10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Waltons’

  

Back in the ’70s and ’80s, a lot of networks focused on wholesome family series which led to huge hit shows such as Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, and The Waltons. The Waltons first aired in December 1971 as a television movie before premiering the series in 1972 and went on to have nine very successful seasons before coming to an end after being canceled by NBC in 1981. More than 35 years later take a look back at the beloved show with these 10 things you never knew about the series, the cast, and life on set:

10. Basis For The Show

The Waltons was created by Earl Hamner, Jr. and was based off his book Spencer’s Mountain which was turned into a 1963 film of the same name. As it turns out, Hamner based the book and subsequent film and show off of his own family. He grew up with seven siblings after whom he based each Walton child, and based the Walton grandparents after his own grandparents.

Everett Collection

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9. Getting The Cast

Before Michael Learned became the beloved matriarch of the Waltons, the role was actually given to Patricia Neal. Unfortunately Neal’s previous health issues became a problem and Learned had to be brought in to replace her. Meanwhile, producers first wanted Henry Fonda to star in the series as John Walton after he had the lead role in the 1963 film. Instead Fonda saw the two-hour pilot and said, “What do you want me for? The kid is the star! The whole family is the star! You don’t need me.”

(c)Lorimar. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

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