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Resources

NB: All links here are provided for convenience only.

The DVDs

There are three sets of The Waltons available on DVD – the US releases (the only complete release of the show worldwide, and detailed below); the UK releases, which stalled after Season 6; and the German releases, which stalled after Season 9 (i.e. they didn't get The Movie Collection). In themselves, the US releases (up to Season 7) were later repackaged to use only single-sided DVDs (rather than the double-sided "flipper" DVDs of the initial releases); these are marked as the "new" versions in the details below.

As I understand it, there are no marked pictures differences between any of the DVD releases. It should be noted that the German releases feature both German and English soundtracks.

The show has not been released on Blu-ray. However, HD downloads are available online. HD versions of the episodes have also been run on the Hallmark channel. Sadly, these have been cropped to 16:9 (i.e. artificially made widescreen by chopping off the top and bottom of the picture).

Spencer's Mountain DVD

Spencer's Mountain

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2003.
Disks: 1 (1xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 16:9 anamorphic (the actual movie is wider than 16:9 and is additionally letterboxed).
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish (Castellano) (all player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: Documentary about movie premiere in Jackson (b/w, 7'26), Henry Fonda/James MacArthur interviews (b/w, 9'44), theatrical trailer (color, 3'30, contains unique footage), brief essay on Spencer's Mountain and The Waltons, cast and crew list.

Link to Amazon.com.

The Homecoming DVD

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story

Edition: CBS DVD/Paramount Collection, 2003.
Disks: 1 (1xSS).
Region/s: 1 only.
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (CC only).
Extra/s: The original pre-titles introduction is intact.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 1 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete First Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2004 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (4xDS,1xSS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: French (player-generated, removable), English (CC only).
Extra/s: None.
Note: An Easter Story is presented in its original movie-length form.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 2 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Second Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2005 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (4xDS,1xSS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: French (player-generated, removable), English (CC only).
Extra/s: None.
Note: The Thanksgiving Story is presented in its original movie-length form.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 3 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Third Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2006 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (4xDS,1xSS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: French (player-generated, removable), English (CC only).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: The Conflict is presented in its original movie-length form. The picture quality of The Woman drops markedly for a circa four-minute period starting at 41'02.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 4 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Fourth Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2007 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (4xDS,1xSS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (CC only).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: No French subtitles from here on. The Burn Out is presented in its two-part rerun/syndicated/export version (not movie-length, as per the original broadcast), but the two parts are edited together with intermediate titles, credits etc. removed. The Fighter and The Prophecy both use prints with The Best of the Waltons as the series title. It has been noted that the scene in The Burn Out where Olivia and John are talking in bed (at 47') runs much longer when reshown in  the A Decade of The Waltons special in Season 8, so it seems The Burn Out may be cut on this DVD.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 5 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Fifth Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2007 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (4xDS,1xSS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps/30fps*, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (CC only).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: *Some episodes on this set seem to have the 3:2 pull-down hard-encoded on the disk. The Wedding is presented in its original movie-length form.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 6 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Sixth Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2008 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 5 (5xDS), new: 6 (6xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: English DVD-style subtitles from here on. The Grandchild, The Children's Carol, The Ordeal and The Return are all presented in their original movie-length forms. A fan has identified at least one cut (at 59'22) in the print used for The Return. In terms of broadcast order, The Milestone and The Children's Carol are the wrong way round.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 7 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Seventh Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2008 (old) & 2012 (new).
Disks: old: 3 (3xDS), new: 5 (5xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: The Empty Nest is presented in its original movie-length form.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 8 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2009.
Disks: 3 (3xDS).
Region/s: 1 only.
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: 10-year/200th-episode special: A Decade of The Waltons.
Notes: This set is Region 1 only – overseas buyers beware! The Home Front is presented in a two-part version (not movie-length, as per the original broadcast). A Decade of The Waltons is presented in its original movie-length form – the print used for this is rather faded. It does, however, include the original Lorimar logo at the end.

