A Walton Easter

(March 31, 1997)

(number 4, post-season movie)



Starring:  Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, Michael Learned, Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott, David Harper, Kami Cotler.


Special Appearances: Grandma Walton (Ellen Corby).


Music: John Rubinstein, Producer: Sam Manners.


Executive Producers: Earl Hamner, Lee Rich, & Rich Heller.


Written by: Julie Sayres, Directed by: Bill Corcoran.


Setting: A few days before Easter 1969 and John and Olivia’s 40th anniversary.


John-Boy reports live on the Channel 8 News about the historic Moon landing. Later that night, John-Boy tells Janet that Random House wants to send a reporter from Life magazine with him during their visit to Walton’s Mountain. The proposed photographs and article will help publicize John-Boy’s newest novel. John-Boy wonders if Janet should make the journey to celebrate his parent’s fortieth wedding anniversary because she is pregnant. But, Janet reassures her husband that the baby is not due for a month.


Olivia teaches a grade school class when the principal (Erin) enters the classroom with a new student, Jimmy Weeks. Olivia becomes concerned about the new boy when he mispronounces a word.


John eats a pie that Olivia bought at Ike’s store. They talk about their upcoming wedding anniversary, planning to spend the day at a Virginia Beach inn. Later, as John and Ben work at the mill, John-Boy and Janet drive up. Olivia rushes out to greet them, and finds Aurora Jeffries, a reporter, emerging from the car. Soon Jim Bob drives up to hug John-Boy and Janet. John and Olivia aren’t comfortable with Aurora’s pushy personality. They sit at the supper table talking about Janet’s pregnancy when Mary Ellen walks in with her two children. Later, John-Boy pauses at the front porch to watch his father. He remembers the first time he told his father that he wanted to become a writer. Drew drives up with a homemade bent-willow rocking chair, making the suggestion that they build more to sell. John likes the idea, but Ben is against it.


Olivia looks out the window to see Elizabeth drive up in a taxi. Elizabeth announces she came from Rhodesia, then England, and on to Washington DC. but is home to settle down. After talking with Elizabeth, John-Boy returns to the porch, looking up to the sky to think:


“Small things call me home, no matter where I am, the call of a night bird, the rumble of a train crossing a trestle, the scent of crabapple, the lowing of a sleepy cow, can call me home again.”


Back inside, John-Boy comments that the night sky here is better than in New York City. Janet says that it’s not a contest. John and Olivia look on, concerned with their tone. John-Boy admits to Janet that he is thinking about relocating them to the Mountain. Janet thinks he is uncomfortable in New York City, but John-Boy says he’s not. Later Janet tells Olivia that she doesn’t mean to criticize her husband. John-Boy tells his father that he sees Grandpa in many places. He reassures John that everything is fine between him and his wife, saying they have a wonderful life in NYC, but likes the idea of moving back. John reminds him that he will soon must think about a wife and a new baby.


Outside the hardware store John-Boy greets Verdie. They reminisce about earlier times and their current lives. Verdie mentions that Old Man Walker is selling the cabin where John-Boy writes. At the same time Drew drives up while Elizabeth is picking wildflowers. When Elizabeth asks if he is going to ask her to the movies, Drew admits he has a girlfriend. Elizabeth is crushed that he didn’t wait for her. Later John-Boy shows Aurora the area around Druscilla’s Pond. She tells him that his books remind her of idyllic times.


At school Olivia asks Jimmy why he doesn’t want to sign up for the spelling bee. He doesn’t want to talk about it. When Erin walks in, Olivia tells her that she would like to speak with his parents. John-Boy writes in the cabin when Jason and Ben drive up, followed by Erin, Jim Bob, Elizabeth, and Toni to plan their parent’s anniversary. They decide on a get-together before their parents leave for Virginia Beach.


While John, Olivia, and John-Boy eat their meal, Aurora disturbs them with her camera. Elizabeth then walks in to say the Baldwin sisters have indicated that they urgently need to see John and John-Boy. At their house Miss Mamie and Miss Emily confess they are getting older, wishing to entrust their most valuable possession, their Papa’s Recipe, to John (in honor of Zebulon). The group drinks a toast. Erin and Elizabeth eat at a diner where Elizabeth overhears Drew’s girlfriend talk about the relationship to the waitress. Erin tells her sister that the girl is a “sappy, little thing” and that Drew made the mistake by not waiting for her. Janet helps Olivia make applesauce cake, telling her that she realizes John-Boy loves the area where he grew up. Olivia and Janet talk about the joys of raising children.


