on November 6, 2009
At last, after much anticipation, Warner Brothers is releasing the six TV movies that capped off this series once and for all. The first three were all aired in 1982, and the final three came out between 1993 and 1997. Richard Thomas and Michael Learned who had left the show while it was still going strong in primetime, reprise their roles as John-Boy and Olivia Walton in most of these movies. Olivia returns in the second one, and John-Boy comes back in the final three movies.
These TV Movies pick up practically where the final episode left off, and are as follows:
1. A Wedding On Waltons Mountain (aired Feb. 22, 1982)--Erin and her boyfriend Paul Matthews Northridge decide to get married, and why not on Valentine's Day? Cindy and Ben are expecting their second child, and Mary Ellen is in Medical School studying to be a doctor. Jonesy is about to open his veterinary clinic and Corabeth is playing matchmaker to the reverend, Tom Marshall. The entire cast is reunited except for Michael Learned and Richard Thomas.
2. Mothers Day on Waltons Mountain (aired May 9, 1982)--Mary Ellen and Jonsey are getting married, but an accident occurs that postpones the honeymoon. Will all be well? Cindy's wealthy mother shows up, making Ben feel like an inadequate father and husband, while their baby is born.....but is it too early? Aimee also returns but has she changed? Olivia Walton makes a special appearance.
3. A Day for Thanks on Waltons Mountain (aired Nov. 22, 1982)--Most of the family plans to be away for Thanksgiving, and this leaves Elizabeth feeling sad. However, John-Boy has writers block and leaves his girlfriend Jane in NY and comes back to Waltons Mountain with Jason. At Olivia's insistence, John decides to come home for Thanksgiving and Drew comes home to Elizabeth. John-Curtis is always worrying Mary-Ellen, because he is playing with a "friend" down by the pond....who is that friend? The movie closes with the family at the Thanksgiving Day table, remembering those who can and can't be there. NOTE: While John-Boy retuns to the show in this TV Movie, his role is still played by Robert Wightman.
4. A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (aired Nov. 21, 1993)--We are suddenly catapulted from the late forties and into the early sixties with this very special Walton reuinion movie. John-Boy, played by Richard Thomas, is in New York City working as a television reporter and trying to persuade his fiance to marry him. Everyone comes home for Thanksgiving, bringing their multiple problems with them; including Jason and Toni who are married by this time. Grandma is also home, and John and Ben are arguing about the mill. And the assasination of JFK devestates the country and keeps the family away from each other for Thanksgiving.....or does it? NOTE: This is the first time that the entire original cast is reunited, except for Will Geer who passed away during the series original run.
5. A Walton Wedding (aired Feb. 12, 1995)--Picking up where the last TV Movie left off. John-Boy is back in New York, and he and his fiance, Janet, decide to get married there. Yet, the wedding arrangements drive John-Boy crazy and he returns to Waltons Mountain to relax and fill in some gaps he thinks his new story has. Olivia wants to go back to school, enrolls in Boatwright University, and is met with some resistance because of her age and gender. Yet, all eventually ends well with a wedding celebration that reunites the entire original cast once again.
6. A Walton Easter (aired March 31, 1997)--The year is 1969, and we see man walking on the moon for the first time. John-Boy and Janet make plans to return home for his parents 40th Wedding Anniversary, and Elizabeth returns home and announces to Drew that she is back to stay. However, she is dismayed when she finds he did not wait for her and has a new girlfriend. The Baldwins want to pass on their "Recipe" to someone so it will be made after their death, and problems and new people enter the lives of the Waltons as usual. This movie marks the end of the series, and is a must-watch. I won't give away the ending here, as you want to enjoy it if you haven't already seen it.
All in all, these 6 TV Movies while arguably aren't that terrific when compared to certain episodes in the original run of the series, they do still bring us back home to Waltons Mountain. When times were simpler and people knew it. Perhaps we can still learn from The Waltons in our confusing age. This set is a must-have for every Walton fan. Let's return one last time to that special mountain.
on October 14, 2009
At last we can complete our collection with the release of the 6 post tv movies which we can describe AS THE REAL FINAL (10nth) SEASON of this show cause the end of the story lines came with these 6 tv movies which brought the end to this famous tv series.
With a runtime nearly equal to around half of a regular season we can describe these movies as the final 10th (mini season) of the show.
The waltons gave us wonderful moments for 10 long years (1972 - 1981) and it's great to have this set together with the rest of the series in our dvd collection.
on February 15, 2010
On January 26th Warner Home Video released "The Waltons: Movie Collection." The collection consists of six made for T.V. movies that spans the life of this classic family television from 1947 to 1969.
