Pairings/Characters (this chapter): John-Boy Walton, Sarah Simmons, Robert Cavendish, Evelyn Bradford, Zarabeth Hanover, Mary Ellen Walton, Randall White, Jason Walton
Fandom: The Waltons
Genres: Drama, Holiday, Slice-Of-Life
Rating (this chapter): G
Spoilers: For Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931)
General Summary: Professor Sarah Simmons takes John-Boy, Mary Ellen, and Jason to see the classic horror films Dracula and Frankenstein in Charlottesville.
Chapter Summary: The moviegoers discuss what they have just seen.
Date Of Completion: November 24, 2018
Date Of Posting: November 2, 2019
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Lorimar Productions does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1314
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: All chapters can be found here.
THE ICE CREAM PARLOR
Friedrich von Heindorff
January 29, 1934
We ordered ice cream sundaes and while waiting, Sarah asked, “All right, who’s got an opinion on our illustrious double feature?”
“A creature feature,” Bob said cheerfully.
His friends groaned and Sarah laughed. “So, Bob?”
“Well, despite the changes from the novels, the stories worked. Both films evoked a chilling atmosphere.”
“The Monster’s make-up was exceptional,” said Evelyn.
“Definitely. That made the picture, along with Karloff’s performance,” said Zarabeth.
“Chilling,” Evelyn said with a little shudder.
“I felt kinda sorry for the Monster,” Mary Ellen piped up. Everyone looked at her. “Well, I did.”
“Interesting. Why do you say that, Mary Ellen?” asked Sarah.
Mary Ellen took a bite of her hot fudge sundae. “He didn’t ask to be sewn together from dead bodies and come to life. That was crazy Doc Frankenstein’s idea.”
“But he killed,” said Randall.
“Yeah, because he was given a murderer’s brain. He didn’t set out to kill that little girl. He thought she’d float.”
“That didn’t make him any less dangerous,” Evelyn insisted.
“I suppose.” Mary Ellen took another bite. “But he didn’t even know what sunlight was.”
“So how does the Monster differ from Dracula?” asked Sarah.
“Ol’ Drac knew exactly what he was doing,” Bob quipped.
“No doubt, no doubt,” said Randall. He lightly jabbed Bob in the ribs.
Bob smirked. “The Count’s been around for centuries. He’s a little older than the Monster.”
“Just a tad,” Zarabeth agreed. She swirled butterscotch topping on her sundae with her spoon.
“So did the films work as effective horror?” asked Sarah.
“I’ll say,” said Jason, and we all laughed.
“Pretty shocking when Frankenstein first appears on-screen,” I said.
“Very effective,” Sarah agreed.
Mary Ellen took her last bite of ice cream and put the spoon down with a clatter on the plate holding the sundae bowl. “Is it true that some women fainted at the sight of the Monster in some theaters?”
“So they say. Typical of the weaker sex,” Randall said smugly.
Both Mary Ellen and Zarabeth snorted at the same time. Zarabeth also jabbed Randall in the ribs, hard enough for him to yell, “Ow!” and rub his side.
Sarah, Mary Ellen, Jason and I were in a booth while the students sat at a table right next to us. The ice cream parlor was noisy with people coming from the Bijou.
Our discussion grew livelier, and I wondered if we’d get quizzed at home about the movies. I realized that my siblings and I would have to talk about this. Telling all the details probably wouldn’t be the best idea, though.
“So, Jason, what was your opinion of the music?” Sarah asked.
“Very well done. It sounded old, if that makes sense, for Dracula, and more modern for Frankenstein.”
“Now that’s pretty insightful.”
Jason blushed a little at the praise. I knew that Sarah was sincere. She looked at Jason with new respect.
“I thought the sets contributed to the general atmosphere of both movies,” said Evelyn. “The crypt which contained Dracula’s coffin really set the tone.”
“Like Frankenstein’s lab,” added Bob.
“Oh, wasn’t that creepy!” Evelyn shuddered.
“I half-expected to see rats,” laughed Bob.
“Weren’t those armadillos in the crypt?” Zarabeth asked.