In the cabin, John-Boy reminisces about swimming in Druscilla’s Pond and hearing his Momma’s voice. That night John and Olivia ponder why everybody feels upset. They talk about their forty years together, hoping their children will be as happy together. Janet peers out the window as John-Boy tells her that she has never looked lovelier. She wonders if she is ready for their first child, hoping to be half as good a mother as Olivia. John-Boy remembers how wonderful it was growing up here and believes it to be a great place to raise children. Not wanting to leave her career in NYC, Janet and John-Boy argue about where they will live. John-Boy leaves for the porch, confused about how he feels. He hears crying in the tree house, finding Elizabeth upset about Drew. Both wish they were five years old again.


The next morning John-Boy admits to his mother that the argument last night was about the possibility of moving back. When Janet enters the room Olivia excuses herself, bringing back a quilt that Grandma made when John-Boy was born. Janet isn’t sure John-Boy married the right woman but Olivia reassures her that he did. John and Drew show the antique chair to Lincoln Terry, an antique dealer, who decides to order ten for delivery next week. At Jason’s house John-Boy observes Jason’s four children playing in the house. At Jimmy Week’s house Olivia finds that his father believes his son is slow, but Olivia thinks Jimmy only needs encouragement. The mother knows her son likes to read, but the father is not convinced. While Ben and Drew work on the order, John worries about the bills. Ben decides to start advertising. Drew tells John that he never intended to hurt Elizabeth. John understands.


That night Elizabeth talks with her mother, telling her that she thinks Drew is “fickle”. Olivia thinks that Drew was ready to settle down before she was ready, and suggests she not show Drew her sad feelings. John-Boy finds Janet packing her suitcase, wanting to be alone. Admitting his thoughts have been jumbled, John-Boy convinces her to come to bed. In the morning Olivia walks into the house to find John-Boy packing a picnic basket. She asks for advice on Jimmy. John-Boy suggests that his old dictionary helped him when he was growing up, and suggests she take it to the boy. Elizabeth brings Drew lemonade and wishes him the best with his girlfriend (Jeannie). Drew is now more confused. At the picnic John-Boy and Janet discuss how babies bring out the best and the worst in people. Janet admits that him wanting to move away from NYC is like an attack of everything they had together. John feels his decision to buy the old cabin and ten acres for a vacation retreat is a good compromise. But, Janet becomes angry that he made the decision without first asking her, thinking Long Island or the Adirondacks are better spots.


Olivia gives the dictionary to Mr. Weeks who doesn’t think the book is a good idea. Olivia leaves the dictionary, whereupon Jimmy finds it, happy with it. John-Boy tells Janet that he is sorry for not telling her about the cabin. Saying he will cancel the deal, Janet says “no”, now realizing how important his home is to him and their children. At Janet’s shower Erin gives her a little hat and dress. But Janet feels scared.


At school Jimmy wonders how to spell a word from a book he is reading. They look up “magnanimous” in the dictionary. Olivia says the book’s meaning is to believe in yourself. Jimmy thinks about what she said, and decides to sign up for the spelling bee. Olivia is very happy with his decision. At the house Mary Ellen is checking Janet’s vital signs when she hears two heartbeats. Janet is stunned to learn she is carrying twins. John-Boy just then comes in saying, “Am I interrupting anything?” Over supper the family discuss the news. John-Boy is especially concerned with the added expenses. The next day John and Drew deliver the chair order, but find the store is vacant. The man outside says the owner was three-months behind in his rent. Back home John and Drew talk with John-Boy about the predicament they are in, when Aurora interrupts. John-Boy takes her off to discuss the article, where she takes one last picture of John-Boy leaning against a tree, before she returns to NYC.


Verdie visits Olivia to tell her that “your people and my people” have been living side by side for years. She asks her friend and her family to join her church at Easter’s sunrise service. Olivia says “yes”, where-upon the pair catches up on news. (Harley is fine.)


