WALTONS DIGEST January - 2010

Hi everyone,

First of all I hope you all had a lovely Christmas holiday season with your family and friends. We certainly did.

Rod and I travelled up to Sydney in the week before Christmas to spend a few days with Tim. He has recently moved into a new place so was eager to show it off to us. It’s in a lovely part of Sydney, close to the city centre, which he loves. It’s a real mix of old and new properties, and very trendy with many younger people living there. We travelled there on one of the Sydney ferries and he picked us up at the ferry stop. What a lovely way to travel, although Tim teased us for doing something very touristy. J We headed back to Melbourne and arrived home just a day before Christmas.

Christmas Day was spent with James and Rod’s family and we all had a wonderful time. It’s lovely to catch up with everyone. We all lead such hectic lives these days that it’s hard to find the time to get together. There’s always someone missing. I can really appreciate Olivia’s feelings in The Best Christmas, where she fears that this would be the last Christmas Day they would all spend together as a family. Mary Ellen had married Curt and felt they should spend a Christmas with his family, and the others would soon be moving on too. Especially in a family that size, it would have been very hard to get everyone together once they all had partners and needed to share their time. Most of our younger people weren’t able to be at the family celebrations this year because it was their year to be with in-laws. So it was all the “oldies” and just two of our younger ones, although the others rang in during the evening.

Once Christmas was over, we had a week at home which was taken up doing all of those jobs that had been put off, and getting ready to head away just after the New Year. And Happy New Year to everyone too. I hope the start of 2010 has been a very happy, healthy and productive one for you all.

Rod and I got away on our holiday a day later than planned. We headed out to the airport on the day we were due to fly out, and boarded our plane. Six hours later we were still sitting on the tarmac with the plane having fuel problems! You can read all about it here: http://www.perthnow.com.au/travel/news/passengers-stuck-for-four-hous-in-a380/story-fn30173u-1225816045086

We opted to stay near the airport overnight, which was paid for by Qantas. Fortunately we were able to re-book our flight from LA to New York for the next day and we finally got away on the Tuesday, although there were more delays that day too! We finally arrived in New York though and had a lovely visit there. Did lots of shopping and saw lots of theatre. Highlights were seeing Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in “A Little Night Music” (also met Catherine who was just lovely), seeing Scarlett Johanssen in “A View From the Bridge”, and of course seeing, and meeting, Richard Thomas who is currently starring in “Race”. I was absolutely thrilled to finally get to see Richard on Broadway, and in fact on stage. As you would know, I attend the theatre regularly here in Melbourne, and have long wanted to see Richard on stage. Each time we have visited the USA I seem to have just missed him. The first time we arrived in Washington, only to have found that his show had ended the day before. The second time we visited New York, his show had closed by the time I arrived, so to actually get to see him was wonderful.

I actually sat next to someone who had specifically wanted to see the play because of Richard Thomas too. He had also been a fan from way back so it was nice to compare notes and chat about that. I really enjoyed the play, and it raises a lot of issues to ponder on. It has a really strong cast and all did extremely well. I particularly like David Spader and David Alan Grier, but Kerry Washington, the lone woman in the play, is also very good. Richard does not have a lot of stage time. He is the accused of a crime, and it all brings to the surface the way we look at race and what is racist, both in our lives, and within this particular legal firm. I don’t want to say too much more than that because it will spoil it for anyone who is going to see it. There’s a very nice interview here: http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/theater/78231/race-and-richard-thomas

Anyway, after the show I went around to the stage door to wait with some other people and finally Richard came out. He was gracious enough to sign my Playbill and also have a photograph taken with me. There were several young British men standing with me who had a whole lot of Waltons photographs that they asked Richard to sign. They wanted him to write John Boy Walton on them too, which he did (J.B.W.) and joked that there should be a limit to the number of “these” he should sign! They really did have a lot of photos and I have no doubt that they will eventually end up being sold on Ebay. Richard really is a gentleman and has worked in show business for 50 years now and has amassed a wonderful body of work. I admire him greatly and felt so privileged to meet him and see him on stage.

You can see the picture I had taken with Richard on the Waltons Blog at http://thewaltons.wordpress.com/ .

