The never changing penultimate signature scene gets me every time because I know another fantastic episode has come to an end and I will have to wait an entire week to get my fix: through the branches of the trees in rural Virginia, the two storey family home, complete with porch emerges, enveloped by the night sky. Voices can be heard coming from inside the house as the family muse over recent happenings. There is total darkness except for the lights in a couple of the bedrooms, which are all eventually turned off as the family bid each good night before the soft strains of the feel-good theme tune can be heard.
“Goodnight John Boy.”
“Goodnight Mary Ellen.”
That’s right; it could only be the formidable Walton family. If that glorious theme tune could be on the soundtrack to my childhood, then the show itself must be part of the footage. When I was a kid it was compelling Sunday afternoon viewing that my family and I used to watch after Sunday mass. Back then I didn’t know anyone who didn’t watch The Waltons. I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like The Waltons. Sadly, at the time, I was too young to appreciate what wholesome, fine quality viewing the show was and probably thought that television would always be that way. It was sensitively written; beautifully acted, and contained scenes of the breathtaking Virginian countryside. There was usually a moral in every episode, along with depictions of hard work; family values; helping the community and religion. However, I am old enough to realise that they don’t make them like that any more. The constant stream of mindless drivel on the television (Dear Lord, not another daft reality TV show) explains why I hardly ever watch television these days. I’m almost certain that the world would be a better place if we had more shows like this. Writers and producers, take note!
And of course, a TV series based on nostalgic reminiscings – from the narrations of a middle aged John-Boy Walton during the opening and closing scenes of every episode – can only be a good thing for a sentimental old fool like myself. Incidentally, John-Boy was a character I could identify with as, like me, he was the eldest; he took care of his younger siblings, and he had a deep desire to write. He ended up achieving his goal. Good for you John -Boy!
Clearly, I’m not the only one for whom the show brings back fond memories. The recent reunion of the cast of The Waltons brought hoardes of the shows fans to the streets of Los Angeles proving that Walton-mania is still very much alive and kicking thirty one years after the last episode was broadcast. The reunion was to celebrate the show’s fortieth anniversary – although many of the cast do not look old enough to be celebrating such a milestone! Unfortunately Richard Thomas (the well loved John Boy) and Michael Learned were notably absent due to prior commitments but the appearance of the rest of the cast undoubtedly almost made up for it.
Oh how I would love to return to Walton’s Mountain; a world where children looked and behaved like children; elders were respected and cared for; families looked out for each other; kindness was shown to strangers and religion was not a dirty word. And not a bare bum in sight! Who said you shouldn’t pay attention to everything you see on TV?