Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983): Season 6, Episode 5 - Annabelle - full transcript

Nels becomes apprehensive when he learns that a traveling circus - in which his estranged sister, an obese woman named Annabelle, is one of the stars - is coming to Walnut Grove. Nels ...

Onward, children.
Keep up with London.

Albert: London?
Is your last name Bridges?

London: I have no last name,
no first name either,

just London.

Laura: London, england,
or London, Ontario?

London: Neither one.
I'm not from anywhere.

You see, I wasn't born. I just
appeared one day on top of a hill,

like this, fully formed, walking,
and, of course, talking.

Children: Wow!

Laura: How much
can we earn, London?

London: Aha.

The sweet voice
of reason...

And naturally,
it's a female voice.

To all of those who pitch
in and do their darnedest,

a freshly washed,
unbelievably shiny nickel.

- Yeah!
- Wow!

London: And a single ducat.

One, count it,
one ducat...

To the one and only
performance in walnut grove

this coming
Saturday night

of the best little old
traveling circus

in the midwestern
u.S. Of a. And Canada.

Children: Yay!

- To work!
- Yay!

Man: Bring them up, now.

London: Ah,
good work, good work.

I can see there are
no slackers here.

Albert: No, sir.

You're an excellent

I intend to mention this
to Mr. Oleson.

Willie: I could tell
him. He's my pa.

Oh, well. I'm very
grateful to your pa

for inviting US
to your lovely community.

You can tell your pa
that I won't be able

to make our little
parade into town,

but I will see him

with plenty of fine words
about his progeny.

Yes, sir.

What's progeny?

It's you.

If it's something
about me,

it can't be good.

Welcome to walnut grove.

Where's your boss...
London? I don't see him.

Uh, oh, yeah.
I see, I see.

Uh, well, uh, I hope
he makes the feed.

You know, we've got a great
spread across the way there

for all
you circus folks,

as much as you
can eat for nothing.

You can let
the others know?


Thank you.

Harriet: Oh,
look! Did you ever see so much avoirdupois?

Harriet: I keep
forgetting you're a farmer.

Fat! All that fat!

Harriet: Heavens!

Have you ever
seen anything...

Nels! Nels! Did
you see the fat lady?

Nels: Yes.
Yes, I saw her.

Harriet: Oh,
my. Goodness' sakes! Look at that!



What's wrong?


Yes. You're
just sitting there.

Oh, so I am.

Well, don't you think

that you should be
over at the restaurant?

The circus people will
be coming pretty soon.

If you're not there,
it's going to be kind of embarrassing.

I think I've got a touch
of my stomach trouble.

Oh, nonsense.
Just nerves.

I'll have Nellie fix you a
nice glass of soda water.

Come on.

Come on.
Oh, nels!

You are going to be
a gracious host now,

and outgoing.

That's me,
all right.

Yes. You'll do
a good job

once you think
it through again

and realize
what's at stake.

Money is
at stake, nels.


Do you realize that there were 20,
maybe 30 folks

in town today,
huh, in the store?

Folks who haven't
been in town

for I don't know
how long.

They were
spending, nels.

They were spending.

Well, maybe I ought to keep
the store open during lunch.

Oh, come on.

You're not going to keep
the store open during lunch.

They will just wait until
the store opens after.

Let US begin! The
leading lady is here!


You know the clown
that cries?


Well, he can't talk
in real life,

not just in his act.

Caroline: Then he's made the
best of his situation, hasn't he?

Laura: He's a sad man

with a sad
clown's face.

Laura, what
are you doing?

It's for
the fat lady.

Caroline: Oh!

you think she might be embarrassed?

You're right.

If she wants
another serving,

tell me,
and I'll make it.

Yes, ma'am.

Nels: I guess I'd
better get in there.

Oh, I love this...

What on earth has been going
on out there in the kitchen?

You've been gone

I just wanted to see if
everything was shipshape.

Oh, well,
for heaven's sakes.


Where on earth are
you going with that food?

Willie: I got a tall order.


She eats like she's
a starving elephant.

I forgot something
at the store.


Hey, mister.

Hey, well, thank you
very much there, kid.

What's going on?

We're worried
about Annabelle.

She's really


May we talk to you?

Sure, my loves.
Come in.

Gather around.

Why the long faces?

