Dear Sun Spots: A co-worker and I were discussing the Christmas season movies offered on our local TV channels, most of which are the same year after year. A great seasonal movie, “The Homecoming,” has not been offered in several years, according to my friend. Could you please research this and let us know when the last time was it was shown on local TV stations? Will it be shown any time soon again? – Beverly in Turner.

According to, “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” directed by Fielder Cook wasn’t intended to be the pilot for “The Waltons,” but it ended up that way. It is Christmas Eve 1933, during the Depression, and the Walton family is busy preparing for the holiday, but everyone is worried because things might keep Daddy (Andrew Duggan) from making it home to his family. The comic relief comes from the Baldwin Sisters, who are making their bootleg whiskey, much to the disgust of Olivia Walton (Patricia Neal), who is worried her husband will not make it home in time. Meanwhile, we learn that John-Boy (Richard Thomas) dreams of being a writer and going to the university, but has been hiding these desires from his parents. But what makes this show a yuletime gem is not the fact that it spawned a beloved television series but because it is an intimate little story where the love of family is expressed in by little but still important things. Originally televised on Dec. 19, 1971, the script is by Earl Hammer, Jr.

Patricia Neal led a familiar cast of characters who waited pensively for the delayed arrival of their father on Christmas Eve on an icy evening on Walton’s Mountain. And a young boy must quickly become a man as he went in search of his missing dad. Patricia Neal was unforgettable as Olivia Walton. Richard Thomas also shone as the restless adolescent, John-Boy Walton who is reluctant to let on that his heart’s desire wasn’t a practical trade, as his father desired, but acadamia where he could write. Notable performances also were given by Edgar Bergan as the grandfather and by Ellen Corby as his wife along with William Windom as a Depression-era Robin Hood and Cleavon Little as a preacher.

Sun Spots checked with channels 8, 13 and 6, none of whom said they planned on airing it. However, Channel 8 recommended you check cable television listings just in case it might be shown there. Sun Spots does not know when it last aired, but perhaps other readers out there may recall seeing it.

Dear Sun Spots: Could you please find out the correct address to send a new book? Doubleday published my last two books in the 1960s. Now I can’t seem to find out any information on what they now require. I need to know how to submit and an address to send my manuscript to. Any help would be greatly appreciated. – Gerard Robichaud, No Town.

Unfortunately, things have changed, Mr. Robichaud. Most, if not all, of the big publishing houses only accept manuscripts submitted by an agent. So you may want to find one for yourself and your book. You may want to pick up a copy of The Writer’s Market to see what the different houses require. According to, it appears Bantam Doubleday Dell is now part of this group.

Sun Spots would also direct you to the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance based in Bath, which may be able to help direct you also. You can reach them at Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, 1326 Washington St,, Bath, ME 04530, (207) 386-1400, [email protected]

In addition, you might also like to check out Poets & Writer’s magazine. The January/February issue discusses the issue of agents, although at the time of writing this column the Web site had not been updated. You can reach them via their Web site at

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