Post by flossieskid on May 31, 2021 21:15:27 GMT -5
Today, as the country celebrates the efforts and sacrifices of each member of the United States military, perhaps some of us also remember family and friends on this “Memorial Day.” I know I do.
One of my previous threads relayed the story of 2 super fans I sat next to at the 40th Anniversary of The Waltons at the Ebell Theater in LA. I was impressed how well these two elderly women knew so much about the cast members and the numerous guest stars that appeared on the show. For those of you at that evening’s celebration, I’m sure you will remember at one point, near the end of the program, they had an “In Memoriam” segment showing the photo and name of the many actors who were on the series and were no longer with us. The 3 of us began to watch intently and the lovely lady next to me said, “Oh, how wonderful, we will get to see your Mom!”
About half way through, my Mom’s picture was shown on the big screen, with the name “Nora Marlow” beneath it. After watching all of the many photos that appeared, I sadly realized my Mom was the ONLY name in this presentation that was spelled wrong! They left out the last letter - her name is spelled with an “e” on the end. I was a bit sad, but thought it was probably just a typo and everyone makes mistakes. But, I was a little frustrated that out of everyone, she was the only actor whose name was not right. It was a nice photo and I thought no one else but me would know they spelled her name wrong.
But, immediately after the segment was over, both ladies next to me showed they really were super fans! They each apologized about the mis-spelling like it was somehow their fault. They both commented on what a nice photo it was and the “really true fans would catch the error.” I was just truly impressed they knew how my Mom’s name was spelled. They kept asking, “Didn’t someone check this list?” “How could this mistake not be noticed?” They were so sweet in their efforts to make me feel better.
After the entire celebration was over, as I was making my way downstairs to say goodbye to my friends, I could see Earl making a beeline to me. “Tracey, darling, I am so sorry they spelled Nora’s name wrong! I have no idea who did this tribute but I am so very sorry!” Typical Earl, reaching out to make me feel better! Of course, I told him, that just like my name, if someone forgets the “e” it is still pronounced the same - no worries. I said, “You know my Mom, she would have gotten a good laugh out of it!” I told him that since she was always “a glass half full” kind of person, she would think it made her stand out as the only person whose name was listed wrong!
It really wasn’t that big a deal, so I was totally surprised when I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a lovely note from Earl within the week. Again, he apologized for the error and made a joke about the one thing, besides a good performance, every actor strives to achieve - the correct spelling of their name on their paycheck! He was such a dear, kind man.
Years later, as The Waltons went into reruns and then sold to foreign countries, I could never complain because on each residual my Mom’s name was spelled correctly and we were able to put our son through school with that money!
So, on this Memorial Day, as we remember the amazing United States men and women who valiantly served our country, I don’t think anyone would begrudge us thinking of our own group of family and friends as we hold them, too, in our memories.
Thank you for sharing this story Tracey. I was in the audience at the theatre that night in 2012, but I am visually impaired, so it was really difficult for me to see it from where I was sitting, way up high in the balcony. So I’m thankful it is available to watch on YouTube. I’m so sorry they spelled your mother’s name incorrectly, but I’m not surprised at all about Earl Hamner’s kindness.
There is also a 45th anniversary “In Memoriam” video on YouTube, and I regret to tell you that your mother’s name was once again misspelled. Sadly, this video includes tributes to Ralph Waite, Joe Conley, Ronnie Claire Edwards, and Earl Hamner himself, since we lost those wonderful people in the five years between the 40th and 45th.
In reference to the 40th anniversary video, the live music during the tribute was incredible. Sadly, I couldn't find it. I believe it was probably composed just for the tribute and will remain nameless.
Thank you Brenda for the You Tube link to the “In Memoriam” for the 45th Anniversary. It is truly mind boggling that so many wonderful actors appeared on The Waltons - and more amazing to me is that I knew or met almost 1/3rd of everyone listed! Each acting job my parents did expanded their group of friends and sometimes, it was a reunion of the wonderful people they worked with in radio in the 1940’s - like Earl.
Near the beginning of the tribute was the photo and name of John McGreevey. He was a very talented screenwriter who had worked with Earl and Rod Peterson (Waltons’ Writer/Executive Producer) in the early days of radio. His son Michael was a young star, with Kurt Russell, in many Disney movies and grew up to be a successful screenwriter and producer, as well.