Though these movies are generally considered "reunion" films, the differences between the first three and final three are significant.
The set opens with "A Wedding on Walton's Mountain" which aired on February 22nd, 1982, just a little over seven months after the final episode of the series, and unfortunately picks up where the series left off in 1947. Sans Michael Learned (Olivia) and Richard Thomas (John-Boy), the story revolves around the impending nuptials of Erin (Mary Beth McDonough) to Paul Northridge (Morgan Stevens channeling a young Michael Biehn) and how the return of Erin's former love interest Ashley Longworth Jr. (Louis Welch takes over for Jonathan Frakes and over plays the confidence and smugness of the character) stirs things up. Unfortunately the Erin love triangle is not enough to carry the film, and thus there are numerous sub-plots, all of which are poorly written.
The Waltons was cancelled after nine seasons due to the lack of quality that it had established early in its run. The cast of children had grown, but their acting abilities were still raw, and they were simply not up to the task of carrying the series that now rested on their shoulders in the absence of the talented Thomas and Learned who had been a source of stability in the series. Ralph Waite (John) is a fine actor, but he had been relegated to the role of family advisor by the time the series ended. The writers had simply run out of ideas and the stories had become trite. To produce a movie so soon after the cancellation served no purpose other than to confirm the decision to end the run of The Waltons.
Despite the poor quality of "A Wedding on Walton's Mountain", fans looking for a true reunion tuned in, and CBS followed it with "Mothers Day on Waltons Mountain" three months later, and a Thanksgiving outing on November 22nd titled "A Day of Thanks on Walton's Mountain". Like "A Wedding on Walton's Mountain" the two films were still set in 1947, and continued with the same cast though Michael Learned makes an all too brief appearance in the Mothers Day themed film considering the title. John-Boy does appear in "A Day of Thanks on Walton's Mountain" but he is portrayed by Robert Wightman who was never able to capture the subtle intelligence, creativity, and vulnerability, that Richard Thomas brought to the role. Both the Mothers day and Thanksgiving themed films are over-written, over acted, and tend to focus on one dimensional characters such as Erin's and Mary Ellen's (Judy Norton) significant others Paul Northridge and Joensey portrayed awkwardly by Richard Gilliland who seems a bit confused by the characters motivation, but it may have been the writing and direction more than the limited ability of the actor that made the character so difficult to appreciate. The Mothers Day episode specifically focuses on the exploits of the now trampy Aimee Godsey (DeAnna Robbins takes over for Rachel Longaker) and Ike and Corabeth's (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards) befuddlement with how to handle her. Ultimately the storyline only reconfirms the fact that the Ike character was far more enjoyable when he was single then after he married the cartoon that is Corabeth.
Eleven years after "A Day of Thanks on Waltons Mountain aired" CBS gave fans what they had been waiting for when "A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion" aired on November 21st. 1993. The entire original cast is reunited in this film with the exception of the beloved Will Geer (Grandpa) who had passed away. Richard Thomas was back as John-boy and even Rachel Longaker returned as Aimee Godsey. Though it had only been eleven years since the last movie, we find our favorite family in the early sixties dealing with the assassination of JFK. John-Boy comes home from New York with his girlfriend (Kate McNeil), John and Olivia are planning for a new house, and as it had been throughout the series and in each of the movies, there were problems at the mill.
Though it was pleasant to see the cast together again in "A Walton's Thanksgiving Reunion", writers Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker, who had written several episodes of the series, seem to care very little about what had been established in previous films. There is no mention of Olivia's illness or return home. Mary-Ellen has additional children even though doing so was established as life threatening to both her and the infants in a previous film. Her son John-Curtis is absent from the film without explanation, as is Ben and Cindy's son Charlie. Other absences are explained such as Mary-Ellen's husband Joensey is apparently in Africa working with animals, and Erin is divorced due to infidelity on the part of Paul. Though there are inconsistencies in the storytelling, and the plotlines tend to be superficial, "A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion" does manage to allow the audience to see what had become of the characters they loved.
"A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion" would have been a fine place to end the story of the Waltons, but CBS followed it with "A Walton Wedding" on February 12th 1995. The original cast is once again reunited and the story generally picks up where "A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion" left off. John-Boy is back in New York, but he is frustrated with the wedding plans being made by Janet's aunt Flo played by Holland Taylor in a somewhat comedically subdued performance compared to characters she would become known for. John-Boy heads home to complete a story he is writing on his Grandmother. Ellen Corby gives an amazing performance as Grandma and shows tremendous range considering her limitations due to a stroke. Once again it is the writing (Peterson and Whitaker) that let's the cast down. The story regarding a skeleton in Grandmas closet proves amazingly anti-climactic, and a plotline regarding Olivia going back to school goes no where.
