The Waltons kids couldn't agree on what a Waltons-flavored ice cream should taste like
Did you try Walnutchocolatechipjellycrunch at Baskin-Robbins in 1973?
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After Erin Walton graduated high school, she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. However, she did know that she wanted to help John-Boy chase his dreams, so she decided to find work so she could buy her brother a typewriter.
In The Waltons episode "The Career Girl," Erin gets permission from mom and dad to become a waitress at Shirley's Truckstop, and soon Jason gets a black eye from a disrespectful customer after defending his sister's honor during one of her shifts.
This dose of tough reality doesn't stop Erin from taking on a second job, still secretly intent on helping John-Boy. In the end, Erin's selflessness leads her on her own satisfying career path.
When this episode aired in 1977, the actor who played Erin, Mary Beth McDonough wasn't yet 16 years old yet, but here she was, making grown-up decisions and showing a maturity that rivaled John-Boy's wisdom beyond his years.
Watching McDonough grow up on The Waltons, it's easy to forget she was just a kid when the show started, but just a few years into doing the show, McDonough was acting more her age and making decisions of a decidedly different flavor than her older character faced in "The Career Girl."
In 1973, McDonough joined her TV siblings David Harper (Jim-Bob) and Kami Kotler (Elizabeth) at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream plant to create a flavor of ice cream that tasted like watching an episode of The Waltons: sweet, classic, and maybe just a little nutty.
That summer, the ice cream company wanted to market a new flavor created by The Waltons kids, and there was a lot more thought put into it than you might expect.
The child stars met with a chemist who didn't just explain how to make a good ice cream flavor. He literally just laid out syrups, flavorings, and fun toppings and let the kids have at it — including pouring their unique mixes into the freezing machine, so they could taste test their new flavors right away.
You can imagine how many rounds each kid went, given an ice cream machine and limitless ingredients.
This must've been the sweetest day in The Waltons kids' lives. And that's saying something, considering the source material.
And like you might expect, Mary, David, and Kami overdid things a little, eating way too much ice cream before settling on a final flavor. So when it came time to make the ultimate decision for kids everywhere to enjoy that summer, they just couldn't agree.
Mary was all about citrus, pushing for a lemon-walnut flavor.
David wanted the ice cream to be sweeter — add chocolate chips! And jelly!
The youngest, Kami, was actually the most diplomatic of all the kids, insisting they could pick any flavor they liked as long as the ice cream, in the end, was "crunchy."
The brave chemist remained on-hand to see the kids through to the end of their task, but after two hours of testing different flavors of ice creams that they'd concocted, the kids grew fairly sick of the process.
So the chemist, who clearly took careful notes during the kids' flavor debates, meshed the three kids' ideas together and created a flavor he called "Walnutchocolatechipjellycrunch." You can see pictures of the three kids testing the ice cream at the Burbank factory here.
The story goes that none of the kids could stomach a bite of the winning flavor, so instead, they brought a batch back to the set. There, cast and crew became the first to taste The Waltons ice cream.
Did anyone out there actually try The Waltons ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in 1973?