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The Homecoming - The Christmas Story

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(CBS, 12/19/1971, 120 mins). This was the pilot movie for “The Waltons” (which began its long run in September 1972), recounting the events of one day Christmas Eve, 1933 in the lives of a rural American mountain family. Later called “The Homecoming A Christmas Story,” it won a Christopher Award as well as Emmy nominations for actress Patricia Neal, director Fielder Cook and author Earl Hamner Jr. (who based the story apparently on his own youthful recollections and was the model for “John Boy”). Hamner previously had written the story in 1961 in another form which emerged on the screen as “Spencer’s Mountain” (1963) with Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara as the parents. When “The Waltons” turned up as a series, Michael Learned, Ralph Waite and Will Geer took over the roles created by Patricia Neal, Andrew Duggan and Edgar Bergen, while most of the others in the cast continued in the parts they originated.

Production Company Lorimar Productions. Director Fielder Cook. Executive Producer Lee Rich. Producer Robert L. Jacks. Teleplay Earl Hamner. Based on the Novel by Earl Hamner. Photography Earl Rath. Music Jerry Goldsmith. Editor Marjorie Fowler, Gene Fowler Jr. Art Director Robert E. Smith.

Cast Patricia Neal (Olivia Walton), Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton), Edgar Bergen (Grandpa Walton), Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton), Cleavon Little (Hawthorne Dooley), Josephine Hutchinson (Mamie Baldwin), Dorothy Stickney (Emily Baldwin), William Windom (Charlie Snead), Andrew Duggan (John Walton), Woodrow Parfrey (Ike Godsey), Judy Norton-Taylor (Mary Ellen Walton), Mary Beth McDonough (Erin Walton), Kami Cotler (Elizabeth Walton), Eric Scott (Ben Walton), David Harper (Jim-Bob Walton), Jon Walmsley (Jason Walton), David Huddleston (Sheriff Ep Bridges), Sally Chamberlin (City lady), Donald Livingston (Claudie Dooley), Betty Carter (Emmarine), Kent Williams, Roderick Bingley, Rodney Bingley, Clarence M. Landry.

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