Flying Dreams logo


SEASON 5, 1976-1977


Cast List
John-Boy Walton: Richard Thomas
John Walton: Ralph Waite
Olivia Walton: Michael Learned
Esther Walton (Grandma): Ellen Corby (through “The Ferris Wheel”)
Zebulon Tyler Walton (Grandpa): Will Geer
Mary Ellen Walton: Judy Norton-Taylor
Jason Walton: Jon Walmsley
Ben Walton: Eric Scott
Erin Walton: Mary Elizabeth McDonough
Jim-Bob Walton: David W. Harper
Elizabeth Walton: Kami Cotler

Production Staff
Executive Producers: Lee Rich and Earl Hamner
Producer: Andy White
Story Editors: Paul West
Executive Story Consultant: Earl Hamner
In Charge of Production: Neil T. Maffeo
Music: Alexander Courage
Theme Song by Jerry Goldsmith
Created by Earl Hamner

“The First Edition”
Original airdate: 09/23/1976
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
John-Boy witnesses an auto accident caused by Graham Thornbury and disconcerts the man by taking down the incident as front-page news. John warns his son that printing the story may lose Thornbury votes, but John-Boy insists on telling the truth, even when the judge tries to talk him out of it. Thornbury even tries to bribe John into talking John-Boy out of it. Meanwhile, Corabeth, who had thought she was pregnant and is preparing happily for a child, is shattered to learn that not only is it a false alarm, but she cannot have children at all. John-Boy’s quest for truthful reporting is suddenly complicated when Ben, in the company of some unsavory boys he’s recently befriended, is arrested for entering an abandoned house without permission. Olivia is outraged when John-Boy insists on also publishing that story, lest he be branded a hypocrite. Corabeth takes refuge at the Walton house and Ike must convince her that he loves her, no matter what. John-Boy finally relents and says he will bury both the story about Ben and the one about Thornbury on the back page, but Ben, knowing he did wrong, tells John-Boy it is okay that the story about him be on the front page; he’s learned from his mistake and is willing to pay the price.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Graham Thornbury: Conrad Janis. Mr. Lowenthal: Hal Riddle. Wally: Rick Meyer. Chuck: Brad Reardon. Tinker: Laird Fenwick. Louie: Megan King. Joe: Michael McDonough.
You will notice Richard Thomas walking with a limp. He had a motorcycle accident during the hiatus. The episodes were filmed out of order and the injury is later worked into the episode “The Great Motorcycle Race.”

“The Vigil”
Original airdate: 09/30/1976
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris
Medical problems come to the fore: Grandma is hiding severe stomach pains and Dr. Vance is considering moving from Waltons Mountain to the city where he will be paid in money instead of “in trade.” Erin also faces the challenge of her first job: working as the town telephone operator part time. Mary Ellen suggests to Dr. Vance that David Spencer, one of the interns at her nursing hospital, might be a possible replacement; David is interested in being an assistant to Dr. Vance. When Mary Ellen discovers Grandma is in pain, she diagnoses intestinal flu and sends her to bed, confident that she’ll recover, but Grandma gets worse, refusing to eat and only drinking. To catch Sheriff Bridges so he can transport Grandma to the hospital, Erin deserts the switchboard and is roundly scolded by Fanny Tatum until she discovers why; the operator then pitches in to help find the doctor, who’s away job hunting. At the hospital, Grandma is correctly diagnosed with appendicities and emergency surgery is performed; Mary Ellen is horrified to learn that her original remedy for Grandma, a heating pad, has caused the organ to burst and peritonitis has set in. The family waits for news of the surgery, but Grandma’s strength pulls her through and she later apologizes for demanding that Mary Ellen diagnose her rather than going to the doctor. Mary Ellen promises to get a second opinion thereafter.
Dr. Vance: Victor Izay. Mady Vance: Dee Carroll. Fanny Tatum: Sheila Allen. David Spencer: Robert Merritt Woods. Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley.
First appearance of David Spencer. Erin gets her job as telephone operator in this story.

“The Comeback”
Original airdate: 10/07/1976
Screenplay: Seth Freeman
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
Because Kleinberg Conservatory’s financial backing has dissolved, Jason needs $300 tuition in three installments immediately, so he applies for and gets a job at a roadhouse, the Dew Drop Inn, an event that leaves Grandma and Olivia upset. It also gets houseguest Yancy Tucker in trouble, as it was he who told Jason the job was available; it turns out he is hiding out at the Waltons because attractive Cissy Walker, a waitress at the Dew Drop, says Yancy proposed marriage to her. When Red and Wilma Turner, parents of Jason’s late best friend Seth, return to Waltons Mountain, Jason tries to get Red, who’s still bitter about his son’s death, to help him form his own band, even though Red hasn’t played since Seth died. John takes Red to the Dew Drop as an incentive, but Red walks out and John comes home a bit drunk and smelling of beer. Cissy, meanwhile, is determined to lasso a reluctant Yancy by making him jealous and succeeds by sending John-Boy a gift. Yancy asks John-Boy for advice and finally goes to ask Cissy to make wedding arrangements. Finally, Wilma talks Red into taking her to the Dew Drop, where Jason’s introduction of him forces Red on stage to play. It’s a small start for him, but it is a start.
Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Red Turner: Merle Haggard. Wilma Turner: Pat Quinn. Professor Thaxton: Jay Robinson. Cissy Walker: Cissy Wellman. Thelma: Dorothy Shay. Tom: Logan Field. Student: Jillian Lieder.
“Ironing Board Blues” and “Hoe Down” written and performed by Jon Walmsley. It is in this episode that Jim-Bob begins building his car.

