Pre-Series MoviesSeason 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8Season 9“Season 10”Nineties Reunion MoviesResourcesEmail / Search site

The Nineties Reunion Movies

These three reunion telemovies – produced by CBS in 1993, 1995 and 1997 – are the television equivalent of looking at an old photograph album of an family relative – it's only really interesting if You Were There at the time. If you haven't seen any of the original series, you aren't likely to find much to interest you here. They are simply wallows in nostalgia – nothing much more than an attempt at extending the continuity for fans using assorted excuses for characters from the original program (the reappearances of some of which amount to no more than cameos) to come together again. There are little bits and pieces of plots, all sewn together, but nothing very overarching, and the movies really have no pretence of being worthy stand-alone items.

However, if you're going to resurrect a movie or TV show (of whatever genre) that has a fan following, you upset the established continuity at your peril. Remember, these days it's not as if the audience would necessarily have last seen the episodes years ago on the original showings – with reruns and videos, they may have been watching them just the day before! One of the main sources of criticism aimed at these reunions from the hardcore fans is that the dates "don't work". Very true. To give just one of many examples, in the first of these movies (set in 1963), John soliloquizes that he's been 15 years without Grandpa. That means Grandpa died in 1948(ish), but in fact, if you look back at the original series, he died in 1941. Having said that, I think it's a bit unfair to tear the movies apart based on that sort of technicality alone given that the original series itself played fast and loose with dating. On the other hand, for the reunions to override the chronology of the original series purely for the sake of a couple of gee-whiz throwaway scenes (e.g. John-Boy as a newsreader reporting on the JFK assassination and the first moon landing) is just asking for criticism.

The temporal anomalies also extend to the apparent ages of the characters, and that's where the more casual viewers (aside from the fans) end up shouting at their TV screens too. To the average viewer, John looked about 45, say, at the start of the original series (1933). That means in the third movie (1969) he should be well over 80! As for Grandma and the Baldwin ladies...

Also that old chestnut of a problem from the later days of the original series, missing characters, is alive and kicking, with the explanations for absences usually seeming rather artificial (that is if the writers have even bothered to attempt an explanation). For example, in the original series, Cindy and Ben had two children, Virginia (Ginny) and Charlie. In the first movie, we are told that Ginny died two years previously and the couple are now childless. So, where is Charlie? And Cindy herself vanishes totally without explanation for the second and third movies.

Likewise, Mary Ellen's child with Curt, John Curtis, is nowhere to be found (but he would be a young man now, so maybe has gone away?) But she does now have two young children with Jonesy: Clay (presumably named in homage to Spencer's Mountain) and Katie. Jonesy himself is not present on Walton's Mountain in 1963; he is apparently in Vietnam teaching the locals about animal welfare! And he still doesn't seem to have returned by 1969, the date of the last film. Mary Ellen herself is now a successful doctor.

Erin is now divorced from Paul Northridge (Ben replaces him in running the lumber business with John), and looks after the three young children they had together. She works as some sort of fill-in teacher and, by the time of the final movie, has graduated to principal of the (now lavish) Walton Mountain Elementary School. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, is not settled and uses her time (post obtaining her master's degree in botany) traveling abroad.

John-Boy (we're back to John-Boy The Original Model, Richard Thomas) works in the media in both Washington and New York and has a new girlfriend, a well-off magazine editor named Janet Gilchrist. Meanwhile, Jason seems to have eventually decided to marry Toni (see Season 9) and they now have three boys. For work, Jason picks up musical jobs when and where he can – this involves him often being away from home. Finally, Jim-Bob runs a small light-aircraft business, employing Yancy Tucker as help.

In common with later episodes of the original series, these movies try to juggle too many plots at once. The result is that many, if not most, seem to end inconsequentially. Olivia goes back to school to learn about American history and... Well, that's it, really. Grandma is angry that the secret is out that her father fought on the Union side in the Civil War, so... Well, again, that's it. And the Baldwin ladies, feeling they are getting old (!), decide to "bequeath" The Recipe to John. And that's the end of that, too.

Grumbles aside, if nothing else, these telemovies are welcome chances to see the old characters again (including some we probably didn't expect to see again, like Rose, Aimee and Verdi – all played by the original actors) although inevitably the appearance of some of the older cast members (especially Ellen Corby and Helen Jackson) is now rather frail and sad. And when all is said and done, the finale of the last movie, with the birth of the twins, does rather nicely bring the whole John-Boy saga to a neat conclusion. After all, John-Boy is where it all began...

After the final movie had aired in 1997, there were no more instalments of The Waltons. However, there have been a good few on- and off-screen reunions of assorted cast members, and even four stand-alone documentaries, made in the intervening years. And since practically every successful old TV show has been resurrected in some form or other in the wave of nostalgia (some might call it lack of new ideas) saturating television (and cinema) in the last few years, my guess is that it will be only a matter of time before a revamped The Waltons hits the airwaves.

