John Walton: Ralph Waite
Olivia Walton: Michael Learned (through “The Parting”)
Esther Walton (Grandma): Ellen Corby
Mary Ellen Walton Willard: Judy Norton-Taylor
John Curtis Willard: Michael and Marshall Reed
Jason Walton: Jon Walmsley
Ben Walton: Eric Scott
Cindy Walton: Leslie Winston (from "The Outsider")
Erin Walton: Mary Beth McDonough
Jim-Bob Walton: David W. Harper
Elizabeth Walton: Kami Cotler
Executive Producers: Lee Rich and Earl Hamner
Producer: Rod Peterson
Associate Producer: Claylene Jones
Story Editor: Claire Whitaker
Executive Story Consultant: Earl Hamner
In Charge of Production: Neil T. Maffeo
Unit Production Manager: Walter Alzmann
Music: Alexander Courage
Theme Song by Jerry Goldsmith
Created by Earl Hamner
“The Empty Nest”
Original airdate: 09/21/1978
Screenplay: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker
Director: Philip Leacock
Six months after Grandpa’s death, the mill is still smarting from his absence, Erin is looking for a new job, and Matt Sarver tries to contract work from John, but with Grandpa gone the mill can’t supply it. John fears that if they can’t pay off Grandma’s hospital bill, they will have to sell the mountain. Corabeth starts a tea room at the store (having given the old pool table the heave-ho), where the Baldwin sisters and Olivia are sobered by the gift of Mrs. Brimmer’s ring from her niece Patsy (Mrs. Brimmer had also passed away earlier in the year). Tired of being poor and “two-bit”Sarver’s insultJohn decides to risk money and try to fulfill the government contractor’s order. He even buys lumber from his former rival, Murdock. Jason discovers that Zuleika Dunbar has taken over Mrs. Brimmer’s boarding house. While John goes to Richmond to close the deal with Matt Sarver, Mary Ellen and Erin, who are both now working in Charlottesville, rent an apartment together, and Jim-Bob brings home an old jukebox. Olivia, naturally, does not want them to move out, but will not stop them. Sarver keeps John cooling his heels and John asks Olivia to join him; although she is reluctant to leave Grandma, she tells Olivia to be with him while she can. Ben cannot finish an order for Ike on time and is afraid what his father will think, but Grandma talks him into not giving up. She must learn her own lessons about not giving up when she tries to duet with Jason. Meanwhile, Mary Ellen and Erin find living alone is too quiet, and Elizabeth, finally having her wish of a room of her own, goes to sleep with Grandma because it’s too quiet! She wistfully asks Grandma why if death is so beautiful, why don’t people have celebrations rather than funerals? Admiring John’s nerve in finally pushing into his office, Matt Sarver invites him and Olivia to dinner. Jim-Bob’s now-working jukebox cheers up Grandma and Corabeth quarrels with Ike over the tea room; he later drowns his sorrow at Jason’s new piano bar at the Dew Drop, before being fetched home by a tearful Corabeth. In Richmond, Olivia is stunning in a new dress and corsage, and both of them are surprised when Sarver offers John a vice-president’s job in Richmond. Ike discovers Corabeth has moved the pool table back into the store and she suggests that they call it Godsey’s Tea and Billiard Parlor. John seriously considers Sarver’s officer, arriving home in a new station wagon, and Olivia has already begun to think of the house as a bit shabby. For working out his problem, John praises Ben and gives him Grandpa’s tools. Both Elizabeth and Grandma are upset at the thought of moving, but the latter’s duet bolsters the former. Mary Ellen and Erin are getting weary of each other’s company and the appearance of Erin’s new boss making drunken advances does nothing to cheer them. They head for home only to find out the goodor is it bad?news. Then the other lumbermen ask John to head a permanent co-op instead of working for Sarver. Olivia, having told Jim-Bob to sell the jukebox, discovers he’s traded it for Mrs. Brimmer’s old refrigerator. At a tearful picnic memorial at Grandpa’s graveside, John decides to take the co-op job instead of going with Sarver. This way he retains his independence, and his family the home they love.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Zuleika Dunbar: Pearl Shear. Matt Sarver: Michael Conrad. Joe Murdock: Lou Frizzell. Mrs. Boren: Peggy Rea. Secretary: Sima Conrad. Betty Lou Sarver: Jay W. MacIntosh. Mr. Pringle: Dick Whittington.
Original airdate: 09/28/1978
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Gwen Arner
Since Ben cannot depend on engine-loving Jim-Bob, John advises him to hire someone to help at the mill. Jim-Bob, meanwhile, finds himself rescuing the Baldwin ladies’ young cousin Mary Frances, who has come to visit “to think, worrying the sisters at the convent where she is studying, when she climbs a tree to rescue his airplane-shaped kite. Mary Frances tells Olivia later that she is impatient for God to give her answers, but she’s become the answer for Jim-Bobhe is smitten and is dressing up for her. Corabeth is disconcerted when she finds out the girl is Catholic, but Olivia tells her to quit being a busybody. Jim-Bob is charmed but puzzled by Mary Frances’ insistence about making decisions, a question answered when two nuns from her girls’ convent school, a happy-go-lucky sister and her more sober counterpart, arrive on the mountainMary Frances has been considering taking vows to become a nun. The girl is shaken while flying a box-kite with Jim-Bob when he tells her he loves her. Corabeth complains to Reverend Buchanan and other customers that Mary Frances is there to lead a Papist takeover; when Elizabeth comes home with the news, Olivia tells her they should be tolerant. Ben’s new mill worker, Beau, seems to be working out, but he’s secretly an alcoholic. Sister Theresa is nervous about staying in a Protestant household, but Sister Scholastica wants to stand by a troubled Mary Frances, so they spend the night at the Baldwins. Beau’s drunken behavior finally ruins some mill work and Ben reluctantly but forcefully fires him. Because he cannot seem to express his love in words, Olivia tells Jim-Bob to write down his feeling for her. Sister Scholastica finally tells Mary Frances she must choose what is right for her, and the girl finally tells Jim-Bob that despite her love for him, her calling is stronger. She will return to the convent and take her vows.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Hank Buchanan: Peter Fox. Mary Frances Conover: Stacey Nelkin. Sister Scholastica: Jeannette Nolan. Sister Theresa: Mitzi Hoag. Beau Pauley: Bruce French.