“The Baptism”
Original airdate: 10/14/1976
Screenplay: Andy White
Director: Ralph Waite
Reverend Fordwick announces that Ezekiel Henshaw, the famous evangelist, will preach at the upcoming revival meeting, thrilling the women, but not John, especially when Olivia tries to persuade the children to accept Christ. Meanwhile, Jim-Bob, who’s being insistent about being called “James Robert” and who is determined to build his own car, finds a peacock in the woods and hopes the bird’s owner will not show up; he names the creature “Rover.” Ben is at the Dew Drop Inn when Henshaw and Reverend Fordwick burst in, calling the place a den of iniquity and the minister sends Ben home in disgrace. When John is nearly killed by a close bolt of lightning, Olivia insists it’s a sign and talks John into going to church. Henshaw’s preaching (and a fortuitous thunderstorm) persuades many, including Mary Ellen, Ben, and a repentant Yancy Tucker, but John resents being shouted at and stalks out. It creates tension at the supper table, especially when Ben declares he is not a sinner. Jim-Bob learns his own lesson when Rover begins losing feathers and he realizes he can’t coop the bird up forever; he frees him and to his joy, Rover makes permanent residence near the house (although his cries keep everyone awake!). John vanishes on the day of the baptism—on which Corabeth, Ben, and Yancy take the plunge—and when Olivia finds him, he explains that he’s just not a churchgoer; he loves and worships God in his own way. Olivia, knowing he is a good man, understands.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Sissy Walker: Cissy Wellman. Reverend Ezekiel Henshaw: John Karlen. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Texas: Ellen Nickles. Woman Convert: Judy Motulsky.

“The Fire Storm”
Original airdate: 10/21/1976
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Ralph Senensky
Jim-Bob is more interested in Captains Courageous than in the ominuous newsreels of Hilter marching across Europe, but John-Boy is so determined to show the community what the man is up to that he decides to print exerpts from Mein Kampf in his newspaper, despite the protests of Reverend Fordwick. The minister is more intested in coordinating Jefferson County Day, which this year will include a beauty contest, but Erin is refused permission to enter since she will have to wear a bathing suit. But when Fordwick’s news about John-Boy’s plans get around, people withhold advertising from the paper, and rocks are thrown through the shed’s windows. John-Boy is horrified when Mrs. Brimmer warns him about what he’s planning to do and tells him her own husband was persecuted for being a German during World War I, begging him not to tell anyone. When Grandpa wangles a judging position at the beauty contest to help Erin, he pursuades John to let her enter in a chaste 1900s-era bathing suit. John-Boy is further discouraged when his first print run of papers with the excerpts is destroyed and Ike refuses to sell copies. When the family is threatened, John must ask his son to remove the press from the property. At the celebration, Erin loses the beauty contest and blames John-Boy, and things come to a head when Reverend Fordwick arranges for a burning of German books just like the Germans burned books in Europe. An angry John-Boy explains his motives for printing the excerpts—to warn the local people about the threat in Europe—and then spies a book on the to-be-burned pile that gives him pause. He asks if anyone in the crowd knows German and Mrs. Brimmer courageously comes forward to read from the volume: it turns out it is a German Bible. It is only then they understand, and Erin apologizes.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Zuleika Dunbar: Pearl Shear. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Newsreel Announcer: Art Gilmore. Buck Vernon: Barry Cahill. Nat Clayton: Jason Wingreen. Vandal #1: Don Carter. Vandal #2: Larry Hayden. Florabelle Tait: Jennifer Rogers. David Spencer: Robert Merritt Woods.

“The Nightwalker”
Original airdate: 10/28/1976
Screenplay: Paul West
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
A shadowy figure that disturbs the animals in the barn but doesn’t make Reckless bark also spies on the girls returning from school, and makes the older Waltons more cautious; unfortunately it doesn’t put an end to Grandpa’s ghost stories. Ike calls the sheriff when the prowler peers into his bedroom window. At first, the problem simply puts a damper on Jason’s plans to throw a dance in Ike’s newly-cleaned hall, but as the prowler continues to wander the area, even paying a visit to the Baldwin ladies, people become afraid to go out after dark. On the way home from warning the Baldwins, John-Boy meets a lone woman on the road, calling someone’s name; she refuses a ride from him—indeed won’t speak to him. While hunting, Grandpa and John find the same woman squatting at the old Montgomery place with some finely-woven baskets on the porch. The children prepare for the dance by posting signs and cleaning up, but Jim-Bob and Elizabeth race home after encountering the prowler. John takes Sheriff Bridges to see the mysterious Mrs. Hadley, who throws them off the property, but not before admitting that her son lives with her. Attracted by Jason’s band practice, the prowler, Mrs. Hadley’s mute son, Lorin, is caught by the boys. They discover that bird-calling Lorin has a real talent for basket weaving (the wonderful baskets on the porch were made by him), he is given a job repairing the Baldwin sisters’ wicker furniture. No longer afraid of being taunted by the townspeople, Mrs. Hadley and Lorin attend the successful dance.
Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Eva Hadley: Peggy Webber. Lorin Hadley: Gary Tomlin. Lou (on sax): Brian Langley. Tex (on banjo): Larry McNeely. Eddie (on drums): Ralph Henley.

