‘The Waltons’: How Many Episodes Did John-Boy Actor Richard Thomas Direct?

by Keeli Parkey

During the 1970s, actor Richard Thomas was a constant presence on television thanks to his role on “The Waltons.”

As fans will know, Thomas played John-Boy Walton in the beloved television series. But, did you know that Thomas also had an impact on the show from behind the camera? Thomas acted as a director for a few episodes of the series.

So how many episodes did Thomas direct? The actor turned director was the man in charge of five episodes of the series.

“The Waltons” aired on CBS from 1972 until 1981. According to IMDb, Thomas appeared as John-Boy Walton from 1972 until 1978. He first started directing in 1975, and he also served as the director on episodes in 1976 and 1977 as well. In 1975, he directed an episode titled “The Song.” In 1976, he was in charge of the episodes “The Fox,” “The Collision,” and “The Great Motorcycle Race.”

The last episode Thomas directed was titled “John’s Crossroad.” This episode aired in 1977.

Based on his IMDb page, episodes of “The Waltons” are the only directing credits of Richard Thomas’s career.

Richard Thomas Talks Transition to Director

So, how did Richard Thomas feel going from just an actor on “The Waltons” to a director? It was stressful, according to the actor – especially since he had never worked as a director before. Thomas talked about his transition to the role of director during an interview with Dove.com.

“I directed some, which was scary for me because I had never done that before,” Thomas said during the interview.

However, in addition to those feelings of fear, Richard Thomas also felt some positive emotions while working as a director on “The Waltons.”

“But (it) was also exciting and satisfying,” he said during the interview.

Thomas discussed how “The Waltons” would probably be a very different show if it had been made for modern audiences. Given all the years he worked on the show – as an actor and director – he is an authority on the subject.

“If you did ‘The Waltons’ today or a show like that it would probably be very, very different for many reasons. You wouldn’t just do that again,” Thomas said. “Everything works in its own time and then it’s relevant later on, but first of all it has to work in its own time and ‘The Waltons’ did for many reasons but there’s still room for a family show.”

But for many audiences “The Waltons” stands as a television classic, thanks in part to Thomas’s work both in front of and behind the camera.