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The surprise hit of the 1972-1973 TV season, The Waltons is one of a handful of weekly, hour-long dramatic series that can truly qualify as "wholesome family entertainment" -- and one of the very few that succeeded spectacularly on those terms. The Waltons was created by Earl Hamner Jr., who based the series on his own experiences while growing up in the South during the 1920s and 1930s. Hamner had previously written an autobiographical novel with a similar theme, Spencer's Mountain, which was filmed in 1963 with Henry ...