The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

March 8, 2014

How far was Hooterville from Walton's Mountain?

I have always said that television is the one item that binds my generation together (the generation that still watches televison, talks on phone and asks people for directions instead of using one device for all three).

And with that in mind, it makes you think about the three icons (semi icons?) from the days of the 19” black and white, who passed away recently.

First was Ralph Waite, also known as John Walton Sr. of the family-friendly Waltons TV show. For roughly a decade Waite provided a moral compass for America, from high atop Walton Mountain. As the country toiled from the post-Watergate apocalypse and into the disco fiasco, the Walton’s gave us 60 minutes of G-rated triumph and tragedy that made America long for the wholesome, whimsical days of the Great Depression.

The Walton’s spent much of each episode finding ways to keep the family cloistered up on Walton’s Mountain together instead of coming down into the valley, where they might finally dive into a different genetic pool. For 12 seasons, the family remained undaunted as it struggled to make ends meet and help keep John Boy on path for his writing career (instead of help with an actual job).

One thing that always bothered me was why John Walton Sr. never figured out to take his nearly unlimited timber resources on the mountain and somehow combine it with his saw mill ALSO on the mountain. So goodnight, Jim Bob, Mary Ellen and Jason. Good night John Boy and John Sr., you were America’s top rural Dad (at least until Michael Landon built that darn little house on the prairie).

Also passing was Mary Grace Canfield. She was best known as Ralph the contractor from Green Acres, who along with her brother Alf spend the better part of 41 episodes, installing closet doors without closets and stairs that led to nowhere. For those who don’t remember, Green Acres was the highly-believable story of a New York City judge and his Hungarian model wife who move to the Ozarks to live the simple life.

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