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Ep.5 - The Changeling

 
  Original Airdate: October 26, 1978
Writer: Robert Pirosh
Director: Lawrence Dobkin

Description:

 
  As Elizabeth is about to turn 13, strange, unexplained events begin to happen that disturbs the family. Jason gets a job at the radio station as a relationship advisor.

Intro scene:

 

Elizabeth bangs on some keys on the piano. She is alone in the living room. Her mother comes down and asks if she have rethought about her desire to not have a 13th birthday party. She says that she has thought about it but hasn’t changed her mind. Her mother heads back upstairs hoping that she will reconsider in the morning. Elizabeth is once again alone downstairs, she leaves the piano and heads towards the staircase. Suddenly the piano plays 2 full chords all by itself. Elizabeth turns to look back at the piano and a gust of wind rushes through her hair.


Prologue:

  "The approach of a birthday in our family has always been a time of excitement and joy. But there was one notable exception. On Elizabeth's thirteenth birthday it seemed that she wasn't quite sure whether she wanted the clock to turn forward or backward."

Synopsis:

 

Elizabeth and Aimee walk home from school. Elizabeth hops on one foot. She still wants to play games like she did when she was younger. Aimee is not so impressed and says that until Elizabeth acts more her age she will walk home alone. Elizabeth is defiant and says she will do want she wants to do. Just as she says that a gust of wind tosses her hair around in a spooky sort of way.

At home Elizabeth walks in to Mary Ellen’s room and tells John Curtis to enjoy being young because it won’t last. Downstairs Jason practice the piano for an important audition. Elizabeth wants to study and asks if he will practice later. He suggests that she study upstairs. Erin walks towards the porch and invites them to have some cider outside with the rest of the family. Jason hops up but Elizabeth is not interested. She overhears the family talking on the porch about her upcoming birthday which upsets her. Her hair is tossed in the wind again and a vase on the mantel begins to float and then shatters after it falls over the edge. The family looks inside to see what happened. Elizabeth is just as surprised as they are.

Jason auditions at the radio station. He plays a classical piece on the organ and reads poetry. The station manager is not impressed and feels they need something to capture the young audience. He discusses a play they bought a month ago with the sound engineer. Jason doesn’t get the part he hoped for but is offered a job as a radio announcer. He calls home and tells Ben to listen at 8:30 that night.

The family gathers around the radio to listen to Jason’s program. He goes by the name of “Cousin George” and answers questions about relationships.

Elizabeth asks what “forbidden fruits” are and the family laughs. Ben says that she should know by now what they are. She doesn’t like being made fun of and turns to head upstairs. Her hair flies in the wind again and a painting on the landing drops and hangs on an angle. She is startled and runs upstairs. She goes to her mirror and begins to brush her hair but her face begins to fade in the reflection.

Jason continues to give advice on the radio and Corabeth listens to his final answer. She sends Aimee to bed. Ike tries to read a funny comic to Corabeth from the paper but she is not interested in hearing his crude humor. She writes a letter to “Cousin George” instead.

Jason comes home after the radio broadcast. He hopes that it is successful. If so he’ll host 3 broadcasts a week. Upstairs Elizabeth hears a noise out her window. She gets up to investigate and watches as a stone floats through the window and lands gently on the floor. She tries to touch it and it flies under the bed startling her to scream for help. Her parents run upstairs but can’t find the cause of her distress. They are skeptical and feel that it must have been a dream.

The next morning though John finds a handful of stones on the roof outside Elizabeth’s window. He has also called the telephone company to check their phone to explain why they keep receiving calls with no one on the other end of the line. The repairman can’t explain it other than to say it might be someone pranking them.

Aimee stops by to apologize to Elizabeth. Upstairs Elizabeth is frightened when her rocking chair begins to hop up and down on the floor and then tipping over on it’s side. She screams and her parents run upstairs to investigate. Once again they are skeptical of her observations. She storms out of the room with Aimee.

Jason learns that he has to write the answers to the listener questions and that the first script he read from was just a template to help him get started. He doesn’t have a lot of experience when it comes to relationships and he struggles to come up with answers to the questions that are being sent in.

