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They built their home on the timeless mountain that bears their name. They built their lives on even stronger stuff: the bedrock of family. This 5-disc set features all 24 Year-One episodes of the beloved series that ran 9 years and won 5 Emmy Awards its inaugural year, including Outstanding Drama Series. Richard Thomas plays the key role of John-Boy Walton, a youth on the verge of manhood during the Great Depression and a fledgling writer whose observations are filled with the growing-up lessons and love he receives from father John, mother Olivia, Grandma, Grandpa and all the rest of The Waltons.
The Waltons' nearly 10-year run on network television grew out of the popular, 1971 made-for-TV movie The Homecoming, which was derived from a Depression-era, rustic setting ("Walton's Mountain"), and characters based on Earl Hamner Jr.'s autobiographical novel Spencer's Mountain--itself the source for a very nice 1963 feature film starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara. That's a lot of entertainment sprouting from Hamner's prose. But something about his seminal story of family values, rugged independence, and big dreams amidst a hardscrabble existence captured the hearts of American audiences, many of whom personally recalled severe economic adversity in the 1930s.
The Waltons: The Complete First Season collects those initial episodes from the series building on the strengths of the Homecoming pilot, which introduced the extended Walton clan led by a strong-willed mill owner, John (Andrew Duggan), and his equally resolute wife, Olivia (Patricia Neal). The Waltons recast those key roles (as well as a few others) with Ralph Waite and Michael Learned (yup, a female), but Richard Thomas carried over as oldest child John-Boy Walton, an aspiring writer whose cusp-of-manhood view informs the series. Will Geer (Seconds) replaced Edgar Bergen as Grandpa Walton, Ellen Corby remained as Grandma, and John and Olivia's large brood (seven kids in all) were filled out by largely unknown, young actors. The episodes, still delightful and touching, strong on production values and unusually tight and polished for primetime drama, tended to focus on creator Hamner's pet themes of self-sacrifice and heroic effort when the going got tough.
Year 1 highlights include "The Carnival," in which the impoverished Waltons, who can't pay for tickets to see a circus performance, end up sheltering stranded carney folk. "The Typewriter" is a classic about John-Boy "borrowing" a museum's antique typewriter, only to have his sister Mary Ellen (Judy Norton) sell it as junk. "The Sinner" concerns the arrival of a fundamentalist minister on Walton's Mountain, finding comfort in the words of religious iconoclast John Walton after the clergyman makes a fool of himself with moonshine. That's Hamner himself providing touches of narration. During the long run of the multiple-award-winning The Waltons, there were many changes in casting and storylines. But this boxed set reveals a fine series in its pristine state. --Tom Keogh
A wonderful show, full of humour and intelligent writing. Can be enjoyed by all family members.Published 7 months ago by Michele Offer
Received as expected!
Lovable series from a few years ago is well worth re-watching! I bought it so that my grandchildren may see the lifestyle and the values treasured... Read more
CD's arrived quickly and in great shape. Well put together and we have enjoyed our trip down memory lane. Great keepsake.Published 19 months ago by Sera Bennett
i always like to
watch this tv program because it's all about what a family means and there is no violence. good t.v show that's entertaining to all.
I enjoyed watching the episodes. It brought back memories of watching it with my family when I was a child.Published 21 months ago by Fotolady23
Gift for bedridden friend. They love it and want more seasons. I find it too tame, but each to their own.Published on Oct. 28 2013 by Purpledixie
The Walton's are stories of people, places and values of days gone by that my Grandmother would share with us...Published on Jan. 8 2013 by LBMWS