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THE WALTONS’ Richard Thomas Credits Show’s Popularity to its Family Focus

Screenshot from The CW Network YouTube – “The Waltons Thanksgiving Trailer | The CW”

THE WALTONS’ Richard Thomas Credits Show’s Popularity to its Family Focus

By Movieguide® Contributor

Richard Thomas, best known for his role as John-Boy in the hit ’70sTV show THE WALTONS, reflected on his time on the show and his current role in a play of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

“When the show came out, there was really no show like it. It was very different from what the usual programming was in those days,” he said of THE WALTONS. “It was kind of a special new thing for people as well as a beautiful story about an American family and just family in general. It was popular all over the world because family is something that persists across all borders.”

THE WALTONS lasted for nine seasons. A synopsis of the series reads:

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, during the Great Depression, the Walton family makes its small income from its sawmill on Walton’s Mountain. The story is told through the eyes of eldest son John-Boy, who wants to be a novelist, goes to college, and eventually fulfills his dream. The saga follows the family through economic depression and World War II; and through growing up, school, courtship, marriage, employment, birth, aging, illness, and death.

A remake of the classic titled THE WALTONS: HOMECOMING was released in 2021 and was chosen by Movieguide® “for the Epiphany Prizes® for the television program that helps viewers draw closer to God.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

The actor called the show and its specials “a safe haven…in the midst of a lot of turmoil.”

“This was the case when the first show was on the air when the country was going through great upheaval, and there was a lot of [division], and there was a lot of animosity, there was a lot of alienation, and the Waltons certainly didn’t stop that,” Thomas stressed. “It doesn’t have that kind of power.”

He continued, “But it certainly gave people a middle ground, a place to come together, and a place where they could come and have a little bit of healing about human nature and about how our interdependence with one another. And so I was happy to see that that happened again.”

Thomas also spoke to The Chattanoogan about his most recent role as Atticus Finch in the TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD play.

“It’s probably the most important American play in a long time, the most successful play in Broadway history, and it’s been the most successful play in touring history,” Thomas said. “It’s something not to miss. It’s an adaptation of one of maybe the most beloved books by an American. Many people have fond memories of the movie. It’s a story Americans have seen, and they like the story, and they ought to come see our version of it. It’s a story no one should miss.”

The actor also explained how we can still learn from the story that was originally written in 1960.

“It’s our story,” he said. “It’s a story of who we think we are and who we aspire to be, and when we fall short of that, what do we do about that? It is unfortunately perennially relevant and in many ways it’s as relevant today as when it was written (in 1960). It is also a wonderful story of childhood and of a childhood summer, and many people can relate to that.”


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