We're sad
because you're sad.

Come on, Annabelle.
We're family, remember?

Tell US,
what's the matter?

Well, you know that Mr. Oleson,
our host?

London: Mm-hmm.

he's my brother.

He didn't know
I was with the circus,

and I didn't know he was
an important businessman

here in walnut grove...

Or anywhere,
for that matter.

I just saw him
at lunch,

and you saw
what happened.

He looked right at me.

If he'd only smiled...

Just shown me
a little love...

I would have walked
right over to him

and given him one of my
extra-special patented bear hugs.

You know the kind!

But he didn't.

He just looked away.

And I knew then...

I knew he was
still ashamed of me...

Ashamed of me
and my bulk.

You know,
it was even like that when we were kids.

What's wrong
with your bulk?

What's the matter
with my size?

London: Nothing. There's
nothing wrong with any of US,

but sometimes people on
the outside get crazy notions.

Annabelle, it hurts me
to see you in pain.

When her brother
looked away from her,

he looked away
from all of US.

- Yeah!
- That's true.

Why don't we
pack up and go?

Woman: Let's get out
of here. Come on!

London: No, no, Owen,
we can't.

I signed a letter
of agreement

on behalf of all of US.

Owen: Oh, who cares
about him anyway?

We're your brothers,
not Mr. Oleson.

We love you.

And I love you all
very much.

Thank you, Owen.

Thank you.

I'm all right.

I'm going
to be all right.

Oh, nels,
can't you sleep?

I guess
I'm not tired.


You've had something
on your mind all day long.

Well, this is

such a big
promotion for US.

Well, worry isn't
going to help it any.

maybe a glass of hot milk will help.


How is it, ma?

Oh, well! That
looks wonderful,

little pumpkinseed.

Oh, now, Willie,

I want you to plaster
these things all over town.

On the outhouses,

What do you mean,
on the outhouses, too?

That way, everybody
will see them.

Oh, you are brilliant,
aren't you?

That's male logic.
Yes, yes. Do it.

Harriet: ♪ ta ta ta ta

♪ ta ta ta ta ta ta

oh, "courtesy
of oleson's mercantile."

Ha ha! It has a very special
ring to it, doesn't it?

It's good for
business, too.

Oh, nothing warms
the cockles of my heart

like a good steady
flow of cash.

Yeah. We're doing
all right.

All right?
We're doing very well.


I want you to take
this over to the big top

and hang it
some place

where everybody
will see it.

I can't do that.

What do you mean,
you can't do that?

I've got to make a
delivery at the blind school.

Oh, nels, you can
do that later.

Well, they're
expecting it now.

Nels, what is
the matter with you?

Ever since we
started the promotion

for this circus...
I don't know...

You've been acting
so queerly.

Oh, never mind.

I'll do it myself,

and that way,
we will avoid any haggling

about where
it should be put.

That's a good idea.

I just had
a wonderful idea.


Why don't we take
this sign

and put it on the
backside of the fat lady?

That's funny.

Ha ha ha!

That way,
everybody will see!

Mrs. Oleson, you
have at once an eye

for the artistic
and the commercial.

Ah, the eloquence
of simplicity.

Oh, yes,
it is rather elegant, isn't it?

It's really starting
to look good.

your children are doing a wonderful job.

All the children

are doing
a wonderful job.

I'm glad to hear it.

Hey, I like your
sign, Mrs. Oleson.


I've got a favor
to ask of you, London.

Oh, please do.

We've got a blind school
right outside of town.

There's a lot of
little children there.

I thought it'd be nice

if one of the performers
from the circus

could go out and talk
to them a little bit.

Of course. Annabelle
would be perfect.

- Oh, the fat lady.
- Yes. She's wonderful with children.

She'd be more
than happy to go.

You'll probably find
her in her quarters.

Appreciate it
very much. Thank you.


Excellent, children.

Where's the sad clown? I
haven't seen him all day.

Ah, I don't know,
but don't worry.

He's like that. He'll go
off by himself for hours.

All by himself?

Yes. He just disappears.

I feel so sorry
for him.

Something terrible must
have happened to him.

Well, we'll never know. He hasn't
spoken since I signed him on.


Never. I caught him
clearing his throat once,

and I thought he was
going to say something,

but it turned out all he was
doing was clearing his throat.

