Mrs. Oleson eavesdrops on a telephone conversation between Alice Garvey and her mother, who mentions to Alice that she had seen "Harold" recently. Turns out Harold was Alice's first husband, that they were only married for three weeks, and that Alice has never told her second husband about the marriage. He and their son, Andy, find out when Nellie (of course) "congratulates" Andy about his mother's first husband "getting out of prison." When Andy tells Jonathan what Nellie said, Jonathan confronts Mrs. Oleson, who brushes him off with an "if you don't believe me, ask your wife". He does, and Alice confesses the truth. A hurt and angry Jonathan decides it's best to leave for awhile. He ends up traveling to Minneapolis with Charles, and having dinner with Alice's mother. She directs him to where Harold works (a dive bar in the docks district). Jonathan finds him to be a sad, broken-down and pitiful ex-con. Johnathan goes back to Walnut Grove and asks Alice and Andy's forgiveness. A side plot involves Mrs. Oleson losing all of her money in the stock market; to punish her for what she did to the Garveys, Laura, Albert and a banker in town send info over the phone about a "hot" stock tip; of course, she eavesdrops, races to Mankato where she buys half the company, and promptly loses all her investment. One of my pet peeves about LHOTP is manifested in this episode: the recycling of character actors in different roles throughout the series' run. Royal Dano, with his distinctive looks and voice, portrays the first husband here, but in the very next season he portrays Sylvia's father. Other episodes do the same thing (the woman who plays drowning victim Ellen's mother in one show later replaces actress Bonnie Bartlett as Mr. Edwards wife, for example). This casting curiosity happened with some regularity. Why? Were there so few actors looking for bit parts in the 70's? It's confusing if you don't "know" the storyline, or see multiple episodes in a short period of time on different channels.
The whole town is excited when a telephone line in installed in Walnut Grove but perhaps it wasn't such a great idea to have the nosey Harriet Oleson in charge of the switchboard given that the position gives her the opportunity to listen in on every call which is placed, an opportunity that she certainly never misses!
Imagine her delight when, by yet again listening in, she learns that Jonathan Garvey's wife, Alice, was married before she met Jonathan. Perhaps that wouldn't have been such a bad thing except that Jonathan himself had no idea that his wife had a previous husband.
Harriet's meddling has predictable results but, like all the episodes in which she has a central role, there are plenty of laughs to be had.
I loved the Intro of Harold,and the Intro of the telephone in Walnut Grove,the Garvey's got one,but the Ingalls didn't.I loved how Laura and Albert got even with that Gossipy Mrs.Oleson. We also saw Alice's Mother,With the Big House. Mrs.Oleson should be ashamed of herself,Snooping in on other people's conversations.
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