Over the past five decades, Ron Howard has earned fame for a number of different things. On television, fans of The Andy Griffith Show remember him as Opie Taylor, fans of Happy Days remember him as Richie Cunningham, and more recently he served as the narrator and executive producer of Arrested Development. On film, he was Winthrop Paroo in The Music Man and Eddie in The Courtship in Eddie’s Father while in more recent years he became the director of such films as Splash, Cocoon, Parenthood, Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, and A Beautiful Mind. But before any of that ever happened, Ron Howard appeared on The Twilight Zone in its first season.
Back when he was known as Ronny Howard and was only five years old, he played the Wilcox boy in the October 30, 1959 episode “Walking Distance.” In this episode, a man named Martin Sloan (played by Gig Young, who later won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) walks to his childhood hometown from a gas station to run into a younger version of himself (Michael Montgomery) along with his mother (Irene Tedrow) and father (Frank Overton). For Ron Howard appearing on the Twilight Zone, Rod Serling wrote the episode himself, and it became one of the show’s most acclaimed episodes. It features a musical score by Bernard Herrmann, which accompanies 19 of the episode’s 25 minutes as a 19-piece all-string orchestra.
Ron Howard’s appearance was his only appearance on the show, and it aired during the first month of the show’s five-season run on CBS. It was after this point that his career began taking off. Today, he is the father of four children including actress Bryce Dallas Howard.