A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion

Episode # 215 – double length  {D2,sA}
Written by Claire Whitaker and Rod Peterson
Directed by Harry Harris
Music by Alexander Courage
Broadcast November 21, 1993 (CBS)

Starring: Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite and Michael Learned. Special Appearance by Ellen Corby as Grandma Walton. Also Starring: Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton, Mary McDonough, Eric Scott, David Harper, Kami Cotler. Also Starring: Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards. Director of Photography: Chuck Arnold. Art Director: Ray Markham. Edited by Bob Bring A.C.E.. Produced by Sam Manners. Based Upon Characters Created by Earl Hamner.

Earl Hamner (Executive Producer), Lee Rich (Executive Producer), Bruce Sallan (Executive Producer), Max Stein (Unit Production Manager), Edward Vaughan (First Assistant Director), Jim Fitzpatrick (Second Assistant Director), Barbara Miller C.S.A. (Executive In Charge of Casting), Theodore S. Hann C.S.A. (Casting), Tom Pedigo (Set Decorator), Art Lipschultz (Property Master), John Inzerella (Make-Up Artist), Linda Leiter Sharp (Hair Stylist), Doris Alaimo (Women's Costumer), Patrick Norris (Men's Costumer), Jules Mann Stewart (Script Supervisor), Mitch Binder (Production Consultant), Mark Ulano (Sound Mixer), Diane Griffen (Music Editor), Gregory Sill (Music Supervisor), Jeremy Hoenack C.A.S. M.P.S.E. (Supervising Sound Editor), Camera and Lenses by Panavision®, CFI (Laboratory and Opticals), Sound Trax (Sound Editing and Recording), Anderson Video (Post Production Facility), The Lee Rich Company, Amanda Productions in association with, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Pictures.

© 1993 Warner Bros. Television.

Special Guest Stars: Tony Becker (Drew), Steven Culp (Jeff Dulaney), Lisa Harrison (Toni Walton), Kate McNeil (Janet Gilchrist)1, Peggy Rea (Rose), Leslie Winston (Cindy)2 and Mary Jackson (Miss Emily Baldwin), Helen Kleeb (Miss Mamie Baldwin). Guest Starring: James Karen (Assistant D.A. Al Sampson), Stanley Grover (Sheriff Gilmore), Christian Cousins (Clay). Co-Starring: Lynn Hamilton (Verdie Grant), Emily Ann Lloyd (Katie), Robert Donner (Yancy Tucker)3. Co-Starring: Peter Fox4 (Reverend Moseley), Rachel Longaker (Aimee Godsey)5, Joseph Chapman (Newsman).

1 As the love interest for John-Boy, Janet Gilchrist/Walton appears here for the first time and would play a major part in this trio of movies.
2 Cindy appears here for the last time.
3 Yancy Tucker appears here for the last time.
4 Peter Fox had previously played Reverend Hank Buchanan in the original series' Seasons 6 and 7. He now plays Reverend Moseley/Mosely.
5 Aimee Godsey is back to being portrayed by the original actress, Rachel Longaker, for this, her final appearance in The Waltons.

John-Boy – working as a TV newsreader – brings a new girlfriend back to Walton's Mountain for Thanksgiving 1963. But he is recalled to work when some news from Dallas shocks the whole country. In the mill, Ben and John are at loggerheads regarding modernization when they receive a call for help from the frail Baldwin sisters who are in jail following a clampdown on bootlegging.

Ben and Cindy Walton
Cousin Rose
Jason and Toni Walton
Aimee Godsey

A Walton Wedding

Episode 216 – double length  {D3,sA}
Written by Claire Whitaker and Rod Peterson
Directed by Robert Ellis Miller
Music by John Rubinstein
Broadcast February 12, 1995 (CBS)

Starring: Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite and Michael Learned. Also Starring: Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton, Mary McDonough, Eric Scott, David Harper, Kami Cotler, Kate McNeil, Joe Conley1 and Ronnie Claire Edwards1. Special Appearance by Holland Taylor as Aunt Flo. Special Appearance by Ellen Corby as Grandma Walton. Director of Photography: Bill Butler A.S.C. Production Designer: Robert J. Bacon. Edited by Mark Melnick A.C.E. Produced by Sam Manners. Based Upon Characters Created by Earl Hamner.

