Episode 7: The Prize


(25 October 1973) 31/2/7

Writer: Dale Eunson, Director: Philip Leacock, Music: Arthur Morton


The Prize


"Sunday afternoon on Walton’s Mountain was a time of quiet contemplation. We took it easy or else at a slower pace and enjoyed a brief respite from the cares that beset us during the week. After we came home from church and had dinner, we permitted ourselves the luxury of play and relaxation. I remember one such Sunday in August . . . ."


After Sunday church service and dinner the family relax with Jason playing his guitar, Erin reading a book, John and John-Boy playing horseshoes, Grandpa playing with Reckless, Elizabeth swinging on an inner-tube, Grandma finishing her quilt, and Olivia making a cake using Aunt Polly’s old recipe. John and the boys chase Ben’s pig Rover. Ben hopes to make a dollar by letting Ike use it as the greased pig at the Jefferson County Fair. Yancy gave Ben the pig after supposedly finding it wandering around. Ben believes he could buy a female pig with his money, and raise hogs.


The Baldwin sisters drive up with Oscar Cockrell. Olivia doesn’t recognize her old beau until he speaks to her. He is introduced to the family, announcing he is running for the legislature in Jefferson County but his campaign isn’t doing well. Outside, Grandpa whittles, not wanting to listen to a politician. Miss Emily announces they are entering their jelly (made with their secret Recipe), and Oscar says he is one of the judges.


John-Boy listens as his father asks Olivia that she could have been married to a politician, if she had played her cards right. Olivia says, “I played my cards right!” That night Mary Ellen combs her hair as Elizabeth tries to sleep and Erin wonders if G.W. likes Mary Ellen’s hair long or short. They wonder if Mr. Cockrell ever kissed their mother. Mary Ellen says she would never let just anybody kiss her.


John-Boy is quoting from a book and jotting down things in his journal as Jason walks in to say that Mr. Cockrell is rich. John-Boy tells him that he inherited his money. Jason leaves as Olivia enters, and John-Boy tells his mother, “You sure are beautiful!” He wonders if she is happy in her life. Olivia tells her eldest son that all people wish for things they don’t have. But if she had a different life, she wouldn’t have her children. After his mother leaves, John Boy writes in his journal: “I had never really thought about my mother and father as being anything but married to each other, and then today I met a man who under different circumstances might have been my father.


Jim Bob and Elizabeth watch Ben wash Rover. Olivia bakes another cake for the fair, hoping to win five dollars as first prize. Grandma finishes her quilt that she has been working on for three years. Olivia decides to place fresh raspberries on the cake. Jim Bob walks in asking for lard to grease Rover, so they can see if they can catch him. Olivia says lard is too expensive, plus she would have to clean their clothes afterwards. John-Boy arrives from Ike’s store to say that Ike didn’t have almonds for the cake’s icing. Grandma admits (in privacy) that Aunt Polly’s recipe doesn’t use almond, but rather “rye whiskey”. Olivia is shocked to learn the news, but wonders where they could find some. Grandma admits she knows that Zeb keeps a pint of the Recipe under his woolen socks in the old secretary. Wanting her husband to keep a few secrets, she decides to take a little of it without his knowledge.


Mary Ellen asks her mother if Yancy stole the pig he gave to Ben. Olivia says Yancy is John’s best friend even though he still calls him an “old horse thief”. Cockrell stops by while Olivia, Mary Ellen, and Erin pick raspberries. He wonders if her life is okay. Olivia says she is lucky to have so many children. Oscar admits he is not happy with his marriage and with his campaigning (unable to reach the people).


That night John-Boy writes in his journal, “And she had been melancholy when she come into the orchard. But now she stood in the shower of while petals of the crabapple tree remembering another time, a lost love. And in that moment, she realizes that everyone has a secret part in himself, a place where all one’s dreams still live. And strengthened she walked away from the orchard to the place where she lives. Olivia thinks in bed, and then tells John that he has given her everything she wanted in life. John wonders if Oscar ever kissed her. Olivia giggles and John places his arm around her. Grandpa looks at his pint of the Recipe but wonders why there is less of it. He sniffs Esther’s breathe as she sleeps. She suddenly wakes up and becomes startled at her sniffing husband. Grandpa says, “Lips that touch whiskey will never touch mine!”


