Hi there everyone,

Just a very quick note from me this week. It's a long weekend here in Melbourne, with the Labour Day holiday being celebrated on Monday. That's to commemorate the Unions winning the right to have an 8 hour working day. The way most people are being worked these days though, I think we're going backwards! Anyway it's usually a hot weekend and there's always plenty going on in Melbourne over the weekend. The Grand Prix is on at the moment too, and there were several other sporting things on last night. James and I went into the city for a play and there certainly were a lot of people around. There's also a carnival along the Yarra River, so there's plenty of things for everyone this weekend.

I mentioned the "teaser" last week and I thought that I'd reproduce it for you this week, just so you could see how it is written. Like I said last week, I had never imagined that it would be a scripted thing, and it was only on one of the 4 scripts I have, even though all are from later episodes. Anyway, here it is, the teaser for "The Portrait". Enjoy and if anyone knows what POV means, please let me know.

Goodnight everyone,


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The dim light of a gibbous moon filters eerily through the trees bordering the road. The headlights of a car move TOWARD CAMERA from distance.


JASON is driving with ERIN half asleep beside him. Her eyes stare out to the passing trees and suddenly she is alerted by something she sees.


A short distance from the moving car, a horseman (LANE FEMBROKE), in dark clothing is riding fast on a trail paralleling the road. He is bathed in moonlight but only half-seen through the intervening trees.

ERIN (v.o.) Jason, look!


Jason glances over, following her stare.

ERIN Someone riding.

JASON And a lot too fast for that trail in the dark.


A place where the trail crosses the road at an angle. The car approaches as the horse reaches the road and both rider and horse react, startled by the lights. As the car slows, the horse rears in the middle of the road.


The horse rears dramatically in front of the car. Then rider gains control again and swings the horse around and on down the trail on the other side of the road.


Jason and Erin exchange startled looks.

JASON Who was that?!

ERIN Or what?

As they stare after the horseman...


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Sr Citizen here - but only age 58... and still enjoying the Waltons.. though some I have seen as many as 4 or 5 times....

I grew up in DC and in the 40's we had to collect tires, newspapers, and woolen clothing to be used "for the war"... We took them to the playgrounds daily and at the end of the week huge trucks came and collected up and took them off.... I never really understoond just what good all this old stuff was for the war, but did my share as best I could. We lived in Apts and I trudged off daily with supplies of stuff collected from neighbors and then made several trips back to school when I got home at 3:15 with more loads....

We lived by the radio and the Bible. We belonged to the Chrisitan Church and my daddy's family was baptist. I had my nightly routines of Bible studies - then it was scripture reading and memorizing of same.. I am glad that I did as it now helps me ever so much as I am homebound and can't get out on Sundays.. I draw on what I learned so well as a child. (we had neighbor kids who were Catholic and they did not know scriptures and i found that sad... and still do)

As for The Homecoming I always felt it was more of Spencers Mountain and The Homecoming Movie...I always thought that from its popularity and the fact that it was just a novel they would have had had a much harder time to make a series from it..... thus, the stories of Mr Hammer and the Waltons just fell so nicely into place. The Homecoming did have 8 children - Waltons the 7.

KAREN'S COMMENT: Just going from the books, The Homecoming does mention 8 children, with their names being those of Spencer's Mountain (Clay Boy etc), so for The Homecoming movie, obviously it changed. What does confuse me though is how different The Homecoming is from Spencer's Mountain. I haven't read it or seen the movie. Is The Homecoming a sort of extra episode of Spencer's Mountain? I actually came across a photo of Spencer's Mountain that Ralph Giffin had published in the newsletter from the Waltons Mountain Museum some time ago, and it seemed like there were 9 children! Without getting out my cast list though, I can't confirm this.

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I received a copy of The Homecoming (the book) the other day too, and was quite surprised to find that there were 8 children listed in that. I had always thought that "The Homecoming" novel was based more closely on "The Homecoming" movie. How similar is The Homecoming (novel) to Spencer's Mountain (book or film)?

Actually, I think rather than the novel being based on the movie, it was the other way around - the movie was based on the novel. And I remember Earl Hamner saying in an interview that when they did "The Homecoming" in 1971, a lot of changes had to be made from the novel for legal purposes, such as changing most of the character names (although they managed to keep the name "Olivia" for Mama Walton) and so on. Why they changed from 8 children down to 7 I'm not sure.