“The Wedding” (2 hours)
Original airdate: 11/04/1976
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
Mary Ellen bursts in after a date saying that she and David Spencer want to be married after he finishes his intern period—six weeks! The family readies a picnic reception to welcome David’s parents into the family and Grandma worries that they will find the Waltons “too countrified.” But the Spencers enjoy the reception, and as they celebrate, a man named Curtis Willard shows up. Willard is a doctor who is considering taking Dr. Vance’s place, and as soon as he sees the house and doctor’s office, he accepts the job. Dr. Willard is used to being honest with his patients and promptly gets Yancy angry by criticizing his untidy home and he insults Mrs. Brimmer by claiming her weight and not her arthritis is her problem. Later he helps John smoke out a bee tree and stays for supper, criticizing David’s opinions of modern medicine. Mary Ellen takes a nursing position at Willard’s office, despite their conflicts over medical procedure; he needs her help to treat Emily Baldwin, who won’t allow a male doctor to examine her although she is having breathing problems. Grandma and Grandpa search for a Liberty Bond to cash to give to Mary Ellen as a wedding present, and Elizabeth is dismayed when Jim-Bob seems to be going back on his word not to be married when he meets Mrs. Brimmer’s niece Patsy. Miss Emily’s problem turns out to be pneumonia and Curt and Mary Ellen must rush her to the hospital, saving her, but emphasizing the need for local medical facilities. To that end, they put together a fundraising party for a clinic. Mary Ellen’s upcoming wedding puts everyone in a romantic mood: Jim-Bob takes Patsy mule riding and Grandma reads over Grandpa’s old love letters. Curt Willard and Mary Ellen have finally become friends, and she and David take him on a picnic with county nurse Nora Taylor. Mary Ellen is inexplicably envious when they hit it off and Olivia begins sensing a restlessness in her. Meanwhile the children scrape together enough money to get Mary Ellen a radio. At the Hard Times Dance, which earns a good deal of money (the Liberty Bond even goes into the kitty), Erin, steeped in the romance of Mary Ellen’s engagement, is shocked when she sees Curt and her sister sharing a “good-bye” kiss. Next day, while John becomes wistful about “his little girl,” Erin is sulky and remains home, feigning illness, and burns a note Curt dropped by for Mary Ellen. He then disappears, leading several people to think he absconded with the funds raised for the clinic. After pushing Jim-Bob and Patsy into the lake in a jealous fit, Elizabeth is counseled by John that she can’t prevent growing up, and the usually parsimonious Corabeth surprises Ben by letting him buy the radio for under cost. At the town of Stony Creek, John-Boy finds out Curt was fired from his last job as a coal mine doctor for protesting against unsafe conditions and is at that moment testifying against the company. Realizing she no longer loves David, Mary Ellen flees from her wedding rehearsal and, in tears, returns his engagement ring. John-Boy finds Curt and discovers he took the money to buy secondhand but usable medical equipment for the clinic while he was in town testifying. They return to the house to find Mary Ellen upset about the fuss she has caused after she’s presented with the radio. Erin confesses that she burned the note because she saw them kissing and Mary Ellen declares it didn’t mean a thing. Curt says he hopes it did because he plans to marry her! Mary Ellen says she wouldn’t marry him if he were the last man on earth—but she does, up on the mountain, with her family surrounding her.
David Spencer: Robert Merritt Woods. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Patsy Brimmer: Debbie Gunn. Nora Taylor: Kaiulani Lee. G.W. Haines: David Doremus. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Dr. Spencer: Peter Brandon. Radio Announcer: Art Gilmore. Mrs. Spencer: Jean Howell. Chairman: Glenn Robards. Miss Lynch: Molly Dodd. Miss Bradley: Russ Marin.
First appearance of Patsy Brimmer.

“The Cloudburst”
Original airdate: 11/11/1976
Screenplay: Paul Cooper
Director: Harry Harris
With his press about to be repossessed, John-Boy can’t count on John, who has taken a temporary job in Waynesboro to suppliment the family funds. He eventually sells his inheritance from Grandpa, the piece of land they call “John-Boy’s Meadow,” to a land company that tells him it will be used for grazing cattle or long-term projects. Grandpa is furious and so is John-Boy when he finds out it will really be used for hydraulic mining, which strips the land using water pressure; the ore can be retrieved easily, but the land is irretrievably scarred. Meanwhile, Mary Ellen doubts her fitness as a nurse when she and Curt must treat her old classmate, Martha Rose, who has fallen off a ladder: when Curt must do an emergency tracheotomy, she faints. She tells Olivia she is spineless and undependable. As a wild storm brews, John-Boy tried to enlist Grandpa’s help to stop the land developer, but he’s only concerned with preserving the meadow’s wildflowers. Mary Ellen recovers her confidence while helping Rosemary Fordwick deliver her baby, a girl that the grateful Fordwicks name Mary Margaret. John-Boy talks Reverend Fordwick into holding a special service on the meadow, and admits he made a mistake by selling it. He asks neighbors not to sell their land to Shelby, the land developer, who is angry to find his mining plan thwarted. John-Boy tells him the land is more precious than the money, but Shelby refuses to sell the land back, keeping it as a “toehold” in the area in case others ever change their mind. It will never be John-Boy’s again.
Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Rosemary Fordwick: Mariclare Costello. Martha Rose Travis: Cindy Eilbacher. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Bill Shelby: John Carter. Russell Travis: Jon Hojek. Woman in Congregation: Shirley Slater. Lyle Carter: William Bryant. Man in Congregation: Dennis Cross.

“The Great Motorcycle Race”
Original airdate: 11/18/1976
Screenplay: John Joseph
Director: Richard Thomas
Ike, wheeling his motorcycle to the Waltons to be repaired by Jim-Bob, announces that he and Corabeth are planning to adopt a baby. Jim-Bob fixes the vehicle and exuberantly tests it. Ike gives him permission to ride it anytime and he takes advantage of it while Corabeth shows Elizabeth the lavish nursery they have planned. Olivia is horrified when Jim-Bob starts doing stunts with the motorcycle, but he is soon doing errands with it, like putting up posters for an upcoming motorcycle race, which he plans to enter. Meanwhile, Ike and Corabeth go to adopt a baby boy, only to return home with a forlorn ten-year-old girl, Aimee, who is befriended by Elizabeth but who feels uncomfortable with effusive and smothering Corabeth and overly-eager Ike. When she sees the nursery, she believes they just took her as second best because there were no babies. Jim-Bob tells his mother that he will not withdraw from the race as she wants him to; he loves motors and wants to make them his life’s work and feels he’s old enough to ride. John gives him his old football helmet for added safety. Aimee plans to run away until Corabeth breaks down and confesses her “prissiness” is just cover for her uncertainty how to act and express her love, and that she and Ike both gave up the idea of a baby when they saw her: she was their first choice, not their last. Jim-Bob faces aggressive competition in the race, but his family cheers him on. He falls off once, causing momentary consternation, but recovers to take third place.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Eddie Stoker: Lewis Charles. Patsy Brimmer: Eileen McDonough.

