During an episode of her video series, “Behind-the-Scenes with Judy Norton,” Norton talked about the Season two episode of “The Waltons” titled “The Car.”
During the episode, John-Boy finally gets a car after a little bit of drama. The episode begins with John-Boy discussing how he needs a car now that he’s in college. A neighbor makes a deal with John-Boy to trade his car for work performed on his house. However, after work is done, the neighbor opts out of the deal. He hides the car from John-Boy and refuses to follow through with the deal. The neighbor’s wife is so fed up with her husband’s action that she leaves him. She grabs the keys to the car and heads to the Waltons’ home. While there, she reveals to the family that she and her husband had a son who died while in the marines. The car belonged to their son and her husband has grown attached to it. She gives John-Boy the keys and tells him where her husband hid the car.
John-Boy, like the true good young man she is, gets the car and drives over to his neighbors’ house. He asks his neighbor to talk about his son and the two bond over a heartfelt conversation. The neighbor eventually gives the car to John-Boy and all is right in the world again. The neighbor’s wife even comes back to him. However, there’s one detail that has always stumped fans.
Why Did John-Boy’s Car Color Change on ‘The Waltons’?
At the beginning of the episode, we see that the car is a dark, metallic blue color. John-Boy excitedly talks about wanting to paint the car a “dignified tan.” And the end of the episode shows that he has done just that. But fans want to know, was that always part of the script, or did writers have to come up with a reason for the car’s change in color?
“I don’t know why that was. The car changes colors within the actual episode. Which leads me to believe there was some reason why they wanted that to happen. It likely was two different cars,” said Norton. “I don’t know if there was some reason that vehicle couldn’t run. Maybe it was already committed. They found something out halfway through the episode and then had him mention that,” said Norton.
The studio did share a production lot with several other shows. So it makes sense that, maybe, the car was already promised to another show when “The Waltons” team unknowingly used it for the episode. However, Norton also said that it had always been written into the script that John-Boy wanted to change the color of the car. So, it could have just been a part of the story from the very beginning.
“But the fact that it was in the script already that he was planning to change its color. I don’t know makes it a little less likely that they shot the episode and then before they needed the vehicle again, there was some issue,” said Norton.
We suppose the famous car color change mystery will remain just that: a Waltons mystery.