‘The Waltons’: Why Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Connected With One Particular Director

by Clayton Edwards
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Fans of classic television remember Judy Norton as Mary Ellen from The Waltons. Currently, she hosts a web series in which she discusses the show in-depth. If you’re a fan of the iconic series, her videos are a must-see. Norton pulls back the curtain and shows the world how they made the proverbial sausage on Walton Mountain.

Judy Norton delves into a wide range of topics. Sometimes, she will break down a specific episode. Other times, she discusses broader topics. From time to time, she will even talk about how they made certain scenes work. Norton will also discuss her experiences during the run of the show both on and off the set. There is plenty of content for longtime fans of the show as well as those who are just finding it. However, the most interesting portions of these videos come when she speaks about her personal experience and perspective.

In a video from February of this year, Judy Norton talks about the season seven episode, “The Obsession.” In that episode, Mary Ellen becomes addicted to pills. Her life begins to spiral, and she has to find a way to pull out of it. It’s a harrowing tale and an example of the range of topics covered by the iconic family drama.

While discussing “The Obsession”, Judy Norton talks about being able to connect with the episode’s director Gwen Arner.

Why Judy Norton Connected with Gwen Arner

In the video, Judy Norton said that she connected with Gwen Arner. Arner directed thirteen of the 221 episodes of The Waltons. She also worked on other series for the producers of the classic show. For instance, Arner directed episodes of Dallas and Falcon Crest. She was one of only a handful of women to direct on the classic show.

Judy Norton felt that she was able to connect with Gwen Arner on a deeper level because she was a woman. Arner was able to add a woman’s perspective to the episodes on which she worked. Norton said, “Getting a woman’s perspective on some of these episodes was very helpful. We could speak on a different level about some of the things that women might go through relative to certain issues.” For “The Obsession,” Norton and Arner worked to bring a woman’s perspective to the problem of addiction.

Judy Norton went on to say that she, “…enjoyed being about to craft this performance with the help of Gwen.”

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