Original airdate: 10/12/1978
Screenplay: Jeb Rosebrook
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
Jason pays the court fine for their cousin, moonshiner Boone Walton, who now feels beholden to him and resents it, and takes the elderly man home to his astonished family. Boone signs on as a mill hand, and tells the children and a visiting Daisy Garner, who comes simply to return John-Boy’s ring and ends up staying the night, tales of famous mountain moonshiners. Feeling the family doesn’t accept him, Boone flees to the mountain to build himself a new still, but is followed by Jason, who diverts him with a rabbit hunt and a sympathetic ear to his old memories. Mary Ellen offers Daisy the use of her house until Curt returns, begging her not to return to New York, but Daisy’s fear of not being accepted is reinforced when Corabeth forbids Aimee to play with Daisy’s daughter, the “love child.” Boone is happier when he manages to cheer up the gloomy Baldwin sisters by fixing their Recipe machine. When he and Jason come home tipsy, however, John bawls Boone out and the old man leaves, hurt. Jason finds him again, defacing a sign, but when Boone refuses to listen to him, Jason washes his hands of him. Daisy doesn’t want Melissa to grow up under the toll of gossip, but Olivia warns her that she will find Corabeths everywhere. Olivia then gives Corabeth a piece of her mind, telling her that she would have adopted Aimee no matter what her circumstances were. Daisy decides to stay, and Boone pays back the court fine to Jason and then returns to live deep in the mountains, but the two do part friends. (He later will be killed at age 87 while crossing a roadcarrying two gallons of moonshine.)
Boone Walton: Morgan Woodward. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Daisy Garner: Deirdre Lenihan. Melissa Garner: Brandi Tucker. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Judge: Ford Rainey.
Original airdate: 10/19/1978
Screenplay: Juliet Packer
Director: Gwen Arner
In order to pass her nursing school exams, Mary Ellen is overworking herself, which greatly concerns her mother. David Spencer even finds her sleeping between classes, so Mary Ellen takes another nurse’s advice, despite David’s reluctance, and starts taking amphetamines. Bored with backwoods life, Cissy walks out on Yancy, who gets drunk. Thinking she may need them again, Mary Ellen saves her unused pills after her final exam. Then Curt comes home on leave and tells her that if she hopes to join him, she must also pass state board exams, so she asks David to get her more pills. He gives them to her only because he thinks she can handle them. Her fluctuations in temper start to puzzle the family, and a combination of amphetamines and sedatives (because she is now so wound up she can’t sleep properly) frequently blur her vision. Daisy Garner, who has been through a similar problem when she lived in New York, suspects, so Jason confronts Mary Ellen. Faced with a divorce suit, Yancy ends up listening to Elizabeth, who’s a devotee of Mr. District Attorney. Judge Baldwin’s law books convince the girl that Cissy will get custody of Yancy’s animals. Olivia is worried when Mary Ellen sleeps through John Curtis’ screaming, but soon she is on edge again, unable to sleep. Mary Ellen then flees back to her old house and breaks into Curt’s store of sedatives when she realizes what is happening to her and screams for Daisy’s help. At home, Olivia and Jason help her through the long night and her grit carries her through. When Cissy returns to talk terms with Yancy, they reconcile instead. Curt appears at Mary Ellen’s graduation, proud of the way she has overcome her weakness. He then tells the family he has been transferred to the Hawaiian Islands, to a place called “Pearl Harbor.”
Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Cissy Tucker: Cissy Wellman. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Daisy Garner: Deirdre Lenihan. Melissa Garner: Brandi Tucker. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. David Spencer: Christopher Woods. Nancy: Alley Mils. Superintendent: Suzanne DeLapp.
Original airdate: 10/26/1978
Screenplay: Robert Pirosh
Director: Lawrence Dobkin
On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, when Elizabeth has been castigated by Aimee for not acting her age and feels she is growing up too fast, odd things begin to happen when she is nearby: vases fall by themselves, the piano begins playing on its own, etc. Once Elizabeth looks into a mirror and sees a ghostly fog over her reflection, and a mysterious breeze keeps ruffling her hair. Jason gets a new job on radio, as the advice to the lovelorn columnist “Uncle George,” whom Corabeth consults about Ike’s sloppiness. After a stone “floats” into Elizabeth’s bedroom window, she is frightened enough to tell everyone about the strange occurrences, but they tell her it was a bad dream although they are puzzled when the phone rings for no reason and the radio goes off when she enters the room. At the advice of “Uncle George,” Corabeth tries immersing Ike in cultural activities and tells Ike and a disbelieving Olivia that she thinks Elizabeth’s problem is a poltergeist. Olivia is, however, curious enough to look up the term and finds the phenomenon is documented in children going through puberty who are afraid of growing up, so she tries to talk to Elizabeth to get her to open up. When a suffering Ike is enrolled in musical appreciation classes, he complains to Jason that no one has the right to tell anyone else what to do; when Mary Ellen and Erin repeat the admonition to him, Jason confesses on the air that he’s not qualified to give adviceand is promptly fired. At Elizabeth’s birthday slumber party, the poltergeist returns with a vengeance, frightening the girls, and its only when Elizabeth screams out her resentment of getting old that the strange events stop, never to return.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Phone Repairman: John Perryman. Mr. Larkin: Russ Marin. First Girl: Kathy Ritzke. Denby: Patrick Gorman. Second Girl: Kelly Louise Lynn.
