Tuesday, June 18, 2013

“A Walton Easter”

Airdate: 3/31/97

Again, roughly the same cast reunites for one last trip to the Mountain. It is 1969, and John Boy and pregnant Janet return home (along with a pesky magazine reporter named Aurora) to help celebrate John and Livy’s 40th wedding anniversary. John-Boy is still a news anchor and currently working on another book, but the stirrings of home call to him, and he wonders if moving back to Virginia might not be such a bad idea. Of course city girl Janet objects, and becomes enraged when she finds out he had purchased a nearby cabin to use for weekend getaways. To help the lumber business, Drew takes to constructing furniture, but a deal with a local vendor turns out to be a bust – he’s already got an angry Elizabeth on his hands when he finds another girlfriend during Elizabeth’s globetrotting. Oh, it’s ok: Drew never lost his feelings for her, and asks her to marry him; she accepts.

New schoolteacher Olivia is trying to get through to a “slow” mountain boy. Hisparents think he’s slow and don’t want her to meddle, but she does. It pays off when the boy enters, and wins, the county spelling bee. The grand finale ends with the anniversary celebration, the family at a black Easter service(?), and the birth of… twins… to John Boy and Janet!

After 26 years, the Waltons saga concludes with this confluence of events that, in many ways, brings things full circle. 1969 is only 2 years before the 1971 TVM The Homecoming, the pilot for the show, and also the year I was born. In a few epilogue narrations, Earl Hamner mentions 1969 as the year his father died, but surely they wouldn’t have that happen in this movie! Less historical context here – the emphasis is on family history. I’m a bit sad for Jim-Bob, who now is the only never-married Walton child. (I knew he should’ve married Jennifer Jason Leigh when he had the chance!) Just as well, perhaps – only Janet and Toni, Jason’s wife, are present here.

BTW: the best orchestral rendition of the opening theme can be found at the opening here. Give it a listen.

Some bad math here – Johnn and Olivia celebrate 40 years as a married couple, meaning they would have been married in 1929. But they weren’t; they married in 1919, after John returned from WWI. Something’s fishy here!

Oh, well, peccadilloes aside, it’s nice to have all here together again, including grandma and the Baldwins (who officially pass down their “recipe” to the Waltons). Maybe other reunions in the future?  Who knows. But you know the Rocket will be back to blog about it.

Good night, everyone.

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