One of the most beloved characters in the classic television series “The Waltons” has to be Grandpa Zeb Walton. A major factor in the popularity of the family patriarch is the actor who brought him to life.
That actor, of course, was Will Geer. And according to MeTV, Geer knew how to have fun on camera and behind the scenes. Not only did the actor bring a wealth of personal knowledge to his character, he also brought a sense of joy.
And, he brought plants. The actor was known to plant vegetables and flowers on the set of “The Waltons.” Outdoor scenes were a significant part of the show during its long run. The family did live a rural life on Walton’s Mountain, after all.
Also part of the show were several animals, including a dog named Reckless, a cow named Chance, and a mule named Old Blue. Chickens were also part of the show. The dog, cow, and mule were watched over by trainers. These animals only came to the show’s set when they appeared in an episode. The chickens, however, remained on the set in their coop day and night. This, however, eventually changed thanks to Will Geer.
Animal Wranglers Didn’t Like That Will Geer Took Eggs from the Set
While the chickens were living on the set of “The Waltons” Geer would take eggs from the coop. He would take them home with him when his workday was through. It’s almost like the set of the show was his own personal farm. It isn’t known if Geer took the eggs so he could eat them, or if he did so just to be funny. Whatever the reason, the chickens eventually had to find a home away from Walton’s Mountain.
This interesting tidbit about the Grandpa Zeb actor came to light during an interview between Judy Norton and John Dayton. Norton played Mary Ellen, the oldest of the Walton daughters. Dayton was a production assistant for the series.
It was Dayton who pointed out that the chickens that are seen in the series “originally did stay overnight and weekends.” However, this changed when Geer began taking eggs. Dayton also said that “when Will started collecting eggs… and taking them home, they got a little upset with him.”
Judy Norton Described ‘The Waltons’ Actor Will Geer as ‘Quite a Character in His Own Right’
Judy Norton has talked about Grandpa Zeb actor Will Geer before. Unsurprisingly, he was someone the Mary Ellen actress admired.
“Will Geer was quite a character in his own right. And I loved everything that he brought to the character of Grandpa,” she said. “I’ve often heard it said that this character, of all the characters he played over the years, was the most like Will in real life.”
Norton also talked about how Grandpa Zeb meant a lot to fans of the show. “And he was also larger than life and a grandfather that so many have told me they wished was theirs. Or, that they had a grandfather like him. I feel like they were very lucky to have a grandfather like Zeb Walton,” she also said.