Kami Cotler portrayed Elizabeth, the youngest member of the Walton family. Since her time acting on the show she has become a teacher, educator and school principal. Recently, Kami has become quite active on her Facebook page, sharing her memories of working on The Waltons. Preserved here are those memories that she has shared for your easy reference and enjoyment.

 

If you want to read the comments click the date of each post to go to the original post on Facebook.


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January 10, 2016

The porch existed on stage 26 and on the back lot. When they filmed inside the living room, a giant painted backdrop of trees might be glimpsed through the lace curtains. These photos are from the reconstructed set from the reunion show.


January 10, 2016

Ever wonder how we filmed inside vehicles? 99% of the time we used rear projection. We would act in the foreground, while a pre-filmed background was projected onto a screen behind us. It creates a grainy effect you can recognize if you look for it. On our show all these shots were filmed between the porch and the backdrop, where there was enough space to line up the projector, the screen, the car and the camera crew.


(Follow up comment) Rear projection is an older process. Green Screen, is a green screen that they digitally add images to. Rear projection is a big projector that projects the image from behind onto a screen. I think it was also synced with the film camera to make sure the camera was filming frames at the same moment the projector was showing images.





(Note: In the final image of John-Boy sitting on the roof of the truck you can see the edge of the rear projection screen on the left. - AATW Editor)


January 17, 2016

Here is my brother's casting photo from back in the day. We've talked about his acting on the Waltons; anyone recognize him from any other show?

My brother was in several episodes of The Waltons, as many of you remembered, and he worked as a child, recurring on Eight is Enough as Nicholas' best friend Irving, guesting on Emergency, and featured on The Young Pioneers with Linda Purl, Robert Donner, Mare Winningham and Robert Hayes. He was also in the short-lived sitcom, Struck By Lightening, which is why I say we were each in the one of the worst TV shows ever-- Me and the Chimp and Struck By Lightening. 

Jeff Cotler

 


January 19, 2016

 

A few people have asked about the article (to the right with the link below), which says the TNT "had to destroy the Waltons set." I encourage you to take this with a grain of salt. The network is trying to create the message that they will be developing edgy, high-end content, and the easiest way to do that is to say they "tore down" The Waltons set. So far as I know, the Walton house exterior still stands on Columbia Ranch. Even if they have torn it down, it wasn't the original set, which burned down years ago. We haven't used the interior set pieces since 1997. So, there is no way those sets are standing up somewhere occupying stage space. The cool part is that The Waltons is still meaningful enough that it can be used as shorthand to describe a move away from family-oriented programming to something where the content will be PG-13.

External Link: New management maps a radically changed TNT, TBS

February 13, 2016

Will's Emmy lived in the Walton Mountain Schoolhouse, the trailer where we really did attend school during filming, until Will passed away.


 


Ellen Corby and Will Geer win for Outstanding Supporting roles...

 

Enjoy two beautiful acceptance speeches by Ellen Corby and Will Geer as they win Outstanding Supporting Actress and Actor in a Drama for The Waltons at the 27th Emmys, 1975.

February 27, 2016

Here is a pretty good article about how California working child actors get their schooling on set.

Directors Know: When Child Actors Are On Set, The Studio Teacher Is In Charge


February 28, 2016

Watching the Oscars and remembering Patricia Norris, who was our first costumer on The Waltons. She picked out the little boots and rompers I wore for most of the first season, and she cried when I outgrew them.


March 5, 2016

Here are some awesome photos of Jon at a telethon. We used to do so many telethons! Even when I was very little they let me answer the phone and take pledges.



March 8, 2016

I never had this toy, though I did have a Waltons lunch box and the Waltons board game. I took my lunch to school in my lunch box and we played the game, too. No thought of them being collectible... My lunch box rusted out eventually and the game lost its pieces and they both ended up in the garbage.

 


March 12, 2016

Here is an interview with Michael all about Olivia Walton.

 


March 12, 2016

Here is what our scripts and call sheets looked like. Mary is raising funds for Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.


Mary's eBay listing info:

SIGNED ORIGINAL WALTONS SCRIPT+ ORIGINAL CALL SHEET – THE SERMON Signed by cast members. See photos. THE SERMON SCRIPT- ORIGINAL June 11, 1975 signed by Michael Learned, Eric Scott, Richard Thomas, Judy Norton, David Harper and Mary McDonough. This was my original script. It has my name on the upper right corner. It was filmed in 1975 and is 61 pages. I will personalize this if you wish. Just let me know who to make it out to. I will also sign the call sheet if you choose. Included is a letter of authenticity I will sign. All sold as is, see photos, happy bidding. Write if you have questions. Please include if and how and to whom you want the photos signed. If not, they will come as is. Some articles are one of a kind. A percentage will go to Sjogren's Syndrom Foundation.