What Richard Thomas movies, or TV spots, have you seen and enjoyed? Have a look at his work at the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001796/ and let me know what you like and why. He has made several Christmas themed movies such as The Christmas Box, Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus, and Timepiece. He has done lots of TV series, such as guests on Touched By and Angel, Law and Order and The Practice. His TV series where he is a major character include Just Cause and The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson. And of course he has appeared in both the Beyond the Prairie movies as Charles Ingalls. It’s an amazing array of work. Do have a look at the link because some of the shows have different titles in the USA than they do in other countries….Flight of the Reindeer for instance is known at The Christmas Secret in the USA.

The other very exciting January news of course, is that the 6 Waltons telemovies are about to be released – on January 26. Feel free to chat about those too.

And as if that’s not enough for one month, Joe Conley has released an autobiography. As you would know, Joe plays the much loved Ike Godsey on The Waltons. You can buy it from Amazon, and also from Barnes and Noble. I asked about it while I was in New York and they told me that it was only available online. I’m really looking forward to my copy arriving.

Until next month, goodnight everyone,


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For Lori:

This is not the time of the year to try to drive from Alberta to Virginia! However I do suggest that one scenic way is to go down to Glacier National Park, catch the train to Chicago, and then it is easy to get across to Virginia on AMTRAK. Wait until late spring or summer however!

I did find out that Steve Shaw who played the part of George Simmons, Elizabeth's boyfriend on The Revelation, was born in St Louis, Missouri, on my 21st birthday,

February 19,1965. He was killed in a car wreck in Los Angeles on December 5,1990.

I had been having trouble using the links to your new geocities page for the Walton Digests. Hopefully that has been fixed.


KAREN’S COMMENT: Spring, summer and fall are the perfect times to visit Schuyler I think. I believe there will be another reunion in fall so perhaps Lori might think about visiting Schuyler then.

My Geocities page has been transferred to http://the-waltons-home-page.com/ and is now hosted by Yahoo. There have been a few issues with links not working but I hope to find some time to check them all out now that I’m home. The archives seem to be mostly working and can be found at http://the-waltons-home-page.com/WaltonsDigest/waltonsdigest.htm . I haven’t added the 2009 ones yet, but will do so once I have everything checked. I will also send everyone an updated Welcome letter, which will include the new links. Please be patient as things get sorted out. It has been a huge job to move everything over. Sounded so simple originally, but not really ended up that way. I will be gradually updating it through the year too, as I check things out.

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Greetings from Fall River, MA USA.

Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this site.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



KAREN’S COMMENT: Thank you for the Christmas/New Year wishes Patty. I hope your new year is progressing nicely.

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Howdy, Waltons Fans! 

I saw Richard Thomas in a 1969 episode of Marcus Welby the other day.  It was quite interesting:  Richard was 18 years old in 1969, playing a very young married fellow whose wife was expecting a baby.  Two years later, he played a 15 year old in The Homecoming! 

But that wasn’t the half of it!  The strange thing was that …

   • Melanie Freeman (Lucilla Younger in The Substitute),
   • Shirley O’Hara (Mrs. Vandenberg in The Deed),
   • Nora Marlowe (Mrs. Brimmer) and
   • Peggy Rea (Cousin Rose)

… all played characters in the Welby episode!!   Additionally, in the script, someone mentioned a person named Miss Becker (remember John-Boy’s publisher, Belle Becker?) 

It was almost an unplanned Waltons prequel!  Crazy! 

Good Night and Happy New Year, Everyone!
  ~ ~ Ralph

KAREN’S COMMENT: Ralph thanks for the rundown on this episode. I knew that Richard had done a Marcus Welby episode, but I have never seen it. The show used to be on during the afternoon here long ago, but I only ever saw it if I was home from school sick. I’m thinking that I might try to find it. Fancy all those Waltons people being in the same episode! Well spotted Ralph.

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Happy Walton New Year!

This newsletter was super fun Karen. Thanks for sending it out to everyone complete with links to the reunion. The video and pics were wonderful...with extra big thanks to Bruno and Brenda for sharing them with all the Digest members.

