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“The Typewriter” on The Waltons

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Update, Jan. 20, 2014: The video has been pulled by YouTube. However, the episode is still available on DVD.

I never watched The Waltons as a kid. Nor have I caught up as an adult. This episode, “The Typewriter,” is the only one I’ve ever seen. In it, John Boy borrows an Oliver No. 9 from a pair of bootleggers, er, little old ladies, so that he can copy a story he had written in longhand — a publisher earlier rejected this handwritten manuscript. The ladies claim the typewriter was purchased in 1908, but the No. 9 was manufactured from 1916 to 1922. No doubt a prop, though the ladies might have been mistaken about when it was purchased.

The typewriter and some other metal is inadvertently sold as junk for $1. His sister, who sold the machine, is reputed to be a person who drives a hard bargain; however, at 50 cents a pound (offered), she drives a poor bargain. The Oliver alone must have weighed upwards of 20 pounds! By the end of the episode, the machine — never mentioned by name in the show — is reacquired for $6.

(Had it gone to key choppers this story would have turned out very differently.)

According to one YouTube commenter, in a later episode, “Career Girl,” John Boy says that the typewriter “got burnt up in the house fire.” It’s not clear why he never returned the machine to its original owners.

An Oliver appears in The King’s Speech. Richard Polt mentions that a disguised Oliver appears in Naked Lunch.1

© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. Oliver 9, by Richard Polt []
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