The Waltons: Season 9
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Waltons: The Complete Ninth Season (DVD)
Good night, Waltons. For nine inspired and inspiring seasons (from 1972 to 1981), the Walton family became America’s family. Viewers’ hearts were captured by the story of John and Olivia Walton, their seven children, Grandpa and Grandma as they faced the Depression and World War II with not much more than a love of the land and the rock-solid support of one another. This elegiac final season is the ideal capstone to the Emmy®-honored and beloved series. After enduring terrifying dangers in Europe and the Pacific, the Walton boys gratefully return to Walton’s Mountain after the war ends. But peace brings new challenges and new beginnings. And for many of the family, young and old, it brings new love. Share the final goodnight with The Waltons.]]>
The final season of The Waltons is notable for the ever-changing number of people sitting at the family's long dinner table. Early in the season, with all four boys at war in Europe and Japan, plates are set for John Sr. (Ralph Waite), cousin Rose (Peggy Rea)--the de facto woman of the house with matriarch Olivia (Michael Learned) gone away--and sisters Mary Ellen (Judy Norton-Taylor), Erin (Mary Beth McDonough), and Elizabeth (Kami Cotler), plus brother Ben's wife Cindy (Leslie Winston). Once the war is over and Ben, Jim-Bob (David W. Harper), Jason (Jon Walmsley) and John-Boy (Robert Wightman, replacing Richard Thomas) are back home, the number of people seated at that table still continues to go up and down for all kinds of reasons. That fluctuation says much about the state of the family and of The Waltons itself, long past the era when all those kids were still in school and regularly eating with a full complement of parents and grandparents. With both of the latter gone and even John Sr. disappearing halfway through the season to help ailing Olivia move to Arizona, it's the young people ruling the roost now.
Things start off powerfully with the two-part "The Outrage," in which John Sr. leaps to the defense of an African-American employee, Harley (Hal Foster), who has been living under an assumed name since escaping a chain gang years before. Never a show to back off from issues of discrimination, The Waltons: The Complete Ninth Season, tackles gender bias (Mary Ellen is turned down for admission to medical school, while Erin is one of many women on Walton's Mountain who lose their jobs to returning veterans) and anti-Semitism (Jason's wonderful girlfriend Toni, played by Lisa Harrison, causes a stir when everyone discovers she's a Jew). Meanwhile, John-Boy falls in love with a Parisian bookseller who encourages him to write an article about stray land mines, though his true destiny as a writer leads him back to his roots. Ben, too, is full of ambition following the war, eager to attend engineering college but needed at the family mill after John Sr. leaves. Jason takes over the Dew Drop Inn and finds a way to make a go of it with Toni's help. Rose rediscovers love again when her dance partner, Stanley (William Schallert), returns, albeit as an emotional wreck. (The Rose-Stanley storylines in season nine are among the sweetest episodes.) In a strange development, Mary Ellen's allegedly late husband turns up, a very different and darker personality than he was before. Other new and recurring characters continue to add color and texture to the show, most notably Ike (Joe Conley) and Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards), the Baldwin sisters (Helen Kleeb, Mary Jackson), and newcomer Rev. Tom Marshall (Kip Niven), who starts off a firebrand and ends up a civilizing influence over the aforementioned anti-Semitic tensions. --Tom Keogh
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The second half of season nine shows the return to typical Walton fare. There are two wonderful episodes on the character of Stanley Perkins, Rose's flame, and these are thoughtfully and tastefully done. "The Beginning" is the story of Jason's future wife, Toni, whose Jewish heritage presents a problem for the Walton family. "The Victims" is a "dark" episode about troubled men returning from World War II. "The Lumberjack" introduces Erin's flame and future husband, Paul Northridge. The series ends with "The Revel", in which John-Boy returns to New York only to find himself in a career crisis, but ends in reassuring fashion, with hope of future restoration through family and friends. During this season, the role of John-Boy is played by Robert Wightman. Perhaps no one captures the essence of John-Boy as did Richard Thomas, but in my opinion, Mr. Wightman fills in Thomas' big hush puppies admirably. Actor Morgan Stevens adeptly and handsomely plays Paul Northridge, Erin's heartthrob.
Unfortunately, season nine sees the departure of Ralph Waite at mid-season. John Walton leaves to tend to Olivia (Michael Learned), in Arizona. Rose Burton, (Peggy Rea) leaves the show a few episodes shy of the end. In the end, just the children, their spouses, and several new (grand)children remain at home. While the show goes on and is still solid and entertaining, the loss of Mom and Dad Walton and Rose are definitely huge character losses for the series.
Season Nine is still very much an enjoyable season. I give it 4 stars for the uneven nature of the first 11 episodes.
However, I miss seeing Richard Thomas as John Boy, and it is not the same without John and Olivia, who are gone for most, if not all, of this season. Having Rose and her friend, Mr. Perkins playing major roles in some of the episodes helps fill the void left by John, Olivia and Grandma. There is also a different man playing Mary Ellen's husband, Curt, who is back miraculously from the dead which is a bit unbelievable and not a happy ending to their relationship.
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It may be that the network axed the show on the basis that it was losing its way (as there was no doubt it was), but it is a shame that what was otherwise an excellent series should end on a low note, the last episode being quite an anticlimax.
Nevertheless, for anyone who, like me, loved this series and came to know the Waltons so well, the final season cannot be missed. I have now ordered the DVD set of their six feature-length episodes and am looking forward to a return to the Waltons that all we fans know and love.
Without him the serie would still be 4 stars. Pa is gone, grandma gone and the parents. Rose is a great feisty woman and Stanley, Ike as usual always in the middle of events, and Baldwin sisters. There is an episode when their Recepie machine was to be taken away, but this will not to be :)
A must buy anyhow - just to see the serie from start to end. But I would recommend you to buy the films to make a real proper end to the serie. By the way. Richard Thomas has printed few poetry books, which adds to his acting before his contract at the serie is out. He is a true artist. It takes a real actor to play his part, and also, not every actor CAN play Will Geer. He was true asset. His daughter is working is Hollywood right now. 4 star for the characters I mentioned play good, and the actors that always were in the serie still do great job! All but 'Jim Bob'(David Harper) working in film industry up to now. Must buy but a real ending I feel only goes With buying the films(4 in a Box. Here on Amazon)
Good service and a reasonable price
I did test one episode of each disc quickly and it seems to work, but the quality made me a bit sad. 😢.