Excuse me, my dear.

If you're helping, help.

Sorry, London.

Yes, quick, efficient hands,
children. Come on. Right there.

Hyah! Hyah!

Annabelle: Well, we have
a dog trainer, too.

Ohh, the tricks he makes
those little doggies do,

you wouldn't believe it!

I know.
Maybe after the show,

you can all come up
and pet the dogs.

- Would you like that?
- Yeah!

And then
there's me.

You've been listening to
my voice for a while now.

What do you think I do?

Hester-sue: Wait. Let's take
it one at a time.


you wear a beautiful spangled costume.

It's real daring
and real short,

and you come in on
the elephant's trunk.

Not really.

Hester-sue: Roscue.

You get in a box,

and a magician
saws you in half.

Annabelle: Not really.

I'll give you a hint.

I'm with the sideshow.

I know. You
have a beard!

Some ladies
have beards.

I heard it once.

Annabelle: Oh, now, don't
laugh. Roscue is right.

Some ladies
do have beards,

but I don't.

Give up?

All: Yeah.

I'm the fat lady.

Children: No!

Uh-huh. I bet you don't
believe me, huh?

Kids: No.

Annabelle: Well, I am.
I tell you,

you all come up here. Listen
to the sound of my voice.

I'll keep talking.

I want you to know what
a real life fat lady feels like.

You walk around me now
and feel me.

Come on. Feel me.

All right. Is she
soft and squishy

or is she hard like
the side of a barn?

Susan: Soft and squishy.

It's like two people.

Come on. All around,
all around the equator.

There's the eastern

and there's the
western hemisphere.

Don't you tickle me
in any hemisph...


Mr. Oleson.

Hester-sue, I've got those
supplies you ordered.

Thank you.

Whoa. Whoa.
I'm reading that.

You fell asleep.

Don't be silly. I didn't
fall asleep. Did I?


Too much of your
ma's good cooking.

What's wrong
with my cooking?

Oh, nothing. He just
said he had too much of it.

Oh, Laura, this dress
is lovely.

Christie will look
so pretty in this.

Thanks, ma.

I just wish it were
for someone a little nicer.

What's the matter
with christie Norton?

She sure seemed like a nice,
pretty girl to me.

That's just it.
She's perfect.

She always
has to be perfect!

I bet she doesn't
even sweat.

Laura, that will
be quite enough.

Now, when people
pay US to do a job,

we don't talk behind
their backs.

Homework's all done.

- All of it?
- Yup.


Albert: I'm going
to bed. I'm pooped.

You're tired.

Oh, sure am.

Good night, ma.

Good night.

Good night, pa.

Have a good sleep, lad.

Albert: Hey,
Laura. Do you want my circus ticket?

Why? You worked
hard for it.

I thought maybe you'd like to ask almanzo.


Why would I want
to ask almanzo?

Albert: Well,
I just thought maybe you'd like to.

Boys. They think
they know everything.


They don't know


That's the truth.

Good night.

Good night, son.

Laura, your brother was
just trying to be nice.

I know.

I'll go apologize.



I'm sorry
I was rude.


Well, next time,
just say, "no, thank you.

I don't want
the ticket."

But I do.

You do what?

I want the ticket.

But you just said...

That's because you
asked me in front of pa,

and it made me
feel funny.


Can I still have it?


Thanks, Albert.

Good night, Laura.

Good night.

I apologized.

Good girl.

Albert: Laura,

you better ask almanzo to the
circus first thing in the morning,

or he might make
other plans. Good night.

Well, manly...

You see,
I've got these two tickets to the circus,

and I don't want them
to go to waste,

so I thought,
"why don't you ask manly?"

That sounds dumb.

"I don't want them
to go to waste."

I'll just be honest.

No, I can't be honest.

I wish
I could be honest.

Oh, manly,
I love you so much.

Please go to
the circus with me.

I'll just be friendly,
that's all.

Would you stop talking
to yourself and just do it?

Well, hi, Beth.

How long have you
been standing there?

I just got here.

Can I interest you
in a sack of grain?

Can I interest
you in...

to the circus...

With me?

Oh, I'd like to, Beth,
but I can't do it.


I already have
two tickets,

one for me and one
for a lady I asked.

Oh. Well,
it doesn't matter.

