A Walton Time

Richard Thomas in A Walton Easter (1997)

Having just been the lead anchor covering the moon landing John-Boy Walton (Richard Thomas) loves his life in the bright lights of the city and with his wife Janet (Kate McNeil) heavily pregnant he can't wait to be a dad. But he also has a book to finish and they are heading back to Walton Mountain for John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia's (Michael Learned) 40th wedding anniversary with Aurora (Sydney Walsh) a reporter for "Life" Magazine who are doing a story on John-Boy. But being back with the family on the mountain for Easter and the anniversary causes John-Boy to think that maybe they need to leave the city and return home for good, not something Janet agrees with. Also back home is Elizabeth (Kami Cotler) who has come home to settle down except her sweetheart Drew (Tony Becker) has found himself another girlfriend whilst she has been gone on her travels around the world.

I've mentioned it before but I grew up watching "The Waltons" and I still catch an occasional episode when ever re-runs are being shown on the True Entertainment channel but what I didn't realise is how much detail I had taken in. Take for example I remember that when "The Waltons" started it was set in 1933 and John-Boy at that point was an older teen of around 17 or 18 which if you do the calculations means he was born around 1916.

Ralph Waite and Michael Learned in A Walton Easter (1997)

There is a reason why I mentioned the above as after the series ended and they came back with a series of reunion movies they were set at different times after the series had ended with this 6th reunion movie being set in 1969. That is when these movies get in to trouble because if you do the maths with John-Boy returning home for his parent's 40th wedding anniversary you suddenly realise that he was born in 1916 but his parents married in 1929. This is made more complicated when John-Boy tells Janet that Olivia was only 18 when she had him. If Olivia and John married when she was just 18 which according to this movie was 1929 then she was born 1911 which means going on John-Boy being 17 in 1933 actually made her 5 when she had him and he would have been in his 50s in 1969. Whilst the lack of attention to detail doesn't ruin "A Walton Easter" completely it does end up being an annoying distraction for fans who know their Walton facts.

But whilst "A Walton Easter" has a lot of chronological issues especially when it comes to the age of some of the older characters it doesn't really matter as it delivers much of the wholesome charm and humour which made the series so popular. From a scene where John and John-Boy pay the Baldwin sisters a visit and of course we get mention of the family recipe to all the Walton children deciding to organize a party for their parents it recaptures so much of what made "The Waltons" special. But in a clever way it becomes part of the story as we get that nostalgic experience so does John-Boy when he returns home and the smells remind him of what it was like back when he was growing up.

What this all boils down to is that admittedly "A Walton Easter" has some major issues for those fans of The Waltons who know their facts but when it comes down to it, it still delivers on the wholesome charm, warm humour and minor melodrama which made the old series so popular.

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