‘The Waltons’: John-Boy Actor Richard Thomas and Co-Star John Ritter Would Eat Makeup Sponges on Set

by Keeli Parkey

Being an actor isn’t all glitz and glamour. Sometimes, you have to wait and wait and wait to film a scene and you get bored. This was true on the set of “The Waltons.”

Different actors find various ways to pass the time while waiting to hear “action.” On the set of “The Waltons” Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy, and John Ritter, who went on to be a famous comedic actor, did something pretty weird in their spare time.

According to an article on CheatSheet.com, one this Thomas and Ritter would do was climb the outside of The Waltons’ house.

“The roof and all that could support us,” Thomas reportedly said. “I happen to know that because John Ritter and I used to crawl along it all the time and misbehave.”

This, however, was not the weirdest activity Thomas and Ritter got into while filming episodes of “The Waltons.”

What did they get up to? They ate makeup sponges, according to the article.

“You have to understand about this relationship, I know it was very serious on camera and the scenes were very sobering. It was very important, but we would put makeup sponges in our mouths and try to get enough foam to make the other one gag,” Thomas said, according to the article. “If I could make John gag I won, and if he could make me gag, he won. So there’s the picture. So as special as it was to do those important shows, when John and I were together it was sometimes hard to remember just how meaningful they were.”

John Ritter, Richard Thomas Had Fun on the Set of ‘The Waltons’

On “The Waltons” television show, Ritter portrayed Reverend Matthew Fordick. As part of that role, he often acted in scenes with Thomas.

Eating a makeup sponge makes for some pretty funny visuals, according to Thomas.

“You chew it. You’ve got to try this,” Thomas said, according to the article. “If you put the makeup sponge in your mouth and you chew it and chew it and chew it, what happens is you start to foam at the mouth.”

The antics Ritter and Thomas got up to reportedly didn’t go unnoticed by the other actors on the set. Eric Scott, the actor who portrayed Ben Walton, saw it many times.

“John would go up there and he’d be on the pulpit. He would give a wonderful speech or whatever, and the entire time in the audience, you’re drooling out of the side of your mouth.” Scott reportedly said.

John Ritter Went On to Successful Career

Following his run on “The Waltons,” John Ritter went on to be a very respected television, movie, and stage actor.

When most people think of Ritter, they picture him in the role of Jack Tripper on “Three’s Company.” The show aired on ABC from 1977-1984. He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy in 1984 for his work on the show. In addition to this role, Ritter had roles in more than 100 television shows and movies. He was also known for his work on stage. Ritter’s movie career included roles in “Problem Child,” “Mercenary,” “Skin Deep,” and “Sling Blade.”