Other reviewers have thoroughly reviewed the details of the Waltons first year on TV with titles and plot descriptions, so I won’t elaborate further. Instead, I will tell you why I feel this DVD set is perhaps is the best series that ever aired on TV, and is true family entertainment.
The Waltons first aired in 1972 on CBS. It was considered “hokey” by some of the critics of the day, yet it captured the hearts of the viewers and went on to be one of the finest long-running series on TV. It captured peoples hearts because it told stories of real people, real people in a family that loved and cared for each other. Although many of the stories are of course fictional, the writer, Earl Hamner (who is actually John-boy), weaves fiction with real-life drama and shows how his loving family dealt with the hard times they grew up in, and how they related to each other with love. In essence, the Waltons shows the viewer what all of us would like our families to be like. One cannot help caring about the characters because Hamner does such a great job of developing their unique personalities for us. The actors and actresses that play his family are perfect for the parts, and even though many of them are just children, their realistic acting makes one believe they are actually a real family. The series is carried on the shoulders of three central characters, John-Boy (Richard Thomas), his mother Olivia Walton (Michael Learned), and Father John Walton (played by Ralph Waite). All three are absolutely superb in their respective roles, and earned honors and accolades for their depiction of Hamner’s family. When these three characters eventually left ths show in later years, the show itself folded.
If you have never seen The Waltons on TV, my suggestion is that you buy the first season shows before viewing the second season set. Although not entirely necessary, as each show is a complete story, the first season will unveil the general themes and storylines that help you to better understand the characters and their dire economic situation (the Great Depression). You will also learn that although the Waltons had little money, they were not “poor” when it came to their bond of family love for one another. The second season, (24 episodes) is just as good as the first season, with family stories that will capture your heart. The second season won several awards, an emmy for Michael Learned (Olivia Walton) and an emmy for writer Joanna Lee for her script, “The Thanksgiving Story”.
I watch the Walton shows with my own 6 children and even in these modern days with so many other distractions, my kids are thrilled with the stories. Each child relates to a particular Walton child, and after finishing an episode, they beg to watch another. I hope that they will learn family values by watching the Walton family interact with each other. I know that I have garnered some parenting tips from John Walton.
Television does not get better than The Waltons. I recommend this series for those viewers who desire more family values and less violence, sex, and questionable language and topics in their tv viewing. This is true family values TV, and I wish we had something like it today. The Waltons will capture your heart, and you will come to love the characters and care about them. Thank you Earl Hamner for sharing your lovely family with us!
Jim “Konedog” Koenig
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Great collection of one of my all time favorite shows!
Season two episodes include:
The Journey- Johnboy takes drives an elderly neighbor to see the ocean before she dies.
The Odyssey-Johnboy delivers a baby. (guest star: Sissy Spacek)
The Separation- Grandma & Grandpa have a fight & Grandpa moves out.
The Theft- John is accused of stealing & won’t deny that he didn’t do it.
The Roots- Verdie Grant meets Harley Foster & asks Johnboy to help keep him on the Mountain.
The Chicken Thief- Johnboy see Yancy Tucker stealing chickens & must decide if he should turn him in to the sheriff.
The Prize- Olivia’s old boyfriend, who is running for office, pays a call to the family.
The Braggart- Hobart Shank, an old orphan friend of the family, arrives to stay with the Waltons until a baseball scout shows up.
The Fawn- Johnboy becomes a rent collector, a hated landlord. Erin nurses an orphaned fawn.
The Thanksgiving Story- Johnboy gets a visit from his girlfriend, Jenny & prepares for scholarship exam.
The Substitute- Miss Pollard, a strict teacher from New York, is hired to teach the children.
Th Bequest- Grandma receives a letter stating a $250 inheritance.
The Air-Mail Man- A plane makes an emergency landing in the Walton’s meadow.
The Triangle- Johnboy gets jealous when Miss Hunter & Reverend Fordwick become a romantic couple.
The Awakening- Mary Ellen get kissed by a college boy who doesn’t know how young she is.
The Honeymoon- While John takes Olivia on a second honeymoon, several mishaps occur at home.
The Heritage- John considers selling to mountain. Zeb & Ester celebrate their 50th anniversary.
The Gift- Jason’s friend has a fatal disease and learns he going to die. (Guest star: Ron Howard)
The Cradle- Olivia discovers she is expecting another baby.
The Fullfillment- The Waltons try to convince their neighbor, who can’t have children, to adopt an orphan boy who is staying at the Walton home.
The Ghost Story- The children play with a Ouija board & believe they hear from the spirit of a young boy’s deceased mother who is trying to warn them her son is in danger.
The Graduation- The family buys Johnboy a suit to wear for his highschool graduation. He must return the suit for the money, when the family cow dies.
The Five-Foot Shelf- Olivia & Johnboy get swindled by a traveling book salemsman.
The Car- Johnboy does work for a man to buy a car for college. Afterward, the man refuses to give it to him because the car belonged to his dead son.
We’ve had to wait an entire year for the release of season two. I hope this is not the case for future releases. I’m especially looking forward to season 4 which has my all time favorite “Walton” episode in it….”The Burnout”…the episode when the house is gutted by fire in the middle of the night. But, back to season two. I agree with the reviewer below with the tight packaging and the 2 sided disks are a pain with them overlapping and all. But besides that, the quality of the DVDs are wonderful, the show is timeless and the episodes are first rate! My particular favorite is “The Gift” with a young Ron Howard guest starring as Jason’s best friend who has leukemia. This episode is a real tearjerker and I cry buckets every time I see it. Its not full of sap sentimentality but honest truth about loss and grief. There are two memorable scenes in this episode. The first is Ron Howard (Seth) running out into the woods after he finds out that he has only a short time to live. He runs out and screams and cries his heart out because of the unfairness of it all. The other scene is the poignant and touching guidance and wisdom to Jason from Grandpa (Will Geer)helping him cope with the grief that is hurting him so much. Jon Walmsley as Jason is outstanding in this episode and the haunting strains of “beautiful dreamer” as he plays it on the flute at the end….well…just have the kleenex handy!! How can you honestly compare the wasteland that television has become today with a program like the Waltons? Its wonderful to see a quality program like this restored with quality! I’ll take a program like “The Waltons” and pit it against all the reality crap on TV these days. Do your youngsters and family a favor and “watch” “The Waltons” together as a family! If they don’t want to, “make them”. My parents did that with me and I turned out o.k. We need to restructure the familial moral fiber in AMERICA today and programs like “The Waltons” are a good place to start!