|WALTONS DIGEST 33-2000:
What an end to a very, very busy week! It has been musical week again for us here, with James appearing each night in West Side Story. A very ambitious production, but it improved immensely from the first night, and by the time last night came, it was really very good. The students all enjoyed it...as they always do. There's always the clean out of the theatre on the last night, which they all have to help with, followed by a party celebration at school, where the teachers feed them :-), then there is an after party at someone's place for the older students, which James and his friends usually go to for just a short time. By the time we had picked up James and 3 of his friends and dropped them all home, it was well after 3 before we all got to bed, so it was nice to have a big sleep in this morning.
Some of the students were staying on all night and partying all night, but thankfully, James isn't really into that scene and never wants to stay late. I'd be interested to know what parties are like for teenagers over there. Here they seem to want to start their parties very late, then party all night and arrive home in the morning to sleep! Not my idea of a good time that's for sure. Thankfully both our boys haven't been involved in that scene.
Our Waltons list has regrown enormously during the week. Thank you to all who have replied to let me know that they still want to be included. I'm assuming that many other members will suddenly realise that they haven't heard from me and will contact me then to rejoin.
I received my Mailbox recently, that's the newsletter of the Waltons Friendship Society, based in England. Always terrific reading, and interesting with a British flavour. There were some reviews from newspapers about Richard Thomas's play "Art", which made interesting reading. I had to laugh because two of the three articles wrote about the clothing worn by Patrick Duffy. I just can't imagine any papers over here writing about what clothes men wore after they'd performed in a play. :-)) In case you're wondering, one wrote that he was wearing "a Hawaiian shirt and lightweight trousers" while the other said "blue and white Hawaiian shirt, jeans and a huge bum-bag". Apparently in the States they're called fanny packs. LOL
What I did want to comment on though was a very thoughtful letter, written by Emma Armstrong. She was writing about those very controversial episodes, The Whirlwind and The Tempest, and saying that she felt they were handled in a "very Walton-like" way and with "all the characters" acting nobly. Perhaps quite a different viewpoint from many Walton fans. She said that yes, it was difficult for some people to understand the change in Curt's attitude, and his indifference to John Curtis, but she pointed that he probably was suffering from Post Traumatic Syndrome, following his experiences in the war. She also went on to say that Curt behaved in a similar way to Mary Ellen herself, when they both found out they could no longer have children...both pushed their spouses away, not wanting them to stay out of pity, or wanting to be rejected.
Emma went on to write that the series really didn't "glorify war but showed how it affected people", and indeed it did. It showed how the tragedies of war impacted, not only on the person directly involved, but also on their family.
I found it a very interesting point of view, and one that I felt I wanted to share, because it seems as if these episodes are among the least liked of the entire series. Perhaps you might wish to comment, both on Emma's point of view, and also on instances where the series showed how war affected loved ones and their families. I can think of many moments.
Till next week,
I read on the forum that you had some problems with your computer. Glad to hear you are back online. I can relate to computer problems, we all go through them now and then. It is a pain especially with all of the work of getting things back together. The Walton Loop is still going strong that I started 2 years ago in October. So far there are about 18 members who email each other on a daily basis. We talk about the Waltons tv show, personal issues, etc. You could say that we have become quite a family! If anyone is interested in joining please let me know. It is a closed group as you need to email me in order to join. You email me a profile of yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org and I email the loop members with this profile. They let me know if they think you would make a good member and then we go from there. Again it is a private group not public so email addresses are not sold, etc.
KAREN'S COMMENT: I've been aware of your loop for some time now Cindy and it does seem to be very successful. Please email Cindy if you have any further queries. Have you ever rejected anyone? Just curious. LOL
Thank you so much for your valiant efforts to get even an abbreviated digest out even though you suffered such a computer disaster! Your efforts are very much appreciated. I rarely write anything in response to receiving the digest but I read it diligently each and every time I receive it. I thought I would pass along one ironic thing I saw recently on TV. John Ritter was on a program discussing his role in the sitcom "Three's Company." He mentioned that before that role he had played the part of the preacher on the Waltons. He said few people would probably remember he had played that role because the only person who ever watched that show were his parents. What I find ironic about this comment is that probably far more people see him in reruns of the Waltons than will ever see him in reruns of Three's Company! My husband laughs at me for watching the Waltons when he says I've probably seen every episode at least six times, but I tell him it is like visiting with family. Sometimes you have the same conversations with relatives each time you see them or reminisce about things over and over, but you still enjoy the visit!
KAREN'S COMMENT: It does seem a strange comment to make, particularly when you think of how popular the show was in the early years with both the audiences and the critics, as well as how often it has been re-run.
Note to Valerie in California: Richard Thomas was just on that one episode of the Outer Limits. He played a scientist whose experiment went very wrong while he was testing it on another person.
KAREN'S COMMENT: Our RT has certainly played some evil characters as well as the very nice ones. It's probably one good thing about being an actor. I would love to be a real nasty!
I certainly appreciate all that you do to keep the Digest coming along. I am sure that it must be frustrating at times. Because of your dedication, I have "met" so many fine folks who share a deep and abiding affection for a family (the Waltons) we all claim as our own. Perhaps it is a longing for a time when right was right and wrong was wrong and love of family and country was the expected and not the exception. So many of today's programs glorify violence and negative thinking/action.; however, when a good moral program is produced, fans are many and devoted. Again, thank you so much and keep the Digest winging its way over cyberspace. Grandpa would have loved our new ways of communicating!
