The creator of The Waltons passed away last week.
Throughout the 1970s, many families knew where they would be Thursday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern: watching The Waltons on CBS. Sadly, the show’s creator, Earl Hamner passed away last week.
The emphasis on family in the program was deliberate. In interviews in the ‘70s, Hamner said, “Audiences in all entertainment media have been brutalized by crudities, vulgarity, violence, indifference and ineptitude. People are hungry for a sense of security, for real family relationships…on The Waltons, we are attempting to make an honest, positive statement on the affirmation of man.”
Unlike so many of the programs touted today as “family TV,” The Waltons was not only about a family, it was genuinely family-friendly, in several senses of the word. The entire family could watch The Waltons, with parents secure in the knowledge that there would be no foul language, sex, or graphic violence to trouble their children. The show was family-friendly in another sense, as well; it was friendly to the concept of family. While the various characters on the Waltons had their disagreements, the theme of the show was a large family who love one another, all pulling together during the difficult years of the Great Depression; a far more positive portrayal of family life than that of the constantly bickering bumbling fathers, smart-mouthed children, and sex-crazed teens so prevalent on TV today.
The PTC is grateful to Earl Hamner for providing a model of family TV, and extend our condolences to his family.