|Earl Hamner on The Waltons porch|
Surrounded by his family, Earl Hamner, best known as the Creator and Narrator of "The Waltons" television series... passed away on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at the age of 92.
From the beginning, and still today, we devoted fans welcome Earl Hamner's show, The Waltons, into our homes with high regard, knowing each episode will give us a warm, heartwarming family story and values we can always depend on. Based upon his own upbringing and family life growing up, The Waltons in a way over the years have become extended members of our own family. The character of John Boy, on the series was based on Earl's Hamner's own childhood days growing up in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.
|Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons with Richard Thomas (John Boy Walton)|
|Earl Hamner pictured in front with cast members of The Waltons|
Kami Cotler, David Harper, Eric Scott, Jon Walmsley, Michael Learned,
Ralph Waite, Ellen Corby, Mary Beth McDonough, and Judy Norton
Video Clip via INSP, of Earl Hamner talking about The Waltons and John Boy...
Born on July 10, 1923, Earl Hamner, Jr. was the eldest son of Doris Marion Giannini and Earl Henry Hamner, Sr. Earl would eventually have eight siblings, one more than portrayed on The Waltons weekly television series... Cliff (Jason), Marian (Mary Ellen), Bill (Ben), Paul (Ben), Audrey (Erin), James (Jim Bob), and Nancy (Elizabeth).
|Earl Hamner pictured with his family, Mother and siblings...|
According to Earl Hamner's official web-site, "Money was short, and books were a luxury they could not afford. Their "library" consisted of the Holy Bible, (the King James Version), and a manual of bee-keeping. Doris and Earl strongly encouraged all the children in their growing family to excel, and Earl Jr. became interested in writing at an early age. He was writing his numbers at the age of two and reading at four. His poem "My Dog" was published on the Children's Page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch when he was six. Earl claims he knew he was going to become a writer from that day."
While studying at the University of Richmond, in 1943, Earl was drafted into the army. "Hamner then spent several months at the 19th Replacement Depot in England learning how to diffuse land mines, one of the most dangerous of Army jobs." via his bio. "Two months after D-day he landed on Omaha Beach, and, because his officers had discovered that he knew how to type, he was re-assigned to the 542nd Quartermaster Corps which he served in Paris. He loved Paris, learned to speak French, and made friends with the French people including a special girl named Jeanine. It was here, after the end of the war, that he began in earnest sending off stories for publication and amassing rejection slips."
|Earl Hamner, served in the US Army 1943-1946|
image via: http://www.allaboutthewaltons.com/ham-fam.php
After being discharged from the army in 1946, he found work in radio, and in 1948, "received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in broadcasting from the College of Music of the University of Cincinnati." (source)
Earl's own life experiences during the depression were the basis for his writings and the eventual Waltons TV show, beginning with his novel, The Homecoming, which first became a Christmas TV Special. Before the success of The Waltons, however, he wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone, and the movie Spencer's Mountain was based on his novel.
Earl Hamner married Jane Martin in 1954. They had two children, Scott and Caroline. Both had roles, as teenagers, in The Homecoming Christmas Special when it first appeared on TV, CBS, in 1970.
|The Waltons - The Homecoming Special|
Writing was a part of Earl Hamner, all of his life, from that first moment he learned to read at a young age of 4. At a time, when a man, or even a young boy, was expected to work with his hands and money was scarce, I would say that was quite fortuitous of his parents to instill the love of learning at such a young age, especially in that day and age, where times were truly hard.
Image Credit: Media Heritage
If you would like to know more about Earl Hamner's life, writings, and TV shows, I encourage you to visit Earl's web-site, and read the tribute given there, written by Earl's devoted friend, James Person, Jr., who wrote Earl Hamner's Biography, Earl Hamner From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow.
|Biography of Earl Hamner|
The Waltons series began in 1972 and ended in 1981. Six Reunion movies followed, with the last one airing in 1998, A Walton Easter.
The INSP web-site gave a wonderful tribute to Earl that includes heartfelt, touching statements from The Waltons cast members. Thankfully, we can continue to watch The Waltons every weekday on the INSP television network and hear the amazing voice of Earl Hamner narrating the story.
|Earl Hamner at John Boy's desk|
Courtesy: Ray Castro, Jr. on Earl Hamner Storyteller Facebook page
|The Waltons Home - Saying Goodnight...|
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Earl Hamner's dear family, friends, and the cast members of The Waltons, who I know are like family.
We are grateful to Earl Hamner for the joy he has brought into our homes and our families lives each time we turn on The Waltons and return to a simpler time. I pray the legacy of this endearing series will carry on forever...