Episode 5 - The Starlet

(18 October 1979)
Writers: D.C. Fontana & Richard Fontana.
Director: Philip Leacock.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"As World War Two ranged around the globe, the peace and quiet surrounding Waltons Mountain seemed even more precious. Throughout the nation Americans worked together to maintain freedom and a way of life that had made our country great. Holding down an important job in a defense plant was my sister Erin's contribution and she highly resented anything that interfered with it".


Erin arrives late for supper after cleaning up another of her boss' fowl-ups. J.D. has given permission for a Hollywood camera crew to produce a documentary about women working in a defense plant. Erin is furious with the delays and disruption that this has caused. Meanwhile, Jason is eating dinner at the Baldwin sister's house where they ask him advice about how they can help the war effort. They decide to be airplane spotters because of being excellent bird watchers. But Jason doubts there is much need for spotters on Walton's Mountain. Jason suggests inviting soldiers for Sunday dinners just like they are doing tonight.


Hoping to act in the movie, J.D. interrupts a scene being shot. When the director shoots the scene again Erin interrupts saying that the shipment being used in the scene should have been delivered to the Quartermaster's Depot. Erin orders the employees back to work and tells Barry Stone, the director, that the U.S. Army has priority over his movie.


While Miss Mamie and Miss Emily post their invitation at Ike's store, they announce that the music of operatic tenor Enrico Caruso will be featured at their dinner. Corabeth volunteers to recite stories based on the operas, but the sisters say that the soldiers will surely know those stories.


At the Pickett plant, Stone apologizes to Erin about causing problems. He suggests dining together so they can talk about coordinating their efforts. However, Stone's underlying effort is to soften Erin's bias toward him. Erin finally accepts his invitation. Over dinner, Barry explains how movies, such as his, will help the war effort. He desperately needs her cooperation so decides to feature her in the film. He also implies that his many friends in Hollywood will beat a path to her door once they observe her in his movie. Erin returns home to announce what has happened over dinner. John does not like the 'fast company' she is keeping but Mary Ellen assures him that even though Erin 'has her head up in the clouds, she has her feet firmly planted on the ground'. Erin secretly tells Elizabeth that she has a chance to become an actress in Hollywood.


The next morning, J.D. appears at work wearing his Hollywood attire, complete with sunglasses and a toupee. Erin explains to the wannabe actor that she will be featured in the film, not him. At the same time, Stone confesses to Phil Baker, his assistant director, that Erin's role will end up on 'the cutting room floor'.


After filming completes, Stone gives Erin his business card, telling her she might be able to get a job in Hollywood. Erin tells Mary Ellen her plans to find a swing shift job in a California defense plant, while searching for acting jobs during the day. She then explains the relocation plans to her parents but John flatly says 'No'. Erin insists she has enough money to go. Olivia tells John that, 'It is not easy to live in this time, especially when you are young and have dreams for the future'.


On Saturday morning, Miss Emily and Miss Mamie show Ike their list of food for the party: roast, potatoes, corn, coffee, butter, and five pounds of sugar. Ike tells them that sugar is scarce and expensive. But the Baldwin sisters insist they must buy sugar in order to prepare their Papa's recipe for baked Alaskan. When Ike learns the dessert contains a touch of ‘The Recipe’ he gladly locates the sugar.


Mary Ellen finds Erin reading letters from defense plants in California. The companies have offered money for transportation, free health care, vacation, bonuses, and more money. Just then, J.D. grumbles about performing her job. But when he finds out that she might leave J.D. offers Erin a thirty-percent raise. Erin gloats about getting an upper hand over J.D. Jason arrives home to find a saddened family worried about Erin. They soon learn that Mary Ellen has decided to join Erin in California. The sisters tell the family that an aircraft company near Los Angeles has offered Erin a job in personnel and offered Mary Ellen a position in the health department. They dance upstairs singing California Here We Come.


While packing Mary Ellen wonders if Grandma Floyd and the other mountain people will be okay without her. Erin questions how J.D. will survive without her. When John enters Erin admits they are not leaving because they don't love living here, but because they have a chance to do something different. Later, Sweet Billy asks Mary Ellen for more medical supplies. Erin learns from J.D. that he had thought of offering her a partnership in the business. The two sisters decide to wait a couple of days before moving to California. But when Erin calls Barry Stone, his assistant answers the telephone to tell her the truth, that Barry tells tall-tales to get his movies made and that her role in the documentary will be very small.


At Sunday dinner, the Baldwin sisters find that no soldiers have showed up. They try to rationalize the reason, and then decide not to waste the punch. Miss Emily makes a toast, 'When men were men and ladies were glad of it.' Ike tells Jason that the soldiers found out the Baldwin's were 'little, old ladies' and did not sign up for the dinner. Jason recruits four soldiers to either volunteer for dinner or risk additional K.P.


Mary Ellen and Erin return to the house to find a surprise party in their honor. But the sisters admit they are the ones with the surprise. They announce their decision to stay on Walton's Mountain.


"Erin and Mary Ellen returned to their important work in our community. It was years later when my sister finally did come to Hollywood. She visited me and my family and we spoke fondly of the one film in which she starred".



Miss Emily's favorite bird is the blue jay.

The company name 'J.D. Pickett Co.' appears on the boxes being delivered.

Sweet Billie reads a list to Mary Ellen that his sister Ronie says the mountain folk need. The list includes cod liver oil, iodine, and sterile bandages for Lady and Sam and croup medicine for Jimmie Jenkins.

Erin's personnel job with the L.A. aircraft company pays three times her current salary; while Mary Ellen's job in the health department pays double her current salary.

Lyrics to “California, Here We Come” appears at: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phantomplanet/california.html


Jim Bob: Hey Elizabeth, what d'you think about people that get going away presents and then don't leave?
Elizabeth: I think they ought to give 'em back.
Erin: How about that stationery I gave you Mary Ellen?
Mary Ellen: I'll write you a letter tomorrow.
Erin: Jim Bob, I'll let you use that perfume you gave me anytime you want.
Jim Bob: Goodnight Erin.
All the girls: Goodnight everybody!


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston); Miss Emily and Mamie Baldwin (Mary Jackson and Helen Kleeb), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), J.D. Pickett (Lewis Arquette), Barry Stone (Henry Darrow), Sweet Billy (Les Lannom), Phil Baker (Charles Hallahan), G.I. Joe (David Cramer), The Camera Operator (Jerry Gatlin)