Family-Friendly TV Series Comes to DVD
by Phil Boatwright

Several seasons of The Waltons, which ran from 1972 until 1981, can now be owned on DVD. Season four will be released on January 23, 2007. The five-disc set features all 24 episodes from that season, which ran from September 1975 until March 1976.

Season four, which garnered two Emmy Awards, continues the Walton family’s saga as they endure the great Depression by relying on their strong family bonds. Standing the test of time, the drama takes place during the turbulent years before World War II when America was undergoing financial disaster and families had to make sacrifices in order to survive poverty and fears of an unknown future.

The Waltons first aired on CBS September 14, 1972 and followed the lives of a Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains husband and wife, as well as their several children and the grandparents. Created and narrated by Earl Hamner, Jr., the program was a reflection of the author’s own upbringing during the same era, with his experiences re-told to the viewer through the eyes of aspiring writer John Boy Walton (Richard Thomas). Hamner’s first effort at dramatizing his family’s exploits was featured in the touching film Spencer’s Mountain, starring Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara and future Hawaii Five-O costar James MacArthur. But it was the unpretentious and low-key 1971Christmas special that caught television viewers’ imagination.

An uplifting, heart-warming series, season four takes place during 1936 as Hitler and Mussolini threatened the world and America was unsure of its own fate. The episodes feature John Boy hired as a scriptwriter for a movie, Mary Ellen appling to nursing school and a fire driving the family from their home. Though the group is tested, they triumph and draw closer into a tight-knit and loving family.

The outstanding cast also included veteran actors Will Geer, Ellen Corby, as well as Ralph Waite and Michael Learned as John and Olivia Walton. The show also featured John Ritter as Reverend Fordwick. The success of the series opened the doors for future family-pleasers such as Eight Is Enough and Little House on the Prairie.

The set retails at $39.98 SRP. For more information on this and other titles distributed by Warner Home Video, visit www.whvdirect.com.

Fun fact: Despite financial woes, John Boy was able to attend, get this, Boatwright University. Well, that’s a fun fact for this writer, anyway.