Earl Hamner (Executive Producer), Lee Rich (Executive Producer), Rich Heller (Executive Producer), Max Stein (Unit Production Manager), Tom Seidman (First Assistant Director), Kelly Manners (Second Assistant Director), Barbara Miller C.S.A. (Executive In Charge of Casting), Theodore S. Hann C.S.A. (Casting), Warren Welch (Set Decorator), Dominic Belmonte (Property Master), Perri Sorel (Key Make-Up Artist), Linda Arnold (Key Hair Stylist), Mina Mittleman (Key Costumer), Patricia Zinn-Etheridge (Key Costumer), Frank Tudisco (Script Supervisor), Mitchell Binder (Production Consultant), Mark Ulano (Sound Mixer), Gregory Sill (Music Supervisor), James Burt (Music Editor), Paul Tade (Supervising Sound Editor), The Lee Rich Company, Amanda Productions in association with, Warner Bros. Television.

© 1994 Warner Bros. Television.

Special Guest Stars: Diane Baker (Charlotte Gilchrist), Tony Becker (Drew), Roy Brocksmith (Professor Trumbell), Lisa Harrison (Toni Walton), Nicholas Pryor (Ralph Gilchrist) and Mary Jackson (Miss Emily Baldwin), Helen Kleeb (Miss Mamie Baldwin). Guest Starring: Marshall Borden (David Drucker), Deborah May (Sybil Carruthers), James Lashly (Deputy Sheriff Neely). Co-Starring: Peter Fox (Reverend Mosely), Milt Tarver (Chairman), Rachel True (Girl Student).

1 This is the last appearance of Ike and Corabeth as they do not appear in the final 1990's movie.

John-Boy and Janet are to be married, but plans threaten to get out of control when Janet's Aunt Flo puts herself in charge of the arrangements. Back on the mountain, John's entry into local politics creates a charge of "conflict of interests", and Olivia is nervous when she signs on for a course in American Studies at Boatwright. Grandma is furious when a dark secret about her father is exposed.

Soon to be married: John-Boy and Janet
Miss Emily and Miss Mamie Baldwin
Grandma Walton
Olivia Walton

A Walton Easter

Episode # 217 – double length  {D3,sA}
Written by Julie Sayres
Directed by Bill Corcoran
Music by Patrick Williams
Broadcast March 30, 1997 (CBS)

Starring: Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite and Michael Learned. Also Starring: Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton, Mary McDonough, Eric Scott, David Harper, Kami Cotler, Sydney Walsh1 and Kate McNeil as Janet Walton. Special Appearance by Ellen Corby as Grandma Walton. Edited by David Campling A.C.E. Production Designer: Jim Hulsey. Director of Photography: Bert Dunk A.S.C. Produced by Sam Manners. Based Upon Characters Created by Earl Hamner.

Lee Rich (Executive Producer), Earl Hamner (Executive Producer), Rich Heller (Executive Producer), Max Stein (Unit Production Manager), Jerry Grandey (First Assistant Director), David Larson (Second Assistant Director), Barbara Miller C.S.A. (Executive In Charge Of Casting), Theodore S. Hann C.S.A. (Casting), Warren Welch (Set Decorator), Mike Schenke (Property Master), John Inzerella (Key Make-Up Artist), Diane Roberson (Key Hair Stylist), Mina Mittleman (Key Costumer), Melisa Sanchez (Script Supervisor), Mark Ulano (Sound Mixer), Lori Slomka (Music Editor), Stephen Grubbs (Supervising Sound Editor), John F. Reiner C.A.S. (Re-Recording Mixer), David M. Weishaar C.A.S. (Re-Recording Mixer), Andre Caporaso C.A.S. (Re-Recording Mixer), Eagle Point Productions, Amanda Productions in association with, Warner Bros. Television.

© 1996 Warner Bros. Television.

Special Guest Stars: Tony Becker (Drew), Peter Crombie (Calvin Weeks), Zachary Eginton (Jimmy Weeks), Lynn Hamilton (Verdi Grant), Lisa Harrison (Toni Walton), Jennifer Parsons (Rebecca Weeks) and Mary Jackson (Miss Emily Baldwin), Helen Kleeb (Miss Mamie Baldwin). Co-Starring: Nicholas Hormann (Lincoln Terry), Brittany Levenbrown (Susan). Featuring: Sage Allen2, Julie Benz3, Mika Boorem4, Orlando Brown, Brooke Garrett, Kyla Pratt, Patrick Tyler, Charles Walker, Joe Whipp, Carmen Twillie.

1 Aurora Jameson.
2 Judy.
3 Jeannie.
4 Carla.

John-Boy's and his expectant wife, Janet, come to the mountain for a visit, and increasingly Janet begins to realize that John-Boy doesn't want to return to city life. Teaching at school, Olivia is worried about one of her pupils whose father is deliberately discouraging his son's studies. On her return home from abroad, Drew announces to Elizabeth that he has found love elsewhere.

John Walton
Verdi Grant
Sisters Erin and Elizabeth
Breathe deeply please: Mary Ellen
Open floating menu
Tip: click on any image to enlarge it
Enlarged image
Close menu

04 A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (TV movie)

05 A Walton Wedding (TV movie)

06 A Walton Easter (TV movie)