Ep.6 - The Portrait

  Original Airdate: November 2, 1978
Writer: John Dunkel
Director: Ralph Senensky


  A disturbed artist from Paris returns to Walton's mountain and takes a fascination with Erin who reminds him of a love his lost during the Nazi seige. Grandma gets a canary and is determined to make it sing.

Intro scene:


Jason drives Erin home late in the evening after work. Erin sees someone riding a white horse in the forest. The rider stops in front of their car and the horse rears up on it’s hind legs before he rides off into the night.


  "In the Fall of 1941 the war raging in Europe still seemed remote to most people on Walton's Mountain. But its horrors were growing every day. Occasionally someone would bring the war home to our family by touching our lives in a personal and disturbing way.."



On their way home Erin & Jason notice that the Pembroke house is occupied which has been vacant for many years as most of the family has passed away. Jason says that there is still a son alive, Derek, who was studying art in Europe.

Erin and Elizabeth pick up groceries at the store. Derek walks into the store and is immediately drawn to Erin. She turns away from his constant gaze. Corabeth, nosey as ever, asks where he is from and he reports that he was in Paris. He asks Ike if he will honor a cheque to pay for his supplies.

At the Dew Drop Inn Jason plays to an empty room except for Derek who sits alone drinking wine. Jason invites him over to sit by the piano. Derek asks if he knows any French songs and Jason plays a song that Derek knows and sings the lyrics to. Jason asks what it means and Derek says that it is about how the pleasure of love last but a moment but the pain of loss lasts a lifetime. He then storms out of the bar upset by his thoughts.

Erin runs into Derek in the woods as he sketches. She turn to leave and he asks her to stay. He likes how the light hits her hair and he does a sketch of her but refuses to show her when he completes it. He offers to take her on his horse but she rejects his offer. As she arrives home her mother asks her for help carrying down preserves to the cellar. Erin in lost in her thoughts but asks Mama if she ever gets bored with everything being the same. Olivia says of course she does but the mundaneness makes the special moments so much better when they happen.

At home Erin writes her feelings in her diary and is disturbed when Elizabeth walks in. Ben arrives and says that Daddy wants to talk to her downstairs. Jim-Bob has told their Daddy what they had seen at the Pembroke place and he scolds them for not respecting the neighbors privacy.

Derek arrives at the store looking for more supplies but Corabeth says that he cheque was returned with insufficient funds and that he already has built up a sizable amount on his store credit. He offers her 3 paintings of scenes of war in Europe as collateral. When she sees the powerful images she is in awe of his talent and agrees to help out the community’s leading artist to go hungry. Erin walks in and asks if she can look at his paintings. He agrees and he says that the important thing is realizing the emotion it creates in you. Corabeth returns with Derek’s supplies, Erin gives Corabeth some letters she want to mail and Corabeth reports that she is going to open an Art Gallery featuring Derek’s work. Erin leaves and Derek follows her outside. He asks if she will pose for a portrait at his house. She tries to deny his request and then Jason arrives to drive her to work.

Erin decides to go to the Pembroke house to pose for Derek. He answers the door holding a candelabra for light. He has lit the house with candles. He shows Erin the spot that he has reserved for her portrait. Derek embraces Erin and mistakes her for Gabrielle the woman that he lost in Paris. Erin races out of his house leaving he still calling out for Gabrielle.

The next day at the store, the Godsey’s show the paintings in their new art gallery to Olivia and Mary Ellen. Olivia finds them very disturbing but admits that he is very talented. Ike would rather have the money instead of culture and wonders why he doesn’t get a real job instead. The women arrive home with the groceries and Grandma is still stubbornly trying to get the canary to sing.

Erin reads from her diary about her experience the previous night at the artist’s house. Mary Ellen comes in and asks about John Curtis. She sees that Erin is disturbed by something. Erin tells her that she believes that she is in love with Derek but she is torn by his behavior. She says that it in’t the same for her as it is for John-Boy, Jason or Mary Ellen, she didn’t earn her pretty looks like they earned their talent. She know that she can’t see Derek again.

Later Erin finishes at at the Rockfish School of Business. As she gets into the car to return home Derek sneaks up and pushes her into the passenger seat and takes her to his place where he prepares to paint her portrait.

Mary Ellen has been working in the Psychiatric ward and collects some files from a doctor’s office. She sees a painting on his wall that resembles Derek’s work. She learns that he was admitted in the hospital with a leg wound after coming back from the fall of Paris to the Nazi’s. The doctor says that they tried to admit him but he wouldn’t stay. The doctor believes that he could be dangerous. When Mary Ellen arrives home from work she discovers that the family has been looking for Erin who hasn’t come home from Rockfish. Mary Ellen believes that she might be at Derek Pembroke’s place.

As Derek completes his portrait he to the floor collapses into a fit of despair and madness. He recalls the horror of the Nazi’s invading Paris while he and Gabrielle were trying to save paintings from the Louvre. Erin consoles him. John and Mary Ellen arrive and Derek agrees to be taken to the hospital and placed in the care of the doctor at the Psych Ward.

Secondary Story:


Mary Ellen helps Erin unpack the groceries. Jim-Bob come down with an arm full of knick-knacks from the attic that are being donated to the church bazaar. Grandma wants to keep the birdcage.

Jim-Bob has built a trap to catch a bird for Grandma but Elizabeth loses her patience waiting with him and says that the pet shop closes at 5pm.

Jim-Bob is upset that he lost a wild bird that he caught and now is left with the option of going to the pet store. He and Elizabeth walk past the Pembroke place and she wonders what he does inside. They both decide to sneak up to the house and see what he is doing. They see Derek through a window painting on the wall of his living room. It is a large mural of the war in Europe. They watch as they seem him toss his art supplies across the room in a rage. They take off having seen enough.

At home they give Grandma a bird in the cage that he fixed up for her. She wants to keep it in the living room for everyone to appreciate.

Later Elizabeth, Jim-Bob and Grandma listen to a music program on the radio but the little bird that she has named "Chirpee" refuses to sing.

Jason practices the piano while Grandma dusts. He insist that she stop and sing her favorite song with him on the piano. They play and sing “Carry Me Back to Ole’ Virginny” as they to the canary begins to sing and the family is overjoyed that Grandma finally got her wish.


  "Derek recovered from his breakdown and returned to France to serve with the underground. The old mansion was boarded up, and in time Erin's portrait faded along with her memories of the young artist who had painted it."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Another odd episode that teeters on the bizarre.
  • Erin admits she has been in love with Chad Marshall, G.W. Haines, and Derek Pembroke.

Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Jared Martin (Derek Pembroke) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Don Dalesandro (Doctor), Lucia Stalser (Student), Janine Franklin (Singer)

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