As for how similar the novel is to "Spencer's Mountain," very! Both books are about the Spencer family - Clay, Olivia, and their eight children. "The Homecoming" could be called a sequel to "Spencer's Mountain" although the events in it don't chronologically follow those in "S.M."

Hope that helps! I love both books!

Geri Ann

KAREN'S COMMENT: Well I should have read your letter first Geri Ann. :-) It seems to explain it all. I would imagine that Earl Hamner couldn't use the Spencer's Mountain names because the film rights had been sold and that might be why they were changed. I guess I'd better look for a copy of Spencer's Mountain now and read that.

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If this was asked and answered before here, I apologize in advance! But I've often wondered - were Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin based on two real-life sisters that Earl Hamner knew growing up? Does anyone know?

Thank you!

Geri Ann

KAREN'S COMMENT: It has been asked before, but it is well known now that the Baldwin sisters were based on a mother and daughter Earl knew. I have heard they were not impressed, although I adore the two characters myself. :-))

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It's interesting to see who makes the decisions in the family too. I would have thought that Grandpa and Grandma would have had more say in really important decisions such as whether John sells the house to the developer or not, yet at this time, they both tend to step well away from it. I would have thought that if it was originally their home, that they would have had more say, but it seems that it is John who has the final say on decisions which are needed.

I think Grandpa and Grandma felt that John, as an adult, was the head of the household, and therefore had the final authority to make decisions for the entire family. When he was a little boy or a teenager, the responsibility for family decisions was theirs, but now as a married father of seven, they viewed him as the rightful head of the household, and thus stepped aside in favor of his judgment in decision-making. I'm sure their input was welcome, and was considered, but in the end, it was John who had the responsibility to decide things for everyone.

Geri Ann

KAREN'S COMMENT: It is an interesting point and I think you're quite correct with what you say. I would have thought though, that the head of the house would traditionally have been the oldest male, while he was still able to make competent decisions. I wonder whether the Walton way would have been what usually happened, or not. Cetainly the children would have been their parents responsibility, but what about other decisions. Family politics is certainly interesting. I would have loved to have had my grandparents living with us.

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Dear Karen,

Glad you had a good holiday in Sydney. Here in the UK, the weather seems to be warming up a bit, and the daffodlis are coming out. Must be a sign that Spring is coming!

Those "teasers" you mentioned. I had unofficially called therm a "pre-title sequence". They started with the later seasons. When the BBC originally showed The Waltons between 1974 and 1981, all of them were cut off, and i thought it funny that when each episode started there was just a glimpse of a face before the main title appeared. Then when Channel Four showed the series starting in 1986 some of the teasers were there, but others were still missing. Now, the third time The Waltons is being shown in the UK (and the second time by Channel Four), all the teasers are there.

It continues to amaze me that tv broadcasters can cut out bits of other people's films, and get away with it, even if it isn't done so much these days!

Best wishes to you all!


KAREN'S COMMENT: I have a tape with an early episode of The Waltons on it (The Townie from Season 1) and at the end, before the credits begin, it has a spot for "Now a few scenes from the next episode of The Waltons". It actually says something like that, so maybe the teasers were also put in there in the earlier seasons? I don't know.

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Re: Apple's way I think the show starred Ronnie Cox as the husband/father. The storyline was something about returning to the family roots re: grist mill and refurbishing to make it productive etc. Unfortunately it did not last. I liked it and was soory to see it cancelled. Again thanks for your "Walton's journal" it is always interesting. Do you know what channel the Waltons have been changed to? I'm in the Eastern time zone. No longer on TNN at 7pm.


KAREN'S COMMENT: You're right about Ronnie Cox being Mr Apple. I liked it too. Can anyone let Bill know when The Waltons is airing in his area now please?

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Hi to C J and everyone,

I'm glad you chipped in with your perspective on childhood in the 30's and 40's. Many of us have to ask our parents and grandparents about "back then". Did country kids really walk to school barefoot then? Was it because they wanted to? Unless they found someone who had to, then as kids are, the rest decided to wear their best?


KAREN'S COMMENT: My Dad says that he used to walk to school barefoot. He lived near Mildura and it would have been very hot. For myself, I was never allowed to go anywhere, even in the backyard, barefoot! Maybe that's why the first thing I do these days is to take off my shoes when I get inside, and I love to go barefoot outside too. :-))

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