At the county fair the family unload the truck with Cockrell’s help. John gives all the children ten cents for rides and candy. Grandma takes her patchwork quilt to the “Quilt Exhibit”. She notices that Grace Patterson’s double-wedding-ring pattern quilt was the same one she submitted at the 1929 fair, the last one before the depression. Olivia and Oscar display her cake, but finds that someone else submitted one identical to hers. The judges finally decide to group the Baldwin jelly in the “family recipe” section. Miss Emily wants to have her fortune told, but Miss Mamie says she’s never like fortune-tellers after one in Budapest saw a sea captain in her palm. Grandpa tells several men tall tales about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders while John-Boy listens. G.W. and Martha Rose walk up to Mary Ellen. G.W. tells her that Martha Rose entered her brownies at the fair, but Mary Ellen is upset that they’re together. Esther confronts Grace Patterson while the judge tries to calm them down. Jason takes over looking after Rover for Ben.


George Porter and Oscar Cockrell try to test their strength by hitting the bell with a mallet. They are unable, but John-Boy and John hit the bell on the first try. Dr. Vance tries some of the Baldwin sisters’ jelly, noticing a particularly intoxicating flavor. The other judges also notice the taste, giving it a first place prize. John wins some stuffed toys for the girls. At the “Cake and Cookies” competition the judges compare the cakes; but like the unusual taste in Olivia’s cake. She is awarded first prize. Grandpa takes a finger of Olivia’s icing, now knowing where his stash of the Recipe went. Cockrell speaks after being announced by Sheriff Bridges. His canned speech is slow and uninspiring, and George Porter heckles him. John and others ask to give him a chance. He adlibs the rest of the speech; and gives a dynamic and energetic talk that wins over the audience.


George Potter and others try to catch the greased pig, but it runs out of the enclosure and is chased by the crowd. Porter finally catches Rover, but notices his mark on the pig’s ear. He insists he owns the pig, and wants five dollars for it. Olivia gives him the prize money; and tells John that she doesn’t need anything else that she doesn’t already have. Mary Ellen asks Olivia if she would help make brownies. The family loads the truck, and then says “good-luck” to Oscar Cockrell.


"Many people were to touch our lives, hard times, sickness and survival in a harsh decade were still ahead of us, but we weathered them and we endured them, because the love of my parents for each other and for my brothers and sisters made our family invulnerable. I did not know it then, but they were the best days of our lives".


Mary Ellen: Daddy did you like Brownies when you were a boy?

John: Every little boy likes Brownies.

Olivia: Wish you'd told me that . . . you might have popped the question sooner.

John: Time to learn one of the facts of life, Mary Ellen - a boy seldom marries a girl on account of her Brownies.



The setting begins on Sunday afternoon in August 1934.

Ben’s pet pig is Rover (Ben says the pig thinks it’s a dog). Yancy earlier gave the pig to Ben.

Aunt Polly is Olivia’s relative.

Oscar Cockrell’s father was a lawyer who was a friend of the Baldwin sister’s papa. The wife of Cockrell is Doddie Bowen, who originally lived near Carter Ridge. They have no children, and she is younger than Oscar. She likes to travel by herself, and is currently traveling in Europe, visiting the Mediterranean countries.

Roosevelt is the president of the U.S., while Garner is his vice-president.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford), G.W. Haines (David Doremus), Martha Rose Coverdale (Cindy Eilbacher), Dr. Vance (Victor Izay), George Porter (Dana Elcar), Oscar Cockrell (Peter Donat), Grace Patterson (Louise Lorimer), Quilt Lady (Kathleen O’Malley), Cake Lady (Joella Deffenbaugh), Jelly Lady (Patricia Wilson), First Woman Judge (Queenie Smith), Second Woman Judge (Angela Greene), Mr. Kilgore/First Man (Charles Kuenstle), Second Man (Jay Ripley), Third Man (Bert Prelutsky).


(synopsis written by William Atkins and edited by Arthur Dungate)