The Waltons The Breakdown Part 1
Jason spends too much time playing with a band. His school work, music lessons, and health begin to suffer. Comes to understanding with band. John-Boy gets a part-time job in a library; the librarian wants him to choose it as a profession.
Tags: The Waltons
Added: 2 years ago
[scene opens with John-Boy Walton walking through the stacks of the library at Boatwright University, when he grabs a book off one of the shelves and begins reading]
PROF. HOADLEY: [from off camera] You there!
[he drops the book in surprise, then turns to find the older male librarian standing on a ladder and watching him from behind another bookshelf]
PROF. HOADLEY: Let me have that.
[he climbs down and takes the book from him]
PROF. HOADLEY: Those spines are so fragile ...
JOHN BOY: I'm sorry, sir.
PROF. HOADLEY: What are you doing in the stacks?
JOHN BOY: I have an appointment with Doctor Hoadley. His secretary said I could find him down here.
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, you have. I happen to enjoy the company of books.
JOHN BOY: Oh ...
PROF. HOADLEY: Who are you?
JOHN BOY: John Walton, sir.
[he shakes his hand]
JOHN BOY: I'm applying for the NYA job.
[he hands him a piece of paper]
JOHN BOY: I hope I didn't harm the book.
PROF. HOADLEY: Uh, no. No ...
[he places the book back on the shelf]
PROF. HOADLEY: And just what qualifies you to work back here with me? Any previous experience?
JOHN BOY: No, not really. Except maybe as a customer.
[he gives a half-hearted chuckle, but the librarian does not change his expression]
JOHN BOY: Uh ... I love books! I don't spend as much time as I'd like to in the library. I could certainly use the money.
[the librarian looks down his glasses at John Boy's resume]
JOHN BOY: If you'd like to speak with Professor Parks in the English department, and maybe Mister Fletcher down at the newspaper, I'm sure they'd give you a reference.
PROF. HOADLEY: What's your connection with the newspaper?
JOHN BOY: Well, I-I'm what you'd call a stringer. I sorta fill in, y'know. Special assignments.
PROF. HOADLEY: That sounds like very uncertain employment.
JOHN BOY: That it is ... but I like it, and it would give me plenty of time to work here.
PROF. HOADLEY: [pause] You like books, do you?
JOHN BOY: Mm, I think I can honestly say that the only thing I enjoy more than reading is writing ... I'm working on one now.
PROF. HOADLEY: There are enough books in the world already.
JOHN BOY: I know what you mean! Maybe someday you'll have room on your shelves for just one or two'a mine ... if they're good enough.
PROF. HOADLEY: What's your major?
JOHN BOY: Journalism.
PROF. HOADLEY: Ever thought of library science?
JOHN BOY: [pause] No, not 'til now.
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, maybe you should. Natural choice for a young man who finds pleasure in books ... I can't imagine a more challenging or rewarding vocation. And naturally, in selecting a young man for this NYA job, I would tend to prefer someone who would dedicate his future to the work.
JOHN BOY: I can understand that.
[the librarian shakes his hand]
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, you think about that. In any case, it's quite nice to meet you, John.
JOHN BOY: Thank you.
PROF. HOADLEY: NYA will notify you in a day or two.
JOHN BOY: Alright ... excuse me.
[he turns and leaves]
[Professor Hoadley is showing John-Boy the staff section of the library]
JOHN BOY: Well, I'm certainly grateful for the chance, Doctor Hoadley. I intend to give it my best ... If at any time you feel I'm not doin' something I should be doin', then you just let me know, 'cause I wanna learn about it!
PROF. HOADLEY: It please me and it re-assures me to hear you say that, John ... You won't find your work too difficult. Arranging these books, filing them in the stacks, and this will be your desk.
[the librarian sits down]
PROF. HOADLEY: Y'know, John, there is an opportunity here for the right man to get far more from this job than just a little paycheck.
JOHN BOY: Well, a little paycheck's gonna be a mighty big help, though.