Original airdate: 11/02/1978
Screenplay: John Dunkel
Director: Ralph Senensky
Erin and Jason see lights and hear French music coming from the deserted Pembroke house; the occupant is Derek Pembroke, a former European art student, a handsome young man who rides his white horse at breakneck speed through the woods. He refuses social invitations, but attracts Erin with his brooding style. He has tears in his eyes while translating a French song for Jason and later talks oddly to Erin in the woods. After unsuccessfully trying to catch a wild bird for Grandma’s bird cage, Elizabeth and Jim-Bob peek into Derek’s window where they catch him painting a mural on the wall. Erin and Corabeth are both overwhelmed by his powerful war paintings, and Erin is asked to pose for the mural he is painting at the house. Grandma is finally given a canary they name “Chirpy,” and the younger children and Grandma try to coerce the bird into singing, but Erin leaves the safety of her home to pose for Derek. He seems to think she is someone else, calling her Gabrielle, and frightening her away. Because of Erin’s experience and the tone of his paintings, Mary Ellen, who has been working in a psychiatric ward, wonders if he’s mentally ill. Chirpy finally finds his voice when Grandma and Jason duet. Derek accosts Erin after school, forcing her to pose for him, but not harming her. Mary Ellen finds out Derek became imbalanced after his girlfriend Gabrielle was killed by the Nazis, but he managed to escape. He is just telling this nightmarish scenario to Erin when Mary Ellen and John arrive, and Derek agrees to accept help and is eventually well again.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Derek Pembroke: Jared Martin. Doctor: Don Dalesandro. Student: Lucia Stralser. Singer: Janine Franklin.
Original airdate: 11/09/1978
Screenplay: Ray Cunneff
Director: Ralph Waite
Elizabeth considers it her patriotic duty to learn to drive, but Jim-Bob’s criticism drives her from the car and to Aimee’s where Corabeth’s manic-depressive moods seem more severe than ever and she is forever talking about her past in Doe Hill. Aimee is further astonished when her mother accepts a sip of the Recipe at the Baldwin sisters home while telling them of her plan to become an interior decorator. By the time she leaves their home, she has decided to start a dancing studio instead and rents a place in Rockfish. Aimee cringes as her parents argue over this expense they can’t afford. Next, Corabeth goes to John to ask him to do alterations on the studio. When he and Olivia inspect the place, they notice that the sign says Corabeth “Walton” and witness Ike and Corabeth fighting yet again over money. Corabeth confides to Olivia that Ike is not “romantically satisfactory” and Ike tells John he doesn’t know whether he will go crazy or broke first. Corabeth loses all her dance students the first day after taking occasional nips of liquor, then fades into dreams and becomes lachrymose, frightening Aimee and Elizabeth, and the latter must drive home when Corabeth passes out. Aimee scornfully dismisses her mother’s drunkenness, something John has suspected, when they arrive home. Corabeth pleads with John to take her away, but he tells her she must face up to the fact that she is an alcoholic and needs help. When Corabeth realizes Ike and Aimee are blaming themselves for her behavior when it’s her own fault, she decides John is right. She also discovers that Ike knew about her drinking long ago and was covering up for her; he tells her the woman he loves is still inside and he will help her fight her demons.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aimee Godsey: Rachel Longaker. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Woman: Bronia Wheeler.
Original airdate: 11/16/1978
Screenplay: John McGreevey
Director: Walter Alzmann
Verdie, already upset to find that Jody’s name has been segregated on Ike’s Honor Roll of boys in the service, is perturbed when a letter she sent to her daughter Esther has been returned. The reason for this is clear when Esther returns home with her baby daughter Harriet, bitter about her aborted “business” career and deserted by her less-educated husband. Esther’s frustration at segregation is set off by the Honor Roll sign and she has an outburst at the store, leaving Verdie embarrassed and fighting with her daughter. Then Esther tells her that the college education her mother scrimped for her has done her nothing; her only job offers have been for menial work like housekeeping and cleaning. In the meantime, Erin has gotten a job at J.D. Pickett’s new defense plant, but her fingers, so clever at secretarial work, are all thumbs in assembling mess kits. She finally walks out, knowing she could do the office work J.D. so desperately needs much better, and that Esther, with her business degree, could rearrange the chaotic working conditions there. Verdie becomes infected with Esther’s cynicism, but her daughter has been doing some thinking, and accompanies Erin back to Pickett’s. J.D. offers her a job as a cleaning woman as she expected, and a furious Erin walks out again with her. Olivia tries to console Verdie, and her words fire Verdie enough to tell Esther that she doesn’t like her backing down; that she should fight, if just for Harriet’s sake. Next day, invading Pickett’s office, Esther bullies J.D. into giving her the personnel director’s job with Erin as her assistant for a two-week trial period. And Verdie tells Ike she would like Jody’s name included alphabetically on the Honor Roll.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Verdie Foster: Lynn Hamilton. Josh Foster: Todd Bridges. Esther Grant: Joan Pringle. J.D. Pickett: Lewis Arquette.
Lewis Arquette was the son of Cliff Arquette, the beloved “Charley Weaver” of the original Hollywood Squares fame. His children included Patricia Arquette. Todd Bridges later appeared on Diff’rent Strokes and then had some problems with the law.
Original airdate: 11/23/1978
Screenplay: D.C. and Richard Fontana
Director: Gwen Arner
When Ike starts rationing gas at the store, Jim-Bob wonders how he’ll visit his girl in Westham, but after coming upon Yancy’s abortive moonshine workings, decides to try to make some kind of fuel with it. Grandma is surprised when her old beau Marcus Dane shows up after sending her a condolence message, bringing her a blue rose bush. He has also recovered from a strike and Grandma can relate to him, but Elizabeth is jealous of another man taking her grandfather’s place. Marcus’ visit enlivens Grandma and she starts sorting through her old memorabilia. Corabeth, who is a dither over her new millinery shop, bothers Elizabeth when she calls Marcus “Grandma’s beau.” Grandma herself is a little reluctant to step out in the world, but, fortified with a new hat and Marcus’ corsage, goes to dinner, a movie, and the ice cream shop with him, where they meet Jim-Bob and his date. John waits up for her like an anxious father. With a special still, Jim-Bob and Yancy cook up a grain alcohol that will run a car. Once Marcus assures Elizabeth he is not trying to take her grandfather’s place, she allows him to give Grandma an alabaster egg and to invite her to Richmond for the weekend. Grandma remembers the egg: he offered it to her once before when he proposed, and she turns down the trip, telling him she cannot commit her love to him. Not wanting to get into trouble with the government, Jim-Bob dutifully reports the creation of the alcohol fuel to them, but they respond that it is impossible for fuel to be created that way and that it can’t exist!
