Episode 19 - The Shivaree

(30 January 1975)

Writer: Max Hodge.

Director: Lee Philips.

Music: Alexander Courage.


"People coming to Waltons Mountain for the first time may have been surprised to find that we had such a good life. More often than not, outsiders' impressions of hill people are formed by comic strip characters or jokes about hill-billies. We were neither, yet, we did have our rituals and our customs which must have seemed odd to outlanders. I remember a time when one of our Blue Ridge customs caused a great deal of discomfort to a visitor and almost broke up a marriage that had just barely gotten under way".


Jim Bob and Elizabeth argue over their duties with the upcoming wedding of their mother’s namesake, Olivia, to fiancé Bob Hill. Ben, Jason, and John work on the archway to stand above the wedding couple, while Grandma and Olivia make artificial flowers and talk about wedding plans. Zeb walks in with wild violets for Grandma, from the same location where he and Esther first picked flowers. Grandma is embarrassed, just a little bit. John-Boy picks up Bob at the bus station. While driving home, Bob comments on the loneliness of the countryside, with only trees seen for miles. John-Boy suggests they stop by Ike’s store because he will need some change tomorrow for the shivaree. When Bob asks to define the word, John-Boy says he will tell him later.


Yancy is inspecting his gun inside Ike’s store, while Ike prepares for their hunting trip. John-Boy introduces Bob to the pair, and say they are looking forward to the shivaree tomorrow night. Bob is forced to exchange two dollars for coins. At the house Bob is introduced to the family as young Olivia flies outside to hug him. They walk to Driscilla’s Pond. The girls like the man, but the boys think Bob is a “stuffed shirt”. John agrees, but Olivia tells them to give him a chance. On the bank of the pond Olivia tells Bob that if he kisses her now nobody will know it, and they kiss. Bob would rather have the wedding in Richmond because he feels out of place here. But, Olivia says the Waltons are her only real family, and he agrees to stay.


John-Boy watches Bob shine his shoes in his bedroom (that he is sharing). John-Boy explains a shivaree: a country-tradition where the boys and men congregate around the honeymooners, hoot-and-holler, and sometimes kidnap the groom (which is why he needs change in order to pay off the kidnappers to leave him alone). Bob says he will not stand for such a thing. John-Boy informs John and Grandpa of Bob’s refusal to let the shivaree take place. Grandma and Olivia are relieved that the shivaree will not be held. John-Boy agrees to leave a note for Ike and Yancy.


On the day of the wedding, John-Boy tells Bob that he would be nervous if he were getting married. Bob says he as a definite plan for his life, and doesn’t believe that men should show emotion. When he knocks on young Olivia’s door, she says to go away, because it is bad luck for him to see the bride on their wedding day. Olivia tells (young) Olivia that she is happy to stand in for her mother. She tells the young bride that her mother wanted six children. Elizabeth has given young Olivia something borrowed, something blue, and something new (all in one). And she is wearing her mother’s wedding dress (something old). Young Olivia says her heart tells her this marriage is no mistake, but suddenly feels scared.


Jason plays the wedding march as John escorts the bride down the aisle. The preacher begins the ceremony as Bob and Olivia exchange vows; and they are married. At the reception, Zeb yells for everyone to be quiet so the happy couple can cut their wedding cake. Afterwards, the adults sit exhausted around the table. The men tell the women to wash the dishes in the morning; and Grandma says that it will be the first time in thirty years that she hasn’t washed dishes. Ike and Yancy pull up to start the shivaree outside the honeymoon cabin. Bob comes out to find out what is going on. Ike, Yancy, Zack, and Horace blindfold and handcuff him. They throw him into the sidecar of the motorbike, and drive down the road. John promises the young bride that he’ll go after them—assuming that they will drop him off just down the road. John-Boy and young Olivia drive around looking for Bob. Olivia is worried because Bob has never been in this type of wild country before. As they talk the men drop off Bob—still tied up and handcuffed—and leave him alongside the road. Olivia tells John-Boy that she first saw Bob flying a kite (his hobby) in the park. In order to meet him she bought a kite and string and got her kite tangled up with his. Bob’s first words to her were, “You just ruined my Japanese Dragon!”


