Posted by: KazK | August 20, 2011

The Waltons Fan Favorite Labor Day Marathon

The Inspiration Network is having a “The Waltons Fan Favorite Labor Day Marathon” on September 5th, starting at 1 pm ET. Here’s the “fan favorites” that will be shown on the day.

1. The pony cart
2. The bequest
3. The parting
4. The foundling
5. The firestorm
6. The typewriter
7. The gift
8. The journey
9. A Walton’s family reunion (which I’m thinking will be a repeat of the reunion of the cast which was filmed by INSP when The Waltons joined their lineup.

So that got me thinking about how that compares with your favorites. There seems to be quite a mix of episodes, from varying seasons. How do you like the episodes chosen? Are there some there that you could do without seeing? Which are those episodes from the lineup that are must-sees for you?

Looking at the list, for me I think it starts with that wonderful classic episode of The Pony Cart, with the much loved Beulah Bondi as Martha Corinne. I think this episode is The Waltons at it’s very, very best, and I love that it brings back Bondi’s character, and also tells us a little bit about the history of the Walton family. Eric Scott (Ben) says that it was a real joy to work with Beulah Bondi, and I can imagine that it was. What a show business trooper to have joined the cast for this episode. Kudos to the director, Ralph Senensky and the writer of the episode, Jack Miller.

The Journey is another classic episode, and of course it has that special appearance of Earl Hamner in Maggie’s dream sequence (well not really a dream so much as remembering). In fact Earl claims that his debut was so traumatic that he never would act again! The episode shows how thoughtful John Boy is to an old woman who knows she is about to die. Interesting that it’s another episode about death, and I’ve just noticed that The Gift is also among the lineup. Keep a box of tissues by your side on the day!

I’m thinking that for me, The Firestorm would be my pick for the very best, and I really must watch this episode again. I think it is absolutely brilliant. Writers Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker have created a story about John Boy wanting to keep the community informed on the news in Europe, so he prints parts of Mein Kampf in his newspaper. His own family reacts in a variety of ways to this decision. The Reverend Fordwick ends up holding a book burning, with surprising results. Rod and Claire gave some background to this story by saying that when Rod himself was at school he had a teacher who told the social studies class about Mein Kampf. That teacher was then accused of teaching Nazism and many people wanted him sacked. I like that one fan, Mrs Sam Harris, says in Goodnight John Boy that “This episode teaches how judging can destroy people. Hitler was judging the Jews, and Walton’s Mountain people were judging the Germans.” p.124 How right she is. This is one episode that gives me shivers every time I see it and would rank among my very favorite episode.

The Gift is always one to watch, with Ron Howard, but very sad indeed. Interesting to see the many reactions of family and friends to a child’s impending death. Ron Howard plays Seth beautifully.

The Typewriter would be among my first season favorites. It introduces us to the lovely Baldwin ladies, and they were such great characters throughout the whole series. I love how awful poor Mary Ellen feels when she realises she has given away the typewriter belonging to the ladies, as scrap. It also shows the difficulties which John Boy, and perhaps Earl Hamner, had initially getting publishers to read his work. A poor writer would not have been able to afford a typewriter in those days. If a publisher wouldn’t even read a manuscript that wasn’t typewritten, what would you do? Just another little snippet from Goodnight John Boy to go with this episode. Mary Jackson who played Miss Emily so beautifully, recalls getting on a bus one day and being offered a seat by a gentleman. As she sat down he said to her: “And how is Ashley Longworth?” Just gorgeous. How she must have laughed about that later.

Now it’s over to you. What are your thoughts on the episodes chosen? Let me know for the next digest, and I hope many of you get to enjoy the Labor Day Marathon.

I see from the website that the DISH Network has dropped INSP. If this affects you, then head over to the INSP website for some further information and an online petition that you can sign. I must say that I really like the family drama that they have with The Waltons, Highway to Heaven, Our House and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, and wouldn’t be at all pleased if my cable network dropped them!



  1. I loved your post – lots of news. I am affected by DISH, and I am going to drop DISH this week when I have Time Warner Cable installed. I did write INSP, DISH, put it on Facebook, signed the online petition, and talked to someone on the phone.
    I have a question. In the Journey, where is Earl Hamner?

    • Thanks for dropping by Susan. In answer to your query, I will do a whole post, with pictures for you. Stay tuned…

  2. I do not get the Inspiration Network. We have Comcast. Is there any chance that these shows and the reunion show will be broadcast on Comcast? A friend taped the reunion show for me but the audio was out of sync with the characters mouths and it spoiled the whole thing. Please air it on Comcast. We get the Waltons on the Hallmark channel and the gmc network. I watch everything all over again every day, even though I have the whole series on dvd. Its one of the few decent shows on tv.

    • Suzannah you’d need to check with your supplier I think. I am in Australia.

  3. Thanks for all your posts, including your reflections on the episodes chosen for that marathon. Your thoughts and feelings are so similar to my own, I don’t know what else to say! I too loved the Walton family history told in The Pony Cart.

    I wanted to let you and maybe especially the US fans know of another marathon coming right up on Hallmark Channel.

    Here’s what they’re planning to show beginning on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2011 at 6:00am, through Monday Sept. 7th at 6:00am! This seems to be all from the sixth (1977-78) and seventh (1978-79) seasons. It’s not a “best of The Waltons” marathon like the one you mentioned. Instead, it continues in order from the weekday episodes that air Mondays through Fridays, 3pm-6pm. Today finishes out the last three episodes from season five.

    So, here we go beginning at 6am on Sunday:

    The Volunteer (first episode of season six)
    The Grandchild (two hours)
    The First Casualty
    The Battle of Drucilla’s Pond
    The Flight
    The Children’s Carol (two hours)
    The Milestone
    The Celebration
    The Rumor (first episode to air in 1978)
    Spring Fever
    The Festival
    The Silver Anniversary
    The Family Tree
    The Ordeal (two hours)
    The Return (John Boy Returns) (two hours)
    The Revelation
    Grandma Comes Home

    The Empty Nest (first episode of season seven, two hours)
    The Calling

    Ending at 6am, Monday, Sept. 6, 2011

    (The Monday 3pm show is The Moonshiner, so this marathon is allowing them to move through the remaining episodes a bit faster. I hope they rerun the whole nine seasons and show the specials too. A few weeks ago they had another marathon but that one seemed to be “the best of season one” and was entirely out of sync with the Monday-Friday episodes–but was good to see nonetheless!)

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