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View Full Version : Why Did Michael Learned Leave The Waltons in 1979?


Mike22580
04-13-2007, 10:16 PM
I was watching the waltons the final seasons of the waltons which are not my favorite seasons and i was wondering why Olivia Walton (Michael Learned's Character) was written off the show. They explained she had an illness and went away to seek treatment? I was wondering if producers wrote her off the show or she opted not to renew her contract during the final few seasons of the show. I think the show would have probably lasted another season if she would have stayed with the series.

Dr. Thong
04-13-2007, 10:38 PM
Michael Learned left to star in a 1980 TV movie titled Nurse, which ended up serving as the pilot for a show that ran for two seasons and 25 episodes, spanning April 1981 - May 1982. The show also featured Robert Reed and Hattie Winston as regulars.

Ireneparalegal
04-13-2007, 11:10 PM
Michael Learned left to star in a 1980 TV movie titled Nurse, which ended up serving as the pilot for a show that ran for two seasons and 25 episodes, spanning April 1981 - May 1982. The show also featured Robert Reed and Hattie Winston as regulars.
That was why we were given that annoying family member ROSE! :mad:

I totally forgot abt that show NURSE. My God, I used to watch that show. How could I forget? :crazy:

Dr. Thong
04-14-2007, 11:48 AM
That was why we were given that annoying family member ROSE! :mad:

I totally forgot abt that show NURSE. My God, I used to watch that show. How could I forget? :crazy:

Well, it was over 25 years ago, Irene - cut yerself some slack!

It was basically a one-season wonder and I don't believe it's ever been rerun since then, so I think you're forgiven this memory lapse.

Dusty's Fan
04-14-2007, 01:04 PM
That was why we were given that annoying family member ROSE!

I thought that was a rare example of poor casting for the show. I didn't care for her either.

catlover79
04-14-2007, 04:48 PM
Michael Learned was in every single Waltons reunion movie, and so was Richard Thomas. I don't think Peggy Rea was ever in any, but I'm not sure. Ms. Rea went on to play Mrs. Boss Hogg on Dukes of Hazzard, and Suzanne Somers' mother the first season of Step by Step.

Did anyone ever see the Waltons' Christmas movie, The Homecoming? This served as the pilot to the series. Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan played Olivia and John. Edgar Bergen played Grandpa. Ellen Corby (Grandma) and all the kids were the same. I wonder how Patricia Neal would've done had she gone on to the series. She was wonderful in the movie.

Tennesseestorm
09-02-2007, 01:15 AM
I think also around 1980, she played in the movie, "Christmas Without Snow".

I have never seen that pilot Waltons, but would love to see it. Does anyone know if it is available on DVD?

Thanks

Stuck In The '70's
09-02-2007, 01:19 AM
Well, it was over 25 years ago, Irene - cut yerself some slack!

It was basically a one-season wonder and I don't believe it's ever been rerun since then, so I think you're forgiven this memory lapse.
It was rerunned on Lifetime for awhile.

Stuck In The '70's
09-02-2007, 01:21 AM
Michael Learned was in every single Waltons reunion movie, and so was Richard Thomas. I don't think Peggy Rea was ever in any, but I'm not sure. Ms. Rea went on to play Mrs. Boss Hogg on Dukes of Hazzard, and Suzanne Somers' mother the first season of Step by Step.

Did anyone ever see the Waltons' Christmas movie, The Homecoming? This served as the pilot to the series. Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan played Olivia and John. Edgar Bergen played Grandpa. Ellen Corby (Grandma) and all the kids were the same. I wonder how Patricia Neal would've done had she gone on to the series. She was wonderful in the movie.
I used to watch that movie every year. It's a true classic. :D

catlover79
09-02-2007, 02:01 PM
The Homecoming (1971) is indeed available on DVD. It is a true Christmas classic. :D

Tennesseestorm
09-02-2007, 02:36 PM
Thanks Catlover! I will look for it! :)

catlover79
09-02-2007, 08:33 PM
No problem! Let us know what you think once you've watched it!! :D

Jude The Obscure
06-08-2008, 02:42 AM
I have the DVD of The Homecoming--one of my fave Christmas movies.

I think Patricia Neal, IMO, was too old to play the mother on the series....such a startling contrast to Michael Learned's youthfulness.

