The Waltons creator Earl Hamner Jr. made a sweet cameo in one episode

He sports a big mustache for the small role.

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Earl Hamner Jr. made a cameo on The Waltons!
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Season two of The Waltons starts with the touching episode "The Journey." Series creator Earl Hamner Jr. states in the opening narration (as the voice of middle-aged John-Boy) that the sad truth that many people live in solitude "brought me close to a remarkable woman and sent me on a journey that I was to remember for the rest of my life."

The story begins with John-Boy planning to take early love interest Marcia Woolery to a dance. But she is not the woman mentioned in the narration, as we soon find out. Old Mrs. Maggie MacKenzie, one of the many memorable single-episode neighbors on Walton's Mountain, needs help fixing her car. John-Boy obliges and is rewarded with stories from Maggie's past.

She speaks longingly of her deceased husband, Michael, and shows an old, black-and-white photograph of him to John-Boy. The mustachioed man in the picture is actually Earl Hamner! It's his first brief cameo on the show he created. Luckily, it's not his only appearance in the episode. We get a much better glimpse of Michael MacKenzie later on.

Maggie convinces John-Boy to take her to the beach, leaving Marcia Woolery high and dry. Mrs. McKenzie remembers setting sail from Scotland with her husband years before. She and John-Boy visit a restaurant called “The Mermaid” which brings back even more memories for Maggie. In fact, John-Boy sweetly asks her to dance and she imagines Michael in his place.

And who do we see playing Mr. MacKenzie in the flashback? Earl Hamner, in a sharp 1800s suit and full curly mustache. It's a poignant, heartwarming moment perfectly appropriate for the man who brought so many to the show.

The quick appearance may have gone mostly unnoticed when the episode first aired but thanks to the enduring popularity of The Waltons, it can be fully appreciated now and for years to come.

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15 Comments

rraynard 41 months ago
I watched the Walton's on a regular basis, after returning from overseas.
MikefromJersey 42 months ago
Earl Hamner appeared on To Tell The Truth. I didn't know what he looked like but as soon
as he opened his mouth it was obviously him, to anyone who has heard the narration on
the Waltons. Tell The Truth runs - 8:30 AM - on the Game Show network and hasn't aged
a bit. Host Gary Moore gives a clinic every day on how to be a game show host.
This enjoyable episode of "To Tell The Truth" with Earl Hamner Jr. originally aired in October 1973, at the beginning of The Walton's second season.

Improbable as it seems, the panelists DIDN'T recognize Hamner's unmistakable voice.  Personally, I don't think any of them had actually seen the show yet.  And perhaps it wasn't widely known at the time that Hamner himself was the narrator. 

Hamner looked exactly like the black-and-white 1976 photo on his Wikipedia page, so most of the panelists dismissed him as appearing "too young to have lived through the Depression" and voted for another (more mature, gray-haired) contestant instead.  Ha! 

A fresh-faced Richard Thomas made a guest appearance during the show, sitting with Hamner to answer a few questions at the end of the segment. The bond between the two was evident and heartwarming, and Thomas seemed almost giddy when discussing the show's success.  (When The Waltons debuted a year earlier, remember, it was widely panned as being too hokey for cynical '70s audiences and was almost canceled during its first few months. It found an audience just in time, though, and became a runaway hit before the first season ended -- and it's obvious that Thomas was surprised and elated at the show's unexpected turnaround.)
And you're right, Mike -- Gary Moore was the best!
Excellent post, you do know your old shows.
By the way, when the original Popeye was on To Tell The Truth, only one panelist guessed him,
despite the fact he still looked exactly like Popeye, and that voice!
The second he said his name at the start I knew it was him.
I guess we can assume he was indeed the original model for Popeye.
MrsPhilHarris 42 months ago
I actually thought it was Rob Reiner on Gomer Pyle when I glanced at the first picture.
AgingDisgracefully 42 months ago
When questioned, he said, "Hitchcock does it!"
DethBiz 42 months ago
And here I thought it was the Waltons Halloween Episode and he was dressed up as Andrew Prine.
daDoctah 42 months ago
Should I include Hamner on my list of recurring actors on TV series who are heard but never seen, in the "narrator" subcategory that includes Daniel Stern on "The Wonder Years", Bob Saget on "How I Met Your Mother", and Jim Parsons on "Young Sheldon"? I've already allowed Nick Bakay (Salem on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch") and Deborah Pratt (narrator and "Ziggy" on "Quantum Leap"), even though they did appear on-screen as other characters.
You can't say Earl Hamner was never seen. That's what this story was about, he did make an appearance, {although he was disguised.}
Someone else you should include is Waylon Jennings from the Dukes Of Hazzard. Like the others you listed, he was heard but never, {I don't think,} seen.
Love me some Ole’ Waylon Jennings now. Then Dukes, them Dukes!
A couple of months back, I {after much deliberating,} finally decided to get TDOF series, the reunion movies and the movie that inspired the show, "Moonrunners"-1975. I'm glad I did, because that was a show I remember my dad liked to watch. I'm still on the fence about whether or not to get the cartoons. I do believe one of the cartoons stops on the racing circuit, was Greece. If it was, I just may have to get them. {That being my dad's native land.}
After numerous requests from fans to see the Balladeer on-screen, Jennings finally appeared in one episode, the seventh season's aptly titled "Welcome, Waylon Jennings", in which he was presented as an old friend of the Dukes.
Staunch_Reaganite 42 months ago
Never really cared much for The Waltons. It was one of my mother's favorite shows and as a child, I just couldn't be entertained by the downhome wholesomeness of the show.
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