R.I.P. Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of 'The Waltons' and 'Falcon Crest'

'The Waltons' creator passed away at the age of 92.

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Earl Hamner, Jr., best known for creating the popular television series The Waltons, passed away Thursday at the age of 92.

Hamner's writing career in broadcasting started in the 1950s, with writing credits on a few popular variety shows like The Kate Smith Hour and The United States Steel Hour. In the '60s, Hamner moved on to writing several episodes of The Twilight Zone and Wagon Train.

It wasn't until 1972 that Hamner created The Waltons, based on his 1961 novel Spencer's Mountain. The series revolved around a large family living in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. It became an instant success, becoming the highest rated drama during the 1973-1974 television season, second behind All in the Family. 

After the series ended in 1981, Hamner continued to create stories about the Walton family in the form of television movies, which lasted until the late 1990s. 

That same year, Hamner created the soap opera Falcon Crest. The primetime drama followed the paths of Dallas and Dynasty by focusing on two feuding families in California's wine country. Although it didn't quite match the success of The Waltons, Falcon Crest ran for nine seasons before ending in 1990. 

In addition to television, Hamner wrote the teleplay for the 1973 film Charlotte's Web. He also has a writing credit for the 2006 remake as well. 

Acording to his son, Scott, Hamner died of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. 

 
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Mirramanee 7 months ago
I always enjoyed watching the Waltons during its initial run. I was just a child at the time and preferred stories that mostly ended on a good note and that did not have a "soap opera" feel of ongoing crises and tragedies (actually, I still prefer such shows to this day, come to think of it). However, my favorite Earl Hamner story actually was from The Twilight Zone called "The Hunt" about a old man who resided with his wife in an area like Appalachia or the Blue Ridge Mountains. One night he goes out to hunt with his faithful dog, Rip. His dog falls or jumps into a river after a raccoon that the man shot at and gets into trouble. The old man goes in after him to save his dog. Eventually, they wake up a few hours later lying next to each other and make their way home, only to find that some changes have taken place since the night before. I won't go further in case anyone reading this hasn't seen it yet, but I love this story mainly because it demonstrates how a good dog can steer his person in the right direction no matter what the circumstances. As a huge dog lover, this story speaks directly to my heart and so it remains my favorite Hamner piece.
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