John Ritter was the opposite of his Waltons character on set
Judy Norton liked the actor playing Matthew Fordwick so much pretending to be scared of the stern reverend took a lot of acting.
Many actors, especially early in their careers, do their best work when playing characters with personalities similar to their own. When a performer can put huge parts of themselves into a character, it always makes things more believable and fun for the audience.
Will Geer, for example, essentially was Grandpa Walton. His playful personality, his affection for the cast and even his love of plants were all ways actor and character blended together.
But sometimes, particularly when it comes to characters who aren’t very nice, the person behind the scenes is very different from the one on camera. And speaking of The Waltons, the show’s first preacher, Matthew Fordwick, was one of those characters played by an actor with a totally opposite personality.
A young actor named John Ritter was cast as Reverend Fordwick. Of course, he went on to TV stardom in Three’s Company and other favorites, but The Waltons gave Ritter his first major recurring role on television, something Earl Hamner Jr. was very proud of.
Reverend Fordwick is introduced in the episode "The Sinner" as a devout student of God fresh out of school. He comes to Walton’s Mountain ready to whip the congregation into shape and cast out any sin, but a taste of the Baldwin sisters’ family recipe puts his plans in jeopardy.
In one scene, before the good preacher samples some authentic Appalachian moonshine, Reverend Fordwick scolds Mary Ellen for cursing. Judy Norton, who played the oldest Walton daughter for all nine seasons, remembers really having to act intimidated by Fordwick because she liked John Ritter so much off camera.
In a YouTube video as part of her series revealing behind-the-scenes memories from the show, Norton recalled John Ritter as a "fun-loving" and "lovely person." She continued, "He is incredibly believable as this intense and earnest young reverend in training and when he goes off on us, we’re supposed to be a little intimidated by it." She noted that it was important to be in character during this scene so her personal feelings about John wouldn’t show.
"To me, that was personally definitely acting because knowing John, I was not intimidated or scared by him as a person." She had to say to herself, "Okay, as a character, I’m intimidated."
Norton also remembered that John Ritter and John-Boy actor Richard Thomas were "two peas in a pod" joking together and pulling pranks on set. Ritter got to bring more of his delightful nature and comedic abilities toward the end of his first episode (after his visit to the Baldwin sisters) and Reverend Fordwick had a more relaxed approach in future episodes.
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Did Richie Cunningham go
Bananas and fire 🔥 drummer
BAG for playing too many Demons Practical Jokes and
Fire Sticks Downey Jr and
Daphne from The Happy Days
Band and the only reason that
Richie hired Chachi Arcola to
Play the Drums in the band
is because Spike Fonzarelli and
Chuck Cunningham weren't
For Happy Days Viewers:
Who is your favorite guy with
Glasses on Happy Days:
MOOSE (Barry Greenberg)
EUGENE BELVIN (Denis Mandel)
Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein)
Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley)??
Who was the BEST PRACTICAL
JOKER ON HAPPY DAYS-Was the
BEST PRACTCAL JOKER ON HAPPY DAYS EITHER:
1 Bag Zombroski (Neil J Schwartz)
2 Ralph Malph (Donny Most)??
Who was your FAVORITE BASKETBALL GUY On
1 Chuck Cunningham 1 Gavan O'HERLIHY
2 Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts
3 Roger Phillips Ted McGinley
BOBBY MELNER (Harris Kal)
Was also a Practical Joker on Happy Days.
Bobby Melner is the Practical Joker who tricked
Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) into throwing away Fonzie's possessions
From Fonzie's 🏫 locker by
Telling Roger Phillips that
Fonzie moved to Italy and for Roger to throw Fonzie's
Locker possessions in the
trash and Roger beleived
Bobby with Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) laughing
At Bobby's Practical Joke.
Mary Ann Summers
Lou Ann Poovie
Susie Sacks(Marion Marsh
Skippy & Daphne
On TV Sitcoms?:
Officer Kirk Happy Days
Tooey &Muldoon on
Car 54 Where Are You?
Murray on The Odd Couple
Smitty and Hoppy Sanford and Son
Barney Fife TAGS
Andy Taylor TAGS
Warren Ferguson TAGS
Wojo Barney Miller
Detective Bill Brennan on
My Favorite Martian
Fish -Barney Miller
Chano Barney Miller
Nick Yemana-Barney Miller
Detective Ron Harris -
Goober Pyle-The Andy Griffith Show
Inspector Lugar -Barney Miller
Officer Carl Levitt -BM
Detective Baptista -
Detective Arthur Dietrich -
Lt Scanlon -Barney Miller
Barney Miller HIMSELF
Another Greyhound bus arrived
In Los Angeles 2 hours later and the new person Cpl Chuck Boyle Roy Stuart arrived to replace Cpl Nick Cuccinelli Tommy Leonetti
And work with Sgt Carter Frank Sutton .
Three's Company was a guy's show for obvious reasons.
Nobody could possibly believe Jack Tripper was that stupid.
He had quite a few rolkes, single shot, before the Waltons. Even a MASH appearance.
But in 1971, he played a hippie on Hawaii Five-O, and he kills someone. Quite a change from Rev Fordwick.
The first episode with Rev Fordwick is much different from lanter. It's like they introduce the character, and then decide he shoukd be tamed down. Actually three months elapsed between The Sinner and his next appearance. So was it a single appearance, but they brought him back?
Some guests reappear, but long enough later that it seems like they decided to bring them back, rather than planned from the beginning. Sometimes they even have to use another actor.
Ritter appeared on a number of crime shows. He was one of the bad guys in the final episode of Mannix. He went on trial for killing the hard-ass boss who fired him on Petrocelli. He was an armored car guard forced into helping a gang of robbers on Starsky & Hutch. He returned to Hawaii Five-O in 1977, shortly before Three's Company, as the witness to a cop killing who tries to blackmail the killer. Aside from those, all of his appearances on crime shows, he played pretty normal characters (his debut was on Dan August, and yes, he did have a scene with Norman Fell!)...but he never killed anyone.