Ep.15 - The Actress

  Original Airdate: January 4, 1973
Writer: William Best
Director: Vincent Sherman


  "When I was growing up on Walton's Mountain I used to dream of all the far away places I would one day visit. New York City captured my imagination most completely because it was a Mecca for young aspiring artists and writers. I wasn't to stray that far from home for several years but I was due for a special preview. One day without any warning a New York hurricane hit our peaceful community."



Actress Alvira Drummond's car has broken down near Walton's Mountain. Her chauffeur has enlisted John Boy's help to tow her car to Ike's for repairs. When she discovers that their is no hotel or restaurant near by John-Boy offers to bring her home to his place for a home cooked meal. The family is all in awe except for Olivia and Grandma. They invite her inside and she makes quite the scene with her theatrics and stories of an excessive life style. Grandma sends John-Boy to Ike's to find out how soon the car can be repaired but Ike says that it will take a week to get the new part from Chicago. He also reports that the driver has skipped off with Yancy Tucker to Richmond. Alvira claims that he has taken all of her money, belongings and jewellery rendering her incapable of paying for a hotel or a train back to New York. Olivia offers to make her a bed on the couch in the living room but one nights stay turns into more than a week.

  The family has gotten to their wits end with Alvira's visit. When she calls her agent in New York for train fair back to the city the phone operator Fanny Tatum overhears some of the problems that are plaguing the actress. Alvira continues to cause problems; she fakes a sprained ankle to avoid admitting that their is no money for the train fare, she uses to much gaudy make-up teaching Mary Ellen about dressing up and she becomes intoxicated on the Walton's couch drinking a Mason jar of the Baldwin's “recipe”. John-Boy finds her chauffeur at the Flamingo roadhouse. He learns the hard way that she was behind in paying him 2 months wages. The chauffeur did not in fact steal any of her money or jewels as she has used it all up to cover her expenses. Apparently she has been temperamental and has burned all of her bridges and run out of money. Alvira overhears the family discussing her problems and an idea comes up to put on a show at Ike Godsey's hall to raise money for Alvira's return to New York. She gives a brilliant heartfelt performance with scenes from Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet and she ends the evening with a reading from John-Boy's unpublished novel “Walton's Mountain”. Although the crowd was smaller than a full theatre in New York she has enough money to pay her way back to the city. As she says good-bye it seems apparent that the visit has taught her some valuable lessons that will help her in the future.

Extract from John-Boy's journal "From Waltons Mountain"

At night across the mountain when darkness falls
and the winds sweep down out of the hollows
the wild things with their shiny eyes
come to the edge of the clearing.
At such an hour the house seems safe and warm

an island of light and love in a sea of darkness.
At such an hour the word "home" must have come into being
dreamed up by some creature that never knew a home.
In his yearning there must have come to mind
the vision of a mother's face,
a father's deep voice,
the aroma of fresh baked bread,
sunshine in a window,
the muted sounds of rain on a roof,
the sigh of death,
the cry of a newborn babe,
and voices calling "goodnight".
Home, an island, a refuge, a haven of love.


  "Alvira Drummond was to entertain audiences again on the New York stage, but I doubt if she ever found an audience as appreciative as that group in Ike Godsey's store on Waltons Mountain."

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • Fanny Tatum (Dorothy Neuman) makes a brief appearance as the local telephone operator. Her character returns in Season 5 but is played by actress Sheila Allen.
  • The make up artist was nominated for a Best Make-up Emmy for this episode.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: Pippa Scott (Alvira Drummond), Ray Sutton (Rex McKay) with: John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Mary Jackson (Emily Baldwin), Helen Kleeb (Mamie Baldwin), Dorothy Neuman (Fanny Tatum)

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