Riker from Star Trek was the first actor who sat in Grandpa Walton's chair following his death

Jonathan Frakes always did look good in a uniform.

Jonathan Frakes has deeper ties to the Star Trek franchise than just about anyone outside of the Roddenberry family. He played Commander William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course. He also got his start directing on that seminal series. Frakes went on to helm episodes of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Discovery, as well as the feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection.

Years before he stepped aboard the Enterprise, the Pennsylvania native wore a uniform of a different stripe. He played a Lieutenant (junior grade) of the United States Navy on Walton's Mountain.

The story began with the quirky Baldwin Sisters. On The Waltons, the elder siblings continually pine for their lost love, a near-mythical man named Ashley Longworth. In season seven, in the episode "The Legacy," Longworth at last shows up. Well, his son, Ashley Longworth, Jr.

Junior just so happens to be the spitting image of his father, which sends Emily Baldwin on a fainting spell. The more age-appropriate Erin Walton ends up becoming the romantic interest of Ashley Longworth.

Frakes played Longworth in two episodes, returning the following season for "The Lost Sheep," in which he proposes to Erin. The engagement is rather rocky, to say the least.

"I was engaged to the wonderful Mary McDonough, who played Erin Walton,' Frakes said in a 2013 interview with The AV Club. "Ashley was a great, well-written, complex, troubled World War II Naval officer who lived in the imagination of the crazy aunts, but then he turned out to be real and fell in love with Erin."

Ashley Longworth holds another special distinction on The Waltons, however. He was the first man allowed to fill Grandpa Walton's seat at the table.

"One of the great Waltons moments was how, after the great Will Geer died, they kept his chair empty at the dinner table on Walton’s Mountain," Frakes explained. "The first character asked to sit in his chair was Ashley Longworth."

Frakes has another interesting tie to Erin Walton. Michael O'Keefe (Caddyshack) played one of Erin's earlier loves, forestry student Chad Marshall. Nearly four decades later, O'Keefe could be seen in a regular role on a TNT series called King & Maxwell.

Who happened to direct an early episode of that show? You guessed it — Jonathan Frakes.

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DavidAgosta 43 months ago
Jonathan Frakes Father-In-Law Irwin Francis had a recurring role, on The Waltons. He debuted as the University Librarian, at John Boy's College. Then he played Dean Beck. Beck was one of the characters from "Spencer's Mountain", who was carried into the series.

Also, series creator Earl Hamner Jr. was a FB friend of mine. He was always good at returning my messages, when I asked about the series.
ThisTownNeedsAnEditor 46 months ago
"Riker from Star Trek was the first actor who sat in Grandpa Walton's chair following his death"

Riker from Star Trek was a character. Jonathan Frakes is an actor.

What your title suggests is a character from the 24th century came back in time on The Waltons and sat in Grandpa Walton's chair. Perhaps your title should be "Jonathan Frakes, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, was the first actor who sat in Grandpa Walton's chair following his death"

Don't you have an editor?
Well if we’re going to split hairs (because we have nothing better to do) the correct way to state the entire sentence is the following:

Jonathon Frakes the actor who played the character of Commander Riker on Star Trek TNG was the first actor who sat in the chair belonging to actor Will Geer following his death, who played the character of Grandpa Walton on the The Walton's.

(Anybody still awake)?

I'll let Wiseguy fill in the accurate punctuation. I wouldn't even attempt it under his watch. 😉
Junkman165 Pacificsun 46 months ago
You are both wrong. The title should have been "404 Page Not Found" because this didn't deserve to be an article.
Pacificsun Junkman165 46 months ago
Ha, ha. Love it! But give them a break. A Legal Holiday began the week, and seems like at the beginning of every school year the "Interns" shift around. At least we got a new story. Such as it is. LOL!!!
Pacificsun 46 months ago
Very nicely detailed article MeTV Staff. Research skills are certainly an improvement along with the quality of work. Much appreciated including a really interesting story! Thanks!
Randall 46 months ago
There are no atheist in foxholes and there are no atheist on Walton's mountain unless your name is ashely Longworth , the nephew of the Baldwin sisters. Hats off to the Waltons for doing an episode on PTSD
justjeff 46 months ago
Homer Simpson: Mmmmmmm--- BACON!----mmmmmmmmmmm
stephaniestavropoulos 46 months ago
This story sounds like a version of "The 6 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon." Only this time around the title is "The Six Degrees Of Jonathan Frakes!"
Chad Marshall is a retired star defender with both the Columbus Crew & Seattle Sounders and the namesake of a character on The Waltons played by...
Michael O'Keefe who guest starred with...
Mary McDonough who worked with another guest star named...
Jonathan Frakes.

Yep. It works.
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