Ep.10 - Day of Infamy

  Original Airdate: December 7, 1978
Writer: Paul Savage
Director: Harry Harris


  The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the family waits on word about Mary Ellen's husband Curt and Verdie Foster's son Jody.

Intro scene:


Elizabeth and Jim-Bob change the lettering on the service sign outside the church. The date for the service is December 7th, 1941 a date which will live in infamy.


  "Time's inexorable march brought constant changes and challenges to the people on Walton's Mountain. Happily for us the closeness of our family seemed always to temper life's harsher moments. However a crisp cold Sunday morning in December of 1941 was to bring an event that would sorely test our family and the entire nation."



The family gets ready and walks to church. Mary Ellen is excited to be leaving for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 10 days to be with Curt. Olivia meets Verdie as they arrive outside the church and tells Verdie that Mary Ellen is leaving for Hawaii soon. Verdie says that her son Jody is stationed on the U.S.S. Arizona which ports in Pearl Harbor all the time.

Ben is going out on a new date. A flashy red convertible with a blond-haired girl pulls up in front of the house and honks her horn. The family all look out the windows of the home to see what she looks like. Ben is quite smug as he leaves and his siblings have nothing but ill thoughts about the date’s outcome.

Grandma listens to the radio and begins to doze. An announcer interrupts the music with a news report that the Japanese have attacked Pearl Habor. She gets up and pulls Mary Ellen over to the radio who has just come down from her bedroom.

Ike oversees a training exercise with Jim-Bob and 2 other local volunteers in front of the store to put out a simulated fire with sand. Corabeth runs out to inform him about the attack. Jim-Bob jumps in his car and drives home.

Erin and Elizabeth are at the movies and the show is stopped so that the manager can announce the attack to the audience.

Ben and his date Cindy make out in her car. When the announcer interrupts the broadcast Ben gets in the drivers seat and races home. Cindy is upset at the interruption and wants to now when they will see each other again.

John and Olivia are on the road returning home with a Christmas tree for John Curtis to decorate. They sing a carol oblivious to the news that has happened . At home the family waits for their return outside the house. Mary Ellen is particularly upset and holds John Curtis for comfort. Verdie arrives and they embrace each other. As John and Olivia pull up they see the family outside and wonder what is going on. As they get out they hear the news and Olivia runs to be with Mary Ellen.

The family is gathered around the radio in the living room. Mary Ellen goes outside to get away from the news and the constant looks that the family gives her and Verdie. Mama and Daddy follow her. Mary Ellen wants to continue with the plans to decorate the tree for John Curtis.

Elizabeth and Erin try to comfort Mary Ellen in her room. She asks them if they can get out the tree trimmings to decorate the tree. She then lies down and thinks about her husband Curt. Outside, Mama looks at the view from the porch. Her boys come out to do the chores. She says that the mountain, trees and sky still look the same but everything id different. As the boys finish the chores in the barn they discuss whether to enlist or not. Their Daddy comes out and says that he needs them in the mill. Their military contract has just been doubled. Jim-Bob agrees but is defiant as he wants to join the Air Corps.

The family sits around the radio and turn it off after the broadcast. Erin asks how Grandma found out about Uncle Ben dying in WWI. Her Mama says that she got a telegram and for all they knew it could have been news about John. The family decides they are too tired to decorate and prepare to retire but Mary Ellen comes down full of energy after her nap with John Curtis and invigorates the family to stay and help. Grandma pulls out the old bird’s nest that Mary Ellen had fort decorated their tree with years before.

Mary Ellen walks around her house and doctor’s office while Erin swings with John Curtis outside. She remember’s some of her memories with Curt.

Everyone waits for the President’s speech on the radio. Ike prepares the radio in the store. Corabeth is glad that she will never have to know the heartache of having a son go off to war. Jim-Bob goes to the recruiting office but is still too young to be accepted. Everyone stops to listen to the words of President FDR. Verdie arrives at the Walton’s with word that her son Jody is okay. He was on weekend leave and was hurt by a blast but is okay. Jim-Bob comes home with a telegram that reports that Curt was killed while performing heroic duties helping injured soldiers during the attack. The family gathers into a tight group for comfort. John reads a touching letter that Grandma has been saving for Curt in the event that he was not able to say the things himself to his son.


  "We had always known how strong willed Mary Ellen could be, but those two December days proved her great inner strength. These were the times that would remain in the memories of all Americans who were old enough to grasp the meaning of what had happened on December 7 1941, the day when the world was never again to be the same."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This episode aired on the 37th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Verdie's son, Jodie, is stationed on the battleship The Arizona.
  • Mary Ellen first placed her bird's nest as a Christmas decoration on the family tree in "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story".
  • The name 'C Willard MD' appears on the side of Mary Ellen and Curt's home mailbox.
  • This episode contains no "Goodnights" at the end.
  • We are introduced to Cindy, Ben's future wife. Robin Eisenman was the first actress to appear as Cindy.

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Lynn Hamilton (Verdie), Robin Eisenmann (Cindy), Tom Bower (Curt Willard), Norman Andrews (Theatre Manager), Sid Conrad (Professor), Walker Ed, Art Gilmore and Bud Hiestand (Announcers)

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