Episode 3 - The Comeback

(7 October 1976)
Writer: Seth Freeman.
Director: Harry S. Laidman.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"While the great Depression was a time of constant trial and struggle on Waltons Mountain those were, in some ways, easier more simple years, for we knew what the challenge was and what we had to do to meet it. But, one time in 1937 when my brother Jason faced an unusual situation, he found that the answers were not quite as simple as they seemed".


John-Boy looks for Jason while Elizabeth tries to spell “Mississippi”. Jason runs out to find John-Boy is upset with him for being late. Yancy comes by with a mess of fish, hoping he could stay with them for a few days because a skunk has taken up residence under his house. John-Boy drops Jason off at Kleinberg where he finds out from Lucy that Professor Thaxton wants to see him. Thaxton tells him that Kleinberg is having financial difficulties, and that the Trustees are discontinuing the scholarship program. He will still be able to attend but he will need three hundred dollars for tuition. Jason has no idea how he’ll come up with the money, one hundred of it by the end of next month.


Yancy and Jason are fishing at the fishing hole. They talk about his predicament at school. Yancy mentions his job with Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang (and his job with the Sunday Morning Gospeleers). Yancy tells him about the café on Route 29 that needs someone to play the piano and sing songs. Jason drives up to the Dew Drop Inn. He introduces himself to Thelma, the owner. Jason plays a song, although Thelma is hesitant to hire him. He plays Roll Out the Barrel, and the fellows at the bar think he is pretty good. Thelma agrees, and he gets the job (but nothing but ginger ale for him).


At home, supper is over with when Jason announces a new job. Olivia is against him playing in a roadhouse, “a gatherin’ place filled with beer-guzzlers and backsliders” as Grandma says. Yancy says it is just a place filled with “good-ole boys” trying to have a good time. In bed, Olivia speaks against the roadhouse, but John says hard work and fast company won’t hurt him. Olivia doesn’t think it is very funny. Jason sings the song Hoe-Down while Sissy serves drinks to some customers. She serves him what looks to be a beer, and he gulps it down.


Olivia and Esther are talking with Ike about a straw hat that costs eight-five cents. Mrs. Wilma Turner walks in. She tells them that her husband, Red, stopped playing in his band after their son died. Later, Olivia tells Jason that Red gave up the band, and they reminisce about his playing days. She thinks they should get together so he doesn’t have to work at the Dew Drop. John-Boy visits the Dew Drop, telling Sissy that Jason left his music in his car. He runs into drunken Tom who wonders where Yancy has been. Sissy listens on to the conversation, asking Tom where the Walton house is located.


The next day, Yancy sees Sissy’s car drive up and he runs for cover. Sissy Walker introduces herself to Olivia while the others look on. She asks for Yancy Tucker, and Olivia asks Ben and Jim Bob to find him. She tells them that Yancy has proposed marriage to her. Grandpa comes up and shakes her hand. Ben finds Yancy in the barn, but Yancy tells Ben not to tell her that he is there. She leaves and asks Olivia to “give that man my love”. Grandpa thinks Yancy is showing “particular good taste”.


Jason walks up to Red Turner’s house. Wilma shows him in, and explains that Red is in bad shape. Wilma goes for Red, while Jason looks at a picture of Seth. Red comes out and Jason suggests a crazy idea about starting a band together. But, Red tells him he is no longer doing music, and excuses himself. That night Jason is playing the recorder that Seth Turner gave to him when John walks into the room. They talk about what Red is doing to himself. John tells him that he’ll, “do what I can do”.


John puts on a white shirt, telling Olivia that he is taking Red over to the Dew Drop Inn to listen to their new piano player. John pulls up to the Turner place, and Red and him talk about Jason and Seth. They walk into the Dew Drop as Jason plays the piano. Sissy gets two beers for the two men. Red and John stare at their beers for a few seconds, but Red suddenly gets up and leaves. John and Jason look disappointedly at each other. Tom comes over to John’s table, seeing the nearly filled glass of beer. John drives home and steps wobbly from the truck, and still wobblier up the front steps of the house. He finds himself staring at Olivia, who is waiting up for him. John says he is fine, with a silly look on his face.