Link to Amazon.com.

Season 9 DVD set

The Waltons: The Complete Ninth Season: The Final Season

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2009.
Disks: 3 (3xDS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono.
Subtitles: English (player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: None.
Note: Back to Region 1+2+3+4.

Link to Amazon.com.

Movie Collection DVD set

The Waltons Movie Collection

Edition: Warner Home Video, 2010.
Disks: 3 (3xSS).
Region/s: 1,2,3,4 (packaging says 1 only).
Standard: NTSC, 24fps/30fps*, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English, mono/stereo*.
Subtitles: English, French (both player-generated, removable).
Extra/s: None.
Notes: French subtitles reappear. *The 1982 movies are at 24fps. Being post-produced on video, A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion and A Walton Wedding are both at 30fps. A Walton Easter is mostly at 24fps but is at 30fps for the sections with titles at the beginning and end. The 1982 movies are mono; the nineties' ones, stereo. Mother's Day on Waltons Mountain carries the original Lorimar logo at the end.

Link to Amazon.com.

The Walton Legacy DVD

The Walton Legacy

Edition: WVPT DVD Library, 1997 (old) & Topics Entertainment, 2012 (new).
Disks: 1.
Region/s: All.
Standard: NTSC, 30fps, 4:3.
Audio language/s: English.
Subtitles: None.
Extra/s: 21 minutes of additional footage.
Notes: 1997 documentary from Virginia PBS. Historical documentary about Schuyler, Virginia; the Hamner family; and the birth of The Waltons TV show. Features: Earl Hamner, Judy Norton, assorted Hamner siblings, Jon Walmsley, Mary McDonough, Kami Cotler, Michael Learned and Joe Conley. The main documentary is 56 minutes with 21 minutes of extra interview material. Includes footage from assorted conventions.

Link to Amazon.com.

The Books

Spencer's Mountain book

Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner Jr.

Hamner's first novel about the Spencer family. First published in 1961 by Dial Press. The current version is a hardback edition (sans dust jacket) by Buccaneer Books, ISBN 1-56849-022-4.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

The Homecoming book

The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner Jr.

Hamner's second novel about the Spencer family (actually more of a novelette). First published in 1970 by Random House. The current version is a hardback edition (sans dust jacket) by Buccaneer Books, ISBN 0-89966-945X.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

Goodnight John-Boy book

Goodnight John-Boy: A Celebration of an American Family and the Values That Have Sustained Us Through Good Times and Bad by Earl Hamner and Ralph Giffin

This is the only "guide book" to the show ever published. It starts out fine, with detailed chapters about Hamner's upbringing, and the making of the Spencer's Mountain and The Homecoming movies. Sadly, it then runs out of steam and dumps us into nothing more than an extended run of short synopses of the main The Waltons episodes with no behind-the-scenes information at all save for a few "this is my favorite episode" type of comments from assorted actors and production staff.

There are a few mistakes dotted around, and the oft-repeated errors in broadcast dates around the time of The Children's Carol seem to have started here. The book is also printed on rather poor-quality newsprint paper. However, in lieu of anything else, all The Waltons fans will certainly want to own a copy...

The book was publish in softback by Cumberland House in 2002, ISBN 1-58182-298-7.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

Earl Hamner: From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow book

Earl Hamner: From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow: A Biography by James E. Pearson Jr.

The official biography of The Waltons creator, so this book covers The Twilight Zone and Falcon Crest as well as The Waltons and the Spencer's Mountain and The Homecoming books and movies. Includes written tributes from most of The Waltons actors.

The book was published in hardback by Cumberland House in 2005, ISBN 1-581812-455-6.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton book

Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton by Mary McDonough and Beverly Naut

A good 80% of this autobiographical book is about The Waltons, with behind-the-scenes anecdotes. A good read for fans, though it should be borne in mind that this is one person's perspective on the show and not a general "making of" guide; many of the other members of the cast are hardly mentioned.

