‘The Waltons’: Why Judy Norton Says it Was ‘Challenging’ for Her to Film the Series

by Clayton Edwards

The Waltons took audiences back to a simpler time. The show took place during the Great Depression and WWII in the Appalachian region of the United States. It followed a close-knit, hard-working family. The family values and simpler times were a hit with viewers in the 70s. So, it quickly became one of the biggest shows on television. Today, we can watch the show in syndication and it looks like it would be a great time to work on that set and act with that cast. However, Judy Norton once said that things got difficult on the set.

Judy Norton played Mary Ellen Walton. She was the family’s oldest daughter. Norton was there for the entire nine-season run. Then. she reprised her role for the made-for-TV movies and specials. So, she knows all about the hard work that went into making The Waltons. After all, nothing that good could come easily.

Judy Norton opened up about why it could be difficult to shoot the show on her YouTube-based web series. In that web series, she regularly takes fans behind the scenes of the classic show. Sometimes, she breaks down one Waltons episode at a time. Other times, she will talk at length about a topic related to the show. in her most recent installment, she answered questions from her viewers. Episodes like that are always the most interesting.

Judy Norton on Why It Could Be Difficult to Film The Waltons

The discussion of difficulties on the set came up while Judy Norton answered a question about how a particular scene was filmed. In the scene in question, the Walton men are drinking moonshine. Olivia and Grandma Walton are none too happy about it. So, much of the scene is focused on passing the ‘shine jug around. However, there is a full conversation going on underneath that. Olivia’s sharp looks at her husband and eldest son add another undercurrent to the scene.

Judy Norton said things like that happened often. Then, went on to discuss how they shot those scenes. Each new camera angle necessitated a whole new scene. So, what takes five minutes to play out on screen could have taken hours to shoot.

It is in scenes like this that Judy Norton said the difficulties arose.

“It was always challenging to shoot The Waltons,” Judy Norton said. “Because there were eleven regular cast members.” That is a lot of people to try to work into an entire episode, let alone a single scene. Many times, the whole family would be in a scene together. That led to many extra camera shots which led to much more time spent shooting a single scene.

Judy Norton said things got even more complicated when guest stars or other recurring characters were in a scene with the family. Having more people in a scene brought about more difficulty. This translated to more time spent shooting a single scene from different angles.