As potential writers are told, write about what you know. We were always around the Petersons and McGreeveys all the time. In the 1960’s, another dear friend, John McIntire, starred in “Wagon Train” - probably way before the times of most Walton fans. But, John McGreevey wrote a script for “Wagon Train” called “The Trace McCall Story”. It wasn’t until I saw the show that I realized John had shortened my name from Tracey McCallion for the title of an episode. When I saw John McGreevey, I thanked him for putting my name (even if it wasn’t my whole name!) on such a great show. He joked that he was happy to do it, but I shouldn’t expect to see any residual money!
It is sad when any actor is taken far too soon. But, in reviewing the actors listed from the Waltons’ tribute, I saw the name of a very handsome actor named Richard Kelton. He was a guest star on the 12 part mini- series about the history of “Centennial” (a community in Colorado) filmed in 1979. He died from carbon dioxide poisoning from a faulty heater on location in Colorado. He had done 1 day of filming. He was only 35.
Besides being on The Waltons, I had a much closer, traumatic connection to Richard. Our daughter seemed to be reading at the age of 3, but we thought she had just memorized the books we exposed her to all the time. So, one day we were in the living room and my husband was still reading the LA Times. I can’t remember the exact origin, but we were trying to explain to Nikki that usually people live “very long lives” and don’t die until they are very old. Then, we somehow transitioned to Nikki telling us she really could read and she didn’t memorize the books. So, not thinking of anything dire, I said, “Read anything you see on this page” and I handed her one part of the LA Times. My husband had not gotten to that part of the paper yet.
I had not heard about Richard’s passing and all of a sudden, Nikki says, “Mommy, there is a picture of Zack’s Dad in the paper.” Zack and Nikki went to the same pre-school and I knew Richard and his wife, Eileen, from daily pick-ups and playdates. Thinking it was just reporting a new show he was doing, I said, “Great, read the article about him out loud” - thinking of course she would be totally stumped! She then proceeded to read that “Richard Kelton died in his trailer, from a faulty heater on location in Colorado. He was 35 years old”. Nikki looked up from the newspaper very confused.
YIKES! As you can imagine, I quickly took the paper and we told Nikki how terrific her reading was and how impressed we were. But, of course, her next question was, “I thought you said people only die when they are really old. Mr. Kelton is really young!” Obviously, I turned to my husband, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, and said, softly under my breath, “This is all you, Doc - go for it!” He explained the best he could about terrible accidents, how they don’t happen very often and he was very sensitive and answered all her questions. She was so sad for her friend Zack. But, luckily we had the distraction of focusing on the fact that she really DID know how to read and how proud we were of her accomplishment.
So, as horrible as that tragedy was, I am sure Zack got the chance to know his Dad through his many performances on lots of different shows and on the many reruns he appeared in - especially “The Waltons”.
That is indeed a very sad story about Richard Kelton. He appeared in the first episode of The Waltons, The Foundling. He played the father of the hearing impaired girl, Holly.
Michael McGreevey was also in an episode of The Waltons. He played Hobie Shanks in the The Braggart. I met Michael in 2013 at a Waltons reunion. I was lucky enough to sit at his table at the reunion banquet. He was very friendly and personable, and he even posed with me for a photo.
I met John McGreevey at a Waltons reunion in 2007. Here’s a photo I took of him and his wife.
Post by flossieskid on Jun 2, 2021 21:24:27 GMT -5
Brenda, thanks for sharing the photos. It has been about 3 years since I saw Mike. What a nice photo of his Dad John and wife Nota. Sadly, she lost a lot of her vision and took to wearing sunglasses near the end of her life. But, she had a great ear and could recognize your voice after hearing just a few words. She and my Mom were great friends and spent hours and hours on the phone every week.
It is odd that I was never aware of the Walton reunions. I didn’t realize they started so many years ago. There surely seems to be a large number of seriously devoted fans. I would love to hear about what goes on at the reunions.
Easton - I am in total SHOCK! The studio was fined only $720 for being responsible for someone’s death?!? That doesn’t seem possible!! The family MUST have gotten a bigger settlement from the producers of “Centennial”. It was an amazing mini-series, but the pall from Richard’s death ruined my viewing of it. It was so utterly sad and so utterly avoidable!
Post by patriciaanne on Jun 3, 2021 15:14:47 GMT -5
I did not know this about Richard Kelton. How sad to have such an unnecessary death.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Mike McGreevey. What a nice guy! I told him that every time I watch The Braggert, I hope it will end differently and he won't break his arm and he'll become a big baseball star. He then told me a sweet story of his young son watching the episode and getting upset at his father getting hurt. And his wife had to call him and put him on the phone to reassure his son that he was ok. 💗
Speaking of baseball...the first boy I ever kissed was recruited by the St. Louis Cardinals. Luckily he didn't chase some girls up a tree and break his arm. He became Rookie of the Year. 😉