The book was published in hardback by Kensington in 2011, ISBN 0-7582-6366-X.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

Ike Godsey of Walton's Mountain book

Ike Godsey of Walton's Mountain by Joe Conley

Joe's autobiography covers the whole of his career. Obviously, The Waltons is covered too but not, perhaps, in quite the detail most fans would like to see. He does set out the basic facts of his time on the show, though, and his friendship with Eric Scott (Ben) is described.

The book was published in softback by BearManor Media in 2009, ISBN 1-59393-508-0.

Link to the book on Amazon.com.

Mr. Godsey asked me to marry him and I said: yes! book

Mr. Godsey asked me to marry him and I said: "yes!": (exit sobbing) by Ronnie Claire Edwards

The Waltons Forum reader Ryan James says of the 119-page, softback book: "I enjoyed it very much and laughed out loud a few times! I wouldn't really call it a 'tell-all' book, but she does expand on a few of the Walton cast in a way that would probably surprise others. In addition to her talking about The Waltons, she does talk about some of her other adventures and bizzare situations she's been in." Travis adds: "If ... you buy to get insight on the show, be prepared for a letdown, unless you just want her brief, yet upfront, commentary. Perhaps 20 percent at most is about the show."

As far as I can tell, there seems to be no way of obtaining the book other than by sending a money order to a somewhat anonymous PO Box! I'm therefore not going to repeat the details here – you can find them on The Waltons Forum (see below) under the topic "Cora Beth's (Ronnie Claire Edwards) Book".

A Walton Christmas CD

A Walton Christmas (aka A Walton's Christmas): Together Again by various

Jon Walmsley and Mary McDonough masterminded this seasonal bluegrass-flavored audio get-together of all the surviving cast members in 1999. It could have been the ultimate cheese-fest but in fact the finished product manages to come over as surprisingly adept, with the Lisa Harrison-led That's What Christmas Means To Me working especially well (even if it is a bit of a knock-off of Loretta Lynn's Country Christmas). There is also a very nice fiddle "reimagining" of the theme tune.

It can be hard to work out who is who on the various solo parts, though, which is frustrating. Those who, apparently, can't sing (hello Ralph Waite) simply provide "vocal interjections" over music, speak the links between the songs, or recite poems. These are the weakest parts of the album.

Physically, the album was available on CD and cassette, and was re-released in 2003 and 2007. It is currently widely available as a download.

Selected Websites

Optimised for smartphone = Smartphone-friendly.
Not optimised for smartphone = Not smartphone-friendly.

Grab of website

The Waltons: Unofficial Home Page

General site about the series. Genesis, characters, memorabilia. The episode guide has medium-length synopses and cast lists.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

The Waltons Forum

The primary Internet discussion board for the show. A very friendly place. If you need a dim memory of an old episode identifying, the posters here are sure to know the answer.
Optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Flying Dreams: Linda's Waltons' Page

General site – a good starting place for new fans. Genesis, memorabilia, memorable moments. Episode guide with fairly detailed synopses and cast lists.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

The Internet Movie Database

Episode-by-episode cast details but beware some mistakes when using this as an authoritative source (e.g. some episodes credit people who didn't appear and so forth). Also has small discussion board.
Optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

The Walton's Mountain Community Center

Very nice attempt to collect together all the characters, locations and dates given in the show into a continuity (not easy, as the details in the series were all over the place). The episode guide has the most detailed synopses available anywhere, together with Hamner's narrations, the "goodnights" and notes. Also pictures of the real-life counterpart to Walton's Mountain: Schuyler, in Virginia.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Waltons Bloopers

Part of a broken and mothballed site, but there is a nice list of bloopers still intact here.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Del's Home Page on "The Waltons"

General intro site, but includes some pictures of a trip to Schuyler.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

www.tv.com

The same sort of thing as IMDb (above) but for TV shows only. The entries for The Waltons include brief synopses, cast/crew and Hamner's narrations.
Optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Mary McDonough Fan Club