“The Pony Cart”
Original airdate: 12/02/1976
Screenplay: Jack Miller
Director: Ralph Senensky
Just as Ben has dragged home a decrepit pony cart, Martha Corinne Walton, Grandpa’s sister-in-law, visits with the family, bringing simple gifts such as a quilt for Mary Ellen and her precious family photographs for John-Boy. She immediately begins “supervising” all household tasks and seems to be underfoot all the time, but also helps with the restoration of the pony cart. Erin is furious when Martha Corinne interferes with her date with Tom Wheeler, and Grandma becomes annoyed when Martha Corinne keeps monopolizing the kitchen. Olivia too feels sorry for her, but tries to tactfully suggest that she leave. While returning her to her home, John-Boy takes her to visit the site of her old homestead. She sadly reminisces about the family while John-Boy helps her to clean all the old gravesites and listens to early family history. While they are cleaning she suffers a mild spasm and John-Boy then understands why she came visiting: she is dying of heart disease. John-Boy then forces her to return to the Walton house, promising not to tell the family, where Martha Corinne offers to paint the pony cart in the old style. Olivia forces John-Boy to tell her what happened, but Martha Corinne finds out and is angry at him. Nevertheless, she writes a family history out for him. Her delicate painting of country designs on the pony cart make it a masterpiece and she is treated to the first ride. It is during this ride, when she has stopped to pick some daisies, that Martha Corinne suffers her final, fatal heart attack.
Martha Corinne Walton: Beulah Bondi. Tom Wheeler: Patrick Skelton.

“The Best Christmas”
Original airdate: 12/09/1976
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
A snowfall the week before Christmas reminds the family of holiday preparations, and Olivia, conscious of how quickly the children are growing, wishes to make it the most special holiday ever. Knowing this, Curt and Mary Ellen decide to stay home rather than visiting his parents, and the rest of the family makes special preparations. John-Boy is even publishing a special edition of The Blue Ridge Chronicle. On Christmas Eve, Grandma and Grandpa visit Maude Gormley in a nursing home, where she is recovering from a broken hip, and stay overly late. A storm has whipped up in the meantime and traps them in Charlottesville, where they end up sleeping in a hotel lobby. Ben takes a gift to a lonely Yancy Tucker and finds himself trapped there, not just from the snow, but from Yancy’s need for companionship. Jason, practicing tomorrow’s organ music at the church, leaves just in time to see a tree fall on the roof; he hurries home to get his father’s assistance in removing it so there will be a Christmas service. John-Boy, searching for Fanny Tatum so Erin can be relieved at the switchboard, is flagged down by Harley Foster: Miss Fanny’s car went off the road and into Drusilla’s Pond with herself and her niece Jo Ellen inside. Harley and John-Boy work frantically to get them out; Curt and Mary Ellen, enroute to the Walton house, are summonded and Curt helps get them out; they are then transported to the Fosters’ home where Curt and Mary Ellen treat Miss Fanny and Jo Ellen for frostbite while John-Boy and Harley get dry and warm. Jim-Bob, who had invited Patsy Brimmer to dinner, is so late because of Patsy’s primping that they arrive at the house when no one is there and he has to take her home again. Meanwhile, Olivia picks up Elizabeth from the Godseys’ store where Amy is celebrating her first Christmas, and they go home to trim the tree. Jason, John, Reverend Fordwick and Ike manage to remove the tree and cover the roof. Ben eventually walks home. Miss Fanny and Jo Ellen thaw out without dangerous complications. Finally all the family, except for Grandma and Grandpa, are home by midnight, and Olivia tells John that although they were far apart, she’s never felt closer to all of them. When Grandma and Grandpa return Christmas morning, they join in the celebration.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Fanny Tatum: Sheila Allen. Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter. Verdie Foster: Lynn Hamilton. Harley Foster: Hal Williams. Jo Ellen: Lisa Lyke. Patsy Brimmer: Debbie Gunn. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Professor Parks: Paul Jenkins. Radio Announcer: John Hiestand.
When this story first aired, several angry letters appeared in the "Letters" column of TV Guide complaining that the method of treating frostbite that Curt and Mary Ellen use is incorrect. Yes, it was incorrect for 1976—but was entirely correct for 1936, when the story took place!

“The Last Mustang”
Original airdate: 12/16/1976
Screenplay: Calvin Clements, Jr
Director: Walter Alzmann
Grandpa, John-Boy, and Jim-Bob find the last wild horse living on the mountain; the event is printed in the Chronicle along with the story of flashy Glen Oldfield running for sheriff against Ep Bridges. Oldfield solicits John-Boy for some printing, which John-Boy does, but feels uncomfortable about it because he is friends with Sheriff Bridges, and once he does, both he and John start getting unsolicited job offers—they realize Oldfield is trying to influence their vote. Grandpa is incensed when Professor Ainsley wants to capture the mustang for study and is furious when a Rockfish man captures the horse just to attract business. Ep settles in favor of the Rockfish man, and, at a tea given for the candidates, the stolid sheriff pales before gregarious Oldfield. Oldfield’s press agent Harlow Jessup assures John-Boy that there are no strings attached, but attempts to recruit him for the election team, since Oldfield is being groomed for the state senate. When John-Boy says he’ll print what he knows about Oldfield attempting to influence votes, Jessup threatens the family economy. Ep Bridges confesses to John that he’s not a flashy candidate and doesn’t think he’ll win. When the abused mustang escapes, Grandpa plans to keep him free, and John-Boy’s article angers the townspeople against Oldfield. Sure enough, John loses a contract, but Oldfield apologizes for what happened and pulls out of the race. To protect the mustang, Grandpa and the boys capture him and brand him as belonging to the Waltons so he won’t be touched, and then free him to live on the Mountain again.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Harlow Jessop: Alan Fudge. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Glen Oldfield: John Fink. Carl Muntrier: Wayne Heffley. Professor Ainsley: Arthur Malet. Campaign Worker: Asta Hansen.

