hour episode) (3 November 1977)
Writers: Rod Peterson & Claire Whitaker.
Director: Ralph Senensky.
Music: Alexander Courage.
"There came a time when everyone on Waltons Mountain was looking forward to a very special event, a blessed one, the birth of my sister Mary Ellen's baby. All the neighbors shared our anticipation as the day approached and only the mother-to-be seemed unconcerned that a new generation of Waltons was about to begin".
While Corabeth measures flannel for Olivia’s first grandchild, Cassie asks for some grape pop. She is a poor mountain girl who is pregnant but unsure when the baby is due. Mary Ellen soon walks into the store and Corabeth makes it known she does not think it is appropriate for her to be so active after seeing her toss the ball around outside. Miss Emily and Miss Mamie then arrive at the store exuberant over the expectant mother. The two sisters send out invitations to a baby shower that they are hosting for Mary Ellen. While the Baldwin’s choose an umbrella for the centerpiece of the ‘shower’, Ben plans a baby pool predicting the date and time of the birth for twenty-five cents. Ike agrees to keep the list behind his counter for others to contribute. Ben and Ike agree is it wise to keep its existence a secret from Mary Ellen and Corabeth.
Elizabeth tells the family she wants a niece named Easter Elizabeth. Grandpa informs her granddaughter that the Walton’s first born is always a boy and, by tradition, will be called for his grandfather and father (Zebulon John). Jim Bob, on the other hand, is more concerned about Reckless who is just lying around. Olivia and John discuss becoming grandmother and grandfather and agree they both don’t feel like grandparents. At that moment, Jason comes home dirty and sooty from the Dew Drop Inn after helping to put out a fire in its kitchen. Jason is now unsure how he will pay his tuition with the Dew Drop closed for repairs during the next several weeks. Yancy examines Reckless and announces the dog is expecting puppies. Remembering back a couple months, he says him and Tiger were working at the Waltons and thinks his dog is the father. Yancy tells Jim Bob that he wants the pick of the litter.
Mary Ellen wants to have the baby at home but Curt insists that Dr. Alexander from Charlottesville will deliver the baby in the hospital. Grandpa and John agree with Mary Ellen while Olivia agrees with Curt. The two sides argue about the final decision, much to the dismay of Mary Ellen.
Ab Hineman, Cassie’s grandfather, rushes to Dr. Willard’s office because his granddaughter is about to deliver her baby. Mary Ellen tells Hineman that Curt is in Westin so goes with the man to his house. A storm is developing as Mary Ellen finds Cassie’s baby stillborn. Cassie is superstitious believing the baby died because she earlier saw a dead bird. Mary Ellen tries to explain that the baby was too tiny to survive. Cassie insists, however, that Mary Ellen leave because she looked into the eyes of a dead baby. She keeps repeating the omen, ‘Look upon the face of death. Never feel your babies breathe.’ The situation finally scares Mary Ellen who rushes out of the room and sees the grandfather making a coffin. Even more scared now she runs down the road in a downpour seeing ball lightning run up and down a fence. With hysteria set in, she sees the blinding lights of Curt’s truck. Curt takes his wife to the Waltons. After calming her down, he angrily tells Mary Ellen that she could have lost the baby. Curt prepares warm milk for his wife while Mary Ellen looks into the fire, not totally comforted with his rational explanations of what happened.
Jason is excited about a new job he just found. He will be playing the piano at the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville. It is a vaudeville show featured between two movies. The first night Jason sees a comic announce the performance of Honey Suckle Rose. It is soon apparent that she is a burlesque dancer, a stripper. Jason is stunned for a few seconds but as he gazes at her black nylons a smile appears on his face.
At Mary Ellen’s baby shower, Miss Emily and Miss Mamie host the gathering of Olivia, Elizabeth, Erin, Corabeth, Aimee, Mrs. Brimmer, Maude Gormley, and two local ladies. Mrs. Brimmer has a knack for reading tea leaves but after reading from Mary Ellen’s teacup she suddenly becomes quiet and says nothing was revealed to her. Later Mary Ellen thinks she has seen someone looking in from the window. When she looks closer, she can not see Cassie who is hiding in the bushes. Mary Ellen confides to her mother that everything seems too perfect and almost expects something wrong to happen
The next day, Curt visits Cassie hoping to examine her condition. But Cassie is too strongly controlled by superstition to believe the reasoning that Curt tells her. After Curt leaves, Cassie begins to hold a Raggedy Ann doll believing it to be her lost baby. After allowing Aimee and Elizabeth to hear the baby’s heartbeat, Mary Ellen suddenly knows it’s time for the baby. She calls Miss Fannie so she can contact Curt who is at the Campbell’s. Ike then receives a call from Miss Fannie. He relays the message to Olivia that Curt and Mary Ellen are rushing to the hospital. Olivia runs out of the store exclaiming, ‘Our first grandchild!’
