Road To Avonlea: Season 1 (Buy This Season) | 1.1: The Journey Begins | 1.2: The Story Girl Earns Her Name | 1.3: The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham’s | 1.4: Materializing of Duncan McTavish | 1.5: Old Lady Lloyd | 1.6: The Proof of the Pudding | 1.7: Aunt Abigail’s Beau | 1.8: Malcolm and the Baby | 1.9: Conversions | 1.10: Felicity’s Challenge | 1.11: The Witch of Avonlea | 1.12: The Blue Chest of Arabella King | 1.13: Nothing Endures But Change
The King’s Aunt Arabella passes away and Alec King and Janet King receive a key to unlock a blue chest that has been in the attic for fifty years. Arabella put the chest there when she left Avonlea for good after her fiancé committed suicide the day before their planned wedding.
The King family, especially the children, are convinced there are treasures in the chest, but they find only a moth eaten wedding dress and an old clock. Sara is certain that there is more and discovers a hidden compartment that contains a bundle of love letters.
Meanwhile, Olivia, who is upset with Hetty for accusing her of wasting her life, applies for a job writing for the Avonlea District Chronicle. The newspaper is in financial straits, but Mr. Tyler, the newspaper’s owner, hires her on a trial basis on the condition that she find exciting local stories and accompany them with photographs. Sara sees this as an opportunity to play matchmaker with Jasper Dale and Olivia and he agrees to take photographs for Olivia in spite of his shyness.
Sara Stanley: SARAH POLLEY
Hetty King: JACKIE BURROUGHS
Jasper Dale: R.H. THOMSON
Mr. Tyler: RON WHITE
Olivia King: MAG RUFFMAN
Alec King: CEDRIC SMITH
Janet King: LALLY CADEAU
Felicity King: GEMA ZAMPROGNA
Felix King: ZACHARY BENNETT
Andrew King: JOEL BLAKE
Cecily King: HARMONY CRAMP
Mrs. Lawson: ELVA MAI HOOVER
Pat Frewen: GORDON MASTEN
Mrs. Simpson: HELEN BEAVIS
Older Lady: GLADYS O’CONNOR
Old Lady’s Daughter: JANE DINGLE
Banker: PHILP WYNNE
While looking through Arabella’s letters, Sara and Olivia discover that Arabella’s fiancée Will, may have been murdered by his brother to obtain their family fortune. Sara and Olivia are convinced that there is still treasure to be found and that they have stumbled on a great story. Mr. Tyler, however, seems to have a problem with the story and refuses to let Olivia persue it any further. Olivia is about to give up but Jasper encourages her to continue and to have confidence in herself.
All I ever can see on Jasper Dale’s face is helpless and utter confusion. – Hetty King
Hetty, sensing that Jasper and Olivia are becoming more than colleagues, tries to interfere but Olivia stands her ground. Together with Sara and Jasper, they discover that the old clock contains treasure and that Mr. Tyler’s father accidentally shot Arabella’s fiancée, Will Tyler while they were fighting over it.
In the end, Mr. Tyler gets the treasure but Olivia gets her story, a job, Hetty’s respect and a budding new romance with Jasper.
Notes & Inspirations
- Originally Aired November 4, 1990
- This episode was based on Chapter XXXII of The Story Girl, called ‘The Opening of the Blue Chest.’ One difference is that Arabella King’s name is Rachel Ward. Although there was no murder mystery, there were letters inside the chest from a ‘William,’ but it was William Montague and not William Tyler. The chest can be seen later in the series at the foot of Alec and Janet’s bed in the episode Vows of Silence.
- ‘The blue chest’ is based on the story of Eliza Montgomery from LMM’s family traditions, whose hope chest was locked after she was jilted at the altar. Genevieve Wiggins discusses the chest in her Montgomery biography. “The blue chest occupied the kitchen of the Campbell home at Park Corner where young Maud often visited the family of her Uncle John and Aunt Annie and where she heard the story and speculated on the mystery of the chests contents.” The chest still resides in the house at Park Corner.
- In this episode, The Avonlea Chronicle is located in Markdale but in later seasons would relocate along with the Post Office, next to Biggins Boarding house on the Avonlea backlot. This was done to make scheduling easier once Olivia became a reporter and the Chronicle office became a recurring set. The Avonlea Chronicle in “Blue Chest” was actually the Printing Office at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto which actually still has a functioning printing press from the late 1800’s.