I hope you have a wonderful time when you are in New York. I went to the link you shared about Richard Thomas' new play and it sounds very interesting. I'm sure it will be thought provoking and provocative but a good show nonetheless. The cast is stellar. Richard looks great in his photo too...it's hard to believe he is in his 50s!

Take good care and be safe. Can't wait to hear about your experience when you return.

Gina from CA

KAREN’S COMMENT: I agree with you Gina, thanks so much to Big Bruno and Brenda for sharing their photos and videos of the reunion with us all. It helps for those of us who can’t be there to feel a part of it all. Richard looks exceptionally well, and very young for his years.

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Hi Karen,

This week I had real life Walton's experience similar to the Separation, I had my electric shut off. I had misread the date when I paid it on line and had it set to go on the 14th, but it was due on the 4th. Now if the person who came to shut off the electric had come to the door to collect or shut it off as in the Waltons, there would not have been a problem.

Biggest problem was I don't just use electric for lighting, and while I live in Florida it was a very cold day. I called them up and paid it over the phone and some hours later they came back and turned it back on.

I have had several Walton sightings of late, including 3 on 1 Gunsmoke show. There was Ham (Warren Vanders), Dr Vance (Victor Izay )and Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford).  Ham played a wise cracking hired gun, Dr Vance was only on for a second and played a bartender. Sheriff Bridges played a farmer who had a problem with Ham's boss and near the end Ham shot Sheriff Bridges. Then there was Willie Aames the actor who played Danny (Jim Bob's friend). He played a misbehaving boy in an episode called "a Quiet Day in Dodge".

Tom in cold and rainy FL

KAREN’S COMMENT: Tom I feel for you having the electricity shut off during that cold snap. It was on the news every day while I was over there, with them saying that it was the coldest on record for that time of the year. And I can attest to the fact that it was indeed cold in New York too! You did have quite a lot of Waltons sightings too though when you finally had your electricity reconnected. I hope you’re nice and warm now.

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Hi Everyone, I don't know if many in the US have seen it, but there is a commercial running for Geico car insurance, that features the Walton Family saying there good nights.

I not sure if it is there actual voices, some do sound like it is, but some do not.

The commercial does show what looks like the Walton home, and I have seen it about a dozen times, in the last three weeks or so.

Tom in Fla

KAREN’S COMMENT: Tom, I’ve had a search and found the advert you mention. If you haven’t seen it yet you can view it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KajIm9lgImw&feature=player_embedded Sounds like their voices, but there is one in there that I wonder about. What do others think?

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Dear Karen,

I was reading Earl’s blog that you referred to in last month’s Digest and was excited to read Earl’s reference to the Steeple Players production of “The Homecoming” in Hendersonville, TN. I live in Hendersonville and went to one of the performances—it was wonderful! I had seen an article in our local community newspaper about the production and that the director, Kym Sims (whom I have known for many years) had spoken with Earl about it. How lucky for her! Before the play began, a couple of children who were extras (townspeople) came out and talked a bit about the play and had some trivia questions for the audience. One of the first questions was who can name all the Walton or Spencer children. I couldn’t believe no one raised their hand, so I answered the question by naming all the Walton children (I’m not familiar enough with the Spencer characters, Clay-Boy, Patti Cake, etc.) and I won a free box of popcorn at the concession stand! It’s a very small, intimate theatre, and everyone seemed to have a lovely time. There was a small group of carolers in the theatre lobby which helped get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Apparently the production was very popular, as they had to add 2 extra matinee performances to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend.

Last fall I had the opportunity to see Richard Thomas in “Twelve Angry Men” when it came to Nashville, TN. My husband and I were in the 4th row and I just kept staring at RT thinking, “That’s John-Boy up there!” The Henry Fonda movie of Twelve Angry Men is one of my all-time favorite films and it was exciting to see RT in it—he is such a talented actor! Of course, when the production was over & everyone had taken their bows, some smart-aleck in the back yelled out, “Good night, John-Boy!” A wonderful evening.

Well, the stockings are hung…have a wonderful holiday!


Hendersonville, TN

KAREN’S COMMENT: Carolyn thank you for letting us know about your very enjoyable night at the theatre. I would love to see the production. How could the audience members not be familiar with The Waltons? Very surprising indeed.

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