Stefan's bilingual site (English and German) has everything you always wanted to know about the actress who played Erin. Biography, pictures, interviews, and the latest news.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Die Waltons.de: Die deutsche Seite

Peter's very extensive German-language site runs to over 400 pages! It features the latest news on the Walton actors, DVD information, detailed episode guide, merchandise, press coverage, and a forum (amongst much more).
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Rockfish-river.com

Dagmar and Manfred run a bilingual (German and English) site. Their pages contain much information about The Waltons, including travel reports to Walton's Mountain (i.e. Schuyler), with many photos and reports about the annual reunions in Virginia and Los Angeles, videos and much more.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

Official Website of Walton's Mountain Museum

A small museum dedicated to the show is to be found in Schuyler, Virginia.
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

Grab of website

All About The Waltons

All-encompassing site by David Delouchery; though a lot of "coming soons" at the time of writing!
Not optimised for smartphone

Link.

The Documentaries

Mary McDonough from The Walton Legacy documentary

The Walton Legacy

1997 program from Virginia PBS. Historical documentary about Schuyler, Virginia; the Hamner family; and the birth of The Waltons TV show. Includes footage from assorted conventions. Features interviews with a selection of the Walton clan: Judy Norton, Jon Walmsley, Mary McDonough, Kami Cotler, Michael Learned and (briefly) Joe Conley. This is available on DVD (see DVD section, above).

Written, Produced and Directed by Tracey Jewell.

Eric Scott being interviewed from The Life & Times of documentary

The Life & Times of: The Waltons

Little-known 2000 documentary from The Nashville Network (Greystone/country.com/Network Enterprises for TNN). Straight retelling of the history of the show, with contributions from: Jon Walmsley, Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Eric Scott, Ralph Waite, Earl Hamner, Joe Conley, Mary McDonough, Ellen Geer and Lynn Hamilton. However, the show almost completely ignores the Walton kids not interviewed (Kami Cotler, Judy Norton and David Harper). Interestingly, Earl Hamner confirms he has written a script for another reunion movie (after the three 1990's ones).

Produced and Directed by Richard Jones.

Group shot of the kids from the After They Were Famous documentary

After They Were Famous: The Waltons

British TV documentary (made by Yorkshire/Tyne Tees for ITV1) first shown in July 2002 and reshown in an updated version in January 2005. The show covers all the territory you'd expect and functions as probably the best retrospective made to date. All the kids are reunited and talk about the series and their lives and families afterwards, with ensemble visits to the Walton house (the second one, though they pretend it isn't), a couple of random filming locations (The Calf and The Empty Nest), and Schuyler. Neither Ralph Waite nor Michael Learned feature and, at a guess, there might well have been problems getting them to contribute, so the show is more about what the Walton kids did "after they were famous" rather than the whole clan.

Written by Stuart Maconie.
Produced and Directed by Mark Murray.

Group shot from the Waltons Family Reunion documentary

A Waltons Family Reunion

All the surviving cast (and Earl Hamner) assemble to talk about their experiences on the show, though sadly Richard Thomas isn't present in person and only appears on a video link. The majority of the program has the cast (assembled around the "kitchen table") sharing their reminiscences about clips from the original show. Hosted by Mary McDonough and made by the INSP Network to preface a rerun of the original series. First broadcast in October 2010 and reshown a number of times.

Listening to the radio

Goodnight John Boy

British radio documentary, broadcast in December, 2011 on BBC Radio 4. Presenter Frank Cottrell Boyce reflects on the show on its 40th anniversary. Includes contributions from Earl Hamner, Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, David Harper, Kami Cotler and, briefly, Jon Walmsley. The fact that the budget apparently didn't stretch to using actual clips from the original show is rather too obvious, though!

Produced by Geoff Bird.

