Born on this date: Kami Cotler

Kami Cotler, who charmed and/or annoyed audiences as Elizabeth, the littlest Walton on The Waltons, turns 49 today, June 17, 2014.

How is that even possible? Why, I remember when Elizabeth turned 13 in a spooky 1978 episode called “The Changeling.” (This was after John-Boy left, when the show unfortunately started focusing on the younger Waltons.) In the episode, Elizabeth is terrorized by a poltergeist, or “poultry ghost” as Ike Godsey calls it. For real.

The description in IMDb reads, “Elizabeth is turning 13 years old—not quite a child, not quite a woman. Strange things begin to happen due to her being unsettled.”  But I prefer Kindertrauma’s description: “Clinging desperately to her youth and unwilling to accept the inevitability of her oncoming decrepitude, the no longer adorable gingerfrau Elizabeth inadvertently invites a poltergeist to terrorize her family with sub-par piano playing, and the smashing of worthless heirlooms.”

I don’t know how anyone can not find it hilarious when a spontaneous wind blows through Elizabeth’s hair like Drew Barrymore’s in Firestarter, and then a rocking chair starts rocking back and forth, a Raggedy Ann doll stands up on its own, objects fly through the air, and a piano plays by itself.

I make sure to catch this campfest whenever it comes around. But people who take The Waltons seriously hate this unwholesome, supernatural-themed episode.

Four years after this episode was made, a certain Steven Spielberg movie made “poltergeist” a household word. Below, someone has cleverly set scenes from “The Changeling” to music from said film.

The Waltons meets Poltergeist

2 responses

  1. Creator Earl Hamner Jr.wrote episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” FYI.

    1. “Jess-Belle” is one of my favorites of his TZ episodes. I’m not that keen on that one with the guys in the leather jackets. I do kind of like the one with the kids in the swimming pool who wind up at the old lady’s magical land for runaways. I read that Earl H. didn’t like the casting of Aunt Tee — he said would have preferred someone more earthy like Patricia Neal.

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