their lives. But what about the cool stuff? How fun would it be as a kid to run around the set of a TV show all day? “The Waltons” star Judy Norton knows a thing or two about it.

Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton, joined the show when she was just 14 years old. A formative time in one’s life, no doubt, but still childhood. And as a child, she and her young co-stars made the most of their opportunities on “The Waltons” set.

“I always thought the treehouse was a fun set. It actually was erected in that tree. And there were multiple episodes where we were up in the treehouse or things happened in the treehouse,” Norton said in a video she uploaded to Youtube recently. “Not only did we use it when we were filming in it, but also sometimes we would just go up there for fun in our offtime.”

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of either owning or simply climbing into a legit treehouse as a kid can relate to Judy Norton here. They’re just awesome all around.

‘The Waltons’ Star Talks About Challenges of Filming in Treehouse

While it was obviously a great time for the younger members of the cast, the treehouse also existed for a reason. Multiple episodes of the show featured scenes in or around the treehouse. But because it was real, it made for some difficulties when it came time to film.

“There’s a bit of work getting a camera up in there when they had to do that. Because you kind of had to climb the treehouse,” Norton said, laughing. “But they would shoot actually in the treehouse sometimes. And sometimes they would recreate the treehouse on the ground if they needed to do more extensive filming.”

In contrast to the kids’ joy at getting to play around and act in a treehouse, the film crew probably dreaded those scenes. Hauling expensive and heavy camera equipment up to where it could be easily damaged is not an ideal situation. The fact that they actually built a real one is surprising. Especially considering the relative ease of using the stand-in version Norton referenced. The kids definitely seemed to appreciate it, though.