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"The Waltons": John-Boy's Integrity

The Waltons was a popular television series in the 1970s that told the story of a large family living in Virginia during the Depression era. In this particular episode, one of the Walton children, John-Boy, aspires to publish his own county newspaper—The Blue Ridge Chronicle. He enlists the help of his younger brother, Ben, and they soon stumble upon their first headline story. The county judge, Judge Thornbury, crashed his car into a store because he had been drinking. In this scene the judge visits the office of the newspaper to speak to John-Boy about the story.

The judge enters the offices where John–Boy is hard at work.

"Judge Thornbury," John-Boy says, surprised to see him standing there.

"So," the judge says, "this is the home of The Blue Ridge Chronicle."

"Yes," John-Boy says.

"I know you're busy getting out your first edition, but I hope you can spare me a few minutes," the judge says as he takes a seat.

"I apologize for the cramped editorial room," says John-Boy.

"Putting out your own newspaper is quite an ambitious undertaking for a young man."

"I hope to earn a little—as well as learn a little," John-Boy replies.

"Well, I am delighted to find out that you are not only ambitious but also practical. That's a combination that usually makes for success. And the practical John Walton has undoubtedly decided not to waste any space on my little mishap."

"Well, I wouldn't exactly call that wasted space, Judge."

"It really would be beating a dead horse. I arranged to pay all the damages and the matter is settled," the judge fires back.

"I hate to disagree with you, Judge. But it is a news story, so it rates a place in the paper."

"But you must have more important news to print," the judge reasons. "A minor traffic accident—who's interested in that?"

"I think the readers are interested!" John-Boy says. "I think they're interested in any unusual occurrence, especially when it concerns a prominent person like yourself!"

"A boy crusader with the strength of ten because his heart is pure," the judge says with a condescending tone. "John, you're taking yourself and your paper much too seriously! You're not representing the New York Times or even the Charlottesville Progress. You're a little county newspaper!"

"Judge Thornbury, I'm very well aware of the fact that I'm not in the same league as those newspapers in many ways. But I'd like to think I have something in common with them—and that's a little bit of integrity."

"Ah, yes—integrity," the judge says as he walks to the door. "The vocabulary of the very young. I'll check your position in 10 or 15 years."

As the judge steps just outside the office, he motions for John-Boy to join him. "John," he says, "I would take it as a personal favor if you did not use that story—and I don't forget people who do me personal favors."

Shaking his head, John-Boy says, "Judge, if the person who caused this accident had been a farmer, would you be complaining to me now? Sorry."

The scene closes with the judge walking away.

DVD, Season Five, Disc 1 ("The First Edition"); 00:14:12–00:17:37

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