PROF. HOADLEY: I'm glad, but I think that you will benefit from this in the larger way, as well.
JOHN BOY: Yes, sir?
PROF. HOADLEY: You have imagination.
JOHN BOY: Yes, sir ... sometimes too much.
PROF. HOADLEY: It takes imagination to appreciate what working in a library really means. I'm sorry to say that too many of my staff immerse themselves in the routine.
PROF. HOADLEY: The details, the filing and the cross-filing. Oh, it's all very important, but it's only a part of a true librarian's vocation. We are the custodians of the thoughts, the theories, the hopes, the fears of all men for over the last three thousand years!
JOHN BOY: That's quite a responsibility!
PROF. HOADLEY: Y'know, I sometimes think of us as the pharmacists of the mind ... and the spirit! A man or a woman needs a prescription. They want comfort or pleasure, or information or inspiration, so they come to us. We reach into the collection, and we find the medicine.
[he leans back in the chair]
PROF. HOADLEY: Are you familiar with the poetry of Emily Dickinson?
JOHN BOY: Well, sure.
PROF. HOADLEY: Here's one that every true librarian should know by heart ... "There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away, nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry. This traverse may the poorest take without oppress of toll. How frugal is a chariot that bears a human soul."
JOHN BOY: Hmm, I don't know that one.
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, you think about that the next time you're cross-eyed from working with your card index!
[he gets up, as John-Boy laughs]
PROF. HOADLEY: You're bored with your filing! Your back is aching, shoving these bookcarts!
[the librarian smiles]
PROF. HOADLEY: And you remember that even though you're starting here in a basement library somewhere in the hills of Virginia, all these books lead us back to those who cared for the great library in Alexandria, and even to those who started the collection in the Vatican!
JOHN BOY: I hope I'm up to it ...
PROF. HOADLEY: [pause] I think you'll make a fine librarian ...
[he smiles again, then leaves]
[John-Boy is happily shelving books, when Professor Hoadley enters the scene]
PROF. HOADLEY: You're a model of efficiency and industry, John!
JOHN BOY: Well, thank you! I'm just trying to get this done today.
PROF. HOADLEY: You may even lead me to revise my whole attitude towards the NYA students!
[they both laugh, then he hands John-Boy some pamphlets]
PROF. HOADLEY: I dug out these three catalogs. Um, I suggest you glance at them ... on your own time, of course.
[he takes them and reads off the titles]
JOHN BOY: "Harvard University?" "Yale" ... "William and Mary College!"
PROF. HOADLEY: Three of the finest schools for library science!
[the librarian turns to leave, but John-Boy stops him]
JOHN BOY: Excuse me, sir ... Um, I don't, I don't think I could afford any of these schools.
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, not as an undergraduate, perhaps ... but now's the time for us to begin planning your advanced degrees.
[John-Boy's face falls]
JOHN BOY: [pause] Well, I certainly appreciate the trouble you've gone to.
PROF. HOADLEY: They have grants, they have scholarships, jobs available. Now, my feeling is that you should try for your masters at William and Mary, then go for your doctorate at either Harvard or Yale, and then an apprenticeship at one of the great private libraries!
[John-Boy just stares at him blankly, as the librarian's smile slowly fades away]
PROF. HOADLEY: You look dazed. Am I going too fast?
JOHN BOY: Yes, sir. I ... I think you're suggesting that I change my major to library science.
PROF. HOADLEY: You are interested, aren't you? That was certainly the basis for my giving you this job in the first place. Was I misled?
JOHN BOY: Well, no. I ... I mean, I-I'm very intersted! I enjoy the work, and I'm trying to do a good job.
PROF. HOADLEY: There's no complaint on that score ... but as I told you before, I think that this job is a kind of initiation. John, it would be an exercise in futility to train a young man who had no intention of using his experience.
JOHN BOY: [quietly] That's true.
PROF. HOADLEY: So, if you don't want those catalogs ...
