Episode 21 - The Revel

(4 June 1981)
Writer: Scott Hamner.
Director: Harry Harris.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"On Waltons Mountain we marked time by the passage of the seasons. In autumn we built fires in bee trees to gather honey. Our lives ebbed during the winter when the earth slept. Spring crocus brought the first blossoms forshadowing the abundance of summer with its sweetcorn and lightning bugs. Generations of living on the mountain yoked us to the rhythm of the land, a touchstone to the strength each of us carries within ourselves. I was to discover this when I left my home full of expectations, only to find that my destiny was not where I thought it would be".


John-Boy leaves for New York City hoping for good news that his current novel will be published. While in Belle Becker’s office at Hastings House, Clayton Anderson tells Becker that the board members rejected the Walton manuscript because it did not stand above the other war novels on the market. At the Baldwin house, Miss Mamie pours tea while Miss Emily reads in the bulletin of the Sophie Belle’s Finishing School for Girls about the death of one of their sorority sisters. They reminisce about their mortality, sad that all things must come to an end. Miss Emily suggests one last Grand Ball at their house. Miss Mamie agrees to the school reunion as a “celebration of life”.


John-Boy enters his editor’s office, anxious to learn about his latest manuscript. But Belle Becker says it was rejected by the editorial board, and suggests he begin another novel. John-Boy, hoping to use the advance money for an apartment, becomes dejected upon hearing the negative news.


Elizabeth is making party invitations for the Baldwin sisters when Erin ruins several by sitting on them. Elizabeth becomes mad and decides to move into “Momma and Daddy’s room”. All the while, Jim Bob is moving his belongings into the room. Erin observes him, and decides she wants to move in instead.


John-Boy and Mike O’Brien, an out-of-work friend, get drunk at a bar and talk about moving to Hollywood in order to sell his play and John-Boy’s book to the movies. John-Boy spills his drink on the patron sitting next to him. The man shoves John-Boy to the floor, smashing himself against a table. The fall and his inebriated state result in John-Boy passing out. The next morning, John-Boy sleeps off the ordeal when O’Brien awakens him, suggesting a drink of bourbon. Mike also suggests they move in together, since both are low on money. John-Boy agrees, and then leaves to pick up his suitcase and typewriter at the bus station and to look for a job. Mike continues to search for Hollywood jobs that John-Boy thinks is a bunch of bologna.


The Baldwin sisters bring in their invitations to the store so Ike can send them out. They have even included a letter to President Truman and his wife. Later, Ben and Jim Bob mend the recipe machine so it can work at full capacity in preparation for the party. The boys agree to park limousines for the guests. After the boys leave, Miss Mamie and Miss Emily reminisce about their dance program and then find their gowns mildewed and faded after fifty years in storage. They begin preparations to mend the dresses.


John-Boy returns to an empty apartment, finding O’Brien has left for a Hollywood deal. The landlady then announces that the rent of forty dollars is due. John-Boy gives her all he has left (twenty dollars), but she declares that the other half is due immediately or he will be evicted.


Ben decides that his four siblings need to draw straws to decide who will move into their parent’s room. Elizabeth wins. But on the first night, Elizabeth feels uneasy, after seeing pictures of the family growing up. She decides to sleep in her old bed. Later, Elizabeth tells Jim Bob that the room should be left ready for their parent’s return. Jim Bob agrees and helps his sister return her belongings to her old bedroom.


John-Boy learns at a job interview that he is a poor risk for a desk job because artistic people rarely stay for very long. Later that night, John-Boy’s typing on his typewriter awakens the landlady. They have words about the noise and the rent money.


Ike and Corabeth find that many of the envelopes have been returned unopened, some saying “party deceased”. Corabeth convinces Ike to hold them until positive responses are received. They do not tell the Baldwin sisters about the letters when they arrive. Ike does give Mary Ellen a letter from John-Boy that gives a glowing report about his New York stay. The sisters ask Mary Ellen for the use of her mother’s sewing machine. In the morning, Cindy, Mary Ellen, and the Baldwin sisters sew the dresses and talk about old-fashion quilting bees. As they work, Erin leaves for a business trip to New York City, and a surprise for John-Boy. But when she arrives, Erin finds an empty apartment and the landlady saying that her brother is a ‘deadbeat’, unable to pay the rent and a drinker. Erin is worried about what has happened to her brother. Back home, Erin tells the family what she found. They agree to give John-Boy time to work things out.