“The Rebellion”
Original airdate: 12/23/1976
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harvey S. Laidman
Eager for a “new look,” Olivia tries her hand at curling her hair. Another new look is making Grandma angry: Reverend Fordwick plans to have Zelda Maynard share the organ playing chores at the church. Olivia’s restlessness disconcerts the family and John even tries to tease her out of it. When she hears the news about Zelda Maynard, Grandma is already out of joint when Grandpa tries to talk her out of playing. Zelda thinks she’s being nosy. Then Grandma finds Corabeth giving Olivia a permanent after having given her a haircut. The resulting curls are even too much for Olivia. Grandma marches to Reverend Fordwick to tell him that if she has to share the organ playing, she’ll leave the church—and turn Methodist! Olivia’s embarrassment about her ringlets only worsens when the family laughs at her and she shouts at John when he disappointedly tells her he liked her hair as it was. When everyone stares at her in church on Sunday, Olivia shamefacedly asks Verdie if she knows any way to straighten her hair. Verdie doesn’t know anything that will work on Olivia’s hair, but suggests another tactic: a turban. Grandma is tricked by John into attending church services and shows up Zelda by being diplomatic. Olivia realizes after talking to Mrs. Brimmer that her life was not as dull as it seemed and John cheers her up by taking her to a hotel to spend the night alone together.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Verdie Foster: Lynn Hamilton Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Zelda Maynard: Audrey Christie. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Reverend Matthew Fordwick: John Ritter.

“The Ferris Wheel”
Original airdate: 01/06/1977
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
As news of the annual carnival begins, Elizabeth experiences recurring nightmares about being trapped on a ferris wheel and starts walking and screaming in her sleep. John-Boy wonders if her unconscious mind is sending her some signal. Meanwhile, Ben tries to impress a car dealer’s daughter, Darlene Jarvis, asking her on a date, but is embarrassed when one of the care salesmen calls him “Shorty.” As the day of the carnival approaches, Elizabeth becomes more afraid, and the Baldwin sisters buy locks for their home since a man from the carnival broke into it the previous year. John-Boy only terrifies Elizabeth more by asking her where she was the day she was lost during the previous year’s carnival. When Ben wants to buy elevator shoes, John tries to stop him by saying it’s what’s inside that counts, but Ben purchases them anyway. After Elizabeth nearly sleepwalks out of the tree house, John-Boy and Curt insist she must confront the hidden fear. To see if it will help rid her of her dreams, John-Boy takes Elizabeth on the ferris wheel. She can only tell him that the day she was lost the attendant played a trick on her and left her, afraid, stuck at the top of the wheel. Ben is despondent when no one notices his new shoes, but his father tells him that’s not what people see in him, they notice his steadiness and sense of purpose and of fun. The next sleepwalking bout sends Elizabeth out on the roof, climbing down the side of the house, and wandering to the ferris wheel, which she climbs. Ben rescues her, and as he climbs up, she reveals that while trapped, she saw the ferris wheel operator, who was the one who had burglarized the Baldwin home, killed by being struck by one of the seats. The jewelry is restored, Ben’s self-respect returns, and Elizabeth suffers no more sleepwalking episodes.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Darlene Jarvis: Debi Richter. Used Car Salesman: Jeff Maxwell. Wilbur Dawes: Dave Shelley.
This is the last regular episode Ellen Corby appeared in.

“The Elopement”
Original airdate: 01/13/1977
Screenplay: Hindi Brooks
Director: Harry Harris
Forestry student Chad Marshall returns to the mountain having purchased his own piece of land, which he joyfully shows Erin; at the same time Ike and Corabeth take some time away from the store and Jason is entrusted with its care. Chad tells Erin he loves her, and they spend a long time inspecting the property and dreaming about their future. Although Ike said not to extend credit to anyone, soft-hearted Jason gives it to Maude Gormley. After a session of late-night dancing and a picnic, Chad proposes to Erin, but John and Olivia roundly say she may not be married; she’s too young. Maude comes into the store again, charging more groceries, flower seeds, and paints, and it’s too late by the time Ike warns Jason she’s unreliable about paying. Erin is heartbroken when she’s told she must finish school and John-Boy tells her if Chad loves her, he will wait, but Erin rebels and she and Chad plan to elope. In talking to Maude, John-Boy discovers that she uses the paints to create exquisite bird portraits which he convinces her she can sell at the store. Chad sneaks Erin away that night, but the Methodist minister refuses to marry them, so they go to a justice of the peace. Erin, who has dreamed of a beautiful wedding, looks around at the frowsy surroundings, then thinks of the loving family that she has fled from and decides not to go through with it just as John and Olivia show up to stop them. Maude’s paintings find success in the market.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Abel Bingley: David Clarke. Chad Marshall: Michael O’Keefe. Reverend Caldwell: Vernon Weddie. Andrew Farrell: David Hooks. Radio Announcer: Hank Stohl. Mrs. Farrell: Ruth Manning.

