'The Waltons' reunite for 40 year anniversary

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If you're a child of the '70s, you'll remember "The Waltons" as the sometimes corny TV series that coined the phrase "Good night, John Boy." It was, of course, a reference to the show's folksy ending each week -- the camera would pan away from a farm house as lights went out and the titular Waltons would all say good night to each other in turn.

On Friday (Dec. 2), several "Waltons" cast members -- including Kami Cotler (Elizabeth), Jon Walmsley (Jason), David Harper (Jim Bob), Eric Scott (Ben), Michael Learned (Olivia, aka "Ma"), Richard Thomas (John Boy), Judy Norton (Mary Ellen) and Mary Elizabeth McDonough (Erin) -- reunited on "Today" to talk to Matt Lauer about the show's 40th anniversary.

The actors talked about their lifelong friendships and why no one from the show never wrote a tell-all book, a la Barry Williams' "Growing Up Brady."

"It was a very different time to be famous," said Cotler. "On the whole, when Waltons fans meet you they feel like your family. So there isn't that kind of 'get you' or 'gotcha' intrusve thing. People just want to give you a hug."

The series, which ran from 1971 - 1981 chronicled the lives of the depression era Walton family in rural Virginia and championed wholesome family values.
Photo/Video credit: NBC