Ep.23 - The Five Foot Shelf

  Original Airdate: March 7, 1974
Writer:John Hawkins
Director:Ralph Waite


  "Looking back down the years to the great Depression, I realise now that our family was much more fortunate than most. Many things were in short supply, but we had the advantage of being able to live on the bounty of the rich Virginia country. And even more important than the gifts of the land, our family remained intact. We stayed together under one roof and were never deprived of the comfort and closeness of our mother and father. Those feelings easily made up for what we often lacked in material things."



Elizabeth meets a man by the name of Reed on the road to Ike's. He is repairing his worn shoes. He asks if anyone in her family likes to read. He is selling the Harvard Classics, a five foot self of books, over 418 stories in 50 volumes for $3 down and a small monthly payment there after. They stop into the store where Elizabeth admires the large doll that Ike is giving away in a bean counting contest. When George Reed tries to pitch the books to Ike he stops him short saying that he has a full store of merchandise that he has troubles trying to sell himself and that he doesn't need any books.


Mr. Reed then makes his way to the Walton's where he is shut down by John. Olivia invites him inside for some coffee. John-Boy and Olivia are very excited by the collection and she decides to buy them with her egg money. She lets him spend a few nights in the barn.

While repairing a ice box at Ike's John learns from Horace Brimley that Olivia has ordered a set of books. John returns home to discuss the matter with Olivia. Meanwhile George decides to use Olivia's $3 down payment to buy his daughter Serena the large doll from Ike's for $2.98. Later John-Boy discovers that George is in fact an out of work printer from New York who just picked up this salesman job and hasn't read any of the books he is selling.

Elizabeth wins the doll in the contest and later John learns that Ge

orge has used their down payment to buy his daughter her birthday present. He confronts George after giving him plenty of opportunity to come clean. George is willing to put his own interests first no matter who he hurts. John lets him leave in disgrace but his guilt does get the better of him and he returns to ask forgiveness and to return the down payment. Olivia places a new order and this time he makes good on the delivery of the books.


  "The salesman was right about one thing - the wit and wisdom of the ages were contained in those books, and many of the voyages we took were no less memorable for having been enjoyed through the written word."

Additional Cast:


Guest Star: Ben Piazza (George Reed) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Wilford Brimley (Horace), Ancel Cook (Elmer Bob), Anne Elizabeth Beesley (Little Girl)

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