4.1657534246575 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.17 (365 Votes)
Episode 1.8: Aunt Abigail's Beau - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Janet King's spinster sister, Abigail is pursued by a former suitor who has returned from the Yukon a wealthy man.

Writer: Heather Conkie
Director: Harvey Frost
Special Guests: Malcolm Stoddard as Malcolm MacEwan and Rosemary Dunsmore as Aunt Abigail
Original CBC Airdate: February 25, 1990
Original Disney Airdate: April 2, 1990
Run Time: 49 minutes
Time Frame: Fall 1903

Highlights/Analysis

Alec resents Malcolm's tales of worldly adventures and feels confined to King Farm. The old "wobbly" bed that Janet insists Alec replaces, symbolizes his general sense of being: useless and unappreciated.

A misunderstanding between Malcolm and Abigail causes Abigail to turn down her suitor's marriage proposal. The theme that 'money cannot buy happiness' is revived in this episode as Alec learns that his happiness resides not in gold seeking adventures, but with his family at King Farm. Furthermore, Malcolm learns that his money cannot buy Abigail's hand in marriage.

Sara and Felicity ride to the rescue and the Story Girl continues her exaggerated expressions with "it's a matter of life and death!" The reunion between Malcolm and Abigail is highlighted by Sara's remark about Abigail's frantic driving.

Criticism

Malcolm immediately finding the egg in the haystack, while not implausible, is a bit far fetched.

Memorable Quotes

"Providence knows, it's probably your last chance to throw off the mantle of maidenhood." -Clara Potts (to Abigail)

"I think it's high time that you asserted your authority, Mr. MacEwan." -Felicity King

"Let Mr. MacEwan drive the buggy home." -Sara (to Abigail)

Notes

(1) The current episode was based on the short story 'Aunt Olivia's Beau' from Montgomery's 'Chronicles of Avonlea.' In the book, "dyed-in-the-wool old maid" Olivia Sterling is the representation of Aunt Abigail in the series and Malcolm's last name is MacPherson, not MacEwan (The characters Mary and Peggy are the series equivalents of Sara and Felicity). This episode follows the plot closely, but omits the subplot rivalry between Malcolm and Alec. Another interesting note from the short story is that Malcolm purchases the old Lynde home with the hope of marrying Olivia, but Olivia objects, arguing that she does not want to be uprooted from her home in East Grafton, less than twelve miles from Avonlea. 

(2) Malcolm left Avonlea for the Yukon on November 7, 1896. 

(3) Alec claims that he is 43 years old. Janet corrects Alec and reminds him that he's 44 years old, which means that Alec was born in 1859 and he was 29 years old when he married Janet. 

(4) Gemma from the avonleavillage list noted that the carriage Abigail chases near the end of the episode has a sign on the side that reads 'Dunsmore' coaches. The coach company was most likely named after Rosemary Dunsmore, the actress who plays Abigail MacEwen. 

(5) Hetty is not in this episode but Jackie Burroughts receives a credit.

Grade: A 

The episode provides insight into Alec's character, his desire for adventure and his eventual realization of the importance of his family.

 

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People in this conversation

  • Guest - Ryan B.

    I've always wondered about the scene with Malcolm finding the egg in the haystack. I've never seen it. Its not in the Sullivan or Disney (Tales From Avonlea) DVD releases. Is it in the VHS release? or was it in original Disney broadcast? I know others have seen this scene but its something i've tried to view for awhile but so far no luck. You seem to know Avonlea very well so I thought i'd ask here

  • Hey Ryan, that's a great question. The missing scene was shown in the CBC broadcast of this episode. Disney would mercilessly cut these episodes to make time for the channels' advertisements. I occasionally viewed both Disney and CBC versions and noticed these peculiarities. Click here for a list of other cuts from this episode (and others) at an archived version of Avonlea Vignettes. The link is for an archived version because the current version has a background that's unreadable, lol. :)

  • Guest - Ryan B.

    Timothy

    Oh ok thanks for the response. Hmmm if its in the CBC broadcast it could be difficult to track down. Hopefully someone recorded it somewhere. I've actually just recently been viewing Tales from Avonlea and have noticed a lot of cuts. The Journey Begins in particular is very badly cut.

  • Ryan, I wish I still had my VHS tapes. In Canada, a Road to Avonlea airing was a big deal and would often beat hockey in the ratings. Before every episode, one of the cast members, in character, would break the fourth wall and briefly introduce the episode. I remember Felix sitting in the back of a carriage telling you about the brand new episode we were about to see. The downside of the VHS tapes is that they are so poorly degraded that it might be hard to watch. I know Disney cut scenes they thought were inappropriate like Gus smoking or Rachel slapping Hetty. However, many of these cuts seem trivial and were made just to save time to showcase other Disney programming.

    Comment last edited on about 4 months ago by Timothy
  • Guest - Ryan B.

    Timothy, that's really interesting! I never knew the original CBC broadcasts had some of the cast members introducing an episode. Now i'm getting determined to find the CBC broadcasts! I have attempted to view old content from the CBC before. I had sent an email to one of the CBC employee's in an attempt to find out about access to view Mr. Dressup's 25th Anniversary from 1994 which featured Sarah Polley in character (along with Anne Murray, Mr. Rogers and other celebrities) wishing Mr Dreesup a happy birthday. I was told however that the CBC no longer owned the rights to that video. There is also a lot of Avonlea content from Disney that's still out there (interviews, behind the scenes etc.) A VHS tape made by a fan contained tons of Avonlea Disney, Gemini awards and Cable Ace awards material that was called Avonlea Rarities. A lot of this tape is now available on Youtube

  • I had no idea about the Mr. Dressup Anniversary show with Sarah Polley. I hope you can track it down. I think I saw some of the rarities video on Youtube. I was relieved because it had a funny Disney clip I had on VHS that I lost. It featured Marc Worden (Road to Avonlea's Edward Ray), dressed in a Mickey Mouse clubhouse jacket, visiting an Avonlea set to interview Sarah Polley, Zachary Bennett and Gema Zamprogna. It was very surreal.

  • Guest - Ryan B.

    I actually have Marc Worden as a friend on facebook and that video has been posted at least twice on his page. He mentioned that he has no memory of doing that interview but did say he was grateful for the reminder and that it felt good to see old friends. Which was nice. Another notable video from that Avonlea Rarities video is a clip of the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1990 which had an Avonlea float with Sarah, Gema, Zach, and Mag riding in it. I think I remember awhile back Mag Ruffman did an online Q&A and I think you had brought up the Christmas parade in a question to her. That was the first time I had heard of that, and was quite thrilled to see the video clip of the parade on the tape.

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