“The Waltons” actress Judy Norton reveals behind-the-scenes details about the made-for-tv reunion movie, “Mother’s Day on Waltons Mountain.”
The Waltons series ran for nine seasons from 1972-1981. But people weren’t finished with “The Waltons” even after the show ended. Fans still longed to see what their favorite characters were up to. So, in 1982, the television network NBC decided to produce three made-for-TV movies based on “The Waltons.” During her video series, “Behind-The-Scenes With Judy Norton,” actress Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen on the show, talked about one of those made-for-tv movies titled, “Mother’s Day on Waltons Mountain.”
During the movie, Mary Ellen marries Jonesy. And, while on their honeymoon, Mary Ellen is in a severe car accident. She has to have emergency surgery and is told that, because of her injuries, it would be dangerous for her to have children in the future. Obviously, Mary Ellen is devastated by the news and she struggles with how she wants to tell Jonesy. So, she decides to visit her mother, Olivia Walton, played by Michael Learned. However, Olivia is no longer living nearby. For health reasons, Olivia moved to Arizona. During the series, Olivia was diagnosed with tuberculosis. So, doctors recommended that she move to a warmer, drier climate. In reality, Michael Learned had accepted a role on “Nurse” and was filming in New York.
Judy Norton Filmed Scenes for ‘The Waltons’ Movie on the Set of Michael Learned’s ‘Nurse’
So, Judy Norton flew to New York to film the scenes with Michael Learned on the set of “Nurse.”
“I was sent to New York where Michael was filming her show ‘Nurse’. Our company was making arrangements with their company and we shot in the sets that were used for the hospital in ‘Nurse,” said Norton. “And I don’t remember if we used their crew or another crew. But we shot there. So that was kind of fun for me to have a trip to New York and spent a couple of days there. Film there and film those scenes with Michael in a completely different location with a completely different crew.”
Norton added that she was impressed by the way the new network edited the movie to resemble the style of the show so closely.
“But as I watched the episode, I think they did a wonderful job of seamlessly intercutting with the look, and the style and the lighting of everything else in that episode of ‘The Waltons,'” said Norton.
But keen-eyed fans will notice a difference in the opening credits between the movie and “The Waltons” show. The music and images used for the opening credits are different than in episodes of the show. Norton explained that this is most likely because of licensing rights. Because NBC produced the movie, while the show had been produced by CBS, the two networks probably had different licensing capabilities for music and images.