Last year I looked at most of the Waltons Christmas episodes. The one that I didn’t get a chance to write about was the two part special episode, The Children’s Carol.
This episode comes in the middle of season 6 and one of the reasons I love it so much is that a fellow Aussie, Sally Boyden, guest starred as Tess, the English girl.
I watched this episode again this week and one thing I noticed on my DVD edition that I hadn’t noticed before, was the voice over of Earl Hamner at the beginning of the episode. Come to think of it now though, I think there were lead ins such as this one from this season. I’m not sure why they were introduced. Anyway in this one Earl says the following:
“This is Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons. This year, we bring you a different kind of Christmas story. World War II literally comes to Walton’s Mountain in the form of two English children seeking safety from the London blitz. It’s a story of courage and faith and the victory of the human spirit over the shattering impact of war. After this Christmas, never again will the world be the same. I invite you to enjoy a remarkable special broadcast.”
I think it would have been a difficult time to celebrate Christmas during the war years. Many of the young men in families would have been missing and lots of different items would have been scarce. I imagine that many families simply didn’t feel Christmassy at all.
This episode tells us of two English children who had been evacuated to the US after London bombings. Their home, their neighbourhood and their parents had all gone from their lives. The two children, Tess (played by Sally Boyden) and Pip (played by Jeff Cotler, Kami’s brother), arrived on Waltons Mountain, traumatised and determined to look after each other. In fact young Pip is so traumatised that he has stopped speaking.
They were initially billeted to stay with the Baldwin sisters, but they found it difficult to cope with them. The Baldwin’s wondered whether being with a family, in the midst of other children, might help them to recover.
Elizabeth does not really accept the two children. They just want to be together and don’t really want to join in with anything. She feels that they just want to watch and they’re spoiling her fun.
Olivia’s faith is tested as well during this episode. She wonders how God could possibly have allowed these, and so many other children to be affected by the horrors of war in the way they have.
Jason is also questioning his life. He is being taught to kill and he wonders how music will continue to play a part in his life. As Olivia tells him, perhaps if he feels that the job he is being trained to do has no place in it for music, then maybe it’s not the right choice for him. As Jason says though, to serve in the war is something that the country is expecting of him.
The final scenes are just beautiful. Jason has penned a Christmas carol, titled The Children’s Carol and the family and friends gather around the Walton’s Christmas tree to sing and finally enjoy Christmas for that year.
Here’s a few screen grabs from it.
Two photos of Tess and Pip, the English children.
Here’s some of the final scenes of family and friends around the piano.