“John’s Crossroad”
Original airdate: 01/20/1977
Screenplay: Andy White and Paul West
Director: Richard Thomas
Little Lucas Burnham walks Elizabeth home from school, which sets her up for a great deal of teasing, so she agrees to accompany Grandpa on a trip up the mountain. To pay for Grandma’s hospital bills, John applies for a building job in Charlottesville, and gets the job over others with college degrees. His co-workers are amiable, but the supervisor, Mr. Morgan, is a stiff-backed humorless man. The typist Mavis gives John the inside scoop on his co-workers. Missing Esther and with the boys developing other interests, Grandpa recruits Elizabeth as his new helper. John clashes with his boss when he’s forced to work overtime and isn’t allowed to open a window in the stuffy office. Olivia misses John working nearby at the mill. John next befriends mousy Mel Parsons, who tells John how nice the office was before Morgan took over. One of the other workers, Kyle, a highway commissioner’s son, is constantly shunting work off on others, yet Morgan is angry when John offers to help an overloaded Parsons. After Grandpa teaches Elizabeth wildcrafting, Olivia protests that she is a girl, and when he then refuses to take her fishing, she calls him a traitor. He takes Lucas fishing with him instead and Elizabeth dresses up under duress and asks the boy to have ice cream with her. John has a relaxing Sunday off, but first thing Monday morning, Morgan, who wants an excuse to fire Parsons, abuses him, and John tells off Morgan. Morgan admits he is so hard on the employees because he is afraid if they don’t meet their workload, he will be the one fired, but he tells John if he doesn’t like it, he can quit. John does, and in rebellion after he leaves, Parsons opens the window. John drowns his sorrow at the Dew Drop Inn, until Olivia arrives to assure him and take him home.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Morgan: Donald Moffat. Mel Parsons: William Phipps. Lucas Farnham: Christopher Gardner. Clem Beal: Kenneth Taylor. Kyle Jeffers: Daniel Levans. Mavis Crawford: Patch McKenzie. Clint Davis: Tom Howard. Miss Agnes: Betty Jinnette.

“The Career Girl”
Original airdate: 01/27/1977
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris
When the school superintendent cannot show up, John-Boy must make the graduation speech for Erin’s class. She is embarrassed when Mrs. Fordwick has predictions about everyone’s future but hers, and the repetition of what she’s going to do with her life ruins the festive party she is thrown. John-Boy faces his own problem when he finishes his manuscript, but cannot find an inexpensive typewriter to do a good copy on, and Jim-Bob gets some retail lessons from Ike, who’s sure John-Boy’s book is about him! He asks Jim-Bob to spy at the manuscript for him. Miss Fanny makes Erin’s mood worse by gifting her with a pair of headphones, but Erin with not hurt her feelings by telling her she wants to be more than a telephone operator. The restless girl applies for a waitress job at a truck stop, but that position is short-lived when Jason is beaten up while defending Erin from a man who makes a pass at her. She keeps from feeling guilty by helping him with his homework and later confides her disappointment to John-Boy, who scolds her for being so self-absorbed. He thinks she is angry at him, but when she sees a used typewriter for sale at a business school, she runs in to see if it’s one John-Boy can use. She impresses the headmistress so much with her telephone expertise that she’s able to make a deal: she will trade work for the typewriter. When a grateful John-Boy finds out about the trade, he offers Erin’s employer free advertising in his paper in exchange for shorthand and typing lessons for his sister.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Rosemary Fordwick: Mariclare Costello. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Eli Carr: Donald Hotton. Shirley: Billie Bird. Jane Stevens: Alice Hinson. Spurgeon Connors: Ted Jordan. Fanny Tatum: Sheila Allen.

“The Hero”
Original airdate: 02/03/1977
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Tony Brand
The family is not supportive of John-Boy’s “Honor Day” edition of the Chronicle, so he solicits items from other sources, including Sheriff Bridges, since the county’s war records were burnt in 1925 fire. The children sort out Grandma’s box of war memories as an effort for him. At the Red Cross, the woman who is in charge of the records, Sarah Griffith, starts at the mention of Ep Bridges’ name—and John-Boy and Olivia are astonished to find that Ep was a multiply-decorated war hero. The sheriff is dismayed when he’s found out, but he lets John-Boy look through his medals despite the fact that he’s sick about all the killing he had to do. John and Grandpa reflect over their own war experiences while at the local cemetery. John-Boy finds Sarah fixing her car along the road and in talking to her discovers she was a World War I ambulance drive and is an old friend of Ep’s. They end up renewing their friendship and later Sarah confesses to Olivia that she loves Ep. When Ben finds out more about the uncle he was named for, he secretly plans a special memorial for him: a bench for the veterans’ cemetery. Sarah stays on until the Honor Day ceremony and Jim-Bob’s slavish hero-worship of her makes Patsy jealous. Ep wistfully tells John-Boy he’s now glad Honor Day was planned because it brought Sarah back to him, and he and the woman have a sober, half-romantic chat. John-Boy’s memorial speech and the revelation of the memorial for Uncle Ben to Grandpa end the day with tears of joy.
Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Sarah Griffith: Lynn Carlin. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Patsy Brimmer: Eileen McDonough.

“The Inferno”
Original airdate: 02/10/1977
Screenplay: Rod Petersen and Claire Whitaker
Director: Harry Harris
Curt and Mary Ellen’s romantic night is rudely interrupted by Erin while John-Boy’s printing of the newest edition of the paper is interrupted by a broken part in the press. Curt is annoyed by Mary Ellen’s lack of attention to the office and the constant interruptions by her family. John-Boy enters a newspaper service contest with his articles about Mein Kampf and wins a chance to interview passengers arriving on May 5 on the dirigible Hindenberg at Lakehurst, New Jersey, where he is paired with a blasé older reporter, Stuart Henry. Henry has seen airships dock many times and makes it to the air station just in time to see the hugh dirigible approach the mooring mast and then burst into flame. Stunned by the carnage, a numb John-Boy returns home unable to write the story. Curt finally reaches the breaking point when Mary Ellen invites the children on a picnic that Curt planned to be just for the two of them. John-Boy is further upset by neighbors who come to congratulate him for witnessing the year’s biggest news story and tells them angrily there was no glory, only death. Mary Ellen stalks home after a fight with Curt, but when he explains to Olivia why he is upset, Olivia agrees with Curt that they need time to themselves and must work out a signal to tell the family when they need to be alone. The signal is finally worked out: Mary Ellen will put a bright pot of flowers on the porch railing when they don’t want to be disturbed, like her mother did when she and John were first married. While cutting wood with his father, John-Boy is finally able to tell the entire story, including rescuing a badly burned woman. Thus unburdened, he can sit down to write his story.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Stuart Henry: Jack Ging. Joe (bartender): Tom Maier.

