Episode 6 - The Portrait

(2 November 1978)
Writer: John Dunkel.
Director: Ralph Senensky.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"In the Fall of 1941 the war raging in Europe still seemed remote to most people on Waltons Mountain. But its horrors were growing every day. Occasionally someone would bring the war home to our family by touching our lives in a personal and disturbing way".


Erin and Jason drive up to the long vacant Pembroke house, finding music emanating from inside. Jason knows the Pembroke’s are dead except for a son studying art in Europe. Erin feels eerie about the house.


Corabeth hangs a sign inside the store ‘Church Bazaar Collection Headquarters’ while Erin places an order from Ike. Just after Erin speaks about how boring everything has recently been a handsome stranger enters. He continues to stare at Erin until she finally turns away. Ike learns from the name on his check that the man is Derek Pembroke. He mentions having recently returned from Paris. When Corabeth attempts to persuade the artist to attend a get-together he firmly insists he is here to work, not to socialize.


At the Dew Drop Inn, Jason plays to an empty bar, except for Pembroke who is deep in thought. Jason strikes up a conversation with the man who asks the piano player to play any French song. Pembroke sings along but when Jason asks what the words mean, Pembroke painfully remarks, ‘The pleasure of love lasts only a moment. The pain of love lasts for a lifetime.’ The man quickly leaves, distraught by his thoughts.


The next day, Erin stumbles across Pembroke painting in the woods. He sees the light from the sun fall onto Erin’s hair and is inspired to paint her portrait. He expresses to Erin, ‘Some people paint beauty, while others are simply beautiful.’ Suddenly, the man declares that he smells decay in the clearing and states that ‘Paris is dead, we must forget Paris’. (Is he looking at Erin a few steps away or someone far away?)


When Erin confides to her mother that she is tired of doing the same thing day-in and day-out, Olivia compares her to a Christmas cactus that must be kept in the dark before blooming into a thing of beauty. She poses that her life may be in a stage of darkness waiting for a time to burst into brightness.


Elizabeth and Jim Bob are unsuccessful at trapping a wild bird so settle for a store-bought canary as a pet for Grandma. They name the bird ‘Chirpie’ but, unlike its name, it will not sing despite their many attempts to teach the bird to sing from music on the radio.


Pembroke enters the store requesting more supplies. Corabeth informs him that his check was returned with ‘Insufficient Funds’. The artist shows Corabeth several of his paintings hoping to use them as collateral for credit. Corabeth finds the paintings to be of a ‘brut strength’ that shows the ‘ugliness of war’. She agrees to his proposal stating she will be now open the Godsey Art Gallery featuring the works of their local Parisian artist. When Erin walks into the store she is drawn to the emotion contained within the paintings. Pembroke asks Erin to pose for him, inviting her to his house that night. Erin considers the possibility of seeing the attractive but moody man. Walking to his house she finds it lit by a multitude of candles revealing walls covered by the horrors of war. Pembroke needs her to pose so he can paint her face onto a vacant portion of the wall. Approaching Erin, he kisses her but voices the name Gabrielle. Confused, Erin runs home.


Ike and Corabeth ask Olivia and Mary Ellen to evaluate Pembroke’s paintings. Olivia knows he definitely has artistic talent but Mary Ellen says she would not want those paintings of war hanging in her house. Later, Erin admits to Mary Ellen that she feels in love with Derek, but also feels like running away from him. Mary Ellen thinks that true love would not make her think that way.


Jason convinces Grandma to practice her singing and playing the piano with him. They sing Carry Me Back to Old Virginia. Chirpie finally sings along with the duo much to their delight.


After a typing class at the Rockfish Business School is cancelled, Pembroke forcibly takes Erin to his house, repeatedly calling her Gabrielle and saying he will not lose her again. While at the psycho ward of the hospital, Mary Ellen sees a painting in an office that looks familiar. The doctor says it is from a former patient whom he considers dangerous after refusing treatment. Mary Ellen learns the man’s name is Derek Pembroke. Returning home Mary Ellen finds Erin missing. She relates to John the story just told to her. John decides to search for Erin at Pembroke’s house. While Pembroke paints he has trouble visualizing her face. He suddenly recounts the day he tried to save paintings in the Louve while airplanes dropped bombs all around. Penbroke breaks down remembering how Gabrielle died in his arms. Erin tries to comfort him while John and Mary Ellen enter the house. The crying man asks to be taken to a doctor-friend.


"Derek recovered from his breakdown and returned to France to serve with the underground. The old mansion was boarded up, and in time Erin's portrait faded along with her memories of the young artist who had painted it".


John: 'Liv, what ever happened to that old bathrobe of mine?
Olivia: I donated it to the Church Bazaar.
John: Oh it was just gettin' comfortable.
Olivia: No wonder, you've been wearin' it for fifteen years.
John: Any chance of gettin' it back?
Olivia: I'll buy you a new one tomorrow.
John: Ah, new job, new car, new bathrobe. Maybe I'd better start lookin' for a new wife....
John: 'Liv?
Olivia: Take your hands off me!
'Liv I was just jokin'.....
Olivia: If you want a new wife you just go out and find one and if you were joking it wasn't my idea of a very good joke and if you want that silly old bathrobe you go down to the church and get it yourself!
John: Oh come on - mmmmm.



Erin admits she has been in love with Chad Marshall, G.W. Haines, and Derek Pembroke.

The lyrics for “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” appears at: http://www.50states.com/songs/virginia.htm.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Derek Pembroke (Jared Martin); The Doctor (Don Dalesandro); The Student (Lucia Stalser); The Singer (Janine Franklin).