Richard Thomas and his costars stayed busy while on hiatus with The Waltons

John-Boy on the importance of taking a break.

Warner Brothers

When performing a job at the highest level, there's this thing called the "flow state". It's an experience where a person gets so locked into and focused on a task that everything else drifts away. The matter at hand is all-consuming, with the work and the worker merging closer together. Everyone who has mastered a craft has reached this point where the work becomes a function instead of labor.

However, to reach this state, one must also be able to completely get away from the work when needed. These breaks allow for rest and a reset in a way that creates the space needed to then return to expert-level effort and production.

For a great example of artists stepping away for a break at the peak of their craft, look no further than the cast of The Waltons. As with most scripted shows, The Waltons had a production schedule that allowed for time between seasons. By 1975, the series had it down to a science: The Waltons would film its episodes during a nine-month stretch, leaving the rest of the year for the cast and crew to do whatever they wanted. In an interview with The Columbia Record, series star Richard Thomas spoke about how the cast benefited from each year's break.

"When we're on hiatus, the entire cast likes to keep working in other areas, because it makes it more pleasurable to do the series. And career-wise, that's important."

But here's the question fans always wanted to know the answer to: When the show stopped filming, did Thomas ever feel himself accidentally staying in character?

"No, John-Boy never slips into my personal life. It's strictly a performance and when I leave the set I leave him behind.

"But at this point, it doesn't require any preparation for me to get into the part. John-Boy is like a ghost that haunts the Burbank Studios, whenever I get over there, it immediately takes over."

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5 Comments

MeFanFromSavan 2 months ago
After Grandpa died and John-Boy left, the series lost some of its appeal. (To me)
sluggerb MeFanFromSavan 2 months ago
A lot of it's appeal.
Cleve MeFanFromSavan 1 month ago
The show was never the same.
McGillahooala 2 months ago
I’m not a fan of the Waltons. Just curious as to why this story was sitting here with no comments.
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