Marcus Dane: Arthur Space. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Yancy Tucker: Robert Donner. Tanya: Lisa Lindgren.
Arthur Space once had the regular role of veterinarian Frank Weaver on Lassie.
“Day of Infamy”
Original airdate: 12/07/1978
Screenplay: Paul Savage
Director: Harry Harris
On a crisp December Sunday, Mary Ellen dreams of the Hawaiian Islands as she and John Curtis will be leaving to join Curt in a few days, Ben prepares for a date with a slinky blonde nicknamed “Sinful Cindy” in her red convertible while Jim-Bob subs for him at Ike’s civil defense drill, Jason goes to a recital at Kleinberg Academy, and Erin and Elizabeth plan to sneak off to see the new Hitchcock film Suspicion. Since Mary Ellen is leaving before Christmas, John and Olivia go up on the mountain to pick out a Christmas tree that Grandpa planted as a surprise. While Mary Ellen packs her things, Grandma, sitting downstairs at the radio, is the first to hear about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Corabeth shouts the news to Ike’s drill participants, sending Jim-Bob flying home, the movie is interrupted, and Jason is told the news by one of his professors. Ben, necking in the car with “Sinful Cindy,” hears the news on her car radio and makes her take him home. Verdie, who has also heard the news and worried about Jody, who is stationed on the battleship Arizona, rushes to the house to be with Mary Ellen. John and Olivia return with the tree to find the family waiting for them, the girls crying at the dreadful news. Mary Ellen takes the news stoically and even suggests that they still decorate the tree that night. The boys do their chores, discussing joining up until John tells them Matt Sarver has already doubled his mill orders. Jason agrees to stick around until he learns what the National Guard is planning to do, and Ben agrees, but Jim-Bob says yes only reluctantly. The family plans an early night until Mary Ellen, having spent a quiet hour in her room reminiscing about her meeting and marrying of Curt while John Curtis napped, comes downstairs singing carols, ready to decorate the little tree. Next day, she recalls more bittersweet memories of Curt and of John Curtis’ birth at her home, then joins the family as they gather around the radiolike Ike and Corabeth and the other families all over the countryto listen to President Roosevelt’s declaration of war. Verdie bursts in after the broadcast with news that a telegram has informed her that Jody was on liberty that weekend and is safe. Just then Jim-Bob returns from Rockfish, where he was trying to join up but was turned down because of his age. He has a telegram for Mary Ellen, but tells her what is in it: Curt was killed while helping the wounded. In shock, the family listens to a letter that Curt entrusted Grandma with before he left, bequeathing to John Curtis the love of his father and mother, and the loving family he was born into.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Verdie Foster: Lynn Hamilton. Jason’s Professor: Sid Conrad. Curt Willard: Tom Bower. Radio Announcers: Walker Edmiston, Art Gilmore and Bud Hiestand. Theater Manager: Norman Andrews. Cindy: Robin Eisenman.
Curt was written out of the show at the beginning of sixth season because Tom Bower said there wasn’t really anything for him to do and wanted out of the role. Thus his being “called up” and ultimately being transferred to Pearl Harbor worked in with the war timeline the producers had established. Curt was, of course, later discovered to be alive in a execrable later show that destroyed the simple beauty of this tale, with Scott Hylands in the role.
This is apparently the same Cindy that Ben later marries because, although Leslie Winston took over the role and the later Cindy is much less...um, sinful, she is still driving the memorable red convertible.
Original airdate: 12/14/1978
Screenplay: Juliet Packer
Director: Nell Cox
Reverend Buchanan has joined the military, and his replacement, young Andrew March, is chased out of the parsonage by a skunk, so he stays with the Waltons. Elizabeth at first teases him, but later, reading a poem to him, realizes she’s fallen in love with him. She scrubs out the shed for him to stay in and later asks Olivia to buy her a new dress and some silk stockings. The Baldwin sisters are already trying to matchmake Erin with Andy, and ask Erin to help with their project, writing a book called The Ballad of the Baldwins, taken from their father’s journal. Elizabeth helps Andy air out the house and they chat; later she is teased by her brothers and John is surprised and upset to discover that his “baby” is suffering a case of puppy love. As Erin goes through the journal, she finds evidence that Ashley Longworth did write to Miss Emily again, but the Judge hid it from her. Miss Emily is devastated. After Andy gives Elizabeth a friendly kiss, she writes a cute little poem for him and signs it with her initial. Andy thinks the poem, as well as all the other little gifts, like cookies and flowers, that have been given to him come from Erin and he is chagrined when he finds out they were from Elizabeth. He gently tells her that he does love her, but as a sister, and she can’t face him any longer. After a frantic search, Ashley’s letter of farewell is found; he has left her a token, his signet ring, in their special tree. Elizabeth is too embarrassed to say farewell to Andy when he goes back to the parsonage, so he speaks to her again. She understands his feelings, but runs home in tears, and to comfort her, John tells her about his own first crush and that he finally realizes she has turned into a woman. She puts on her new dress and her father takes her dancing.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Andrew Marsh: Sean Thomas Roche.