Elizabeth and Erin wait for the birth, both with their own emotions and uncertainties. When the car drives up, everyone is disappointed to learn Mary Ellen is still pregnant. As John says, ‘it’s a practice run’. The next day, Grandpa knocks on Ben’s bedroom door telling his grandson it is high time they share some man-to-man experiences. According to Yancy Tucker a ‘very interesting’ stage show is being put on at the place where Jason is piano playing. They have no automobile to drive so summon Jim Bob in order to borrow his car. He does not trust either Ben’s or Grandpa’s driving abilities and insists he will drive them to wherever they are going. Ben says to Grandpa, ‘Is he old enough?’ Grandpa responds, ‘If he isn’t, he soon will be.’ Sitting in front row seats, the threesome view the dancer covered with balloons. As she dances a large pin bursts balloons while still maintaining balloons in strategic places. When the dancer allows Grandpa to pop a balloon his enthusiastic manner makes him puncture several balloons. The dancer quickly backs off from the mischievous gentleman with only a few balloons still intact.
The next morning, Curt and Mary Ellen enter church services to many stares from the congregation. Rev. Buchanan begins his sermon by announcing that three generations of Waltons are present, with a fourth generation trying to emerge. The minister continues by saying that temptations that usually exist in big cities are also present very close to Waltons Mountain. Jason feels he is talking directly to him. Ben and Jim Bob chuckle throughout the sermon. At Sunday dinner, Elizabeth wants to know the definition of a ‘fleshpot’? Ben says she should ask Jason because he would know. Olivia wants to know what he means by that statement. Ben and Jim Bob tell the family they saw the show that Jason played for yesterday. The family says they also want to see the show but Jason says it is not really appropriate for the group. When Olivia learns he is playing for a burlesque show she does not understand how he can play for a ‘trashy girlie’ show on Saturday night and then attend church on Sunday morning.
Aimee unwittingly tells Mary Ellen about the baby pool that Ike and Ben organized. She tells Ike, ‘Just what do you think I am, some sort of brood mare?’ and marches off to wring Ben’s neck, Before finding Ben, Mary Ellen suddenly doubles over in pain. It is time for the delivery. With screams coming from Mary Ellen, Elizabeth boils water while Curt and Olivia care for the mother-to-be. Elizabeth, Erin, and Jim Bob are told to go to Mrs. Brimmer’s but Ben and Jason say they not kids anymore and wait in the barn. John and Grandpa drink coffee and wait in the kitchen. As the delivery drags on and the pain for Mary Ellen increasing, Olivia grow more concerned and Curt says he would hate to have to perform a cesarean. After a very difficult labor Curt finally is able to say to his wife, ‘It’s all over now, honey. You’re a mother!’
Mary Ellen has given birth to a healthy baby boy but outside Cassie watches and waits. With the family surrounding the new father and mother, Mary Ellen announces that John Curtis Willard is the name of their new son. Five days later Corabeth and Aimee bring a gift of a handmade pillow to Mary Ellen. Later, Jason returns from work to announce he has a new job as the accompanist for the Old Dominion Gospel Singers. Dr. Bassett, the director for the singers, saw Jason play at the burlesque show and hired him. Ben, in the meantime, cautiously approaches Mary Ellen to apologize. She accepts his apology after buying her a present when nobody would take back the money. She takes the new baby clothes to Olivia who is hanging wet clothes on the line. However, when Olivia goes inside to check on John Curtis she finds him gone. With Mary Ellen in hysterics, Curt believes Cassie has taken the baby. John, Olivia, and Curt approach the Hineman house with Cassie singing to the baby. Olivia calmly thanks Cassie for taking care of John Curtis. With forceful but cautious talk, she convinces the confused woman to return the baby to Mary Ellen.
"No child was ever so prized as that first grandchild who arrived in our family. The arrival of subsequent grandchildren was equally wondrous, as we watched our family renewing itself and a whole new generation beginning all over again. Today there are sixteen grandchildren in the family and already my mother was looking forward to holding her first great-grandchild".
Erin: Goodnight Jason.
Jason: Goodnight Erin. Goodnight Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Jason, goodnight Mama.
Olivia: Goodnight Elizabeth, goodnight Ben.
Ben: Goodnight Mama, goodnight Daddy.
Jim Bob: Goodnight Mary Ellen!
Erin: Will all you please shhhhhh!
Mary Ellen is eight months pregnant at the beginning of the episode.
Olivia delivered all of her babies at home, except for Jim Bob. The Secret, season 4 episode 16, explains why that delivery was so troublesome.
Grandpa recounts (from The Birthday, season 3 episode 14) when he was sick and the family carried him outside to the tent so he could see the Mountain and breathe in the good country air.
Grandpa also recounts (from The Long Night, season 5 episode 21) when he was thrown out of the hospital and had to visit Grandma from a park bench across from the hospital.
John recounts (from The Venture, season 3 episode 24) when he was in the hospital with pneumonia.
Charlottesville is 28 miles away from Waltons Mountain.
Curt mentions Doctor James who practices in Scottsville and Doctor Clark who practices in Westin.
The Jefferson Theatre is called the Magnolia Blossom Theatre when the burlesque comic announces the dancer.
The license plates for Jim Bob’s car is 52-7504 Virginia.
Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards); Aimee Godsey (Rachel Longaker); Miss Emily Baldwin (Mary Jackson); Miss Mamie Baldwin (Helen Kleeb); Cassie Hineman (Beth Raines); Ab Hineman (David Hooks); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Curt Willard (Tom Bower); Maude Gormley (Merie Earle); Mrs. Brimmer (Nora Marlowe); Hank Buchanan (Peter Fox); Burlesque Comic (Joe Ross); Burlesque Dancer (Trish Garland); The Drummer (Frank Devito).