Ep.6 - The Breakdown

  Original Airdate: October 16, 1975
Writer: John McGreevey
Director: Ivan Dixon


  Jason is burning the candle at both ends. From before sunrise to well after sunset he is on the go with Bobby Bigelow's various bands and his music studies. John-Boy is offered a job at the college library which places his in a awkward position.


  "Suffering in silence was not a popular past-time with me nor my brothers and sisters. Feelings good and bad in the Walton family were customarily laid out for everybody remotely concerned to see and hear and hopefully to adjust to. Sometimes of course we did hide our true feelings, out of hurt, and once in the case of my brother Jason, out of a refusal to believe he could have such bad feelings against his older brother."



Jason is up at 5am each morning to perform with Bobby Bigelow and the Sunrise Gospelers on a 30 minute radio program. He then has to deal with answering fan letters and autograph requests before performing in the evening with the Haystack gang at a bar dance. He is run down from always being on the go. He has no time for meals with the family and he still has to work in chores and his music studies. His music teacher, Professor Thaxton, says that he is wearing too many hats and that he has to choose.

At the barn dance, Betsy Morgan’s date Ralph Sorely is jealous and rowdy after drinking too much corn liquor. Jason gets into a scuffle with him to protect Betsy from his outburst. Jason takes her home and she insists that he sleep on her porch to protect her in case Ralph shows up. Early the next morning the family is out looking for Jason who hasn't returned home. Bobby Bigelow finds him still at Betsy’s house and gets him to the radio station but not without Betsy in tow. She is thrilled to be back by Jason’s side. Jason returns home to chiding from his Daddy and Grandpa and scolding from his Mama. Jason feels pressure to try and be as good at everything like his older brother John-Boy. This unspoken competition results in a heated exchange between the two. When Jason tries later to leave that evening against his mother’s will to play with the Haystack gang he drops to the floor in complete exhaustion.

Jason spends the next few days recuperating and rebuilding his strength. He also gains insight into what is important and sets ground rules for both Bobby and Betsy in moving forward in their relationships.

Secondary Story:


John-Boy applies for the NYA position with Mr. Hoadley to work at the college library. He gets the job but Mr. Hoadley has plans for him to get a degree in library science and to build a career as a librarian. John-Boy feels pressure to please him but knows that he is a writer at heart. Mr. Hoadley allows him to keep the position until the end of the semester but is disappointed that he won't study to be a librarian.


  "Out of that breakdown my brother emerged with a new maturity and he and I came to a better understanding. We stopped the old game of "follow the leader" and began to face things together. To my mother, Jason and all the rest of us would always be "the children". With my father's help she learned not to rush in and try to pick us up after every tumble. Still, we knew she was there ready to help if ever and whenever we reached out."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Ivor Francis (Professor Hoadley) plays the role of Dean Beck in "The Threshold" (s9-ep16)
  • Mr. Fletcher is the editor at the Jefferson County Times.

Additional Cast:


Mayf Nutter (Bobby Bigelow), Ivor Francis (Professor Hoadley), Jay Robinson (Professor Thaxton), Doney Oatman (Betsy Morgan), Harry Moses (Ralph), Dave Cass (The Deputy)


Music from this episode:

Jason plays with Bobby Bigelow and the Sunrise Gospellers "I'll Fly Away" on the radio
The Boatwright theme
Jason attempts to play a composition on the piano for Professor Thaxton at the Klineberg Music Conservatory
Jason plays with Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang at a barn dance
Bobby Bigelow speaks on the radio with the Sunrise Gospellers in the background
A common instrumental theme is heard as Jason pays the price for disobeying his mother
Jason plays a breakdown with Bobby Bigelow and the Haystack Gang during a radio broadcast


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