The Waltons (1971–1981)
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The Tailspin 

Jim-Bob finds out he is not eligible to fly in the Air Corps due to bad vision. He realizes he can join to work on the planes even if he cannot fly them. Mary Ellen has doubts about starting to go out again.


Walter Alzmann


Earl Hamner Jr. (created by) (as Earl Hamner), Claire Whitaker

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Episode credited cast:
Ralph Waite ... John Walton, Sr.
Ellen Corby ... Esther Walton (credit only)
Judy Norton ... Mary Ellen Walton (as Judy Norton-Taylor)
Jon Walmsley ... Jason Walton
Mary Beth McDonough ... Erin Walton
Eric Scott ... Ben Walton
David W. Harper ... Jim-Bob Walton
Kami Cotler ... Elizabeth Walton
Joe Conley ... Ike Godsey
Ronnie Claire Edwards ... Corabeth Godsey
Earl Hamner Jr. ... The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barry Cahill Barry Cahill ... Buck Vernon
Kevin Geer ... Sgt. Charles W. "Chuck" Turner
Jerry Hoffman ... Dr. E. A. Canfield
John Lawrence John Lawrence ... Deputy


Jim-Bob finds out he is not eligible to fly in the Air Corps due to bad vision. He realizes he can join to work on the planes even if he cannot fly them. Mary Ellen has doubts about starting to go out again.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

eye exam | glasses | See All (2) »


Drama | Family | Romance





Release Date:

15 March 1979 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] Although my brother, Jim Bob, loved the mountain as much as the rest of us, since childhood he had dreamed of heights beyond its summit. Now, in the spring of 1942, as those dreams appeared to be within his reach, it seemed that he was finding new energy and purpose. If we were disappointed, it was only because Jim Bob was quietly building to a crisis that would turn his life in a different direction.
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User Reviews

Jim-Bob Walton's Trying Times!!
15 October 2011 | by elliselSee all my reviews

"The Tailspin" started with Jim-Bob Walton's disgust on his school work. He threw a paper airplane from his bedroom window. John Walton, Sr. noticed Jim-Bob's paper airplane on the ground. The reality: Jim-Bob received an "F" on his report in English. John Walton, Sr. said: "Jim-Bob -- Get Down Here!!" in a scathing manner. Jim-Bob was struggling in his other courses; moreover, he was not doing squat in English. He told Jim-Bob that an "F" did not stand for funny. Jim-Bob wanted to join the Air Corps. He needed to succeed in school. Elizabeth Walton had an idea: Jim-Bob needed to obtain individual sessions with Corabeth Godsey in reference to reading some useful books for his English class -- in which they would be seeing each other on Tuesdays and Fridays ... for discussions on a particular book.

Jim-Bob and Ben -- later in the episode -- were in Charlottesville to pick up a blade for their saw ... for their lumber mill. Jim-Bob was pulled over for reckless driving; and he would be issued a temporary license. John Walton, Sr. and Jason Walton were concerned about Jim-Bob and Ben. They arrived home late from their excursion in Charlottesville. They did not know that Jim-Bob lost his perfect vision. Mary Ellen Walton would eventually take Jim-Bob to Charlottesville for an eye examination. He would need eye glasses on an everyday basis. His dreams of heading to the Air Corps were shot to hell -- because he had to wear glasses. More To Come!!

Jim-Bob had a notion of not attending school. He told everyone that he was sick. John Walton, Sr. was falling for the trap. He had Jim-Bob look himself in the mirror; furthermore, he needed to attend school in order for him to become smarter that his father. Elizabeth and Jim-Bob were heading for school. Jim-Bob told Elizabeth that he wanted her to step out of his automobile. Soon after that, he was fed up with attending school; he threw all of his school work up in the air -- in disgust. Corabeth Godsey would eventually find out that Jim-Bob Walton was not participating in his reading sessions at all. Jim-Bob was acting highly disrespectful at her and his father. Elizabeth was covering up for Jim-Bob's absences in school. John Walton, Sr. was ready to swat Jim-Bob's ass for his disrespectful conduct at both of them. Jim-Bob had one thing in mind: join the Air Corps. He did not care if joining the Air Corps had any meaning at his family. He wanted to do so against his father's wishes; and John Walton, Sr. was quite livid about this move.

Jim-Bob Walton was driving in the country. He saw Corabeth Godsey had car trouble. She had a flat tire. She wanted nothing to do with him because of his embarrassing remarks he made to her. Jim-Bob wanted to win some respect from her ... by helping her remove the flat tire from her automobile. He would eventually realize that his reprehensible conduct at her was inexcusable under any circumstances. Jim-Bob wanted to make amends by restarting his reading sessions with Corabeth Godsey. He would then do his book reports for his English class. At the end of the episode, Jim-Bob and John would be wearing eye glasses in order to attain suitable eye vision for school work and work in the lumber mill. A 10 From The 1978-1979 Television Season.

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