‘The Waltons’: Ron Howard and His Father, Rance, Appeared in Classic Episode of Show

by Joe Rutland
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Ron Howard has been a staple on television for decades. Yet he once was able to be on “The Waltons” with his father, Rance.

On Jan. 24, 1974, CBS aired “The Gift” during the family drama’s second season. Ron Howard plays Seth Turner, who is a friend of both Jason, played by Jon Walmsley, and John-Boy, played by Richard Thomas.

Seth finds out that he has leukemia and his life is coming to an end. Because Seth knows how much Jason loves music, one of the things he wants to do before dying is teach Jason how to play the recorder.

Now this is not just any recorder. Seth made this recorder especially for Jason, so there carries an emotional attachment to it. This episode of “The Waltons” tugs at the heart so much.

Rance Howard Acts With Son Ron Beyond ‘The Waltons’

Rance Howard plays Dr. McIvers in “The Waltons” episode. It wasn’t the first time he and his son Ron appeared together on a TV show. In Ron Howard’s first TV show, “The Andy Griffith Show,” Rance made approximately five appearances.

Ron Howard went on to star in “Happy Days” as Richie Cunningham. He’s also directed some blockbuster movies in his career, too. Rance Howard’s other son, Clint, is an actor, too.

Rance Howard died on Nov. 25, 2017, just 10 months after his second wife had died.

Richard Thomas Finds Way To Incorporate John-Boy Accent

Since Thomas played an integral part in this episode, it might be worthwhile to look at how and where he incorporated his character’s accent.

He remembers spending his childhood summers on his grandparents’ farm in Kentucky. Now, this is quite the culture shift for Richard Thomas.

“My accent was easy for me because even though I was born and raised in Manhattan and I was a show business kid, my father was born and raised in eastern Kentucky,” Thomas said. “And I spent all of my childhood summers on my grandparents’ farm in eastern Kentucky.

“The dialect is slightly different from Virginia but that mountain dialect was something I grew up with,” he said of his “The Waltons” character. “I had farm life every summer for three months. It was this weird existence of a New York kid as a country kid.”