Monday, March 28, 2016

In Rememberance, "Goodnight Earl Hamner", Creator and Narrator of "The Waltons"...


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...

Earl Hamner pictured on porch with Cast Members of The Waltons
image via: 2013 Entertainment Weekly article
Ralph Waite (John), Michael Learned (Olivia), Mary McDonough (Erin), David W. Harper (Jim-Bob),
Eric Scott (Ben), Earl Hamner, Jr. (Narrator), Kami Cotler (Elizabeth),
Richard Thomas (John-Boy), Jon Walmsley (Jason), and Judy Norton (Mary Ellen)

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.

Young Earl Hamner Jr.
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.

Earl's son shared that his dad died peacefully in his sleep, so it is appropriate that we all say now...
"Goodnight Earl".


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...


7 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written article Net!! He definitely will be missed!!

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  2. ..."to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord"...and we know Mr. Hamner is praising his Lord now for the heavenly home he resides in now. Many blessings of peace to his family and friends. Lovely, lovely tribute, Net!!

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  3. Once again you did a beautiful eulogy in memory of Mr. Hammer. So many wonderful days and nights we spent with The Waltons. May he rest in peace.

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  4. What a wonderful tribute to a fine man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

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  5. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are the best Net at pulling the heart strings in your writings. Your writings with special tributes like this and so many other writings nearly always find me shedding tears. You did it again. "Goodnight Earl". Love "The Waltons". God bless him.

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  6. Nice tribute to a fine man who was instrumental in influencing and touching many lives in the course of our history. One of the greats. Truly. My prayers also to his family and friends. Goodnight Earl.

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  7. Has anyone heard if there is TV tribute planned on INSP or elsewhere for Earl Hamner?

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