A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain (1982)
A Walton's Thanksgiving
You can't sit around counting what's missing, you gotta count your blessings - John
Thanksgiving is coming up on Walton mountain and Elizabeth (Kami Cotler) is feeling down as whilst some of the family are still living around the area the rest of the family is scattered across the country and Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving with out the entire family back home. But Elizabeth longing for the entire family to be together is not the only issue as in the city John-Boy (Robert Wightman) is struggling with writer's block, Erin's (Mary Beth McDonough) husband is feeling smothered by being part of the Walton's extended family and Jason (Jon Walmsley) is wondering whether to pursue his love of music he would be better off leaving the mountain. It seems like the brothers and sisters could do with some parental advice but John (Ralph Waite) is still up in Arizona where Olivia is still convalescing.
So "A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain" was the third of the made for TV movies which were made in the 80s immediately after the long running TV series had finished. And for me this third TV movie was on par with the previous movie as it felt just like an extended episode of the show. This comes from the fact that we have a collection of little issues for the Walton's family to deal with from Elizabeth finding dealing with the family going their own way hard to come to terms with whilst John-Boy has writer's block and so on. None of these issues are massive but they of course involve some guidance of sorts from the grown ups in their life with Jason listening to Ike Godsey a lot.
But "A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain" again feels incomplete and suffers the issues which befell the TV series through those final years. Whilst we have John-Boy showing up in this TV movie it is Robert Wightman in the role which for many including myself only felt right when Richard Thomas was playing him. Plus whilst Michael Learned appeared in the previous TV movie she doesn't show up in this one. Plus after playing the characters for over a decade it has to be said that some of the actors seem like they are just going through the motions which whilst not terrible contributes to that sense of maybe The Waltons had for the time run its course.
What this all boils down to is that "A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain" is a two edged sword as whilst even a mediocre journey to Walton's mountain is a good one this still lacks that something which made the early years of the series so special.
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