Ep.1 - The Sermon

  Original Airdate: September 18, 1975
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris


  John-Boy and Olivia are asked to cover for the Fordwichs while they are away on their honeymoon. He will preach the sermon and Olivia will teach classes at the schoolhouse. They learn about the challenges of those jobs and the predjudices of some in the community about how they choose to fill those roles.


  "So much of what we learned in those early years was rooted in that small schoolhouse on Walton's Mountain. I remember it warmly, and well, along with our teacher Miss Rosemary Hunter. And long after I left her school Miss Hunter figured prominently in a special time of learning for my mother, and for me. A time when each of us searched for that most elusive of persons, one's own self."



Miss Hunter walks home with the children after school so that she can have a talk with Olivia.  She has set the wedding date for the upcoming Sunday after the church service but needs Olivia to take over her classes while she and Rev. Fordwich are away on their honeymoon. Later Jason and John-Boy stop by the church and Rev. Fordwich takes the opportunity to ask John-Boy if he will preach the sermon while he is away. John-Boy is concerned that he will be inadequate for the task.  When the news makes its way through the community he overhears Corabeth and Mrs. Brimmer gossiping and expressing a lack of faith in John-Boy’s qualifications. Grandma on the other hand is overjoyed that her grandson will be leading the service.

At Olivia’s first day of class she finds it difficult to keep the children in line. Martha Rose Coverdale creates a constant amount of disruption which causes Mary Ellen to act up. Jim-Bob has not completed his assignment and his mother Mrs. Walton keeps him after school. He assignment is to write a theme on who his favorite person is but Jim-Bob feels that he doesn't have anyone in mind. Grandma spends most of her day writing ideas for John-Boy’s sermon. She gives him a hellfire and brimstone presentation which is not exactly within his comfort zone. John stops by the school to bring Olivia home. She is quite discouraged by the events of her first day at work.

John-Boy climbs the mountain to collect his thoughts and runs into Grandpa. They have a discussion about faith.  Later, John stops by John-Boy’s room to see what progress he has made on his sermon.  His father suggests that he put away the books, stop listening to everyone else's opinion and just talk about what he feels is important. Downstairs they find that Olivia and Jim-Bob have fallen asleep after a long exhausting day. John-Boy reads what Jim-Bob has written.  Instead of writing about one particular person he has listed a number of people who are important to him.  The next day is especially hot and Olivia decides to take the class outside to sit under the shade of the trees. Mrs. Brimmer happens upon the class and casts a look of disapproval. John-Boy once again overhears Mrs. Brimmer and Corabeth gossiping about his family.  John decides to take the family up on the mountain to the original Walton settlement where they can cool down from the hot day for a picninc. Olivia and John-Boy are impressed by John’s carrying ways. John talks to Olivia about his dream to build a new home on the mountain. Finally the time comes for John-Boy to give his sermon.  His father makes a rare appearance in church to hear his son.  Instead of delivering a speech that would be outside his comfort zone, John-Boy chooses to share his observations from the past week and what he has learned about how everyone is different and how their unique beliefs are special to them.


  "I was never again to stand in for Reverend Fordwick, but it was an humbling experience, and a growing time. One that I learned much from, and have had occasion to recall many times during my life."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • John builds a dresser in the new mill.
  • Kami (Elizabeth Walton) Colter's brother, Jeff appears in the frontchurch pew during John-Boy's sermon.

Additional Cast:


Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Walton), Helen Kleeb (Miss Mamie), Mary Jackson (Miss Emily), Basil Hoffman (Professor Ranney), Cindy Eilbacher (Martha Rose), Mariclaire Costello (Miss Hunter), John Ritter (Reverend Fordwick), Nora Marlowe (Mrs. Brimmer)


Music from this episode:

Jason plays "Buffalo Gals" on the banjo in John-Boy's car
Grandpa and John-Boy sing some hymns while up on the mountain
Jason plays a tune on the guitar during a family picnic up on the mountain
Jason plays a "Beautiful Dreamer" which then transitions from an instrumental scene change to the church congregation singing "Faith of Our Fathers"
The church congregation sings "Amazing Grace"



Promotional Stills


Follow us on Facebook YouTube Pinterest

About this Site / Links Contact Us FAQ
  Main Menu
The Episodes

- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Season Four
- Season Five
- Season Six
- Season Seven
- Season Eight
- Season Nine

The Movie Specials
Spencer's Mountain
The Homecoming
Search Site
The Cast
- John
- Olivia
- Grandpa
- Grandma
- John-Boy
- Jason
- Mary Ellen
- Erin
- Ben
- Jim-Bob
- Elizabeth
- The In-Laws
- Extended Family
- Kinfolk
- Pets & Critters
- Locals
- School Friends
- Town Folk
The Guests
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Season Four
- Season Five
- Season Six
- Season Seven
- Season Eight
- Season Nine
The Show
- The Waltons
  Cast Today

- Themes
- Timeline
- Articles
- Thanksgiving - The Garden Shed
The Music
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Season Four
- Season Five
- Season Six
- Season Seven
- Season Eight
- Season Nine
- Movie Specials
The Fans
- Fan Clubs
- Facebook Groups
- The Walton   Museum
- Reunions

- Autographs
- Trip to Schuyler

The Merchandise
- Home Video
- Paperbacks & Books
- Music Albums
- Sheet Music
- Lunchbox
- Action figures
- Playsets
- Trading Cards
- Boardgame
- Dinky Truck
- Paper Dolls
- View master
- Children's Book #1
- Children's Book #2
- Activity Books
- Foreign Products
- Unofficial Products
- Biographies
- Walton's Bird House

The Production
- Awards
- Behind the Camera
- Bloopers
- Cast off the Set
- Crew Listing
- Design of the Show
- Directing The Waltons
- Filming Locations
- Influences on Culture
- In Memoriam
- Interviews
- Kami's Memories
- Lorimar Productions
- Sets, Structures
- Specials & Docs
- Water Fountain
The Creator
- The REAL John-Boy
- The REAL Waltons
- The REAL Mountain
- Apples's Way
- Earl Hamner Storyteller
- Earl Hamner Memorial