“The Heartbreaker”
Original airdate: 02/17/1977
Screenplay: Seth Freeman
Director: Ralph Waite
Curt’s vivacious, sweet-talking sister Vanessa arrives to visit, saying she’s left her husband because she was tired of being stuck in small towns. She sings and plays guitar, and Jason is immediately attracted to her. Elizabeth wonders why she acts so happy since she thought separations were sad; Grandpa tells her he thinks Vanessa is only acting happy and is really sad. Vanessa and Jason picnic and sing together, and Thelma hires her to work weekends at the Dew Drop Inn. Curt warns Vanessa not to hurt Jason, but she asks her brother to let her live her own life. Olivia, too, lectures Jason not to rush things since Vanessa is still married, but the infatuated young man refuses and instead writes a song for her. A band, old friends of Thelma’s, interrupt the performance of the new song at the Dew Drop, and the bandleader, Country Joe Martin, praises Vanessa’s performance, giving her ambitious ideas. When John-Boy plans to print excerpts from his novel in his newspaper, Grandpa starts bragging how he practically taught John-Boy to write. Jason begins skipping classes to be with Vanessa, although Curt warns him she is flighty and restless. Jason catches on when he sees her currying favor with Martin and confides in his father how hurt he is. John-Boy learns you can’t please anyone when Grandma takes offense at one of the excerpts in the newspaper, and Jason is crushed when Vanessa tells him she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she must go off with Joe Martin to prove to herself that she can accomplish something big in life. He tearfully wishes her luck in her singing engagement in Nashville.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Vanessa: Linda Purl. Joe Martin: Victor Arnold. Horace Brimley: A. Wilford Brimley. Thelma: Dorothy Shay. Lou Rhymer: J.S. Johnson. Man on Bus: Llynn Storer. J.D. Waters: Paul Weaver.

“The Long Night”
Original airdate: 02/24/1977
Screenplay: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker from a story by Rod Peterson, Claire Whitaker, and Katharyn Michaelian Powers
Director: Harry Harris
While the family prepares the house for Grandma’s homecoming, Grandpa drives to the hospital to pick her up, but arrives home angry because the doctors have told him he cannot take her home. Not only that, but he raised such a fuss that they have forbidden him to return to the hospital! Meanwhile Aimee is smarting from Corabeth’s dictums of cleanliness and ladylike behavior at all times; she can’t even play games at recess for fear of scuffing her shoes. After a restless night with no sleep, Grandpa connives to take a load of lumber into town to deliver a potted azalea to Grandma. Mary Ellen tries to smuggle him up to her room, but is caught by Curt. Grandpa broods at the pond despite John’s attempt at comfort and later Jason tries to sing him to sleep. Finally released from her burden of music appreciation, embroidery, ballet and French lessons, Aimee is allowed to pick wildflowers with Elizabeth, but Corabeth is horrified when she gets dirty and drags her home. Ike senses her unhappiness and tells Corabeth she’s raising Aimee to be a snob; Corabeth storms off only to find Aimee missing. Aimee has stopped at the Waltons and tells Grandpa she intends to run away if she can’t stay there. Grandpa explains to Aimee that Corabeth is afraid she won’t be a good mother and is trying too hard and tells the girl he will be her adopted grandpa if she wants. He later explains to Corabeth that Aimee needs a chance to be a child and that Corabeth should toss away her childrearing books and just use her feelings. The encounter with Aimee brings him out of his lethargy and he drives to the hospital to sit outside Grandma’s lighted window to be close to her and arranges a signal with Mary Ellen to say good night.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Hospital Receptionist: Lynn Wood. Poetry Pantry Announcer: Art Gilmore.

“The Hiding Place”
Original airdate: 03/03/1977
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Walter Alzmann
The whole family, save for Elizabeth, Jim-Bob, and John, attend a reception for the Baldwins’ cousin Hilary von Klienst, whose father was a diplomat and who married into a aristocratic German family and lived in that country until just recently. When John-Boy asks her questions about the Nazis, she nervously circumvents them, citing isolationist views. Only Jason’s piano playing seems to soothe her. But Jason isn’t soothing to his mother when he decides to join the National Guard, and his father reminds him if there is a war, he will be one of the first to go. Jim-Bob, meanwhile, is trying to earn $8 to purchase the horn off a Rolls-Royce. John-Boy again tries to interview Hilary, but she rebuffs him; the only thing he has discovered was that her husband was in the German Diplomatic Corps. Hilary speaks before Corabeth’s women’s club and John-Boy attends as a reporter, continuing to ask her questions about the Nazi regime. He is reprimanded for badgering her, but he insists he must know what is going on in Germany. To make up for his rudeness, the Baldwin sisters and Hilary are invited to dinner on the same night Jason has his first National Guard drill; when Hilary sees him in uniform, she faints and afterwards remains in shock. John-Boy wonders if she is remembering her husband, who was a liberal newspaper publisher driven out of business by the Nazis. Jason plays the piano again, which brings Hilary out of her trance and they find out why she fainted: the uniform reminded her of her son Peter, a pianist who was also in the German military. He was clubbed to death by fellow officers while trying to prevent them from killing three Jews. She realizes she cannot use Waltons Mountain as a hiding place. And Jim-Bob gets to keep the Rolls Royce horn by using it to advertise the junkyard.
Hilary Von Kliest: Jean Marsh. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Newscaster: Joe Cala. Voice of FDR and Edward R. Murrow: Walker Edminston.