Original airdate: 12/28/1978
Screenplay: Robert Pirosh
Director: Harry Harris
Ben, frustrated when John won’t allow him to subcontract a lumber order, plans along with Ike and Corabeth to start an auto court in town to catch the overflow of people expected to work at new war plants opening nearby. Stung by John’s rejection of the idea and thinking it’s because John still thinks of him as a little boy, Ben quits his job at the mill and takes a room at the boarding house, not paying much attention to Yancy’s news that he’s taking a correspondence course in barbering. Corabeth’s plans for the auto court expand to include a town square with a fountain, and a town meeting is called to persuade the Baldwin sisters to sell them the land they need; the Boosters Club is then formed. John disapproves of the construction, but the Baldwins donate the land and the town approves the constructionjust as the War Production Board cancels all unnecessary construction. Ben’s pride plummets when the construction board declares the project unnecessary and Corabeth is upset about the loss of a town square. Then Ben bounces back with a new idea: since they cannot build anything new, they will buy up old cabins from the Guthrie mine and fix them up instead. He applies for a loan to do so and Ike co-signs it. The first units are delivered, and when no one else on the council shows up to help fix them up, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth are roped into painting. Yancy, who has already bedeviled everyone to practice on, relies on the Tom Sawyer ruse and eventually gets his diploma. Ben then finds out that a proposed plant will not be moving nearby and the auto court is useless; suddenly the Booster Club withdraws its support. Then John suggests to Ben that perhaps the cabins can be used for stores instead. Ben does come back to the mill, and Yancy opens a barber shop in one of the cabins; soon the town squarewith a drinking fountainis dedicated.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Zuleika Dunbar: Pearl Shear. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Man #1: Llynn Storer. Man #2: Gordon Hogdins.
Original airdate: 01/04/1979
Screenplay: Michael McGreevey
Director: Gwen Arner
Jason is reluctant to leave college to join the Army so close to his graduation date. Ben and Jim-Bob are already eager to serve, but Jason is not sure he can kill for his country. Mary Ellen suggests Jason sign up as a conscientious objector, but Jason knows he will be called a coward; two yahoos who heard him talking to the recruiting officer torment him at the Dew Drop Inn for being “chicken.” Ben also feels his brother is being cowardly and picks a fight with him, but Jason will not fight back. Jim-Bob is in a patriotic fever and has gotten the Army Air Corps symbol tattooed on his armand is now frantically trying to remove it. Jason confesses to John that he’s afraid most that his hesitation to kill may endanger his fellow soldiers, but John tells him there are times a man must fight. Ben angrily offers Jason his mill job so Jason won’t have to “chicken out,” but Jason refuses and goes up on the mountain on a pilgrimage. Olivia has found out about the tattoo and is furious, so Jim-Bob must work hard to get back into her good graces. Even on the mountain Jason is prey to nightmares about having to kill a man, but he does some hard thinking, and when a sheepish Ben comes to pick him up and apologize, Jason has his brother drive him into Rockfish, where he returns the conscientious objector papers and instead enlists. He has found the strength to fight if he needs to.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Sgt. Gates: Hal Bokar. Bert: Sean Michael Rice. Drill Sergeant: Edwin Owens. Lt. Billy Streeter: David Hunt Stafford. Jeb: Wayne Northrop.
Original airdate: 01/11/1979
Screenplay: Curtis Dwight
Director: William Bushnell Jr.
While Ben, Ike, and Jason work up an act to use at a local USO audition, Mary Ellen acts on a worried postscript on one of John-Boy’s letters home and goes to the Naval hospital to find John-Boy’s old classmate Mike Paxton, now a paraplegic after a torpedo blast on his ship, bitter and reclusive. She talks him into spending two weeks at the Walton home. He initially rebuffs the family’s friendship and encouragement, as well as Erin’s suggestion that he apply for a job at J.D. Pickett’s war plant. When Mike conquers the board ramp from the shed to the house that the boys make for him, it bolsters his confidence, and he is also encouraged by Grandma’s recovery from her stroke. The family starts giving him chores to do and it is then Mike reveals that he had a girlfriend he never told about his wounds because he has nothing to offer her now, not even children. Watching Ike and Ben rehearse dance steps momentarily gets Mike down, and he’s further embittered when he applies for a job as shipping supervisor at Pickett’s and J.D., who claimed he’d do anything for a serviceman, turns him down, telling Mike the only way he will employ him is if he can drive up and walk up the steps to the factory. At the audition, it’s Ike that freezes instead of a nervous Ben, and it’s Mike who gives him the confidence to continue. Jim-Bob outfits his car with hand controls while Mike laboriously practices climbing stairs; when he does what J.D. asked, in front of witnesses, there is nothing Pickett can do except hire him.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Mike Paxton: Dennis Redfield. J.D. Pickett: Lewis Arquette.
Original airdate: 01/18/1979
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris
John is away on more and more business trips since the war started and Olivia misses him; meanwhile Elizabeth is learning baking tips from Grandma and Jim-Bob takes up the accordion in order to impress his new girlfriend, Tonya. Olivia feels chronically tired, and John comes home equally tired. Jason tells his father he thinks his mother is suffering from his absences, so John takes her on his next trip, with a vacation afterwards at Virginia Beach. John buys her a daring beach outfit, and when she worries how tired he is, she asks him to see a doctor; he says he will if she will and Olivia agrees. Olivia’s Aunt Kate, with whom they are visiting, is suspicious when the doctor says he took “precautionary tests,” but John and Olivia go on to the beach determined to rest. They frolic like children, but her shortness of breath disturbs him. At home, Corabeth keeps bringing over gifts of food and has made the same stew that Elizabeth has. The family has banned Jim-Bob and his accordion from the house, so Jason finally offers him lessons. Grandma blanches when Elizabeth notices a missing ingredient in her sponge cake, then secretly admitsit’s the Recipe! With some premonition, Olivia doesn’t want to leave the beach, and she’s still so tired when she gets home that Mary Ellen is worried. Aunt Kate comes to the house to break the bad news: Olivia is in the first stages of tuberculosis and must go to a sanatorium. There is one near her aunt, but Olivia refuses to go at first. When she does realize, reluctantly, that she must go, her farewell party is gloomy until Jim-Bob plays “Beautiful Dreamer” for her on the accordion. Their good-byes are full of tears and love.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Aunt Kate: Neva Patterson. Dr. Charles Caldwell: Booth Coleman. Saleslady: Barbara Tarbuck. Window Washer: Ellis Robb.