Later that evening John goes in to talk to Elizabeth in her bedroom. She says that she feels different on the inside. Corabeth told her it was puberty. They go downstairs to listen to Jason on the radio but when Elizabeth walks into the living room the radio turns to static. Each time she leaves the room though the signal returns. The family is confused by the weird disturbance.

The next day Olivia and Elizabeth walk to the store. Corabeth has been applying the advise that she heard “Cousin George” give on the radio to her question in order to make Ike more culturally aware. Ike can’t concentrate with the symphonic music that she plays while he works. Corabeth and Ike think that Elizabeth might be experiencing a poltergeist. Olivia does not appreciate their thoughts and leaves the store.

Later she finds Elizabeth up in the tree house who agrees to have a birthday party after all but she doesn’t want a kids party. Her Mama suggests that she have a slumber party with her girlfriends. Elizabeth asks how old Erin and Mary Ellen were when they had their first slumber party. Her mother reports that they were both 13. Elizabeth agree to the idea.

Ike stops by the Kleinberg Conservatory to see if he can attend a music appreciation class. He runs into Jason and tells him that Corabeth has insisted that he atend two classes per week. Jason asks why he is doing that for Corabeth and Ike replies that she was given the advise by someone on the radio and that sometimes you have to give a little in a marriage to make it work but he doesn’t appreciate “Cousin George” handing out advise about his relationship on the radio.

Olivia comes back from the Rockfish library with a book about Poltergeists. She tells John that the research suggests that most the strange occurrences happen in homes when a young child is reaching the age of puberty and that all the frustration and pent up energy is the root of the problem. Upstairs Elizabeth tries to go to sleep but becomes scared when she see her Raggedy-Ann doll making it’s way closer to her bed.

The next morning Elizabeth is quiet and removed at breakfast. Her Mama talks to her a bit before she heads off to school.

Jason drives Erin and Mary Ellen into town. He quizzes them for advise he can give on the show. They both feel that he shouldn’t give potentially damaging advise on the radio that could hurt people’s relationships.

Corabeth ties to get Ike to read Shakespeare to her. He bumbles his way through reading the part of Romeo but not to Corabeth’s satisfaction. Ike turns on the radio to listen to “Cousin George”. Jason continues to struggle with offering advise and finally admits that he is not qualified and reveals who he truly is to his listeners. The station manager fires him on the spot. When Ike hears that it is Jason he picks up his Detective magazine and tells Corabeth that he is not going to take advise from the likes of Jason Walton, he is going to relax!

At home Elizabeth has her slumber party with her girlfriends in the living room while the rest of the family stays upstairs. Aimee decides to tell some ghost stories but as she starts the room comes alive with strange activity. The lights turn off, the rocking chair begins to float, the piano begins to play on its own and the wind blows through the window. The girls scream hysterically and the family runs downstairs to witness the weird events for themselves. John and Ben try to close the living room windows but can’t. Nothing they do stops the weird events. John and Olivia try to calm Elizabeth down and ask for her to try and stop the strange events. She doesn’t know how to do that but admits that she is angry and afraid. She doesn’t want to grow up and move away and doesn’t want her Daddy to get old and die. By admitting her fears the house returns to normal and the weird events cease.

The next day Elizabeth blows out the candles on her 13th birthday cake with her family by her side. Life has returned to normal.


Epilogue:

 
  "Elizabeth's birthday came and went, and none of the strange things that had been happening ever happened again. Were there really poltergeists in the house? Scientists are still looking for answers to questions like that. All we know is that we never found any other explanation."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

 
 
  • Elizabeth's Raggedy Ann doll is named Katie.
  • An odd episode by Walton standards but obviously an attempt to meet the public's fascination with the unexplained and supernatural that was popular in the late 1970's.

Additional Cast:

 
 

 


Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Rachel Longaker (Aimee Godsey), Russ Marin (Mr. Larkin), Patrick Gorman (Denby), John Perryman (telephone repairman), Kathy Ritzke (First Girl), Kelly Louise Lynn (Second Girl)

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