JOHN BOY: Well, I-I'll take them home tonight and read them.
[he forces a smile, and the librarian gets his smile back]
PROF. HOADLEY: Good! I'll, uh, let you get back to your work ...
[he leaves, as John-Boy forlornly goes back to his bookcart]
[John-Boy pushes his empty bookcart towards the front of the library, as the librarian is looking over something in a manilla folder]
PROF. HOADLEY: Well, another week's work well done.
JOHN BOY: Thank you, sir.
[John-Boy reaches into his bag and takes out the three library science catalogs]
JOHN BOY: Doctor Hoadley, I wanted to return these catalogs to you.
PROF. HOADLEY: They're yours to keep.
[John-Boy hesitates and looks down at the floor]
JOHN BOY: You may wanna give them to somebody else.
PROF. HOADLEY: [pause] You're not interested.
JOHN BOY: No, sir ... I'm a writer, I'm not a librarian.
PROF. HOADLEY: When I gave you this job, I was under another impression.
JOHN BOY: Yes, sir. I'm sorry if I've misled you, and I can certainly understand it if you feel that you have to replace me. I just want you to know I've already learned a great deal from you.
PROF. HOADLEY: This is a great disappointment.
JOHN BOY: Yes, sir. I'm sorry.
PROF. HOADLEY: We're all very pleased with your work ... I've always thought this job should be available to a student who wanted it for more than just a financial stop-gap.
JOHN BOY: Of course, I understand that.
[he turns to leave]
PROF. HOADLEY: Uh, just a minute, John ... It would be awkward to break in someone new at this point, so if you wish, you can keep the job for the balance of the semester.
JOHN BOY: Well, thank you.
PROF. HOADLEY: I regret your decision, of course ... but I admire your honesty. I won't put anymore pressure on you.
PROF. HOADLEY: And remember ...
[he points off camera]
PROF. HOADLEY: There is a space for your first novel, right up there.
JOHN BOY: I appreciate this.
[he takes his bag and turns to leave]
JOHN BOY: I'll see you Monday!
THE BREAKDOWN (16 Oct 1975)
Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Ivan Dixon. Music: Alexander Courage.
"Suffering in silence was not a popular past-time with me nor my brothers and sisters. Feelings good and bad in the Walton family were customarily laid out for everybody remotely concerned to see and hear and hopefully to adjust to. Sometimes of course we did hide our true feelings, out of hurt, and once in the case of my brother Jason, out of a refusal to believe he could have such bad feelings against his older brother".
Jason is continually tired, he's working with Bobby Bigelow's band with an early morning radio programme, answering the band's fan mail during the day, playing at dances every night, as well as studying at the Conservatory. Although his mother repeatedly wants him to give up a lot of his commitments, he continues with his strenouous workload. His temper gets shorter, and one day just as he is about to leave, he collapses. This, at last, brings about an enforced rest and time to convalesce.
Meanwhile, to earn some money, John-Boy takes a job at Boatwright cataloguing books for the librarian Prof. Hoadley, who wants him to change his course of studies to becoming a qualified librarian.
"Out of that breakdown my brother emerged with a new maturity and he and I came to a better understanding. We stopped the old game of "follow the leader" and began to face things together. To my mother, Jason and all the rest of us would always be "the children". With my father's help she learned not to rush in and try to pick us up after every tumble. Still, we knew she was there ready to help if ever and whenever we reached out".
John: 'Night Livvy.
Olivia: I can't understand it.
John: Understand what?
Olivia: Why Jason would give a girl like Bet Morgan a second glance!
John: You got to remember honey, love is blind.
Olivia: But I felt boys looked for girls who put them in mind of their mothers!
John: Yeh. Well, (laughing) goodnight 'Liv.
Olivia (laughing): Goodnight.
Also appearing -
Bobby Bigelow (Mayf Nutter); Prof. Hoadley (Ivan Francis).
Note: Ivan Francis appears again, as Dean Beck of Boatwright College, in The Threshold (Season 9).