Original airdate: 01/25/1979
Screenplay: E.F. Wallengren
Director: Harry Harris
While Elizabeth collects insects for a school project, Jim-Bob runs wild with his mother away and his father working late at the mill. When he nearly runs Corabeth down because of the faulty brakes on his car, an angry John forces him to apologize and then to fix the brakes. When the jacked-up car nearly falls on him, Jim-Bob has a “revelation,” taking it as a sign he should become a minister. The family is surprised, and then a little annoyed when a pious Jim-Bob is harder to put up with than Jim-Bob the hoodlum, but Grandma is proud and gives him her baptismal prayer book. His ardor is dampened when he finds he needs four years at college before he can preach, but he is determined to do so and starts giving away his possessions, starting with his car. His holier-than-thou attitude even begins to irritate his grandmother, and when he tries to break up the girls’ argument over Elizabeth’s insects, they wonder if he really has a calling. Later, paranoia reigns in the girls’ bedroom after Elizabeth’s crickets escape; during the confusion, Jim-Bob, feeling rejected by them, runs off. He meets his troublemaking friend Tinker, who as a joke asks him for a sermon, then tells Jim-Bob he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Jim-Bob nearly strikes him. At home, Grandma feels that she pushed Jim-Bob into the ministry. When Elizabeth’s beautiful luna moth dies in captivity, she releases all her insects back into the wild. Jim-Bob finally confesses to John that he feels all the family’s previous bad luck was his fault, and his father tells him to stop being so egocentric; that he is not to blame for his mother’s sickness or anything else that has happened to the family.
Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Reverend Bradshaw: Nolan Leary. Tinker: Tony Moran. Professor Hoadley: Ivor Francis. Announcer: Michael Sheehan.
Nolan Leary must have looked official; he also plays a minister on Lassie.
Original airdate: 02/08/1979
Screenplay: Juliet Packer
Director: Larry Stewart
The family urges Mary Ellen to return to nursing part-time, but since Curt’s death she is overprotective of John Curtis, even with the family looking after him, and goes to work reluctantly. Photographer Ben uses up a last photo on Erin playfully posing in a pair of shorts, and the shot is accidentally submitted to the Charlottesville Register along with some scenic photos. When an old friend’s little boy is accidentally poisoned, Mary Ellen panics when she comes home and cannot find John Curtis; she eventually discovers him with Corabeth and promptly quits work to stay home with him. John is furious when the suggestive photo of Erin is the one that’s published and is also worried about Mary Ellen’s overprotectiveness. Erin starts getting fan mail, and during a visit to Camp Lee, John discovers his daughter has become a pin-up girl in the barracks. Erin is already answering letters from the young men who sound the loneliest. Mary Ellen forbids the children to play rough games with John Curtis, and when even David tells her she can’t coddle him too much, she is furious. John advises her that fear isn’t a good foundation for mother love, but she is too upset to listen. Corabeth is taking a dim view of Erin’s new-found popularity, and John is, too, when Erin is invited to an inspection tour on Saturday at Camp Lee. John doesn’t want her to go, but a Lt. Oler arrives at the house the next day to persuade John that Erin is just “the girl next door” to the soldiers and that he won’t allow anything to happen to her. John finally acquiesces, but during the discussion John Curtis wanders away. Mary Ellen is frantic. They finally find him near the lake and she realizes that while she must be careful of him, she cannot keep him tied to her forever.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. David Spencer: Christopher Woods. Lt. Clarke Oler: Kip Niven. Jo Ann: Carol Jones. Private: David Hinton. Private Charles Wallace: Kevin Lee Miller.
Original airdate: 02/15/1979
Screenplay: E.F. Wallergreen
Director: Harry Harris
Beset by government paperwork and demanding customers, Ike is harried and too busy even to ask why the Waltons are considering selling Blue the mule; money is tight and the mule is eating but not working. Chubby Clarence, the boy who once sold Elizabeth a pig, purchases him. Ike suddenly suffers a massive heart attack and Corabeth holds herself responsible for nagging him. The children think they must make things easier for their father and also volunteer to run the store for Ike. To alleviate the sugar shortage, Ben and Jim-Bob plan to harvest sorghum and make molasses. Corabeth worries over Ike, as her father died of a heart attack. When Ike finally regains consciousness, David says he must rest and Corabeth suggest he retire and give up the store, being run rather clumsily by the Walton children. After a few days rest, Ike is bored, but still too frightened to try to work. He entrusts John with his will and tells him he always thought of him as his best friend. He is already restless when Corabeth suggests buying a small beach cottage, but doesn’t want to hurt her. The boys find they need power to turn the molasses mill, but Chance won’t do to power it, and they finally purchase Blue back with a fat $3 profit for Clarence. Ike finally gives in to Corabeth and puts the store up for sale. When John discovers Ben letting him take it easy, he tells his son he would rather risk death than be bored. Ike is just breaking the news to the children when a buyer for the store shows up, but as he listens to the buyer plan to update what has once been his, he cannot sell. Corabeth protests, fearing for his life, but he tells her the store is the sum of his accomplishments and his customers are his family, and, like John, he would rather die working than sit and wait to die.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. David Spencer: Christopher Woods. Clarence: Kenny Marquis. Maude Gormley: Merie Earle. Ed Whipple: Lew Brown. Bill Snyder: Stanley Grover.
