Episode 8 - The Spoilers


(31 Oct 1974) 56-3-8

Writer: Caryl Ledner.

Director: Jack Shea.

Music: Alexander Courage.


"Sometimes the future tries to warn us by casting a shadow over the present. Such a warning came to us one morning in the form of a scent of smoke borne by the wind."


Olivia and Grandma walk out of Ike’s store and see smoke coming from the deserted Hanover place. Thinking hobos may have moved in, they investigate. They find a woman sitting on the porch wondering why her stove doesn’t work. Grandma looks inside while Olivia tries to calm the stranger. Grandma says the damper was closed. Olivia introduces herself and Esther to Susan Hanover, who is Bertram Hanover’s daughter-in-law, and Ted Hanover’s wife. Esther remembers Bertram Hanover from her younger days. Susan’s two children walk up, Alicia and Charles, acting like they don’t enjoy the country. Esther shows Susan how to work the damper. Susan says she is at her wit’s end, never having lived before in the country, coming from a New York City apartment. Olivia invites them to supper at six o’clock; their house is the first one on the right. As they leave Grandma can’t believe Bertram Hanover’s son is here, telling Olivia that Bertram was one of her beaus.


John fixes a bench from the supper table, while Grandma shows Olivia an old picture of her and Bertram at the country fair. Zeb thinks he was a “parlor snake” who after Esther said no to his marriage proposal asked Sabrina Wilkins two weeks later. Zeb says, “Like father, like son, mark my words!” At supper, John-Boy is introduced to the Hanovers after coming in late. Alicia tries to guess his major: law (no), art (maybe), engineering (definitely no), or music. John-Boy says journalism. She suggests that her father could have his writings read by NYC publishers, saying that Maxwell Perkins (J. Scott Fitzgerald’s editor) is a close friend. Ted says that his NYC days are over, but Alicia says hers are not. Grandma and Olivia clear the table as they talk about the country’s recovery. Ted says his family is not too keen on country living. Charles wants to look around and asks Erin to show him the sights.


John-Boy is studying in his room when Erin asks him what to do if Charles would try to kiss her. John-Boy asks if she wants him to kiss her, and Erin says yes. John-Boy tells her that one little kiss is okay. Erin responds, “What else is there?” John mills logs when Ted arrives to ask for advice. He volunteers to assist John, and spends the morning working along side. John invites him for lunch where Grandma comments that he is the “spitting-image” of his father. Ted asks Olivia to befriend Susan and convince her that the country life is best for her. Olivia agrees to be her friend, but Susan must decide for herself whether she will like country life.


Mary Ellen goes over to the Hanover house to tell Charles that Miss Hunter says he can go to school. In Alicia’s room, Mary Ellen tries on one of her Paris dresses. Alicia asks if John-Boy dates, and if he has a steady girlfriend. Mary Ellen answers yes and no to her questions. When she models the dress to Alicia and Susan they provide her with a turban and purse, and give her the outfit. Mary Ellen says see has seen nothing as beautiful as the dress. When Mary Ellen walks home she is told that she looks like a movie star by the boys, and Olivia says she looks like Ginger Rogers. Mary Ellen becomes upset and runs upstairs, followed by Olivia who asks her daughter what is wrong. Finally Olivia says that the dress does not belong here, and what a person wears does not decide who you are.


Erin shows Charles the schoolyard, but he doesn’t understand how she can stand all this excitement. He sits with her on a swing seat. When he puts his hands on her shoulders she asks him to stop. Charles calls her “too provincial”. Elizabeth and Olivia are preparing supper when Alicia walks in, telling them how Charles is so disgusting. Olivia doesn’t like her tone, saying she can’t get away with that with her. John-Boy comes downstairs and Alicia and he go for a walk. At supper, John-Boy leaves early to write an article because Alicia has written to Maxwell Perkins saying she will send him a piece by a exciting, new writer. Erin talks back to her mother, and Elizabeth doesn’t understand what is happening with the family. Grandpa says it is the “curse of the Hanovers”.


