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Ep.17 - The Pin-Up

 
  Original Airdate: February 8, 1979
Writer: Juliet Packer
Director: Larry Stewart

Description:

  Erin becomes a pin-up sweetheart at Camp Lee and Mary Ellen becomes over protective of her son John Curtis.

Intro scene:

  John Curtis has gone wandering off by himself and the family desperately calls out his name as they try to locate him.

Prologue:

  "In 1942 the coming of spring to Walton's Mountain brought a keener appreciation for all living things than ever before. With the rest of the world in chaos, here we felt a sense of life renewing itself. For my sister Mary Ellen it was a time when she was emerging from a painful winter and struggling to achieve a renewal of her own."

Synopsis:

 

Mary Ellen has decided to return to work for the first time since her Mama left for an extended stay at a sanitarium. Corabeth arrives at the Waltons with flowers and a recital of a poem. She offers to watch John Curtis if there is an emergency.

Ben has been trying his luck at photography and has taken a number of scenic views around the mountain. Erin comes downstairs in a pair of new shorts and asks Ben to take a photo of her to send her Mother. She poses like a pin-up girl on the piano bench.

The next morning Mary Ellen admits that she had missed doing nursing work after her first day back at work. She passes her breakfast feeding duties on to her Daddy who feeds John Curtis oatmeal porridge. Elizabeth takes the next shift but passes John Curtis babysitting duties onto Jim-Bob when she gets to go to Rockfish with Jason. Ben then takes John Curtis to the store to pick up his developed photos. Ike convinces him to submit some photos to a contest in the Charlottesville Register stating that they pay $10 to the photo they pick to print. Ben gives John Curtis to Corabeth as he runs off to town.

At the hospital, Mary Ellen consoles a woman she knows who loses her child after eating some poison. The woman blames herself for leaving her son alone. Mary Ellen returns home to discover that John Curtis has been tossed around from pillar to post and retrieves him from Corabeth who has just arrived after unsuccessfully taking him bird watching.

After church Ike informs Ben that his photo has made it to the cover of the paper but won’t tell him which one they printed. He races home to see the newspaper but is immediately confronted by his father who is upset after he discovers that Erin’s picture has been plastered on the front cover of the paper. He has had to calm Olivia down on the phone and hangs up on another caller who is looking to talk to “The Jefferson County Cutie”.

John talks to Mary Ellen. She says that nursing was something she did with Curt and ever since Pearl Harbor it seemed like a way to hold on to him. She feels now though that John Curtis is her way to hold onto Curt. Her Daddy warns her not to make him her world. Erin comes home with a handful of fan mail, mostly from lonely soldiers at Camp Lee. Ben buys John Curtis a water-gun but Mary Ellen refuses to let him play with it. She has decided to stay home with John Curtis and never let him leave her care now that she realizes that her is all she has left of her husband Curt. She becomes over protective of her son.

Elizabeth joins her father on a business trip to Camp Lee to discuss a new lumber contract with the army. Lieutenant Clarke Oler who is in charge of the order is satisfied with John’s ability but wanted to meet him in person before approving the order. As they prepare to sign the contract the officer retrieves 2 cigars from a cabinet which reveals the newspaper photo of Erin hanging on the inside door. Elizabeth gets up and tries to block her Daddy’s view of the picture but John soon learns that Erin has become the sweetheart of Camp Lee.

The boys pay touch football outside with John Curtis and Mary Ellen comes outside and takes her son away and scolds her brothers for playing with a one and a half year old.

At the store Ike tells Corabeth that Erin has received 42 letters from admirers. Corabeth is writing her own letter to the paper to complain about their decision to print such a picture. She wants to stop them from making the human body an object of desire and exposing Erin’s “bare young limbs” on public display.

Erin hides from her Daddy’s disapproving eye in Mary Ellen’s room writing reply letters to all the soldiers who wrote her fan letters. Ben come in and talks to her about how upset their Daddy is since he returned from Camp Lee.

David Spencer brings Mary Ellen’s belongings from her locker at the hospital. He tries to convince her to come back to work.

Erin and John co into Rockfish. Two soldiers see Erin walking down the street and one of them walks up to Erin and swoops her around for a passionate kiss. Her father sees them and runs over to have words with the soldier. He salutes John and identities himself as Pvt. Charles Wallace but is not willing to apologize for kissing Erin.

Later John talks to Mary Ellen in the kitchen as she cuts out a pattern for a new suit for John Curtis. John is still worried about Mary Ellen being over protective.

Erin arrives at the store to buy 50 stamps for her reply letters and learns that she has another 276 new letters have arrived from Camp Lee. Corabeth tries to convince Erin to write a form reply letter to discourage the soldiers from writing her. Erin doesn’t mind replying to the soldiers but is not so interested in sending them locks of her hair as requested.

Back at home Erin, Mary Ellen and Elizabeth read some of the new letters. She has received various requests to attend various functions. Ben and Jim-Bob comes in after Ben gets a splinter in his finger. That evening Erin practices her speech that she plans to give to the soldiers at Camp Lee. He doesn’t want his daughter ogled at by hundreds of leering men. He forbids her to attend the event. He goes down to answer the phone call she was expecting to confirm her attendance. Erin reads a heartfelt letter from a soldier that makes her cry.

The next day Erin sits on the porch with John Curtis and Mary Ellen. She says that she is always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Mary Ellen asks what she means and Erin says that she lost out on being Miss Jefferson County, and then lost out on class elections by 4 votes and then her Daddy stopped her from going to Camp Lee which could have been the biggest thing to have ever happened to her. Lieutenant Clarke Oler pulls up and asks John to reconsider letting Erin go to Camp Lee. He says that over 300 men think of her fondly as "the girl next door" and would stop any "wolves" from causing her harm and he would personally escort her himself. John still stubbornly refuses and Mary Ellen then asks “who’s being overprotective now?” She asks how he can expect her to let go of John Curtis if he can’t even let go of Erin? He finally agrees but doesn’t want her wearing shorts or showing off her body. He says he’ll show up with his shotgun if there is any trouble. She leaves with the Lieutenant in the dress that she was already wearing. John and Mary Ellen look back to the porch where John Curtis was playing and discover that the family has wandered off. The remaining family members search around the farm for him. Mary Ellen becomes frantic with worry but her Daddy sees John Curtis walking across the bridge across Drucilla’s Pond. They race to either side of the bridge and John Curtis makes his way into his Grandpa’s welcoming arms.

Epilogue:

 
  "Mary Ellen and John Curtis survived their morning in the woods and during this crisis Mary Ellen found the strength to start letting go of her son. Once again she was sharing John Curtis with us. As the years went by, the bond between mother and son continually deepened, nurtured not by fear but by trust and love."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

 
 
  • Carol Jones, who appears as Joanne, later appears as Laurie Ellis in "The Victims" (s9-ep15).
  • Kip Niven, who appears as Lieutenant Clarke Oler, will become a regular cast member and return as Reverend Tom Marshall in "The Beginning" (s9-ep13).

Additional Cast:

 
 

 


Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Carol Jones (Joanne), Christopher Woods(David Spencer), David Hinton (Private), Kevin Lee Miller (Private Wallace), Kip Niven (Lt. Clarke Oler)

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