Though the above are all the self-contained documentary/reunion programs about The Waltons, other features and reunions have also taken place. The most recent of these, for example, was on NBC's The Today Show in December, 2011 where all the surviving family (except for Ralph Waite) met up and spoke about the show.

The House / Filming

Traveling to Virginia from California on a two-weekly basis would have been prohibitively expensive for a show like The Waltons, so all external shots of the family home were actually filmed on Warner Brothers' backlot in Burbank (on the north side of the "jungle" section, also the area used for Ike's store and Drucilla's pond) using a shell of a house constructed specifically for the purpose. Inside, the "house" was only sparsely furnished and unfinished – all inside shots were actually filmed separately on a sound stage.

Because of potential use in later films/TV, the house was left standing long after the series finished in 1982. Though probably because of its close identification with The Waltons, it saw little screen use – a case of a building, rather than an actor, becoming typecast! However, there's at least one appearance of what seems to be the house in The Dukes of Hazzard (a 1985 episode called The Haunting of J. D. Hogg but, possibly, other episodes too). The bottom floor of the building is basically the same as during The Waltons, and also shown is the barn and the side entrance to the house (which led into the kitchen on The Waltons). However, the upper storey of the house now has four bedrooms (instead of the three on The Waltons) and now extends over Grandpa/Grandma's downstairs bedroom, and has just one central dormer, rather than one for each room. One can only hazard a guess (no pun intended) that Warner Brothers (The Dukes of Hazzard was a Warner production and frequently used the backlot) redeveloped the upper storey of the structure for reasons unknown (but unlikely to have been specifically for The Dukes of Hazzard) some time after The Waltons was known to have definitely finished its run on TV some three years earlier.

The original house as it appears in The Dukes of Hazzard in 1985

The original house as it appears in The Dukes of Hazzard in 1985. Note the changed upper level.

Probably the last screen appearance of the original house was in the Stephen King movie Sleepwalkers, filmed in the summer of 1991. Production notes for the film tell us: "In contrast to the pristine town square and street where Tanya lives, the production chose the studio's Walton house, used in the popular television series, as the site for the foreboding Brady house. The rustic, unkempt look of the house in a town of unequaled beauty was symbolic of the Sleepwalkers themselves, outsiders who live on the fringes of society to survive." By this time the house was different yet again. The upstairs and roof seem to have been remodeled once more, and a two-storey extension has been added to the right-hand side of the house. The front door has been moved to the right and the porch and windows have all been changed. The whole house is now painted a dull blue. At this point there must have been little of the original surviving and, to be honest, there's almost no evidence visually that the structure is the same one we saw on screen in the seventies!

Only a superficial resemblance left now: the house in Sleepwalkers

Only a superficial resemblance left now: the house in Sleepwalkers.

In November 1991, a fire started by serial arsonist John Orr badly damaged the house. Warners had already earmarked the site for a new parking lot, but with the forthcoming reunion movie, A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion, already on the horizon, a new site was chosen for the rebuilding of the house. The charred original was eventually dismantled for good in 1995.

Newspaper article: Studio blaze destroys facade of Walton house

The Waltons home was rebuilt to the original blueprints (with the three bedrooms at the front, as originally) at the north end of Warner's "Ranch". The Ranch was the old Columbia backlot, inherited by Warners after their merger with Columbia in 1971, and about a mile to the north of the original location; and was, incidentally, already the location of the Baldwin house. The new Walton house was used for all three of the nineties reunion movies.

Aside from the reunion movies, Walton House Mk II stood almost completely untouched and seldom used until The Gilmore Girls came along in 2001, when the exterior of the house was (superficially) distressed to feature as the dilapidated Dragonfly Inn that Lorelai and Sookie decide to purchase for renovation.

The Mk II house as it first appears in 2001 on The Gilmore Girls

The Mk II house as it first appears in 2001 on The Gilmore Girls.

