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View Full Version : They Replaced Richard Thomas...What Were They Thinking (or Smoking)??


Dr. Thong
04-14-2007, 11:54 AM
First up, I must admit I never really watched The Waltons. I may have seen an episode or two, but never took the time to watch it regularly. I do have a basic understanding of the premise: Basically, John Boy is based on the show's creator, Earl Hamner, and we see the time period through John Boy's perspective.

That having been said, I was very surprised when they replaced Richard Thomas with another actor in the role of John Boy.

What were they thinking??

I know that Thomas was very popular in the role, so why on earth did they replace him?? Seems to me they should have just ended the show or not brought the character back.

It would be like replacing Ron Howard as Richie on Happy Days because that show - particularly in the early seasons - was seen through Richie's eyes. Of course, they continued with lame replacement characters, but that's another issue for another forum.

So, what do you real Waltons fans think??

AB
04-14-2007, 12:26 PM
I watched the Waltons for just a few seasons so I don't remember the replacement for John-boy. Was he a pretty bad replacement?

Dusty's Fan
04-14-2007, 12:37 PM
Richard Thomas left the series after five seasons. In my opinion, it was a situation not much different than Stevenson (and Rogers) leaving M*A*S*H or any number of examples of leading characters leaving. The Waltons ran for four more seasons, producing many very good episodes without the John Boy character -- it remained a good series.

I wouldn't have wanted it to end when Thomas decided to move on to other things. It remained a top program and I continued to watch it faithfully. Just because they needed to use another actor later on -- and not in a major way, as I recall, didn't diminish my love of the series. Remember too that the "real" John Boy -- Earl Hamner Jr. -- continued to narrate each episode.

Ron Howard rarely appeared again on Happy Days after leaving. I don't think The Waltons suffered as much a decline in quality, though I think the Happy Days decline is sometimes exaggerated a bit much.

Dusty's Fan
04-14-2007, 12:47 PM
I watched the Waltons for just a few seasons so I don't remember the replacement for John-boy. Was he a pretty bad replacement?

He was okay. I never thought he resembled Richard Thomas too closely, but then who does?;) I think most people would consider the replacement more handsome and of a hollywood look.

I do like the idea that John Boy returned, even though it had to be a different actor. For example, I think it's unfortunate that the characters of Tim Considine (Mike) and Meredith MacRae (Sally) never returned to My Three Sons. If you see the early seasons, you will find how important Considine's character was to the show. But in that case, all references to him ended shortly after his departure.

Ireneparalegal
04-14-2007, 12:51 PM
Let me tell you this, having someone else play Richard Thomas was a shock. It was not the same. I mean, you have to ask yourself as a producer, is the character that important to the show that we need to have ANYONE play the part? Or do we eliminate the character totally? I can't recall what I read as far as the Waltons are concerned and the new actor, but I know by then the show was desperate to make things work out. The actress who played Grandma suffered a stroke in real life and although they wrote that into the show, it was only a matter of time before her health subsided and she needed to leave the show.

I didn't mind that another played the part of John-boy, however, by then the storylines were weak and the show needed to be off the air.

catlover79
04-14-2007, 03:12 PM
Let me tell you this, having someone else play Richard Thomas was a shock. It was not the same. I mean, you have to ask yourself as a producer, is the character that important to the show that we need to have ANYONE play the part? Or do we eliminate the character totally? I can't recall what I read as far as the Waltons are concerned and the new actor, but I know by then the show was desperate to make things work out. The actress who played Grandma suffered a stroke in real life and although they wrote that into the show, it was only a matter of time before her health subsided and she needed to leave the show.

I didn't mind that another played the part of John-boy, however, by then the storylines were weak and the show needed to be off the air.
Ditto. By that time, Will Geer (Grandpa) had passed on, Ellen Corby (Grandma) was ill, and Michael Learned (Olivia) was leaving. That should've been a red flag to end the series altogether. By the way, the second John-Boy actor was named Robert Wightman.

Dr. Thong
04-14-2007, 06:44 PM
Ron Howard rarely appeared again on Happy Days after leaving. I don't think The Waltons suffered as much a decline in quality, though I think the Happy Days decline is sometimes exaggerated a bit much.