At the “All District Spelling Bee” Joanne Potter, Ricky Barnes, Jimmy Weeks, Lily Bates and others compete. With only Ricky and Jimmy left in the competition, Mr. Weeks enters the room in time to see his son win the contest. After being kissed by Olivia, Jimmy hugs his father and kisses his mother, both very proud of him. Drew admits to Elizabeth that she really “threw him for a loop” when she invited Jeannie and him to dinner. He admits he never stopped loving her. After Elizabeth reassures him that she is ready to settle down, Drew asks her, “Are you going to marry me, or what?” Elizabeth kisses her new fiancé.


John-Boy asks his parents to help with an inspection at the cabin. As they round the house John announces that Aurora has found a buyer for the chairs. Around the house the family greets them with, “Surprise”. John-Boy announces that their one-night reservation at the Beach Side Inn has been cancelled for a two-night visit along with dinner reservations at Andre’s Cellar. Jim Bob wants to taste some Recipe that was made for the first time by a Walton. The next day, as Mary Ellen, Erin, and Elizabeth prepare sandwiches for their parent’s trip, John yells inside, “Car’s all ready.” John-Boy and Janet are given a ride as they return to NYC. Mary Ellen and Erin leave Elizabeth alone at the house with Drew. John reminds them that they are not married yet. But soon the cars return, with Janet in labor. As Mary Ellen tends to Janet, John-Boy tells his father that he feels helpless, and anxious about all the expenses. As they walk near the water, John pushes his son into the water (as Zeb did to John) to cool him off. John-Boy can’t believe he did it, but does feel better. The kids have a tug-of-war contest as Mary Ellen delivers the first baby, a girl. Downstairs Olivia tells her son that he is a new father, showing him his new daughter. Soon Janet gives birth to her second child, a son. After seeing both babies John-Boy now realizes how his parents had enough love to go around for all the children.


At the Easter sunrise service the family join Verdie and fellow members for church services.



At the beginning of the movie John-Boy appears on Channel 8 News reporting on the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon on July 20, 1969. However, the setting for the movie is Easter in 1969. Easter occurred on April 6, over three months BEFORE the historic Moon landing.

On the episode The Anniversary John and Olivia celebrate their 25th anniversary. The previous episode (The Festival) occurs during the spring of 1940. According to this information, John and Olivia should have celebrated their 40th anniversary in the spring of 1955, and their 54th anniversary in the year 1969.

Erin is the principal of the Walton’s Mountain Elementary School.

Jason and Toni have four children named after country-western singers: Roy Acuff Walton, Merle Haggard Walton, Patsy Cline Walton, and Loretta Lynn Walton.

It is mentioned that Mary Ellen has three children. It is assumed that these children are John-Curtis, Clay, and Katie.

Ben’s wife (Cindy) and children were not been mentioned in this movie. From past episodes Ben and Cindy had two natural children (Virginia and Charles Benjamin). Virginia has died, but the couple had planned to adopt (according to the previous movie). No further mention was made of this adoption.

Erin has three children according to the previous movie. In this movie a child (Susan) was mentioned. It is assumed she is Erin’s daughter. The other two children’s names have not been mentioned.

Erin is the principal of the Walton’s Mountain Elementary School. Olivia is teaching a grade school class within the school. Olivia’s granddaughter (Susan) is one of her students in the class.

John was twenty years old and Olivia was eighteen years old when they married.

The Weeks family moved from North Carolina. They inherited a farm in the area.

Dr. Lewis is John-Boy and Janet’s doctor in New York City.


Also appearing:

Toni Hazelton Walton (Lisa Harrison), Janet Gilchrist (Kate McNeil), Susan (Brittany Levenbrown), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Drew Cutler (Tony Becker), Verdie Grant (Lyn Hamilton), Aurora (Sydney Walsh), Calvin Weeks (Peter Crombie), Jimmy Weeks (Zachery Edinton), Rebecca Weeks (Jennifer Parsons), Lincoln Terry (Nicholas Hormann).


Unknown characters for these actors:

Sage Allen, Julie Benz, Mika Bonem, Orlando Brown, Brooks Garrett, Kyla Pratt, Patrick Tyler, Charles Walken, Joe Whipp, Carmen Twillie.