KAREN'S COMMENT: Thank you for your kind comments Debbie. Yes Grandpa would have thought it great, but it would have been Jim Bob who would be most fascinated, and good old Ben would have been looking into setting up ISP's for the people of Waltons Mountain...with Jim Bob doing all the work of course!
My all time favorite episodes are with Martha Corrine. I was wondering if anyone has any information on her, other acting the actress has done, her name, etc.
Thank you in advance!
:-) Lisa :-)
KAREN'S COMMENT: Wasn't she fantastic. There's some more about her at my site, under the Guest Stars part, but others might have more to add.
Hello Karen and the rest of you!
I'm happy to get my newsletter back! As I'm writing this I'm watching "The Revel". I've grown not to like Robert Wightham. It's just not the same. I just don't enjoy him as an actor. I don't really like the episodes that he is in. Anyway, after watching the Marathon I now know all my favorite episodes. They are: A Love Story, The Last Ten Days, The Move and The quilting.Well, that's that.
In my last letter this is what I said:
My aunt met Eric Scott on a cruise. He was in a band. She has pictures and everything. My mother says this took place in 1980 but I'm not so sure. Does anyone know of him being in a band in 1980? If so, tell me.
Here's a a little thing I saw. This past season Judy Norton played a vet on one episode on Higher Ground. Which is a series on Fox family channel. Oh yes. Now I remember what I was going to say. My sister said that on the new show "Ed" on nbc Judy Norton plays a judge. (She saw it on the commercial). I haven't seen the commercial so I don't know. I'll have to wait and see. On your newsletter it said that today<Thursday> The reunion was on at 1 pm but I'm sure it wasn't.It was the Portrait. Ok, I'm done now! Bye!
KAREN'S COMMENT: Hayley could you aunt or mum be confusing Eric with Jon Walmsley, who did play in a band? Interesting about the change of schedule...are you in a different time zone perhaps? I took this straight off the TNN site.
The "Life and Times of the Waltons" was a delightful surprise, filled with interesting anecdotes from some of the most significant people involved with the series.
How great to see Earl Hamner doing so well (he said he was either 74 or 76) and talking about a possible new Waltons movie on CBS. He had great words of praise for Ralph Waite, Will Geer, Ellen Corby and Richard Thomas. He even read one of his epilogues--the one that ran at the end of A Decade of the Waltons.
It was great to see Ralph Waite talking about becoming famous because of the series. I didn't know he had been a minister (still is I guess) early in his life. He spoke of his "wild days" drinking and getting into trouble and suggested that playing John Walton returned him to his family roots and made him a better person.
It was also the first time I think I've heard Richard Thomas talk about being on the show. He said he never dreamed it would go the length of his five year contract and that leaving after five years was what he wanted to do, but it was very tough emotionally. I think he has finally come to terms with the role and the good possibility that this is what he will be most remembered for.
Will Geer's daughter talked about her father living the country life after being blacklisted during the '50s and Earl Hamner offered that Geer wasn't doing a lot of acting--that he was very much like the character he played. Ralph Waite said the relationship between Ellen Corby and Geer was a lot like they played it on screen--that Ellen would be sharp with Geer just as her character was. And Hamner confirmed that Corby was the one who took Grandma's character in the direction it went--a sometimes ornery woman who often contrasted with the rest of the "sweet" Waltons. She told him that Grandma should be "tart" because the rest were just so sweet. It worked, didn't it? But I couldn't help think about her role as the sweet, frightened sister in the great "I Remember Mama" film. Talk about a contrast of roles! The emotion we saw on the screen and felt after Will Geer died was real, cast members said. They were shocked by the death during the summer and used the first show in the fall to say goodbye to the actor and the character at the same time. The actor who plays Ben called it a "surreal" moment.
Cast members obviously had a lot of respect and love for Ellen Corby. The kids said she really was like a grandmother to them on the set and off, and that her return to the series after her stroke was what the viewers wanted, incorporating her illness into the storyline. I've often wondered what went on behind the scenes at that time. What the conversations with Ellen and the producers must have been--whether they ever thought of replacing her, how Ellen made the decision to come back, etc.
Another series would have replaced Grandpa without so much as a blink. What a tribute to the producers to have handled the actor's and character's death with such respect. That's one of the big reasons I have such a warm place in my heart for the series. They could have replaced Michael Learned, but they decided not to and I think it was the correct decision. I never felt comfortable with Richard Thomas' replacement, but they were really in a corner on that one and I guess I probably would have done the same thing. How can you have a show told from the viewpoint of a person who is never seen?
Anyway, the TNN "biography" was great and I recommend it to all Walton fans. I feel sure TNN will make copies available. Joe Conley was in it along with John Ritter and the actress who played the lady Johnboy taught to read. The actors who played JimBob, Mary Ellen and Elizabeth weren't in the show as they are today, but the viewers were updated on their lives.
KAREN'S COMMENT: It sounds like a great show. Thanks for sharing it all with us. As Arthur in Great Britain once said, we who don't live in the USA certainly miss out on a lot of really good Waltons things.