Again, I can't comment on The Waltons because I didn't watch the show.

However, I can say unequivocally that the Happy Days decline can NEVER be exaggerated. It wasn't the same show anymore. Episodes from the last four years should be avoided at all costs, with the possible exception of the two-parter where Richie and Ralph return from the army.

Dusty's Fan
04-15-2007, 07:39 AM
I disagree, I think those years were not that bad, partly because Henry Winkler and others continued. The Fonz had long since displaced Richie as the key character, in my opinion. I didn't care for Roger (Ted McGinley) and some of the others introduced, but I still think the show remained worthwhile.

The series has become a whipping boy with all of the "jumping the shark" hype in recent years. There was a decline, but over the past year or so I've reviewed the later seasons and found the work to be more enjoyable than much of what's aired on the networks since then. Just a matter of opinion.

Dr. Thong
04-15-2007, 11:47 AM
I disagree, I think those years were not that bad, partly because Henry Winkler and others continued. The Fonz had long since displaced Richie as the key character, in my opinion. I didn't care for Roger (Ted McGinley) and some of the others introduced, but I still think the show remained worthwhile.

The series has become a whipping boy with all of the "jumping the shark" hype in recent years. There was a decline, but over the past year or so I've reviewed the later seasons and found the work to be more enjoyable than much of what's aired on the networks since then. Just a matter of opinion.

And you are entitled to that opinion, my friend.;)

Madame X
04-28-2007, 08:58 PM
Will Geer's death and Ellen Corby's stroke were major blows. Getting a new (fake) John-Boy was the nail in the coffin.

Look at the fake Jan on the Brady Bunch. The second Darrin (Bewitched) and the second Becky (Roseanne) didn't work.

It was better to create a new character: BJ for Trapper & Col. Potter for Col. Blake & Winchester for Burns on M*A*S*H; Rebecca for Diane on Cheers; Jo for the other twits on the Facts of Life.

When they tried to replace the Waltons, they should have stopped. Most of us didn't like what they did afterwards.

Auntie
04-28-2007, 09:07 PM
Will Geer's death and Ellen Corby's stroke were major blows. Getting a new (fake) John-Boy was the nail in the coffin.

Look at the fake Jan on the Brady Bunch. The second Darrin (Bewitched) and the second Becky (Roseanne) didn't work.

It was better to create a new character: BJ for Trapper & Col. Potter for Col. Blake & Winchester for Burns on M*A*S*H; Rebecca for Diane on Cheers; Jo for the other twits on the Facts of Life.

When they tried to replace the Waltons, they should have stopped. Most of us didn't like what they did afterwards.
True. Once when people started to leave, and bringing in new characters, it just wasn't the same anymore. The original cast from the very beginning was the best(1st season).:) .

Coffeecup
07-08-2007, 05:47 PM
It is just a part of show biz. Different actors playing a part. I don't think a soap opera has had the same actor play the same part for the length of the show. . A few last the time but most are recast and recast.

Stuck In The '70's
07-08-2007, 05:57 PM
The second John Boy was a bad actor who did not resemble Richard Thomas at all but it also must be noted that John Boy was not a major character at this point in the series. He wasn't even on all the time. I think they really just wanted to jump start the series again with the John Boy MIA storyline.

Auntie
07-10-2007, 01:45 PM
The second John Boy was a bad actor who did not resemble Richard Thomas at all but it also must be noted that John Boy was not a major character at this point in the series. He wasn't even on all the time. I think they really just wanted to jump start the series again with the John Boy MIA storyline.
They tried to salvage it, but IMO, that show was on it's way downhill right after when Richard left once again right after in 'The Revelation':( . I just hope that eventually that they will put season six out onto dvd. I don't understand what is taking so long:confused: . The show isn't even on Hallmark channel anymore:mad: .

Mrdata
02-02-2008, 07:29 PM
It would not have mattered if the new john boy looked like Richard Thomas or not! He was not Richard Thomas and the fans were never going to see him in this roll it just didn't feel right.

I call him "Generic John Boy"
And I can't stand the episodes he was in almost as bad as the one's with Rose!

Charles