Link to original ebay lisiting


March 20, 2016

Notice anything about these two rooms?




Yes, indeed! The girls' bedroom and the parents' bedroom are the same set, dressed with different furniture and decor. My bed was so tiny and the mattress was supported by a metal mesh, so it squeaked and sagged delightfully. And I could touch the head and foot of the bed if I stretched, which was kind of novel.


March 22, 2016

I found this floor plan on www.allaboutthewaltons.com (Thanks for the plug Kami - AATW Ed.) -- It looks pretty accurate to me. It shows the silly set up with the grandparents room-- who would design a room where you step up to the door and then immediately down to the room?





March 23, 2016

Also from www.allaboutthewaltons.com -- the layout for The Waltons upstairs. Notice the girls' and parents' room is the same. At least once we had to all come out of our bedrooms at the same time and I think they had Michael and Ralph come out of the attic door. Anyone remember this?





March 25, 2016

The LA Times story is nice and I believe the painting behind Earl was painted by Jon, Judy, Eric, Mary, David and me (they let me do a little sky).

Earl Hamner Jr., creator of 'The Waltons,' dies at 92

(More articles can be found on our Earl Hamner Memorial page - AATW Ed.)


March 29, 2016

This was posted by the director, who details the making of "The Warrior" on his blog. He posted it as a remembrance of Earl Hamner:

Ralph Senensky's words:
I am saddened. Earl Hamner passed away on March24, 2016. I directed a dozen THE WALTONS over a period of 5 years. There were several times when I directed an added scene written by Earl, which I discuss on a post WALTON'S MOUNTAIN REVISITED at www.senensky.com/waltons-mountain-revisited/. But only once did I direct a total script written by Earl. It was in the 6th season. The script was THE WARRIOR, a fascinating story about a 101-year-old Indian who returns to Walton’s Mountain, searching for the burial ground of his Cherokee tribe. He finds it is under the Walton barn. Who does the land belong to? It was written by a relative of someone in the upper echelon of Lorimar Productions, and it was not well written. I was not the only one who felt that way, but happily Earl said he would do the rewrite. The next three or four days I went every morning to his home and spent the day there as he totally rewrote the script from the opening to the final good-nights. It was a beautifully written script, and I was excited and eager to film it. But then outrageous circumstances concerning casting occurred, which I will not go into here, but which I describe in vivid detail on my post for THE WARRIOR. The role of the old warrior was a demanding one, and it was unfortunate that the actor already cast did not play it and that for the actor playing it, the role was beyond his experience and capability. For me only one scene (with thanks to the amazing 12-year old Kami Cotler) fulfilled the potential of Earl’s poignant and poetic dialogue.

Posted by Ralph Senensky on Sunday, March 27, 2016

April 7, 2016

From Jon Walmsley:

These days, the words "icon" and "unique" are thrown around indiscriminately. The truth is, as a country music singer and songwriter, Merle Haggard has never been surpassed. When he appeared in a 1976 episode of The Waltons called "The Comeback," I had the good fortune to share the main plot of the episode with him. We hung out on the set together and jammed away on our guitars between takes; a memory I'll never forget. He was a sweet, lovely, humble man. Thank you, Merle. Rest in peace.


April 25, 2016

Catalog from 1975. Look who is on the Yellow Brick Road.


May 9, 2016

We filmed The Waltons in Los Angeles, and I didn't visit the Blue Ridge until after the show had ended, so during the filming I didn't understand why there was so much dialog about flowers and seasons. Once you see spring in Virginia you realize what we were going on about.


May 12, 2016

Kami shared... Understanding that Hillbilly Accent... A quick lesson on southern linguistics and its origins... Ya'll listen up...


May 15, 2016

This is a fabulous example of how in an isolated place, like an island or a rural mountain, an accent can endure. To my English husband, this Virginia accent sounds like a rural English farmer. In Earl Hamner's accent, I hear the vestiges of Scottish indentured servants.