I just happened to have
this extra ticket.

Sure nice of you
to offer it to me.

Well, I was just
thinking that...

Who do I know
who's new in town,

and might not know
any other people,

and might not want to go
to the circus by himself?

I thought of my good
friend manly.

Woman: Almanzo!

Almanzo: Hi!

Christie Norton,
this is Laura Ingalls.

We know each other.

I'm very worried
about my dress.

Don't be.

I said I'd have it ready for you
by 5:00 tomorrow afternoon.

At 5:00, it'll be
at your folks' house.

You should have dropped
by and reassured me.

When will you
pick me up?

Almanzo: Well, the circus
begins about 7:30.

How about about
a quarter to 7:00?

Christie: Good.

I want to get
some Autumn seeds.

Sure. See you, Beth.

Christie: I hope that child
finishes my dress on time.

I do so want to look
lovely for you.

Here's your ticket,

What happened?

Almanzo has a date
with christie.

Oh, he's taking out
miss snooty-pants, huh?

Laura, almanzo is
too old for you.

It's as simple
as that.

Well, in all
the famous marriages,

the man is much older
than the woman.

Not ma and pa.

They're not famous.

Take my advice.

Forget about almanzo.

I'm as sad
as you are...

Or at least as
sad as you look.

We're alike,
you and me.

Both sad and we
can't tell anybody why.

I mean...

Well, Albert
sort of knows...

But not really.

I can't tell him
how I feel,

because he might
up and tell pa.

I could tell you,

I need
to tell somebody.

You see...

I love someone.

His name is almanzo.

I call him manly.

I'm a little too young
for him just now...

But if he'd
just wait awhile...

That's why I'm sad.

I'm afraid he's going
to fall in love

and marry someone else

before I get a chance
to be old enough.

Que sera, sera.


Yes, child. London.

This is
my clown act.

Do the others know?

Of course.

We all live
and work together.

We have no secrets
from each other.

Oh, my gosh.

You won't tell anybody
what I told you.

Of course not.

And you, in turn,
won't tell my secret?

Cross my heart.

You sure
had me fooled.

I thought
you were so sad.

I know,
but my brand of sadness makes others happy.

As sad as I am,
I'd have made a good clown.

And so you shall be.


A clown.

We sometimes use one or 2
young people as clown helpers.

It'll take your mind
off your troubles.

A clown.

Me a clown.


If you made me up
as a clown,

would other folks
know it was me?

Did you know
I was me?

Albert: Not until now.

Laura: How long have
you been standing there?

Long enough.

Can I be a clown, too?

Will you keep
our secret?

You bet.

One for all
and all for one.



Don't squirm, pa.

I'll squirm if
I feel like it.

- Ow!
- Oh, I'm sorry.

Willie: You're going to
look real important, pa.

Well, I don't
feel important.

Oh, nonsense.

I think
it's a wonderful idea

that the sponsor
of the circus

should become
the ringmaster.

you deserve it.

ought to do it.

He's the professional, not me.

Oh, no.

He's nothing
but the advance man.

The ringmaster ought
to be loud and funny.

you can be loud,

and I heard you say
something funny once.


there certainly ought
to be a lot of jokes

with that fat lady.

You could, uh...

You could compare
her to a ship.

the s.S. Annabelle!"

You could use words
like gross tonnage

and displacement,

and anchors a-weight.

Or a whale.

I got it.

When the elephant
comes in,

you could say you
thought it was Annabelle

in a gray dress.

That's enough!
That is enough!


That fat lady
is my sister!


She is
my sister.

Looking for me, nels?


Don't worry, nels.

I won't tell any of your
townspeople about US.

I don't care if you
tell them or don't.

My dear, sweet
flesh and blood...

You care so much...

So much.

Remember how you used to
get up at 5:00 in the morning

so you could
wash and dress,

even fix
your own porridge,

so you could walk
to school alone?

They used to say
at the schoolhouse

that you were there

before they lit the
furnace in the morning.

You preferred sitting
out there in the cold

rather than be seen walking to
school with me, your own sister.

Don't you think
I knew it, nels?

I knew it then,
and I accepted it,

just as I accept
your behavior now.

Nothing changes.

I went to school
early because I...


I was going to
make something up.

You know,
I have a place in this life.

I was put here on this
planet for a purpose.