Original airdate: 02/22/1979
Screenplay: William Parker from a story by Michael Learned
Director: Gwen Arner
Jim-Bob finds Elizabeth shaving her legs and teases her about her underdeveloped figure. On her way to the Baldwin house, Erin is splashed with mud by a car driven by a handsome Naval officer who introduces himself to her as Ashley LongworthAshley Longworth Jr, that is. He is so like his father that Miss Emily faints when she sees him, and when she is aroused later, she thinks he’s the original come back to fetch her. Erin finds out that Ashley Sr. became a diplomat and is attracted to the handsome lieutenant. At the supper table that night John insists that the family should eat together more often and tells them he’ll cook them a turkey dinner on Sunday. Miss Emily dresses like a young girl when Ashley escorts the sisters to church on Sunday, and people stare and murmur when she introduces him as her suitor. The three of them eat dinner at the Waltons, where Emily cannot take her eyes off Ashley Jr. He and Erin want to find some time together, so he promises to get out from Miss Emily’s constant attentions to take her somewhere. Elizabeth needs someone to listen to her problems with growing up, but John still is seeing her as a child; he asks her to be patient with time, but calls Olivia for some advice. The shortcut Emily shows Ashley gets the car stuck in the woods, but Erin thinks he stood her up. Ashley takes Erin for a walk the next day to apologize, but Emily thinks he is waiting for her at “their” tree and rushes out there, only to see Ashley and Erin kissing. The elderly woman rushes home and collapses, refusing to see Ashley. Erin talks gently to Emily, making her realize she’s been living in a dream, and she emerges in time for a departing Ashley to give her a legacy from his late father, a farewell letter to his first love. When John visits Olivia, he comes home with a letter as well, one written especially for Elizabeth, and also a pretty camisole for the young woman.
Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Ashley Longworth Jr: Jonathan Frakes. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Ike Godsey: Joe Conley.
Original airdate: 03/01/1979
Screenplay: Robert Pirosh
Director: Philip Leacock
Ben strolls in at five a.m. with his date Cindy on his arm; he announces they have eloped! The family is flabbergasted and poor Cindy is embarrassed. In the morning John demands to know why Ben left the family out of such an important decision. Ben is forced to call his mother to break the news, and steadfastly protests that he loves her. Cindy is determined to live down her red convertible image and make Ben a real home. Meanwhile, Corabeth, feeling homesick, sends Ike to her old home at Doe Hill to buy a fountain from an estate she loved as a child and which is being sold off. When Cindy buys a phonograph with the allowance she gets from her rich father, Ben is stung and tells her he will support her like a husband should. Mary Ellen warns Cindy of Ben’s temper and Cindy responds that she would like to start helping out around the house. The family has a special supper for the newlyweds, with a beautiful cake, and they make up at table. After dinner, John presents them with an album with a hand-carved cover, Grandma gives them a sampler, and there are other gifts including Jim-Bob’s bathroom apparatus. Corabeth and Ike arrive, ostensibly for Ike to borrow the truck to go to Doe Hill in, but really for Corabeth to snoop at Cindy. Ben laughs at Cindy nailing curtains to the window and his comments make her feel inadequate. Corabeth is dismayed when the fountain Ike brings home is not so big or beautiful as she remembered. Ben and Cindy quarrel again when he finds her monopolizing the bathroom, and their night out is ruined. When Cindy locks him out of the shed, Ben despairs, but John advises him to cool off and give it time. Cindy is packing to leave when Grandma drags Ben out to the shed and sics Cindy on him with a broom, like she used to do with Grandpa when he got too bossy. Cindy tells him the shed must be theirs, not his, and she must be herself. Ike surprises Corabeth by mounting the fountain in the town square so that it is once again imposing.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards.
Original airdate: 03/08/1979
Screenplay: Rod Peterson
Director: David Wheeler
Jason tells a sleepless John that Thelma has sold the Dew Drop Inn and he doesn’t know if the new owner, a flashy blonde named Callie Jordan, will keep him on. She does, however, and when Jason volunteers his father’s lumberyard for some remodeling, he finds she already knows his father. Callie turns out to be John’s old girlfriend and they have a bittersweet reunion. They fight over Callie’s choice of lumber; she seems scornful of his life on the mountain. Her presence upsets Cindy, whose parents were divorced, and she advises the children to remind John he’s married and a grandfather. He doesn’t act like either when he escorts Callie to Ike’s, an event a disapproving Corabeth witnesses. Callie’s stories about her and John skinny-dipping in their youth further scandalize the prim woman. The children leave Olivia’s photograph in the bathroom and start asking him questions about their mother. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Cindy have successfully talked Ike and Corabeth into starting a canteen for the servicemen at Godsey’s Hall, but the men eschew the canteen for the Dew Drop when they find no liquor is served, except for one bookish fellow. Mary Ellen returns home to find Callie visiting; the woman has sensed the presence of Olivia still in the house, but Mary Ellen smolders afterwards and lectures her father. While practicing new music, Jason tells Callie about the failure of the canteen, so she agrees to back a new project that will be more like a homey haven than a honky-tonk. At home, John keeps hearing lectures about fidelity. Callies’ promotion makes a success of the Home Front Canteen, but Ike still feels obligated to lecture Callie about leaving John alone. She finally confesses to John that she’s always loved him, but she cannot betray the children or Olivia. John tells her he would never cheat on Olivia, but asks that they stay friends. They then go on a trip to Richmond together, with the children as chaperones.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Callie Jordan: Dorothy Tristan. Soldier #1: Wyatt Knight. Soldier #2: Daniel Zippi. Sergeant: Christopher Carroll.