The odd accent of Tangier VA - American Tongues episode #3


May 21, 2016

Someone asked about cast members and religion. I was the youngest, so I reckon I always have the least amount of information when it comes to any question... I don't really know what most folks' personal beliefs were. Eric's family was Jewish and he had a Bar Mitzvah at 13. Mary's family was Catholic. I think Jon's family were Church of England (Episcopalian in the US). Maybe because viewers saw the central role religion had in our characters' lives, it's a little disorienting when doesn't match our own lives? For me, singing hymns was no different than gathering around the radio or milking a goat-- really cool experiences that differed from my own life.


May 31, 2016

Kami shared a link to Ellen Corby's 1974 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson". - AATW Ed.

 


May 31, 2016

Thanks to Randall for sharing the links to these videos with us.

Will Geer on Hee Haw 1976



June 3, 2016

Here is a lovely video about another child actress. I especially like the part where someone asks her, "Are you the girl who____?" and it isn't about her past acting life. It's always nice to be recognized for the things you are accomplishing in the present.


June 5, 2016

Did you know Ellen Corby wrote a children's book? We found a copy while cleaning out the garage... My daughter had me sign it and posted it to Ebay. According to Grandma, it's the autobiography of a pebble, which she kindly wrote for the pebble. 

Bid here on eBay - The Pebble Of Gibraltar By Ellen Corby AUTOGRAPHED BY ELIZABETH Kami Cotler
New, hard cover, "The Pebble of Gibraltar" an autobiography as told to Ellen Corby. Autographed by Kami Cotler, known as Elizabeth Walton.

Note: To everyone who is posting, horrified that we would list the book, I have a copy Ellen inscribed to me, which I am keeping. So take a breath...



June 13, 2016

People ask what my TV siblings are up to.. well, here is Jon (Jason) doing what he does...


June 21, 2016

Here is what my other talented sibling is up to:

Two Stars From Happy Days and The Waltons Come Together in Hello, Dolly! in Galveston


June 28, 2016

Link from the Montreal Times

Michael Learned is in rehearsals for "Driving Miss Daisy," which will be followed up with the premiere of her one woman show, aptly titled "An Evening With Michael Learned."


July 9, 2016

Warm-witted star of TV’s The Waltons now appearing on stage

Driving Miss Daisy runs through July 24, followed by three special shows featuring Michael Learned


September 15, 2016

Apparently, 44 years ago The Waltons premiered. The showed the second episode we filmed, The Foundling, first. Before it was aired, they screened it for the producers, the actors and their families. When Elizabeth got trapped in the trunk, my little brother turned to my Mom and asked, "Does she ever get out?" I was sitting next to him at the time....


September 15, 2016

Michael has a facebook page! Go check it out.


September 15, 2016

Someone asked what happened to all the quilts and other props we used on the show. We filmed on the old Warner Brothers lot, so everything came from the Warners Prop House. Occasionally, an item would have a label indicating its history. I think Jon Walmsley once had a coat with "Wallace Beery" written on the inside collar. When our show ended, all those props when back to the prop house, just as they had in the 40's after they were used in some Warner film. Kinda cool.





October 13, 2016

Someone asked if we had special memories of The Burnout and I think we all do. Any time you film with special effects, it's memorable. The producers needed special permission to film with children after 6:30pm, there were firefighters with hoses right off camera, our nightgowns were sprayed with flame retardant. It was very exciting and felt weirdly real.


October 16, 2016

Someone asked if it was true that Michael Learned's nightgown caught fire during the filming of "The Burn Out". I don't remember that happening but it's possible. When we shot the interior sequences they had gas pipes along the ground to shoot flames up the walls and we were running by them. However, there were fire fighters with extinguishers so no one was injured that I recall. The biggest issue was headaches from breathing in the smoke. I remember them using bee smokers to provide the smoke. They looked almost exactly like the one in this video and they'd pump the bellows and fill the hallway with smoke before we shot.



October 19, 2016

Someone asked how authentic the Waltons' saw mill was. It worked. Ralph really through a switch and the saw really turned and they really cut wood. I don't remember any cinematic trickery, though they must have disabled it when they weren't using it for filming, because we used to play all around there...


December 4, 2016

I thought you all might like to see a Waltons shooting schedule. About a week or so before an episode was filmed, a multiple page shooting schedule would be created by our first assistant director. It was an outline of the order scenes would be filmed in and included where we would be filming each day and who worked when. If I saw one I would peer over the 1st AD's shoulder to try and work out which days I'd be busy working and which days I might come in later... This shooting schedule is from the Quilting, directed by Larry Dobkin, one of my favorite directors. Mary is offering it on eBay.


December 16, 2016

Here are a few of our memories from making "The Homecoming".


 

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