‘The Waltons’ Star Richard Thomas Knew John Boy Actor Years Before Remake

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“The Waltons” star Richard Thomas saw a familiar face when it came time to film “The Waltons’ Homecoming.” Logan Shroyer, who took up the John-Boy mantle from Thomas, is a good family friend of the Thomas family.

“I’ve known Logan for a few years and he’s a very good friend of my grandson Kayden,” Thomas has said of Shroyer. “We’ve had dinner together and we got to meet together before he went out and started shooting, what was it about a couple of weeks before, like a week.”

A veteran of “The Waltons,” Richard Thomas offered advice to the new John-Boy and helped him through the process of taking on the beloved character. Of his advice, Shroyer said to Thomas, “I think what you said was, ‘I’m here as much or as little as you need,’ which was amazing and said, ‘Make it your own.’ It feels like we’re keeping it in the family in a way, which is just such a cool thing.”

Logan Shroyer was previously known for playing Kevin Pearson on “This is Us.” Now, surely, he’ll be known as John-Boy Walton, just as the role followed Richard Thomas all his life. But Thomas seems like he appreciates the role, as it gave him the starting off point to continue his acting career and make a name for himself. Every actor has that role that catapults them into success; maybe John-Boy will do that for yet another young actor.

‘The Waltons’ Fans Weren’t Too Happy With the Remake

According to a TV Line poll of “The Waltons” fans, “The Waltons’ Homecoming” made out with a pretty measly D+ rating. Nearly 32% of viewers gave it a straight-up F. So, what went wrong to make fans hate the film so much? Even with their beloved original John-Boy taking over narrating duties? Let’s break it down.

First, things were entirely too clean for 1933. This was the height of the Great Depression, in rural Virginia. Not quite Dust Bowl geography, but Dust Bowl era, at least. Those kids should be filthy. Instead, they look like models out of an L.L. Bean catalog. It was too much for some fans.

On the other hand, some found that the language was too contemporary for “The Waltons” or, at one point, too vulgar for the characters. Mary Ellen even says “ass,” which angered fans and is something I’m never going to get over.

One fan wrote on Twitter, “The plot changes were fine but the language and family dynamics were too contemporary & certain (admittedly bad) historical realities were ignored; it took me out of the setting.” The setting was just as important on “The Waltons” as the family was, and for a remake not to honor that makes for a dissatisfying remake.