Sissy is buying some yarn from Ike when Olivia and Esther come in. Sissy says she is knitting Yancy a muffler. Sissy walks out with them, thinking that Yancy is ignoring him. Grandma thinks she should “drop him like a hot potato”. She decides to ignore him back. Jim Bob is imagining the day when he can collect all the parts he needs to build a car when Elizabeth walks up. She says she would rather ride on Myrtle than wait on Jim Bob’s car.


Grandpa helps Grandma make soap, while Yancy sits on the steps. Grandpa reminds Grandma that she says the Baptists always find some good in everybody, but Esther thinks Yancy might be an exception. Sissy drives up and talks with John-Boy about buying advertisement in the Blue Ridge Chronicle. Ben tells her that the price is fifty cents. Sissy gives John-Boy a lift to Ike’s store, all the while as Yancy looks on. Jim Bob asks Grandpa, “Why do woman always want to get married, but men don’t.” Grandpa reminds him that every time a woman gets married, so does a man. Ike walks in with a present to John-Boy from Sissy Walker. The note has violets on it, and the package is a muffler. Yancy looks on with a shocked look on his face.


That night, Yancy visits John-Boy in the shed as he works on the newspaper. Yancy tells John-Boy that he has noticed the loving family of John’s. He thinks that he might like to settle down, but isn’t sure about love and relationships. He asks about what happened to them (such as Romeo and Juliet), and John-Boy says many of them died, all except Ulysses, who traveled a lot, and Penelope, who waited for him.


While Jason plays My Darlin Clementine Yancy walks in for a talk with Sissy. He tries to convince her that he’s been thinking about her all this time. Yancy wants to talk about some arrangements. At the Turner house, Wilma decides to go out to the Dew Drop Inn, and wants Red to go with her. He finally agrees to go with her. At the Dew Drop, Jason tells the audience that Red Turner is a member of the crowd. He talks about the Red Turner Band and the gift that they gave to the community. He asks if Red would come up to the stage and perform. Jason takes Red up to the stage, where he plays and sings Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine.


Yancy comes by the house with Sissy to announce their engagement. Yancy wants a marriage in 1947 (a ten-year engagement). Sissy thinks he is a humorous man. In the living room, Jason and Red play their music: Beautiful Dreamer.


"It wasn't long before Red was playing again, pleasing audiences with his old skill and a new, more mellow kind of song. Jason had earned enough to scrape together a first downpayment at school, but making those tuition payments remained a constant problem and a challenge for him".


Grandma: What's that noise?
Grandpa: Oh just Jason gettin' home.
Grandma: Oh it must be past one in the mornin'. That Dew Drop Inn.... he might just as well be in Sodom and Gomorrah!
Jason: Do they need a piano player?
John: Goodnight, Jason.....
Jason: Goodnight Daddy. Goodnight everybody.



It is 1937, according to the introduction.

Richard Thomas is still using a walking stick.

Thelma, the owner of the Dew Drop Inn, and Sissy Walker, the waitress of the Dew Drop Inn and Yancy’s fiancé, are introduced in this episode. Cissy Wellman, who plays Sissy Walker, also played Jane Aspen in The Chicken Thief (Season 2, Episode 6).

The lyrics to the song Roll Out the Barrel can be found at: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/barrel.htm.

The songs Hoe-Down and Ironing Board Blues were composed and performed by Jon Walmsley.

Red Turner first appeared in The Gift (Season 2, Episode 18), where Ken Swofford played him.

Ron Howard played Seth Turner in The Gift. The character died of leukemia.

Red plays Nobody’s Darlin’ But Mine. Its lyrics can be found at: http://www.luma-electronic.cz/lp/j/Wanda/wanda_lovincountry.htm.

Red and Jason play Beautiful Dreamer, whose lyrics are found at: http://www.acronet.net/~robokopp/usa/beautifu.htm.

Information about Merle Haggard can be found at: http://www.merlehaggard.com/


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Sissy Walker (Cissy Wellman); Thelma (Dorothy Shay); Red Turner (Merle Haggard); Wilma Turner (Pat Quinn); Professor Thaxton (Jay Robinson); Tom (Logan Field); Lucy, the Student (Jillian Lieder).