The "Walton House" was actually located in the northern section of the Jungle area of Warner Brothers studios in Burbank. Walton's Mountain, which could be seen from the house's front porch, was actually a slope of the Hollywood Hills directly south of the Warner Bros. Studios. Interiors of the house were filmed on Stage 26. The roadway leading to the Walton house through the remaining portion of the jungle still existed in 2003 and is visible during the studio tour, although Ike Godsey's store has long since disappeared. The house had been dismantled a few years before to make way for a parking lot and was moved to the Warner Bros. Ranch lot at Hollywood Way and Verdugo Avenue, where it still functions as a workable exterior set. If you check the Season 1 DVD's of "Gilmore Girls" you will note that the old "Dragonfly Inn" that Lorelai and Sookie purchase and then renovate is the exterior of the Walton house. This is also stated in the trivia section for "Gilmore Girls" here on IMDb.com.
Jon Walmsley'never knew his grandparents, while Ellen Corby never had grandchildren. The two "adopted" each other, attending events and visiting places together.
When the show premiered on CBS at the beginning of the 1972-73 season, most media pundits felt it didn't have a chance, airing as it did opposite two longtime ratings powerhouses, Flip (1970) on NBC, had been the number 2 show in America for the previous two seasons, and ABC's Mod Squad (1968) was a long-standing favorite, as well. "The Waltons" out-performed both shows in the ratings by a wide margin. "Mod Squad" was canceled by the end of the season, and Flip Wilson, rather than have the same thing happen to his show, announced that the 1973-74 season would be his last. All this happened just a year after CBS felt that rural shows were "out," and set out to prove it, in a highly controversial move, as Fred Silverman canceled several long-running series, such as The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Green Acres (1965) which were still very popular and doing well on televisions weekly ratings.
In the closing scene of the series' final episode The Waltons: The Revel (1981), the remaining Walton family members and the Godseys gathered at the Baldwin sisters' mansion for a party. As the sisters thanked their guests for coming, the viewer can see that several unnamed guests have joined the crowd. They are creator Earl Hamner Jr. and other long-running cast and crew members, giving the scene a wrap-party look.
Ellen Corby was temporarily forced to leave the series after suffering a stroke, thinking that she could no longer act. However, she later returned to the show. A few viewers wondered if Corby's later appearances were straining her health or were only to boost falling ratings. Her castmates always asserted that she enjoyed being back on set, and the work helped her to recover.
The character 'John Walton Sr.' was ranked #3 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
Series creator Earl Hamner Jr. grew up with 7 siblings, each of whom served as the basis for a young Walton character. He based the Waltons' grandparents on composites of all four of his grandparents.
Patricia Neal was cast as Olivia Walton in the pilot. Health problems prevented her from continuing, so the role ultimately went to Michael Learned.
John had an older brother, Ben, who was killed in World War I. He named his third son for his deceased brother.
In contrast to his character, who rarely attended church, Ralph Waite was a licensed minister in real life and assisted John Ritter in his role as Reverend Fordwick.
Will Geer died after filming had ended for the 1977-1978 season. His character, Grandpa Walton, died during the next season.
A CBS executive wanted a major star for the series, and suggested Henry Fonda as the patriarch. The network showed him the two-hour pilot movie. According to executive producer Lee Rich, Fonda said, "What do you want me for? The kid is the star! The whole family is the star! You don't need me."
In the series' first episode, after their debut movie, The Waltons: The Foundling (1972), the family gathers around their new radio to listen to the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show. This was a nod to Bergen, who played the original Grandpa in the series' pilot movie, The Waltons: The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971).
The "goodnight" routine at the end of each show was an actual activity in creator Earl Hamner, Jr.s home when he was a child. He said the activity would go on until his father finally told them to be quiet. One instance of this not happening was the two-part episode "The Outrage"; at the end of part 2, President Roosevelt dies and the family goes to Charlottesville early in the morning to pay their last respects as the train carrying his body passes by.
John Ritter left the show after the 1975-76 season because he was offered the lead role in "Three's Company". He said his only regret in taking the "Three's Company" role was leaving his role as Reverend Fordwick.
John Boy Walton attends BoatWright University, which was based on the University of Richmond.
When John Ritter left after the 1975-1976 season, his absence was explained by having his character, Reverend Fordwick, joining the army during World War II, after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese airplanes on Sunday, December 7th, 1941.
The name of the and musical and dance club that Jason played at to earn some extra money was the Dew Drop Inn. Jason purchased the Dew Drop in season 9
Mary Ellen's husband, Dr. Curtis Williard, was written out of the show by having him killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, a couple of seasons later it was discovered that Curtis was among the few that survived the attack and was still alive and living in another city, but was rendered impotent due to the injuries he suffered during the attack.
Ralph Waite was fired from his role on due to budgetary issues. The show had become more expensive as Waite aged, usually at the same time the ratings start to decline. Originally, season 8 was supposed to be the final one. CBS gave the show a somewhat unexpected renewal for season 9, but with the caveat that the producers tighten the budget, with the misguided goal of making the show looked younger.
Tom Bower, who played Mary Ellen's husband Curt, was in a 1975 episode named "The Wing Walker", playing airplane pilot Rex.
Richard Thomas came back to the show for a few guest appearances after his character role of John-Boy Walton was taken by Robert Wightman. His contract was for the first five seasons, not full time.
The Walton's pets, (animal and name) were: Blue the mule, Chance the cow, Wreckless the dog, Rover the peacock, Lance the deer, Myrtle the goat and Calico the cat. Although not Walton family members Yancey had Tyger, his laying hen and Miss Mamie bought Miss Emilie a dog which she named Dickie. She was expecting a bird. Anyone else?
The first season was the only one in which the opening credits showed live shots of the Walton Family. They are all involved in various activities when John brings a new radio home, and the family stops what they are doing and gather around him.
The TV series is loosely based on the movie "Spencer's Mountain", staring Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara. This was also written by Earl Hamner, Jr.
John's truck was a 1929 Ford. His station wagon was a 1940 Plymouth Woody. The car John-Boy bought from neighbor Hyder Rudge in the season 2 episode "The Car" was a 1930 Ford five-window coupe. Mary Ellen drove a 1932 Ford panel truck, and Jim Bob drove a 1931 Ford roadster, which he later modified. The Baldwin sister's car was a 1925 Studebaker.
Jon Walmsley (Jason) and Eric Scott (Ben) are the only actors to appear in every episode.
This wasn't the first time that Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas played father and son; three years earlier they had worked together in the film Last Summer (1969). Thomas played the role of "Peter" and Waite (uncredited) played his father.
As a 21 year old; Richard Thomas demanded top billing over more seasoned actors Ralph Wait and Michael Learned; and he got it.