S3 E15 The Family Tree

Welcome back friends and fans. Here is a very special episode of GT. James sees his father for the first time since he was a little kid. Hope you enjoy the review.

J.J. asked Florida how she liked his sign for James’s birthday, Happy Birthday Daddy. Florida asked him to quiet down for there was a surprise party in the cards for him and she didn’t want him to hear.  J.J. said he found surprised parties to be dangerous, he heard about a woman who threw a party for her husband but it turned out she was dating another guy.  Florida asked him to sweep the floor but J.J. protested it was bad for his image. Florida said it was perfect for he was built like a broomstick. He finally agreed to it while Michael dusted the furniture. J.J. questioned why Thelma wasn’t there helping out, Florida answered she was researching a school project on their family tree.


James came outside singing ‘Happy Birthday To Me’, then asked what time should he be home for his surprise party that evening (lol). J.J. asked him what it was like to be one year closer to retirement and social security, causing James to give him one of his signature glares. After James left for work, Thelma came home with the good news that she found James’s father, Henry Evans, to whom they thought was dead. Thelma invited him to the party that evening, but then they realized where he should wait in order to surprise him. Willona came in and they decided to have him stay over at her apartment until they can surprise James. That evening, James thanked everybody for the party and presents. When Willona went to her apartment to bring him over, the family told him he was in for a huge surprise. J.J. let it slip by saying the Waltons weren’t the only poor family with a grandfather. James realized right away that it was his father who came to see him but had a surprise for the family. He was still bitter towards the man for leaving him and didn’t want to see him.

James was in his bedroom laying on his bed and Florida came in to talk to him. James explained to Florida that he knew all those years his father was alive. He said his father said he was going to the store to buy a loaf of bread and never came back. He said he loved him but hated him for what he did. Meanwhile, Thelma and Michael chastised J.J. for spoiling the surprise and Willona came in with Henry to meet the rest of the family. Michael stated he wasn’t comfortable saying grandpa, for he wasn’t used to it. Henry was a cook on a steamship and told Michael about the places all around the world he’s been to, while Thelma joked that he’s never seen the site of J.J.. Florida came out and met him and said James was inside. Henry realized that James didn’t want to see him but Florida convinced him to go inside to say hello and talk.

The first thing Henry said to James was how he’d grown into a man. James asked him what else to expect. He apologized for leaving him, and conceded that he wasn’t making enough money to support the family and it was the hardest thing he ever done. James informed him that no matter how rough things got, he never did, and never would, desert his family. James asked him where he was and why he never bothered to find him, Henry replied he tried finding him but nobody knew where James was. He concluded the story with he didn’t leave him because he didn’t love him, but just the opposite. James then invited him to stay with the family to celebrate his birthday. J.J. stated ‘I knew everything would be all right with the grandpa and Dad of Kid Dyn-o-Mite’. Henry answered with ‘have mercy’. Florida stated ‘that’s James’s father all right’. When James blew out his candles, he wished for 100 more years to make up for all the years he and his father lost. then he gave him a hug.

Original airdate December 23, 1975

Written by Bob Peete

Directed by Herbert Kenwith

Guest Star Richard Ward

This was an excellent episode. Richard Ward was a perfect choice to play Henry Evans, in resemblance and acting ability. It was very understanding for James to be bitter and resentful toward Henry, as well as claiming he was dead. It seemed that all those years his father was dead to him. When Henry and James were inside the room talking, it was a very touching scene and well-played.



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