"A Walton Easter" came along March 31, 1997, and once again the writing (Julie Sayers) seems hypocritical as the story has nothing to do with Easter. Easter is an after thought as a scene with the cast attending Church services at the end of the film seems almost throw in. The story takes place in 1969 as John-Boy covers the moon landing at the news station for which he works, and the family gathers for the fortieth anniversary of John and Olivia. Apparently writer Julie Sayers had failed to do her homework since John and Olivia had celebrated their 25th anniversary in episode 19 of season 6 of the series which was set in 1940. Though the storyline revolving around the relationship between Elizabeth (Kami Cotler) and Drew (Tony Becker), which had been running throughout the films, comes to a pleasant conclusion, other sub-plots in "A Walton's Easter" such as a new business venture for John, Ben, and Drew, and the Baldwin sisters (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson) leaving the Recipe to John go nowhere.
Ultimately these films add little to the Waltons legacy. The best analogy can be found in "A Waltons Easter": The character of Aurora Jameson (Sydney Walsh), a reporter from the big city who comes to Walton Mountain with John-Boy and his expecting wife to do an article on John-Boy and his soon to be released book. The character has great potential as not only a classic fish out of water, but also a potential love interest for Jim-Bob. Ultimately nothing is done with the character and the audience is left to wonder; what was the point?
The three disc release contains no bonus material which only adds to the disappointment.
Recommendation: Watching any of the final three movies will give you an idea of how the characters you came to love have grown up and developed. That is all to be gained here.
Though any time you get the opportunity to hear the narration of Earl Hamner, it will remind you of this classic series filled with great family values illustrated through excellent storytelling; it is only the narration that will serve as a reminder of quality storytelling here.
Only for the true fans who need to complete their collections.
on April 20, 2012
I have just taken several months to watch every single season of The Waltons. The first seven were pretty great. Season 8 & Season 9 had very little of Olivia & John Walton plus had a bogus "John-boy". In my opinion they should have taken the show off the air after season 7.
My main comment is about the made for TV movies on DVD. They were such a let-down. They randomly killed off characters like Ginny, Ben & Cindy's daughter. Then they don't even talk about Charlie their baby boy. They completely did not even talk about other important characters like John Curtis, Maryellen's son.
Even though they brought back the "real" John-boy, (Richard Thomas), even HE was weighed down by bad scripts. The idea that they could be watching the moon launch in 1969, and John-boy's wife would be just having their first baby is ludicrous. If he was 18 in 1936 it means he was born in 1918. He would have been over 50 in 1969 -not someone in their mid thirties as they tried to portray him. They also made Mrs. Walton a school teacher. She only went back to school part-time according to the previous movie set in 1963. She would have been about 65 years old chronologically in 1963 which would have made her about 70 in 1969. It just makes no sense!
Maryellen is given two different sets of kids in these movies. This is after The Mother's Day movie makes such a big thing about how it's too dangerous for her to have any more children after a car acccident that leaves her with internal damage. They mention John Curtis once in passing. Erin marries Northridge in the first wedding movie. At the end of that movie Earl Hamner states how they are still "married" today. In the next movie she is divorced with three children and all of a sudden she is a principal!
I could go on, but suffice it to say that these movies are so sad compared to the regular series. I was truly disappointed.
The only characters they remained true to throughout the series and movies were the Baldwin sisters. I just loved them! By the end they had to be close to 90 or more, but they were troopers.
My favorite characters on the show were, Grandpa (Such a loss!) Grandma, Olivia & John. I did like Richard Thomas especially in the first three seasons. Maryellen was my favorite girl on the show.
I think the series still stands up for the first six seasons. The seventh season is still ok, but after that - don't bother!
on September 29, 2009
I have watched this movie which was made for television A Waltons Thanksgiving Reunion(1993) which I taped from tv so often it wore out the tape This made for tv movie was set in 1962 just arout the time of John F Kennedys death where John Boy is a successful tv anchorman and gets engaged. The 2nd movie I want is A Walton Wedding where John Boy gets married and Jason Walton expects the birth of his daughter Patsy Kline Walton during the wedding. The last movie is called A Waltons Easter set in 1969 where man walks on the moon and John Boy is expecting his first child...these are wonderful movies if you love the waltons but I cant seem to be able to find them anywhere..I have checked with the tv station that showed the movie ..even the movie publishers and nothing they do not respond. so if anyoine knows where I can find them please feel free to let me know
As a big fan of The Waltons TV series long after they went off air, I was pretty excited to learn the movies would also be released, to help give me some closure on my beloved mountain family.
