‘The Waltons: Why Judy Norton Wanted to Watch the Show Alone as It Aired

by John Jamison

You know how weird it is when you hear your own voice played back to you? Imagine how surreal it must be to not only hear but watch yourself on network television. Some actors can’t even handle it and avoid watching their own stuff. So how did “The Waltons” star Judy Norton deal with watching herself work? She did it alone.

And when “The Waltons” was airing on TV, it was a very different time. There was no technology available to record the show during the 1970s. None that was easily accessible, at least. So Judy Norton’s only option was to tune in with everyone else across the country.

In Q&A style video she uploaded to Youtube in March, Norton talked about what it was like to watch herself on TV.

“I usually watched on Thursday nights. I mean, when ‘The Waltons’ first started in 1972, when we started airing, there weren’t recorders. You didn’t have recording devices. So if I didn’t watch the show on Thursday night when it was on, I didn’t see it,” she said.

If she missed it, the only thing she could do was catch a rerun of the episode at some point down the line. And Judy admits that there are probably some episodes she missed. If she knew she wasn’t in one, she sometimes skipped watching them.

‘The Waltons’ Star Struggles Watching Herself to This Day

She chalks it up to one of her quirks. But “The Waltons” star doesn’t love watching herself, to begin with. So she tries to manage her discomfort by only doing it alone.

“I don’t like watching myself ever, with other people, so if I’m watching my work, I tend to want to watch it alone. It’s just, to this day, not easy for me to sit and watch myself. So I get self-conscious if there are other people around, or if the lights are on, or if people are talking or commenting. So that’s just one of my quirks,” Norton laughed in the video.

There you have it. The person behind Mary Ellen Walton is self-conscious like the rest of us. She admits, though, that she has gotten more enjoyment out of watching back through the show recently. Because she’s so far removed from the person she was back then, Norton is able to watch “The Waltons” like an average viewer. Albeit one with a crazy amount of show knowledge.