Episode 12 - The Boosters

(28 December 1978)
Writer: Robert Pirosh.
Director: Harry Harris.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"Most of the time when strangers appeared on Waltons Mountain they were people who had taken the wrong turn from the main highway and had gotten themselves lost. But the coming of World War Two was to bring many strangers who were actually looking for the mountain, and while we didn't exactly have a traffic problem, we did have traffic. And that's what gave my brother Ben the idea for the boldest venture he had ever attempted".


While playing baseball, the kids rush to John and Olivia as they return from a business trip. John tells Ben that Sarver gave Murdock Lumber an order above its capacity so they will help complete the order. However, while John was gone, Ben has subcontracted another order. John is upset at Ben for making the order without telling him. Ben is mad at his father for not allowing him to make decisions on his own.


While filling the truck with gasoline, Ben notices the heavy amount of traffic passing Ike’s store on the way to and from the Pickett plant. Ben suggests to Ike that they open an auto court. Corabeth does not like the idea until Ike reminds her of the extra business their store will receive. Corabeth suggests the name “Corabeth’s Guest Cottages”. When Ben informs his father about joining, John asks what will happen when the war ends. John declines the offer saying he knows how to cut lumber, not how to run an auto court.


Yancy stops by the house to show off his new venture he found in Grit magazine. As soon as he receives his barbering diploma from correspondence school, he has a job opportunity in Rockfish. Jason questions Yancy as to whether he can learn barbering through the mail, but Yancy states he has been receiving straight A’s by sending in before and after pictures of his clients.


Jason returns tired from a crowded Dew Drop Inn to tell Ben that people are talking about Franklin Steel building a plant in the area. With the good news, Ben asks John to cosign a loan for the auto court. John agrees but tells Ben he needs a full-time foreman. Tired of working for his father, Ben quits the job and moves into Zuleika’s boarding house where he learns that the loan is approved. Corabeth, Ike, and Ben decide to make the auto court part of a new town square next to the store. Because Ike respects John’s judgement he is concerned that John does not like their idea. Corabeth decides to organize a town meeting to popularize their idea. The Walton’s Mountain Boosters’ Club is formed and preparations are made. Ben asks the Baldwin sisters to sell them the land next to Ike’s store. Miss Mamie and Miss Emily discuss their memories of that property but Zuleika says it is their patriotic duty to build an auto court. While John enters the room, the Baldwin’s announce they will donate the land. John says he has checked with the bank in Charlottesville and several real estate people, finding that many auto courts have gone broke in the past. John mentions that the Guthrie Coal Mine provided a boom to their local economy until the coal prematurely ran out. Ike asks for a vote where everyone but John votes ‘yea’ on the proposal.


Ike and Ben discuss placement of the cabins when Corabeth announces that their activities were featured in the Charlottesville Progress. While Corabeth reads the article Ike and Ben notice that the headline states there is a ban on all new construction not essential for the war. At Zulieka’s, Ben nervously waits for news from the War Production Board on whether their auto court is essential. He is later informed that the request has been denied. When he tells the Godsey’s the bad news Corabeth says, ‘We could have turned this wasteland into the garden spot of Virginia while the cash register played a merry tune.’


Erin picks up Ben as he walks along the road. They stop for a car pulling a motor home when an idea pops into Ben’s head. He jumps out and shouts, ‘I’m back in business!’ He tells Corabeth and Ike that there is a freeze on new construction but nothing to prevent them from using existing buildings. Ben discovers that the bank will issue them a thirty-year mortgage of ten percent down, at six-percent interest on several houses from the Guthrie Coal Mine. Ike agrees to sign the mortgage. The first house is moved at four o’clock in the morning with Ike and Ben supervising the operation. While Elizabeth and Jim Bob help with the exterior painting of the house, Ike presents Yancy with his diploma and a barber chair in recognition of his achievement. However, nobody steps up to receive the first haircut from the newly graduated barber.


Jason informs Ben that the new Franklin Steel plant was only a rumor started by a land speculator hoping to raise prices. A special meeting is held to inform the Boosters that Ben tried to cancel their contract with Mr. Gibbs at the bank but was denied. Ben announces he will assume full responsibility for the auto court. However, John mentions that he is sure Ben has considered other ideas, such as an antique store or restaurant. He wonders whether Ben will receive all the profits if he assumes all the debt. The Boosters reconsider their decision and agree to find tenants and share the profits. On the way home, John offers Ben the job of his manager for twenty-five dollars a week plus room and board. Knowing the activities of the auto court will only take part of his time, Ben happily agrees to return to work.


"The important thing about any community is not the grandeur of its buildings but the spirit of its people. Ben and the Boosters continued to work together to help the little town through its growing pains. Ben went back to work at our father's mill, but he had proved he could make good on his own. Waltons Mountain didn't become the largest town in Jefferson County but it did prosper and expand in the years to come. Corabeth's dream of a town square with a fountain did come true. Though it didn't have the splendor that she had envisioned, that cool spring water gave welcome refreshment to home folks and strangers alike".


Jim Bob: Come on Ben turn out the light.
Ben: Pretty soon Jim Bob. When I've finished these plans for some more shops in town.
Erin: Don't forget a dress shop Ben, and I know Mary Ellen would like a place for baby clothes.
Elizabeth: Got a movie theater?
Jim Bob: What he'd better have is an undertaking parlor.
Ben: That's awful, Jim Bob. What d'you want one of those for?
Jim Bob: You unless you turn out the light.....
Ben: Goodnight everybody!



Yancy Tucker is learning to cut hair from the manual ‘Whitaker Method of Hair Cutting’.

Yancy pays Jim Bob twenty-five cents to cut his hair.

Yancy receives his B.B. (Bachelor of Barbering) degree.

The Charlottesville Progress is, in reality, called The Charlottesville Daily Progress. Information can be found at: http://www.dailyprogress.com/.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Miss Mamie Baldwin (Helen Kleeb); Miss Emily Baldwin (Mary Jaskson); Zuleika Dunbar (Pearl Shear); Man #1 (Llynn Storer); Man #2 (Gordon Hodgins).