Olivia and Susan eat homemade fudge and coffee as Susan talk about exotic places that she’s visited in Europe (having been to all countries except Russia). Olivia doesn’t like the talk, making her yearn to visit such places. Alicia says that the article John-Boy wrote is very good. She wonders what are his ambitions. He is not sure, maybe eventually living in New York City in an apartment overlooking a river (like Thomas Wolfe). Alicia thinks he should leave the area now while he is young. John-Boy says he will finish college because his parents sacrificed for him. Alicia suggests that he make the first sentence grab the reader’s attention. John-Boy disagrees that he should write in a particular “new” style, wanting to feel comfortable with what he writes.


Erin and Charles walk, but he is bored again, missing Yankee stadium, and wants to leave. Erin says she would miss him if he leaved. He kisses Erin, but when he tries to kiss her again Erin says no. Charles calls her a baby and ignores her. John-Boy and Alicia fight, with her saying he is a fool, and he saying she is not a lady. Grandma takes the clothes off the line, asking Erin for help, but she does not hear the request. Mary Ellen is also ignored as Erin runs to her room. She finds her mother, and when she asks Olivia is she should kiss Charles if she does not want to kiss him, Olivia tells her that she does not have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and is proud of her acting like an adult. Olivia tells John what happened, and that the Hanovers upset the family. John tells Ted that his family is paying a heavy price for his confusion, and that his children do not know their limits. John says that a father must keep on top of things, and the children need guidance. Ted agrees. John-Boy tells Grandpa that Alicia did not like his articles, and he feels like throttling her. Grandpa suggests he take his anger out on a pile of wood. Grandpa reads the articles while Reckless lies by his side. John and Olivia comment about how lucky they are with their family. Ted tells Susan that this venture is reality, unlike their escapes from the realities from New York. He suggests that they return to NYC and Susan says, “When do we sail?” A Yellow Taxi Cab stops in front of the Walton house and the Hanovers say goodbye. Erin gives permission for Charles to kiss her goodbye. Grandma gives Ted the picture of her and Bertram, much to the delight of Grandpa. The Hanovers drive off on their way back to New York City.


"We were never to see the Hanovers again, although Erin did receive one letter from Charles. She carried it around for a while, pinned inside her dress over her heart, but then, a new boy came along, and the last reminder of the Hanovers went out of our lives."


John: Liv?

Olivia: Um?

John: I think I can let go of the boys when the time comes, but I don't know how it's going to be to give the girls to some other man.

Olivia: You probably won't have much to say about it.

John: Liv?

Olivia: Yes?

John: Maybe they'll be old maids!

Olivia: I wouldn't count on it!

John: Liv, I love you.

Olivia: Will you go to sleep!

John: 'Night Liv.

Olivia: Goodnight, John.

Ben: Goodnight Mama, goodnight Daddy.

Erin: Goodnight Mama, goodnight Daddy.

Olivia: Now look what you've started!

Elizabeth: Goodnight Mama, goodnight Daddy!

Jim Bob: Goodnight Daddy, goodnight Mama.

John & Olivia: Goodnight.



Bertram Hanover, the father of Ted, married Sabrina Wilkins and is a stockbroker in New York City.

Bertram Hanover was an ex-beau of Grandma, having asked her to marry him (but she said no).

The Walton house is the first house on the right from the Hanover house.

Ted Hanover, also a stockbroker, got fed up with the big city and returned to where his father was born, Walton’s Mountain, although he was born and raised in New York City.

Maxwell Perkins was, in reality, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s editor. Refer to: http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/wolfe/perkins.htm.

Linda Purl appears in The Heartbreaker as Curt Willard’s sister Vanessa in season five, episode twenty.


Also appearing:

Ted Hanover (Mark Miller), Susan Hanover (Barbara Cason), Alicia Hanover (Linda Purl), Charles Hanover (David Gruner).