In The Pipeline: Catching up with two women

October 27, 2010|By Chris Epting
  • Mary McDonough, far right, on the set of the recent Waltons reunion.
Mary McDonough, far right, on the set of the recent Waltons… (HB Independent )

This week, a couple of revisits with two women I recently wrote about in this column.

Last year, I sat down with Mary McDonough, whom you may remember as Erin Walton from "The Waltons." It was soon after she'd started teaching a local acting class here in Huntington Beach for students.

Mary is still teaching the kids, but recently, she invited me up to Los Angeles to watch her take part in a Waltons reunion, something she was co-producing in conjunction with "The Waltons"' return to TV (it just began re-airing on the Inspiration Network).

It was a fascinating day, watching as everyone got together. Though Richard Thomas (John-Boy) taped his segments in New York, David Harper (Jim-Bob), Judy Norton-Taylor (Mary Ellen), Eric Scott (Ben); Jon Walmsley (Jason); Kami Cotler (Elizabeth), Ralph Waite (John Walton Sr.) and Michael Learned (Olivia) were all there.

Even show creator Earl Hamner, Jr. (the real life John-Boy) attended.


Watching the cast interact while watching old episodes was extremely interesting (and nostalgic), and Mary was right in the thick of things, holding forth at a long table, guiding the discussions as the camera rolled.

There were contagious laughs on set as the cast reflected about the show back in the '70s, and everyone seemed thoroughly comfortable with each other. If you watch the show today on Inspiration, you should be able to see some of the segments they taped.

Thankfully, Mary is also finishing up her new book, "Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton." The book comes out next May, but is already available as a pre-order on


There's another woman I wrote about a few months ago, singer Franki Doll, who, along with her band The Broken Toys, had just been chosen by the clothing chain Hot Topic to be its next featured band (which means Franki's new CD would be featured in stores and the band would tour throughout the company's 688 national locations, gaining incredible exposure).

Well, the CD was just released, and Franki is thrilled with it. Titled "Step Right Up," the CD is brimming with the sort of intense, meaningful, anthemic music that has become the band's trademark.

When asked if they will ever sign with a record label, Doll said the answer is still up in the air.

"We're open to talk to anyone," she said. "The boys and I are tight, and if we all collectively feel it is the right deal, we will sign. Keep watching!"

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