Miss Mamie and Miss Emily return to the store concerned that only a handful of letters had been returned. Ike confesses that the other responses had been returned for various reasons, and he had held them back hoping for better news. Ike tries to comfort the ladies, telling them to proceed with the party.


Having been thrown out of the apartment, John Boy carries his suitcase and typewriter on the street looking for work. He returns to the same bar where he had earlier passed out. The bartender remembers the scuffle, refusing to hire him. That night, as John-Boy sleeps on a park bench, his typewriter is stolen. The next day, he tells Belle Becker about selling his suitcase and clothes for money and losing his apartment. Belle says he has a ‘special talent’ but John-Boy admits he is ready to give up. Belle loans him enough money to return to the Mountain. She tells him to, “Get off your rear and get busy!”


Mary Ellen, Erin, Elizabeth, and Cindy discuss John-Boy’s predicament when Jason announces he will leave for New York City in the morning. Ben and Jim Bob return from the Baldwin house after no guests showed up. The family decides to invite the community, so the ladies will not be alone. At the same time, Miss Mamie and Miss Emily blow up balloons, but do not believe anyone will show up. They decide to dance, remembering back to their youth. Brought back to reality by the record player, Miss Emily says that she feels old. Suddenly they hear a knock on the door. When they open it, Ike announces that they decided to stop by to celebrate.


John-Boy returns home and finds an empty house. He sees the party announcement sent out by the Baldwin sisters, and decides to join the festivities.


Corabeth requests that the Baldwin ladies say a few words to their guests. The sisters agree.


Miss Mamie: My sister and I had planned this party as a celebration, - of the precious time that we have here on this earth.
Miss Emily: A tribute to all the beautiful things that make up our lives.
Miss Mamie: We have not been so much participants in life as observers, and we feel most fortunate to have lived in this special place, and time.
Miss Emily: Most especially do we treasure our friends, and memories.
Miss Mamie: It seems to us there are many memorable events - the turning of the seasons, the vibrancy of Spring -
Miss Emily: - and life renews itself with daffodils and crocusses blooming along a walkway; dogwood, redbud -
Miss Mamie: - and the indulence of Summer, and the coming of Autumn -
Miss Emily: - and the incredible beauty of a shower of golden leaves.
Miss Mamie: Having someone to love -
Miss Emily: - and someone who loves you in return.
Miss Mamie: And kisses are important -
Miss Emily: - most especially are kisses to be remembered.
Miss Mamie: We're here for such a brief time, but if we can make some sense out of life, and look at it with wonder and amazement, and leave some record of it behind for those who follow us, then we have made a contribution -
Miss Emily: - and it has all been worthwhile.
John-Boy (who has just arrived and is standing at the rear of the room): Amen!


Everyone welcomes John-Boy back home, and the celebration of life continues.


"I had returned to the mountain once again to find the inspiration I needed to write. Soon I was back in New York City laboring over another book, and because of the renewed courage they brought me I would never forget Miss Mamie amd Miss Emily and their zest for life. I hope that you'll remember this house as I do. The mystical blue ridges that stretch beyond it into infinity; the sound of voices drifting out upon the night air; a family waiting, and a light in the window. Good night!"



The Revel is the last episode of the television series. Numerous made-for-television movies follow the series.

The last day on Walton’s Mountain (as shown on the television series) was June 4, 1946, according to the party invitations that Elizabeth made for the Baldwin sisters.

The Grand Ball at the Baldwin sister’s house began at eight o’clock in the evening.

‘Revel’ is defined according to the dictionary as “1. To take great pleasure (I reveled in my hobbies.), 2. To make merry (Merrymaking.)”.

Corabeth attended the Ward Belmont School.

The Baldwin sisters attended Sophie Belle’s Finishing School for Girls.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), John-Boy (Robert Wightman), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Belle Becker (Bettye Ackerman), Clayton Anderson (Robert Rockwell), The Personnel Director (Lew Palter), Mike O’Brien (James (Ingersoll), The Landlady (Treva Frazee), The Man in the Bar (Ted Jordan), The Bartender (Robert Ackerman).