The last piece of the oversized TV family puzzle

For years I have had a theory about the interconnectedness of the television series “The Waltons” and “7th Heaven”. In fact, I’ve even thought about writing a paper about it. (I used to be a grad student. I try to turn everything in to a research paper.)
First of all, both families had seven kids. Second, the big brother in each family was sort of a third parent who took his responsibilities very seriously. Third, the two oldest daughters were named Mary Ellen (“The Waltons”) and “Mary” (“7th Heaven”). Fourth, the middle girls Erin (“Waltons”) and Lucy (“Heaven”) are both insecure and only care about boys and being pretty (at first). Each (Yes, I’m dropping the numbers. I’m tired of them.) features a boy who is good with money (Ben and Simon. I’m going to continue with “The Waltons” first and “7th Heaven” second, so I don’t have to keep typing the names.) and a precocious youngest daughter who turns out to be smarter than all of the rest of them (Elizabeth and Ruthie). Finally, there are the family dogs Reckless and Happy.
Another interesting coincidence is that the dad from “7th Heaven”, actor Stephen Collins, once guest-starred on “The Waltons”. He was much younger and using a so-so British accent, but it was definitely him. I was disappointed by the fact that none of “The Waltons” actors had ever been on “7th Heaven”.
Until last week. I was watching an episode I had seen many times, where Lucy convinces her father that the church needs to have an old-fashioned church social to help the single women in the congregation meet men. She bribes her dad by saying he can get a band together and sing. And there, playing backup guitar for the Rev. Camden, was none other than Jon Walmsley, a.k.a Jason Walton (who is a musician in real life). I couldn’t believe it. I was way too excited about it. (Hey, I believe in taking joy in the small things.) In fact, I saved the episode on the DVR to show my husband (who has patiently listened to the similarities between the two shows many times). He was suitably impressed, which is one of the many reasons I love him.
So, there you have it, folks. The two shows are inextricably connected. I would almost call “7th Heaven” a “reboot” or “remake” of “The Waltons” to some extent. I would say the latter definitely provided some inspiration to the former anyway. The only thing that would make it more perfect would have been if the Camdens lived in the Waltons’ old house, but alas, Lorelei Gilmore snagged it and it became the Dragonfly Inn.


  1. Dennis said,

    February 24, 2010 at 12:45 am

    I think, if you are to write a research paper, you have to go deeper than “Kennedy drove a Lincoln.”
    The similarities are fun; but, for instance, do the writer’s have personal philosophies that are similar (or divergent?) If so, how do those views impact society?
    On another note, the Walton’s had “John Boy.” 7th Heaven pooped in a “John.”

    • kittymomma said,

      February 24, 2010 at 12:55 am

      Oh, Dennis, sweetie, you are taking this way more seriously than I am.

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