Original airdate: 03/15/1979
Screenplay: Claire Whitaker
Director: Walter Alzmann
When Jim-Bob is found to be flunking English, John tells him he needs to get good marks to get into the Air Corps and instructs him to be tutored by Corabeth, who sets him to reading the most boring classics. A young soldier from Curt’s home town, Chuck Turner, visits Mary Ellen, and she invites him by again. Pulled over for running a stop sign, Jim-Bob’s license is found to be expired. When he takes the eye test, it’s discovered he’s nearsighted, meaning he cannot join the Air Corps. He falls into a depression so deep that his father cannot even cheer him. He blames his bad vision on all Corabeth’s reading, but the eye doctor assures him that he does need glasses. Mary Ellen pushes Chuck on Erin, but he likes her instead. Jim-Bob sells all his model airplanes and decides to quit school and join the Army, but his father forbids it. When Corabeth tells John that Jim-Bob has given up his tutoring, John explodes and Jim-Bob calls her a snitch. Angry, John signs the Army permission slip. Jason finally tells Mary Ellen that she’s not dead; it wouldn’t hurt her to go out with Chuck. John tells Jim-Bob it’s wrong for him to serve in the Army simply out of resentment, but Jim-Bob presses on to the recruiting station anyway, until he meets Corabeth, who has a flat. She is still angry but allows him to help, and softens enough to tell him she admired him for having a goal. She recalls that she once had glorious dreams, but that she’s kept some alive in her literary excesses and tells him he shouldn’t let a little thing like glasses stop him. Her story about the high-flying albatross makes him think, and he rips up the recruitment papers and returns home. Erin finally tells Mary Ellen that if she goes out with Chuck, it will only be to please Mary Ellen, who goes with him to a war bond rally herself. Jim-Bob decides if the Air Corps doesn’t want him, he will build his own airplane.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Chuck Turner: Kevin Geer. Buck Vernon: Barry Cahill. Deputy: John Lawrence. Dr. Canfield: Jerry Hoffman.
Original airdate: 03/22/1979
Screenplay: Kathleen Hite
Director: Ralph Waite
Jason’s graduation project at Kleinberg Academy is a “polyphonic overture” and he can’t seem to develop it properly. It will be his final composition and will decide his grade and if he will graduate. He realizes it is stuffy and not his style, and can’t concentrate on composing it in the midst of family noise. He retreats to the Baldwin house, where the ladies disconcert him by staring at him. Adapting an idea to preserve the Baldwin name, the ladies plan a Founder’s Day ceremony for the community and rope Jason into helping. Corabeth, of course, makes herself chairman. As Jason continues to struggle, John tells him to listen to the voices in his head, not to his professor’s rigid restrictions, and Elizabeth advises him to write what he knows. He does so, renaming the piece “Appalachian Portrait.” It’s a big hit with the family and Grandma urges him to play it at Founder’s Day. Both the Baldwins and Ike find old papers that say their forebears founded the community, and this starts a quarrel that begins when they cannot decide where to hold the ceremony. Professor Bowen hates Jason’s composition because it is too contemporary and turns down the invitation to Founder’s Day. As the quarrel increases, Grandma finally drags out Rome Walton’s old journal, which she originally refused to volunteer, that proves he was on the mountain before either Phineas Baldwin or Isaac A. Godsey. Fearful that Jason will flunk, Elizabeth visits Professor Bowen with John, but the teacher acts so snobbishly that John tells him off. Elizabeth, however, lends Bowen John-Boys’ book and tells him the essence of Jason’s music is contained within. At the ceremony, held on the Walton property, people examine antiques and sip Recipe-laced punch. The Baldwins donate their home as a Founder’s Hall, and John tells the crowd that it doesn’t matter who came first; they are a community. Bowen arrives just in time to hear Jason’s compositionand finally understands.
Ike Godsey: Joe Conley. Corabeth Godsey: Ronnie Claire Edwards. Miss Mamie Baldwin: Helen Kleeb. Miss Emily Baldwin: Mary Jackson. Professor Bowen: Dean Jagger. Bowen’s Student: John Dayton. Radio Announcer: Hank Stahl.
“Appalachian Portrait,” written by Earl Hamner
"There is something within us that tells us all we will ever know about ourselves. There is a destiny that tells us where we will be born, where we will live, and where we will die. Some men are drawn to oceansthey cannot breathe unless the air is scented with the salty mist. Others are drawn to land that is flat, and the air is sullen and as leaden as August. My people were drawn to mountains, they came when the country was young and they settled in the upland country of Virginia that is still misted with a haze of blue which gives those mountains their name. They endured and they prevailed, through flood and famine, diphtheria and scarlet fever, through drought and forest fire, whooping cough and loneliness, through Indian wars, a Civil War, a World War, and through the great Depression, they endured and they prevailed. In my time I have come to know them:
(shows Grandpa and Grandma) “Grandpa, in memory I touch your face, a distance from me now, I feel you near. The coyote will disappear from the earth, and the whooping crane will follow the passenger pigeon, but you will endure through all of time. Grandma, I touch your hand, and when I do I touch the past. I touch all the small ships that brought us to this country, and all the strong brave women who faced a frontier and made it home.
(shows Olivia and John) “Strength and love came together here, so not the same they did not seem a pair, bound together they were so much one, all I ever want is what they've had so long, and lived so well.
(shows Jason) “A brother with an alien name, the ancient Jason went searching for the Golden Fleece, our Jason makes voyages every day, and never leaves the mountain.
(shows Mary Ellen) “A first baseman grown to wife and mother, soft and stronger as she grew.
(shows Ben) “A temper always at the ready hides the best of him, but I know my brother is my friend.
(shows Erin) “A pretty girl deepens into beauty, impatient for time to pass and bring her love.
(shows Jim Bob) “His head most often in the clouds causes the rest of him to stumble, but seldom really fall.
(shows Elizabeth) “A little sister full of wonder and far enough behind to be a joy.
(shows the Godseys) “And close as family were our neighbors, linked to us in ties as strong as blood.
(shows the Baldwin sisters) “Gentility and graciousness lived there too, the past flowing into the present, the present blending with yesterday.
(shows Waltons Mountain, then pans back into Jason playing) “I have walked the land in the footsteps of all my fathers, back in time to where the first one trod, and stopped, saw sky, felt wind, bent to touch Mother Earth, and called this home. This mountain, this pine and hemlock, oak and poplar, laurel wild and rhododendron, home and mountain, father, mother, grow to the sons and daughters to walk the old paths, to look back in pride, in honored heritage. To hear its laughter and its song. To grow to stand and be themselves one day remembered. I have walked the land in the footsteps of all my fathers. I saw yesterday and now look to tomorrow."
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