Those of you who are members of The Waltons Digest, an email fan club that I run, will be aware that over the past months I have been taking each Waltons episode directed by the wonderful Ralph Senensky and adding my comments to his. You can read his accounts of directing The Waltons at his website Ralph’s Cinema Trek. He has taken each of the episodes he directed from The Waltons and given wonderful background information and memories on each episode. Pop over and have a look because you’ll find a wealth of information on many favourite classic shows. I had a wonderful time visiting there and return often.
One of the episodes he directed was the fabulous The Pony Cart, which featured the return of Beulah Bondi as one of the most loved Walton family members, Martha Corinne. When fans are asked to nominate their top 10 episodes, this one appears in most lists. Beulah Bondi was awarded an Emmy in 1977 for her portrayal of Martha Corinne and I believe rightly so. It’s a script that’s beautifully written and tells of Martha Corinne returning to visit the Walton home. She comes bearing gifts for each family member: arrow heads for the younger boys (“they’ll be worth a lot of money someday”), knitted mittens for the younger girls, a beautiful patchwork quilt for Mary Ellen (“That’s for your new life”), for Zeb she has Henry’s shaving gear, Esther she gives a bedspread which she has crocheted herself, John gets pickled peaches, Olivia receives a shawl that Martha Corinne’s mama crocheted and gave to Martha Corinne on her wedding day and finally John Boy receives family photos that include a photo of Zeb and Henry’s (Martha Corinne’s husband) mother and father on their wedding day. What wonderful and thoughtful gifts.
Martha Corinne stays awhile with the family and manages to irk most of them. However when she has well and truly outstayed her welcome, and John Boy is enlisted to take her home, he discovers that she has been having minor heart attacks. She wanted to be surrounded by family when she finally died. John Boy returns to the Walton home with her, saying he couldn’t leave her because she felt unwell. The remainder of her days is spent helping Ben decorate his pony cart in the way it was decorated in her day. Following are some of the photos both of the cart and the Walton family.