‘The Waltons’: Michael McGreevey Recalls How the Cast Was So Welcoming

by Taylor Cunningham

Actor Michael McGreevey only starred in one episode of The Waltons. But because the experience was so positive, he ended up building lifelong friendships with his castmates.

In today’s episode of Behind the Scenes with Judy Norton, Judy invited Michael McGreevey to the show to talk about his short time with the series. And as the actor shared, his memories were all “very positive.”

McGreevey was anxious before showing up to film the 1973 episode called The Braggart. He had spent most of his career working for much bolder shows and movies than The Waltons. So he was nervous that he’d overperform.

So before standing in front of the cameras, McGreevey sat down with director Jack Shae and said, “I’m worried I’m gonna be too big over the top.” Shae eased his mind by promising that he’d tell him when he was.

“That’s basically what he did for the whole week,” the actor said. And that set the pace for a relaxing and fun experience.

But the director wasn’t the only person who went out of his way to make Michael McGreevey feel at home.

“You know, sometimes when you guest-star on these series—especially a series that had just won all these Emmys and was this huge hit cause this was the second season—you don’t feel welcome,” he continued. ” But I was welcomed immediately by Ralph Waite and by Richard and by the rest of the cast because that’s my other memory. The first scene we shot was the dinner table scene.”

Ralph Waite Saved ‘The Waltons’ Newcomer Michael McGreevey from an Unpleasant Situation

As McGreevey continued with his story, he shared that there was one situation that didn’t start out well.

The actor’s very first scene as Hobie Shank was filmed at the dinner table, which was an intimidating feat.

“I had all this dialogue,” he remembered. “And I didn’t know anybody, and I was terrified. The cast, you know, the dinner table scene had become chaotic already for them because they all had to sit there. And they were not being very polite, I must say, at one point.”

Because the scene was McGreevey’s first impression of working on The Waltons, it could have ruined the whole experience. But Ralph Waite stepped in and helped McGreevey out.

“Ralph sort of, I guess he did that a lot, Ralph Waite said, ‘hey, this kid’s doing good stuff here. Let him do it.’ And from that moment on, I sort of relaxed in the role,” he admitted. The rest of the week was really fun. And I made some good friends who I still see, like Judy. And the whole experience was a very positive one for me.