On This Day: ‘The Waltons’ Series Finale Aired in 1981 After 221 Episodes

by Keeli Parkey
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It was 40 years ago today (June 4, 2021) that “The Waltons” – one of the most beloved shows in the history of television – aired its final episode.

The show was in its ninth season when it wrapped up its popular run. And the finale, which aired in 1981, was episode number 221 of the popular family drama.

According to TVSeriesFinale.com, the show’s final season followed the Walton family during the final year of World War II. The year is 1945. John Boy found himself in love with a French woman. Ben was taken prisoner by the Japanese army. And, Jason is concerned that he killed someone. Back at home, Mary Ellen has decided to become a doctor. Fortunately, World War II comes to an end and the Walton boys come back to their family.

The last episode of “The Waltons” was titled “The Revel.” This episode follows John-Boy as he travels to New York. He had hopes of getting his book published. However, he learns that the book will not be published. So, he returns home.

The episode also features the Baldwin Sisters. They have planned a party and invited many people they care about. Unfortunately, those friends have either moved away or passed away. Because of this, their invitations were returned. Luckily, the Waltons step in. They join in on the celebration and help make it a success.

The Baldwin sisters also do something else important in this episode – they inspire John-Boy to keep writing. He also decides to go back to New York to pursue his writing career.

The Finale of ‘The Waltons’ Included a Very Special Ending

In addition to giving some closure to the fictional characters on “The Waltons,” the final episode of the series also gave some closure to the show’s cast and its creator.

It included footage of creator Earl Hamner, Jr. visiting the grave of his father. “He was a fine man and we still miss him,” Hamner said in narration.

“I have walked the land in the footsteps of all my fathers, back in time to where the first one trod …,” Hamner also said. “… to look back in pride and honored heritage. To hear (the land’s) laughter and its song. … I have walked the land in the footsteps of all my fathers. I saw yesterday and now look to tomorrow.”

And, of course, the episode includes a final “goodnight.” However this time, the cast of “The Waltons” appear as themselves and wished one another “goodnight.” It’s a fitting end to a classic show.

Luckily for fans of “The Waltons,” the finale episode in 1981 was not the final time they got to see their beloved characters on screen. There were six made-for-television movies that continued the family’s storylines. These movies aired over the years of 1982 until 1997, according to a tweet by @SilverAgeTV. The tweet also includes opening credits used in the show.

Outsider.com