Monday, June 10, 2013

Waltons 9.22: “The Revel”

Airdate: 6/4/81

John-Boy moves to New York, expecting his war novel to be accepted for publication. Instead, it gets rejected as too many war novels are glutting the market. Getting a roommate helps at first, until he leaves for Hollywood and leaves John-Boy to pay the rent. Broke, disheveled and jobless, he returns to his publisher, who advises him to return home, which he does.

The Baldwins plan to host a reunion of their finishing school classmates, but all the invites get returned, marked address unknown or deceased. Their morale as low as could be, they ruminate on the brevity of life, but ultimately find cause to celebrate it when the reunion is attended – by all their friends on Waltons Mountain.

No fanfare, hoopla or revelry (despite the title), and no triumphant returns or departures, this is not the gala finale one would expect from a series which lasted 9 seasons. In fact, except for the summative narration at the end, you wouldn’t know it was the Waltons’ last episode, but evidently the producers had not intended this episode to be the finale (see post under episode 9.8). Their plan was to create three TV movies to wrap up the series, but when the idea was proposed to CBS, they declined. NBC picked them up, and aired them all in 1982, the year following the last Waltons episode airdate. As such, they can hardly be called “reunion” movies, but rather 3 two-part episodes. Little House on the Prairie did something of the same thing over at NBC, a network which must be amenable to such ideas.

But back to this episode – as low-key as it is, it’s a rather lovely way to end the series run. The Baldwin sisters bookend the show with some profound dialogue. When planning the party, they wax philosophical on life’s fleeting quality, and in a speech to the townfolk they espouse the true riches of life – friends, family, love – all part of the legacy – the mark – that one must leave before passing on. Beautiful words, something the show, through ups and downs, was really all about.

Standard goodnights here, followed by Hamner’s narration, which addresses the audience and adds a more personalized touch.

Timeframe: According to the Baldwin’s invitation, it is June 4th, 1946, 35 years to the date before the episode aired. It also means that the show’s time frame, which began in the spring of 1933, ran just a little over 13 years.

Good night all... for now.

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