However, I must say, I was a bit disappointed. While most of the movies include most of the original characters, at least nominally, there are quite a few gaps in the storylines. Granted, the first three movies -- perhaps because they aired closest to the conclusion of the original series, as opposed to the other three movies, over a decade later -- seem to keep a bit closer to the true air of Walton-ness in both regards. And it's also probable that given the show ran nearly a decade, and then had some of its movies a decade after *that*, most likely not all the actors were available. Still, it seems that some plotlines could have been smoothed out a bit better; even a one-line mention by a present character could tie up loose ends easily.
For instance, in the second movie, "Mother's Day on Walton's Mountain," Mary Ellen and Jonesy finally marry. On their honeymoon, Mary Ellen is in a car accident, where she undergoes serious internal injuries and is told she will never be able to have children. Two movies later, in "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion," Mary Ellen is the mother of two young children. Not a word is mentioned about how she came to have them -- rather strange, considering the bulk of a previous movie consisted of her angsting about not being able to give Jonesy his own biological children. Did they end up adopting? Was the doctor wrong? Did medicine advance over the years and help them conceive despite the injuries? Viewers have no idea -- and it would have been so easy for Mary Ellen to simply say, "When we adopted the children..." Mystery solved.
At the same time, John Curtis, her firstborn, is missing. There is no mention of him. Since he was a child in the original series and would have been an adult by the movies, they could have cast anyone; but they didn't. Mary Ellen doesn't even mention him. How hard would it have been to say he's off at college or something?
Even more horrific, in "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion," Cindy reveals that her firstborn child, her daughter Ginny, recently died as a young woman. And...that's it. We were introduced to this Walton grandchild within the context of the original series, so while she was not a terribly important character, she did exist in her own right as a Walton. Was she hit by a car? Killed by polio? How can they bring forth something so dramatic as a character death, even for a tertiary character such as Ginny, and then simply fail to give a reason? Sloppy, sloppy writing. It would be better to have her off at that far-away college that all the ignored characters seem to be at, and leave it at that, than to begin tragedies that are introduced and then dropped when the viewers' attention is whetted.
Granted, it's not a perfect way to wrap up a beloved series. But, as previously mentioned, if you were a loyal fan through all nine seasons such as myself, it's really hard to let go of those Waltons once the war ended. You knew the kids were grown, getting married and having children of their own, but you still wanted to see where their lives were taking them, and the movies were a way to see that. So, I'm glad they exist, if only for that reason.
The movies are:
1. "Wedding on Walton's Mountain"
2. "Mother's Day on Walton's Mountain"
3. "A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain"
4. "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion"
5. "A Walton Wedding"
6. "A Walton Easter"
on February 7, 2010
They are all wonderful. The only gripes I have are 1):
As already mentioned, continuity problems in the later movies...the 1990 reunions: 1) What became of John Curtis? 2) Why are Erin and Paul Northridge divorced when at the end of the first reunion film of 1982, A Wedding on Walton's Moutain, Erin's wedding to Paul, Hamner's narration states, "Its a Union that is still as strong today as it was back then....", 3) Where in the world is Cindy (Ben's wife) in the last two films. If they couldn't get Leslie WInston (the actress who portrayed her to come back), they should at least have explained her absence like they explained that Jonesy was in vietnam. 4) In the second reunion movie, "Mother's Day on Walton's Moutain", Mary Ellen sustains an injury to her uterus that will endanger her becoming pregnant again yet in the later Reunion movies she has two kids by Jonesy. They should have mentioned that she either 1) had surgery to correct the perforated Uterus, or 2) gotten a miracle healing. And 5) if in 1969 Olivia and John were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, that would have them getting married in 1929, negating the depression era setting that was the hallmark of the series at the beginning, because when "The Homecoming" first aired in 1971 it was set in 1933 and John-Boy was fifteen which means that he was born in 1918 and Olivia and John would have been married in 1916 or 1917.
The other gripe that I have is that in the latter two films (A Walton Wedding and A Walton Easter) too much emphasis is put on characters we don't know or care for ..... Janet's Aunt Flo and that annoying Aurora (a useless character in the last movie)relegating most of the other kids to cameo roles (especially Jason......)
Speaking of Jason, why, oh why, in the name of Walton's mountain did he grow that God-Awful mustache in the first three films? And why, oh why, the cheesy country music stars names for his kids.....I mean....Roy Acuff Walton, Patsy CLine Walton, Loretta Lynn Walton, Merle Haggard Walton.....puhleese....cheesy, cheesy, cheesy........