I guess one day I will get the series on DVD. :)

Zoneboy
06-08-2008, 03:33 AM
I didn't mind Rose that much, Jeffrey Burton though was extremely annoying and Serena was somewhat tolerable. Keith Mitchell who played Jeffrey has developed quite a resume since he started using his given name (Keith Coogan) Martha Nix (Serena) hasn't done much since then and when actress Adele Longmire passed away in January, Peggy became the last surviving nurse from the I Love Lucy episode Lucy Goes to the Hospital.

TV Guy
06-08-2008, 10:04 AM
Peggy Rea did have a cameo in 1993's "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion", where we find out that Rose is now working as a housekeeper for Erin's ex-husband.

Richard Thomas didn't appear in any of the 1982 NBC movies, though John Boy did appear in one (Robert Wightman reprised the role in "A Day For Thanks on Walton's Mountain"). Michael Learned only appeared in one of those three NBC movies - "Mother's Day on Walton's Mountain." Thankfully, both were back for the CBS movies in the 1990s.

Jude The Obscure
06-08-2008, 10:14 AM
Were there two or three of the CBS movies?

And were the NBC movies actually tests to see if NBC would revive "The Waltons"?

Ireneparalegal
06-08-2008, 02:54 PM
The Homecoming (1971) is indeed available on DVD. It is a true Christmas classic. :D
I remember seeing that pilot only once. CBS aired it. Mind you, this was after the Waltons had already been airing, so it was hard for me to see Patricia Neal as the mother.

wsallieann
07-15-2008, 04:55 PM
Michael Learned was in every single Waltons reunion movie, and so was Richard Thomas. I don't think Peggy Rea was ever in any, but I'm not sure. Ms. Rea went on to play Mrs. Boss Hogg on Dukes of Hazzard, and Suzanne Somers' mother the first season of Step by Step.

Did anyone ever see the Waltons' Christmas movie, The Homecoming? This served as the pilot to the series. Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan played Olivia and John. Edgar Bergen played Grandpa. Ellen Corby (Grandma) and all the kids were the same. I wonder how Patricia Neal would've done had she gone on to the series. She was wonderful in the movie.

wsallieann
07-15-2008, 05:00 PM
I have been watching for years to hopefully see the very first Walton movie of the Homecoming. I hope they will show it again. I watch the Waltons every morning from 8 to 10AM. Wsallieann

ajm1972
08-31-2008, 06:45 AM
Yes major reason Michael Learned left Waltons was to start working on the Nurse series.

I'm curious why Ralph Waite left the series mid-season of the final season. I wonder if he had a deal with CBS for another series, but it didnt air for 2 more years in "The Mississippi" which I was a big fan of and wish to see again.

I've heard CBS was considering renewing the Waltons for one more season with only the kids as the main stars, so maybe it was an experiment to have Waite leave the show and let the kids essentially lead the series?

I'm guessing, anyone else know?

Aj

Tom Munster
11-20-2008, 05:58 PM
Maybe I can bring a little more information forward about this.
Ralph Waite's early departure during the 9th season was to allow for more storylines about "the kids." That's it.
Plans for a 10th season of "The Waltons" were on the discussion table. The plan was for a change in the show's title to "Walton's Mountain", starring the now grown-up Walton kids. Rose and her new husband, Stanley, along with Ike and Corabeth Godsey were to be the parental figures in the show.
NBC picked up on the idea, but only as far as 3 2-hour movie specials. I suppose if the ratings would have been better instead of just marginal, they would have ordered more episodes or movies.
So Walton fans would have to wait for the 1993 CBS reunion movie to see The Waltons altogether again, with 2 more 1990's reunion movies to follow.

catlover79
12-08-2008, 04:12 PM
^ Wasn't Ralph Waite's last episode the first to feature Jonesy?

Jude The Obscure
12-08-2008, 08:28 PM
I remember the NBC reunion movies had a different look and feel to them--gone was the familar theme music and even the logo was changed to have a WM script type font for "Walton's Mountain".

liane49
05-15-2013, 10:17 AM
I used to watch that movie every year. It's a true classic. :D
She said she left because she wasn't given much acting to do on the show. And after a while it got to her.