Bob removes his blindfold by rubbing his face on a tree branch. He falls on his face, and finds himself face-to-face with a dog. Bob finds out that Hyder Snow is hunting with his dog Rooster. Snow thinks Bob might be a convict, until he learns he just got married and “shivareed”. Olivia and Grandma worry at the house, unable to sleep. Elizabeth interrupts the conversation, also worried about Bob. Suddenly a car horn is heard; John and Grandpa have returned but without Bob. Snow walks with Bob, and the man tells of his hunting experiences, especially the time he went with the older Weaver boy, the one who works at the livery stable in Scottsville. Soon Snow and Bob meet with John-Boy and young Olivia. Snow asks John-Boy how his grand-daddy is doing. Bob jumps in the car—very mad and unwilling to talk. Back at the house John tries to break the handcuffs while he tells Bob about his shivaree experience—floating on a raft on Druscilla’s Pond. Olivia brings the young bride and groom hot tea and brownies.


Bob returns to the cabin, but won’t talk to young Olivia—saying they made a big mistake. She tries to get him to forget everything that happened, but Bob will only sit in the rocking chair. In the morning, young Olivia asks to talk to Olivia as the family eats breakfast. She admits to Olivia that she and Bob sat up all night—her in one chair and Bob in the other. She doesn’t think they made a mistake, and still loves him. Olivia convinces John to have a “father-son” talk with Bob. They laugh at what happened to John during their shivaree. Bob walks in to ask for a telephone in order to call a taxi. He informs young Olivia that they are returning to Richmond. Young Olivia doesn’t think she knows Bob anymore. Grandma says that they have had only one night of “wedded bliss”.


John tells the children to go outside, but Elizabeth says it is more interesting inside. John-Boy walks in, saying he would never sit up all night on his wedding night. John and Olivia look at each other! Erin suggests that the couple need a quiet night away from everybody. At the store, Ike and Yancy try to be friendly to Bob, but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. When he tries to order a taxi Miss Fannie wants to know from Ike if the man can pay for the call. Ike tells Miss Fannie all about Bob and his relationship with his wife, Olivia, and the Waltons.


Bob and young Olivia wait for the taxi as the Waltons finish preparing a cottage at the top of Walton’s Mountain. Olivia talks for the family, telling them of how they would like to make things better for them. John-Boy suggests the couple, at least, look at the cottage before leaving. At the old cabin Bob finds a red flower that he gives to young Olivia. That night the family sits on the front porch while Jim Bob tells them that he told Yancy and Ike where the couple are staying tonight, when he went to cancel the taxi. They rush off to stop Ike, Yancy, Zack, and Horace from continuing the shivaree. But the four men are already there, with Bob threatening them with harm. Yancy announces that did the shivaree last night, and the serenade tonight. They begin to sing Let Me Call You Sweetheart as the couple returns to the cottage, and embrace.


"Bob and Lyvia were to enjoy the remainder of their honeymoon in the privacy of the old cabin on top of Waltons Mountain, and when it was over they returned to Richmond, secure in their marriage and in their love for each other".


Elizabeth: John-Boy?
John-Boy: Yes Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: Will I have a shivaree when I get married?
John-Boy: I don't know honey, by then a shivaree might be a thing of the past.
Elizabeth: Good! Then my husband won't have to throw money to a bunch of kids. He can give it to me!
John-Boy: Goodnight Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight.



Marni is (young) Olivia’s mother. She died when (young) Olivia was very young. Olivia was named after Olivia Walton, who was Marni’s best friend during the child’s birth.

Bob Hill’s parents died when he was born. His father’s mother, who died last year, raised him. Bob was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia.

The lyrics to Let Me Call You Sweetheart appears at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/sweetheart.htm.

From “The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000: Shivaree is the most common American regional form of charivari, a French word meaning “a noisy mock serenade for newlyweds” and probably deriving in turn from a Late Latin word meaning “headache.” The term, most likely borrowed from French traders and settlers along the Mississippi River, was well established in the United States by 1805; an account dating from that year describes a shivaree in New Orleans: “The house is mobbed by thousands of the people of the town, vociferating and shouting with loud acclaim…. [M]any [are] in disguises and masks; and all have some kind of discordant and noisy music, such as old kettles, and shovels, and tongs…. All civil authority and rule seems laid aside” (John F. Watson).

Lee Philips plays the minister. (Most likely this actor is also the director of the episode.)


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Zack Roswell (James Gammon); Horace Brimley (Wilford Brimley), Hyder Snow (E.J. Andre); Bob Hill (Bruce Davison); Young Olivia (Deborah White); Minister (Lee Philips).