The revamped Dragonfly Inn eventually resurfaced on The Gilmore Girls, at last ready for business, in 2004. A fourth bedroom had now been added to the left-hand side of the upper floor and the chimney had been moved to the opposite end of the roof. The whole house was now painted yellow with dark green “trimming”.

The Mk II house continued to be used occasionally – for example it appeared as a Chinese restaurant in State Of Mind in 2007. These day, modern lightweight video cameras have supplanted the huge 35mm film cameras which were the norm for TV work in the seventies, meaning that the interiors (as well as the exteriors) of these sort of structures are now also viable for shooting purposes. The inside of the "Walton house" was used for Pushing Daises, for example.

In early 2016, the space used by the Mk II house on the Ranch was required for other purposes; the house was dismantled and put into storage, but not destroyed, we are told...

A small consolation may be that part of the approach road to the original house is still visible on the public tour of the Burbank lot. Drusilla’s Pond also still remains. Ike’s store (ironically closer to the original house than it was supposed to be on the show) has long since gone, apparently.

The Mk II house as it appears today: basically the same as when it appeared after renovation in The Gilmore Girls

The Mk II house as it appeared until removed in early 2016: basically the same as when it appeared after renovation in The Gilmore Girls.

The vast majority of the other outside requirements for shooting were found dotted around on both the Burbank and Ranch backlots – the school, for example, was the front part of the church (still) prominently visible on the Midwest Street. Occasionally, the show used genuine external locations, especially when the countryside needed to be shown in a bigger context than the backlots allowed. Luckily, California is rich with suitable areas, and The Los Padres (Frazier Park), Sequoia, and Angeles National Forests were all used from time to time. In fact (apart from the interviews with the Hamner family in A Decade Of The Waltons), the series never found it necessary to travel outside of southern California.

In common with most productions of the time, interior shots were done on a film-studio sound stage (over a 6½-day period per episode). Being somewhere in between an interior and exterior, the porch was duplicated on both the backlot house and the sound stage. During its main run, The Waltons used, variously, both stages 20 and 26 of Warner Brothers Burbank studios. The cast were in good company with many famous actors over forty years having filmed there. These stages – constructed in 1935 – had been used for, amongst others, The Big Sleep, A Star Is Born, Dial M For Murder, High Chaparral, Angels With Dirty Faces, Key Largo, The Great Race, and My Fair Lady.

Studio floor plan of the main set.

Studio floor plan of the main set. (Click for an enlargement.)

Most episodes of The Waltons did not use proper night-time shooting; when required, this was usually faked by "day-for-night" trick photography. Filming the final view of the house which closed each episode, where the family said their famous "goodnights", would seemingly have meant inconveniently organizing a special night shoot each time. So instead, a model of the house was made (about the size of a doll's house) and wired with small lights. This could be easily shot for the ending of each episode with an appropriate combination (not always an accurate combination!) of bedrooms shown illuminated. The model was so good, the trickery deceived almost all viewers of the show.

 

Addendum

Comparison: Mayberry R.F.D. season 3 (left) versus The Waltons (right). Note the style of the upper windows.

Comparison: Mayberry R.F.D. season 3 (left) versus The Waltons (right). Note the style of the upper windows. (Click for an enlargement.)

After writing the above, a reader sent me these grabs. They appear to show the yet-to-be Walton house in use on the third and last season of Mayberry R.F.D., broadcast in 1970/1, as the home of the lead character, Sam Jones.

(Though a similar house was seen in the previous two seasons of Mayberry, these are credited as being made at Paramount Studios and Cinema General Studios, respectively, rather than at Warner Brothers, so there is doubt as to whether the same structure was used for these earlier seasons. Quite possibly, Warners simply made a house to match the previous one when production switched to their backlot from that used by Paramount and Cinema General, which was the famous old "Forty Acres" backlot.)

The real-life Hamner house in Schuyler, Virginia

The real-life Hamner house in Schuyler, Virginia.

The real-life Hamner family pictured around 1978
Tip: click on any image to enlarge it
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