Little House on the Prairie

Season 1 Episode 11

The Voice of Tinker Jones

2
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Dec 04, 1974 on NBC
8.8
out of 10
User Rating
117 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
When Reverend Alden suggests taking up a collection for a new church bell, tempers flare over how the bell should be financed. Proud Mrs. Oleson wants to donate the money for a large bell and include a plaque with her name on it. Others protest the idea, and both sides threaten to leave the church. As battle lines are drawn, a mute Tinker has another idea to bring the town back together.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Nice Show

    8.5
    What I liked seeing the last half hour of this yesterday was that it was the only episode I can remember that had the children all working together and nice. At the end, the parents were so proud, even Nellie and Willie's, and it was heartwarming to see what we can do if we work together and not against each other.
  • Very touching.

    10
    This episdode has always been special and definately a tearjerker for me. To me, it's also been one of the best in a drama series.



    For me, it's amazing to see one man who can get such a powerful and moving message without even saying one word. He was somewhat ignored and shunned but he took it and he set one goal: to stand out. He certainly proved that no matter who you are, black, white, small, tall, skinny, heavy-set, you can accomplish anything you want to do. Personally it's my message for courage.



    This episode is special to me too because it's not only about Tinker Jones' accomplishment, it's the people of Walnut Grove's accomplishment. One little thing can set a whole arguement going crazy and out of control, but eventually another one little thing and pull it all back together again. They could all join together and show the world what they could do.



    I love this episode so much. If I ever have kids, I want to get this episode out of the closet and show them that even though the world is full of all kinds of horrible things, we can shell out the good in it.moreless
  • This was a very sweet and touching episode, but at the same time, it was predictable and just a bit dull in places.

    6.5
    Reverend Alden has a problem. He (and most of the town) want a bell for the church. The trouble is, opinion is divided about what the bell will be used for and who will be paying for it. Harriett Oleson wants to donate the money for it in return for a plaque bearing her name but many in the congregation are very much against this idea. Several want the bell to be used only for the church and not for the school, which annoys Miss Beadle and soon, there are tempers flaring in all directions.



    It is a young and mute Tinker Jones, along with the children of Walnut Grove who solve the problem when they collect as much tin as they can (including beloved toys) and Tinker Jones himself molds and casts a fine bell at no cost to the town or Mrs. Oleson!



    The premise was good and the episode touching but as I said, the action was predictable.moreless
  • Wonderful!

    10
    Tinker Jones is a good fellow who goes around town selling utensils to everyone. He cannot speak, and doesn't hear quite properly, but he has a generous heart and gives handmade gifts to children when he sees them. Laura wishes Tinker could talk so that she could know for sure whether he is happy or not. Since he has no family of his own, she feels sorry for him. Later, when they go to church, Reverend Alden suggests the churchgoers to contribute money so that they can buy a new church bell. Mrs. Oleson speaks up and says that she would be able to contribute for the bell, a big one, only if they also put a plaque with the Oleson’s name for contributing it. This starts an uproar in the church, because one side of the people think that the Olesons will be not stop there and will have more power over the church and that’s not right, while a group of others think that since they are contributing, what does a little plaque make, especially if nobody else has to pay for it. Charles tells the Reverend not to worry about it since it would calm down eventually, but when he tries to go to the others to convince them, they ignore him and continue fighting. Even Caroline tries to go to talk to some of the family members, only to get insulted from them. Reverend Alden decides to resign and go to Manketo because there is no one wanting to come to his service anymore. Tinker overhears the Reverend and decides to take matters into his own hands. The children get together with Tinker and try to stop the town quarrel.



    This was another beautiful episode of Little House on the Prairie. This episode shows that even adults can start fighting over the smallest things and only one with a good mind and heart like Tinker Jones does something to stop it, instead of spreading it. The end scene will put you to tears where Tinker expresses his joy for the children coming together and helping him. Chuck McCann acted flawlessly as Tinker, and I think he is one of the best guest appearances of the show.



    I rate this episode 10/10.moreless
Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Karl Swenson

Karl Swenson

Mr. Lars Hanson (1974 - 1978)

Michael Landon

Michael Landon

Charles Ingalls (1974 - 1982)

Chuck McCann

Chuck McCann

Tinker Jones

Guest Star

Eileen Ryan

Eileen Ryan

Mrs. Kennedy

Guest Star

Sean Penn

Sean Penn

school kid (uncredited extra)

Guest Star

Alison Arngrim

Alison Arngrim

Nellie Oleson

Recurring Role

Tracie Savage

Tracie Savage

Christy Kennedy

Recurring Role

Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

Willie Oleson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

    • In the scene where Mr. Kennedy is talking about the Oleson plaque to Mr. Dorfler, saying that she's going to change the name of the town to Olesonville. She DOES eventually attempt to change it to Olesonville 8 seasons later, in season 9's episode, Welcome to Olesonville.

    • Sean Penn's real life mom (Eileen Ryan) played the part of Mrs. Kennedy.

    • Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls) has said that this is one of her favorite episodes. She especially enjoys "the early episodes," specifically from Season 1.

    • This was one of the few times where we see the relatively nice and cooperative side of Nellie Oleson (prior to her Season 6 marriage to Percival, that is). Her character was definitely taken up several notches later on, but in Season 1, she was relatively quiet and, although bratty, was not so malicious as she eventually became.

    • This is the first episode where Christy and Sandy Kennedy's father really gets a big role, large enough to showcase his incredibly hot-headed personality. This attitude of his would be shown again in future Season 1 episodes, but the Kennedy family did not last beyond the beginning of Season 2, and they were removed from the plot.

    • In a 2006 interview, Melissa Sue Anderson stated that actor Jimmy McNichol (here making a guest appearance) was an extremely difficult and unruly child who enjoyed causing havoc off set. During a break in filming, in an effort to get Anderson's attention, McNichol threw a pencil at her; it pierced her face just millimeters under her right eye. Though Anderson didn't elaborate in the interview, she said that McNichol got in "a LOT of trouble" as a result. He had appeared in three consecutive episodes, but never surfaced again after this one.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Laura: You tell anyone [about the bell], and you won't have anyone to play with...or be mean to!
      Nellie: All right, I'll help.

    • Caroline: It was the way Mrs. Oleson said it...and that plaque!
      Charles: It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. I'll tell you what - Reverend Alden's got a war on his hands.

    • Laura: Pa, where does Tinker come from?
      Charles: I don't really know, Half-Pint.
      Mary: What about his family?
      Charles: I don't think he has one.
      Laura: That must be awful not having someone to love him, like we have you and Ma.
      Charles: Well, Half-Pint, I wouldn't feel sorry for Tinker. He gets a lot of pleasure out of making all those toys for the boys and girls. You know, in a way, you're all like his children.
      Laura: (eyes light up) The kids are his family!
      Charles: That's right.
      Laura: I wish Tinker could talk, so we could know for sure if he was happy.
      Charles: I'm sure he is.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

    • A very young Sean Penn, who went on to have a brilliant acting career, appeared here an an uncredited extra (one of the Walnut Grove schoolchildren). His father Leo directed the episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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