“The Go-Getter”
Original airdate: 03/10/1977
Screenplay: Andy White and Paul West
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
John-Boy’s increasing problems with publishing the paper and completing his novel (he wasn’t satisfied with the ending) make him irritable, and when Ben starts keeping company with Darlene Jarvis instead of selling advertising, John-Boy explodes. Courtship is in the air: Sarah Griffith returns and Olivia plans to match her up with Ep Bridges. In fact, Sarah and Olivia happen to run into the sheriff in Rockfish, but he only seems disconcerted and doesn’t immediately contact Sarah. Ben is furious at John-Boy’s attitude and walks out to apply for a job selling used cars with Darlene’s father. Ben’s loquacity serves him well as a salesman, but John is disturbed when he seems to sacrifice the truth for sales. John also warns Ep that Sarah is trying to “corral” him, but Olivia is still matchmaking: she invites them both to dinner and then she and John accompany them to the movies. Ep is taciturn and doesn’t even sit next to her. But after taking John and Olivia home, Ep returns to visit Sarah. When Mrs. Brimmer needs a car, Jarvis talks Ben into selling her something larger than she needs. Flying high at his sales expertise, he insults Jim-Bob’s hand-built car. Jim-Bob gets a look at Mrs. Brimmer’s car and tells Ben off for selling her a lemon, making Ben feel guilty. When John-Boy tells him he now must face up to the hard side of being independent, Ben tries to repair Mrs. Brimmer’s car. To Olivia’s astonishment, Sarah turns up to announce she and Ep will be getting married. Finally Jim-Bob takes pity on Ben and fixes Mrs. Brimmer’s car, Ben apologizes, and the interplay between his brothers gives John-Boy the ending he needs for his novel.
Sheriff Ep Bridges: John Crawford. Sarah Griffith: Lynn Carlin. Darlene Jarvis: Melody Thomas. Mrs. Brimmer: Nora Marlowe. Fester: Jeff Cotler. Mr. Jarvis: Lew Brown. Usher: Brian Malone. Arnie Shimmerdy: Don Keefer. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley.

“The Achievement”
Original airdate: 03/17/1977
Screenplay: Dale Eunson, Earl Hamner and Andy White
Director: Harry Harris
Elizabeth is enthralled by a book for the first time in her life (an adventure story called Jessica, Girl Spy),just as John-Boy submits his completed novel to Hastings House. After waiting some weeks for reply, John-Boy is horrified by Ike’s suggestion that the book might have gotten lost in the mail. He makes a phone call, doesn’t get a satisfactory answer, and immediately takes the next bus heading to New York City. Before he leaves, Elizabeth asks if he would look up Edith Catherine Herbert, author of Jessica and perhaps get an autograph. At Hastings House, John-Boy is persuasive enough to wangle a few words with editor Belle Becker; intrigued by his intensity, she asks about his life and his book, and agrees to read his novel over the weekend, but won’t promise him anything. At home, Jim-Bob finally finishes his car while Grandpa aids Elizabeth in taking hoofprints of all the family animals, just like Jessica, girl spy. The family is relieved when John-Boy calls to say he’s staying over the weekend while his novel is being read. Short of money, he looks up Daisy Garner, the girl he danced in the marathon with. Daisy is working at a ten-cents-a-dance place, but she wants to take him sightseeing when she gets off work, and tells him she’s up for a speaking part in a Broadway musical. To while away the rest of the weekend, John-Boy visits the Statue of Liberty, and looks up the mother of Edith Catherine Herbert, whom he found through her publisher. Edith died while working on a sequel to Jessica, and her mother is so comforted by John-Boy’s visit that she gives him an autographed copy of the book and a page from Edith’s unfinished manuscript. On Monday, John-Boy returns to Hastings House. Soon he triumphantly arrives home in Jim-Bob’s perfectly running car to announce that his book will be published! Although his news about Edith Herbert saddens Elizabeth, there is additional joyful news in store: Mary Ellen and Curt are expecting their first child. That night, John-Boy timidly breaks the news to his parents and grandparents that he will be moving to New York, only to discover they already expect it and wish him well.
Rosemary Hunter (flashback): Mariclare Costello. A.J. Covington (flashback): David Huddleston. Grandma (flashback): Ellen Corby. Daisy Garner: Deirdre Lenihan. Belle Becker: Bettye Ackerman. Miss Maddocks: Maggie Malooly. Catherine Herbert: Joan Tompkins. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Ticket Seller: Lynda St. James. Mail Boy: John Dayton.
Richard Thomas’ last regular appearance on the series. He would return in two other episodes, and for the final seasons of the show the role of John-Boy was recast; Robert Wightman portrayed the part. Belle Becker was the name of the real-life editor who read Earl Hamner’s first book (accidentally—he set it on the wrong reading pile, the one she was taking home that weekend) and agreed to publish it. There are flashbacks from The Homecoming included in the story; scenes with Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan were refilmed with Michael Learned and Ralph Waite and intercut with shots of Richard Thomas from the original production.
Timeline Note
Although for the first four seasons, the series strictly followed a timeline, the producers felt by fifth season that they had done enough Depression stories and decided to “push” the timeline a little. This is why six stories before the end of fifth season it was spring of 1937 and by “The Achievement” it was suddenly the spring of 1938. The series would skip another year and some months to the beginning of season six, with the unfortunate result that Mary Ellen was pregnant for eighteen months!


Go on to Season 6     |     Back to The Waltons

Visit our television sites       Flying Dreams Domain