Sarah looked at her sundae. She took the last bite and said, “Sounds like you all had a good time, if a creepy one.”
There was general agreement as everyone finished their sundaes and continued chattering as we left the ice cream parlor.
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow so we can head back to Boston,” said Sarah to her students.
“See ya, Prof!” said Bob cheerfully. He waved and the four students headed for Randall’s car.
“Well, Waltons, let’s get you home before your parents send out a search party,” Sarah chuckled.
“What time is it?” I asked.
Sarah checked her watch. “Ten-fifteen.”
“Yep, search party,” cracked Mary Ellen.
We all piled into Sarah’s roadster. She put the top up and turned on the heater, which was good, because it was freezin’.
Jason and Mary Ellen fell asleep in the back seat. I sat up front as Sarah drove. She glanced over at me.
“A little.” I smiled ruefully. “We’re early to bed, early to rise kinda folks.”
“Nothing wrong with that.” Sarah slowed down a little as a squirrel dashed across the road. “Zarabeth took a shine to Mary Ellen.”
I chuckled. “My sister either instantly rubs people the wrong way or endears herself just as fast. Depends on the people.”
“That’s a sharp observation.”
I felt proud. “Well, anybody keeps their eyes open, they’ll see the same things.”
“You’d be surprised how many people look but don’t see.”
I thought about that. “Huh, guess you’re right.”
She shifted gears. “What did you think about my students?” When I didn’t answer right away, she smiled. “It’s okay, John. Your observations won’t get back to them. What’s your writer’s opinion?”
I blew out a breath. “Okay. Zarabeth is a lot like Mary Ellen, brash and opinionated. She’s not the type to take kindly to what ‘a woman’s place’ is supposed to be.”
All right, so Sarah wasn’t going to give her opinions until I was finished.
“Evelyn is pretty earnest and a little prickly. She seemed really interested in the movies.” I crossed my arms. “Randall, well, he comes across as kind of superior.” Sarah did crack a smile at this comment. “I’m not sure what he thought about the movies. Maybe he thinks Hollywood movies aren’t worth studying?”
“Finally, Bob is real friendly and doesn’t seem too caught up with what’s supposed to be acceptable and what isn’t. He seemed to have an honest opinion about things.”
“Well, you’re right about Bob. He’s pretty genuine. A lot of Harvard guys have silver spoons that prevent them from getting out of their uppercrust boxes.”
“Interesting observation, Professor.”
She laughed. “Touche, John.”
I yawned. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay. I’m getting tired myself.”
“Would you like to spend the night?”
“Oh, no, I can drive all right. Fortunately, we don’t start for home ‘til around ten tomorrow.”
“Well, just be sure.”
“I’m sure.” She glanced over at me. “I wouldn’t go into too much detail on the movies. The vagaries of the undead might not go over well with your parents.”
“I know. I already warned Jason and Mary Ellen.”
“Good. I wouldn’t want to become persona non grata at your house.”
“You never would be with Grandpa.”
She laughed. “I can always depend on Zeb.”
We were quiet the rest of the way. Once we reached the Mountain, Sarah drove us to our house and we roused Jason and Mary Ellen. The house was dark. Everybody had gone to bed long ago.
“Good night, Waltons,” Sarah said merrily, and she drove off to our chorus of goodnights.
“Remember, play down the details of the movies, “ I warned.
“Yeah, yeah.” Mary Ellen yawned.
“You mess up, sister dear, and there’s no more trips with Professor Simmons.”
She waved me off and went inside the house. The screen door creaked but Jason caught it before it slammed. We looked at each other and shook our heads.
Somehow we managed to get ready for bed without waking the whole house. The three of us whispered our goodnights and went to our rooms. I climbed into bed, feeling pretty tired.
I couldn’t fall asleep right away, though. I ran over the evening and knew it would provide fodder in the days ahead for stories galore. Tonight, though, I’d go over what I’d seen and heard and drift off to sleep. My horizons had been expanded, and I appreciated the chance Sarah had given me.
I fell asleep to the sound of moaning wind and dreams of dark castles and bright marquees.
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