‘The Waltons’: Michael Learned Was Frequently ‘Mooned’ By Two Costars on Set

by Atlanta Northcutt

Talk about a true blue. Not only did Michael Learned hold the rest of the cast down as the matriarch of the popular television series The Waltons, but she also saw her fair share of hijinks involving full moons while onset.

Michael Learned Experiences Some Funny On-Set Pranks

Learned played Olivia Walton on the wholesome family TV series. As the mama of seven children and wife of John Walton, the actress had to be tough and fair when it came to holding down her household. This includes all of the hijinks that surrounded the large family. Although her heart of gold was depicted perfectly onscreen, her good humor also shone while the cameras weren’t rolling.

Learned, and actors Ralph Waite, Eric Scott, Mary Beth McDonough, Philip Leacock, Will Geer, and others spent years on set together. The cast and crew came to be like a real-life family. Certain familiar attributes also came into play, including love, comfortability, laughter, and pranks.

Two of the lead actors took real-life comedy into their own hands with a little help from some falling pairs of knickers. They used some good-humored silliness to get their fellow actors and actresses giggling and smiling.

According to MeTV, Waite and Geer enjoyed mooning their co-star, Learned, whenever they had the chance to do so. And since they seemed to do it so often, it appears the men had a good time trying to get a laugh or two out of the Walton family matriarch.

Learned Thinks Back on Good Times During Filming

During an interview with Archive of American Television, Learned recalls some fond memories she has from her time on The Waltons set. “We had a lot of fun,” she says.

She continues on by claiming that the elder castmates had just as good of a time as the younger ones. Waite and Geer, who played the roles of John Walton, Sr. and Grandpa Walton, “insisted on mooning [the cast] any chance they got.”

“I saw more of their rear-ends than I ever wanted to see,” Learned adds with a laugh.

Although memorable and enjoyable experiences took place, Learned, Waite, and Geer never failed to produce quality content. They continuously ensured home viewers received their weekly dose of entertainment, laughter, and joy.

“The Waltons” and the Actress Win Many Awards

The Waltons garnered so much success over the course of its run that The Waltons received two Golden Globe Awards, along with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Several of the actors also received nominations or awards for their take on the characters.

Learned was one of the individual award winners. She received three Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role. 

If you don’t know about The Waltons, here is a little insight into the TV show that had viewers excitedly waiting to hear, “Goodnight John-Boy.”

John-Boy is the main character and narrator of The Waltons. However, Learned brought consistency and a touching motherly love to the show. She actually appears in more episodes than that of Richard Thomas, who plays the role of the family’s patriarch John Walton.

The Walton’s live in a rural Virginia town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The show’s timeline is set during the hard days of the Great Depression and into World War II. The series is loosely based on the life of the show’s creator Earl Hamner, Jr. The series originally debuted on TV in December 1971 as a Christmas movie. It then showed weekly episodes for nine years. Six more made-for-TV movies came from the success of the show.

The show focuses on the lives of the Walton family. It’s famously made up of Olivia and John Walton, Sr., the couple’s children, John-Boy, Jason, Mary Ellen, Elizabeth, Jim-Bob, Erin, and Ben, and their elderly grandparents.

Learned has always said the cast was like a family itself.