Maybe not
an exalted purpose,

but a purpose.

You know,
I make people laugh.

And that makes them
feel good.

You know,
that's not a bad thing to do, nels.

Annabelle, forgive me.

There's nothing
to forgive.

I helped drive you
out of the house.

I insulted you,
so you had to leave.

I wanted to leave,

only I didn't have the
courage until that moment.

You know, nels, in a way,
you did me a big favor.

I'm really happy.

I have a big family,
and they love me,

and I love them.

London: Annabelle.


So skinny.

Still so skinny.

Go on home
to your family.


At last.

Oh, Laura,
it's beautiful.

Will you be home in time
to clean up for the circus?

You bet I will.

Laura, it's
not finished.

The skirt's
just basted.

Well, I meant
almost finished.

All right. Will you be
able to deliver it in time?

Oh, sure.

- Bye.
- Bye.

Here's your dress.

Let me see.

You were supposed
to be here by 5:00.

I know.

It's 5 after.

Well, I didn't think

that 5 minutes would
ruin your evening.

Don't you be flip
with me, little girl.

You were to have the dress here by 5:00,
and you didn't,

so I'm only going
to pay you half.


That's correct.

Maybe that will
teach you a lesson.

Here. Take it. It's
all you're getting.

I couldn't accept it.

I was late,
and I was wrong.

No charge.

No charge?

That's right. It'd
be on my conscience.

Well, I'm glad to see
you've learned a lesson.

My pa says it's good for folks
to learn a lesson once in a while.

I better be going.

Have a wonderful time.

5 minutes!

Yes, dear.

"Yes, dear."

"Yes, dear."

I certainly hope you have
more spirit tonight at the circus.

I will.


Well, just think
of it this way,

it'll be
all over tonight,

and she will be
on her way.

Yes, I know.

Well, then smile.

Nobody knows she's your sister,
for heaven's sake.

But she is my sister.

Well, it's not
your fault.

If she cared for you at all,
she wouldn't look that way.

She ought to be
ashamed of herself.

I'm the one
who is ashamed.


Nothing, Harriet.

come along, then.

Our public awaits.

Come along.

♪ La la di di
la la... ♪

Let's have a really big
hand for the London's circus!


The twisting, twirling,
somersaulting acrobats...


The Saunders troupe!

The Saunders troupe!

Charles: Hey, there's
a couple of clowns,

and one's got
a big bucket of water.

He's going to
throw it on the other one!

Hey, look out! They're
right in front of you!



Nels: Ladies and gentlemen,
boys and girls,

presenting Tara,
the baby elephant!

Circuses are really for children,
don't you think, Manny?

I don't know.

I kind of
like them myself.

Well, I hope we don't have
to stay for the whole thing.


Oh, I love this.

Do you know where
Laura and Albert are?

No, I haven't
seen them.

Our next act,
ladies and gentlemen...

Hey, hey! What?
Wait a minute! Hey!

Did you see that?

All right, all right.

Oh, I thought
it was water.

Willie: I wish that
confetti was real water.

And see your
father doused?

Harriet: And ruin his
brand-new suit? Oh!

You people, you don't
know what's funny.

Look. Oh, look!

Caroline: That's Albert.
That's Albert.

Oh, it's Albert!

that's Albert.

Mary: What's happening?

The little clown's
chasing the big clown again

with a bucket of water.

I bet it's just got
confetti in it again.

What happened?

It had water in it!

And she's
in her bloomers!

Nels: Now,
high in the air,

the daring duo
of the silver strand...

Laura: Hi, ma.

The fearless zellers!

Caroline: Laura Ingalls,
you little devil.

Crowd: Ooh!




Bless you.

Nels: Ladies and gentlemen,

Annabelle and company!

Ugh! The fat lady.

Ha ha! Enjoy,
children. Enjoy.

Thank heavens nobody
knows that she's related to US.

Act natural. Pretend.
Isn't she good?

Ladies and gentlemen...

On behalf of...

On behalf of all the
folks of walnut grove,

I'd like to thank all of you
for giving US thrills

and making US laugh.

That's a pretty wonderful thing
to be able to do with your life,

make people happy.

And I am proud to say...

That one of the people who
helped make you happy tonight

is someone very close
to my heart...

My sister... Annabelle.