And I absolutely cannot stand Janet (John-Boy's wife). Actress Kate McNeil (a former "As the WOrld TUrns" alumni has unattractive teeth and a hard face making the chemistry between her and John-Boy unbelievable....poor casting...
I love Tony Becker (as Drew) and the girls (Mary Ellen, Erin and Elizabeth) look breathtakingly beautiful...especially at John-Boys wedding...much better than the bride herself.....and Mary McDonough's ethereal beauty in the first movie is not to be denied despite the 80s hairdos for the 40s time period. But at least they got the hair styles right in the later movies set in the 1960s.
on March 14, 2010
The first three movies from this series are worth watching because the writers didn't try to change the past. The last three movies are worth watching only to see all of the cast members together especially Richard Thomas whose role as John Boy should have never been recast. Whatever happened to Mary Ellen's son John Curtis? He's not even worth a mention yet was a vital part of the TV series. Mary Ellen has more children who didn't seem to age from 1963 to 1969, the years the last three movies took place. Since the Mother's Day movie made it plain it would endanger her life to have more children, were they adopted? No mention was made of her infertility or possible adoption of the two children she had after John Curtis. I thought this was odd in light of Cindy's problems with infertility and Ben's reluctance to adopt. Couldn't the writers have used this to make the story line about Ben and Cindy's empty house more interesting? And what about their empty house....the fourth movie made mention of Virginia's death but what about the little boy named Charles that Cindy gave birth to in the Mother's Day movie? Why was he ignored as though true Waltons fans would forget he was born? The writers really blew it with the last three movies. It was not necessary to set the last three movies in the 1960's when it would have made more sense to have John and Olivia's 40th anniversary in the late 1950's which is when, according to the timeline of the original series , it really would have been. Covering JFK's assassination and the first man on the moon shouldn't have been the point. Very disappointing to a true Waltons fan.
on October 22, 2012
As others mentioned the jump in time was totally unrealistic and what a disappointment. They don't mention Paul or Jonesey in the last couple of movies, Ike and Corabeth weren't in the last movie, Cindy was missing with no mention of her at all. There's so much more. The first few movies were just ok. The last two should not have been made. Did Jim Bob never marry? The change in Olivia in the Wedding of John boy movie was just stupid. I can't see her calling someone a twit for instance. The kids of the walton children would have been grown up and not babies in the last movie since it jumped to the late 60's. The writing could have been so much better for these movies. I gave the movies a 2 star rating because it was nice to see the characters again all those years later but I wish that the writers had taken a lot more care in keeping things more in the time line instead of jumping unrealistically so far ahead.
on April 4, 2010
The previous two-star review was quite thorough, including "spoilers" to which I had intended to refer, obliquely, in my review. However, since the cats are out of the bag, I will mention a few more glaring inconsistencies that I found to be "perturbing" as a long time Waltons fan.
At the end of the first movie, as Erin and Paul are being married, Earl Hamner's voice-over is heard to say, "... There was a special bond of love in our family which brought us to that small church to witness the beginning of a marriage that's as strong today as it was then..." I thought, great! They made it. Earl says it's so. Imagine my surprise when, at the beginning of the fourth movie, we learn that Erin is now a divorcee and that... egad... Paul had been running around on her. Strong, indeed! I wonder if the writers have ever heard of the word, "continuity"? So, I assumed that they got rid of the hubby in order to create the possibility of a love interest. Lo and behold, a man does show up on her doorstep... and that was about the extent of it. I think he was merely a plot device in order for us to find out that Erin's ex was a two-timer.
Children go missing and others appear without explanation. It wasn't as if they were all that relevant to the storyline so, why do it?
What happened to John Curtis? Did Great Grandpa Zeb take him fishing to that Big-Drusilla's-Pond-in-the-Sky?
Apparently, the writers could find nothing compelling about the 1950's, so they fast-forwarded to the '60s. Although I would never have begrudged Ellen Corby a paid gig, Grandma was already an adult during the Spanish-American War yet, despite having had a near-fatal stroke in the early '40s, she's still around to see men walk on the moon. Here's an idea for a compelling '50s storyline; John-Boy, having lost his inspiration to write, enrolls at Columbia, hooks up with Kerouac, Cassady and Ginsberg, heads out to San Francisco and, briefly, gets hooked on "bennies". Mary Ellen had a brush with drug abuse a decade earlier so, why not John-Boy?
The time warp also meant that John-Boy was in his 50's when he finally got married. He looked REALLY good for his age. All feasible, but somewhat disconcerting.
I'm still glad I have them, although some special features might have made up for the uneven writing and earned another star.