• July 19, 2024

In 1974, Will Geer said The Waltons should have had more cats

Will Geer is best known for playing the role of Grandpa Walton on the hit ’70s series, The Waltons. Not all actors across classic TV share something in common with their characters on-screen, but Grandpa Walton and Will Geer are two of the same.

Besides their love for The Waltons’ children, Geer and his character had a few other things in common: his infectious laugh, his love for the outdoors and gardening and many of Geer’s mannerisms.

For many fans of The Waltons, Grandpa Walton became the grandparent they related to but didn’t know they needed. In fact, many fans believed Grandpa Walton was just an extension of Geer’s personality in real life. According to Geer, that’s true.

Geer never shied away from talking about The Waltons, he even had a few suggestions on how to make the series better. One of those suggestions, however, was not quite what we were expecting.

In a 1974 interview with The Herald, Geer raised an important question: “Why is there are no cats in The Waltons?”

“Never in my life have I ever seen a rural family that had a barn that didn’t have some cats running around chasing after mice,” he said. “Not one cat in The Waltons? Why is that anyway?”

Fair point.

“Now my personal feeling is that Earl Hamner Jr. remembered so much about his Virginia boyhood when he was remembering about The Waltons, that there had been one thing he forgot,” he said. “And that one thing is the cats.”

Geer spoke with conviction and with a certain amount of charm whenever he talked about The Waltons, that’s why his plea for cats seemed so passionate.

He does have a point, however. A couple of barn cats couldn’t have hurt the storyline, but we aren’t sure it could have helped it either.

At the time of the interview, Geer was 72 years old. He stayed with The Waltons until the sixth season and passed away shortly after in 1978.

“Someone once told me that at a certain age, you fall apart,” he said. “But the big thing is not to fall apart in all departments.”

Although Geer and his character had many things in common, Geer said he would have handled many situations on the show differently in his personal life.

“They have a nice bunch of kids on The Waltons,” he said. “All city kids though. One episode, one of the kids has a pet raccoon that dies. Big hullabaloo. They have a funeral for this raccoon. Grandpa’s sympathetic. But what grandpa should have said was: “Dang it all, if we got rid of more raccoons, we’d have more corn and eggs on the table. Raccoons are hell on chickens.”

Geer’s message: more cats, less raccoons.


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