Eight members from the cast of CBS’ family drama “The Waltons,” which aired from 1972-1981, reunited on the “Today” show this morning and showed the world what an anti-Kardsahian family looks like.
In what was their first reunion in 30 years, the actors came together to mark the 40th Anniversary of ‘The Homecoming’, a TV movie which told the story of the family’s hope that their father would be able to return to them in time for Christmas and kicked off the popular series’ start.
At the show were: Kami Cotler (who played Elizabeth), Jon Walmsley (Jason), David Harper (Jim Bob), Eric Scott (Ben), Michael Learned (Olivia, aka “Ma”), Richard Thomas (John-Boy), Judy Norton (Mary Ellen) and Mary Elizabeth McDonough (Erin).
During the interview/reunion, the Walton crew sat down with host Matt Lauer and discussed their respect for each other and how no one from the show ever felt the need to flagrantly display their Hollywood lives.
“It was a very different time to be famous,” said Cotler. “On the whole, when Waltons fans meet you they feel like your family. So there isn’t that kind of ‘get you’ or ‘gotcha’ intrusive thing. People just want to give you a hug.”
Although The Waltons, a show centered around a family growing up in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II, ran for over 220 episodes and experienced high ratings, some of the show’s critics complained that the show cast an unrealistic light of family going through obvious hardships.
“That annoys me,” said Learned, when Lauer brought up the show’s criticisms. “In the beginning it was not [too sugary]. Toward the end it got a little…fell in love with itself. But toward the beginning we were dealing with book burning in Germany, we were dealing with the Dust Bowl cousins, …segregation, ….some real issues, as well as the warmth of the family.”
Despite the claims of being too sweet (if there could be such a thing in an industry that continues to grow more wicked by the day), the Walton cast members said their on-screen relationships mirrored their off-screen ones – they loved working together and there was no competition of one outshining another – something that definitely attributed to the show’s success.
“Family. Family is family. And because we really did all have a very strong bond, all of us together. And I think that came across on camera. People could relate. And it was just family stories, and family stuff,” said Thomas.
Check out The Walton’s 40th anniversary interview with Today Show Matt Lauer below: