Credit: John Paschal/JPI, Howard Wise/JPI (3), Aaron Montgomery/JPI

When Bryton James first appeared on The Young and the Restless on June 1, 2004, he was no green rookie. Though still a teenager, he’d been in showbiz since he was 2 years old. In fact, he’d gotten his big break, on the TGIF sitcom Family Matters, when he was only 4!

FAMILY MATTERS, Bryton McClure, 1989-1998, © ABC/courtesy Everett Collection

Class photo? No, Family Matters promo shot.

Credit: ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

More: A romantic ‘Elevon’ relationship timeline [PHOTOS]

Still, no one could have predicted the impact that he’d come to have on the CBS soap. Certainly not James himself. But he was sure game to give it his all. “Once I knew that they valued me and thought that I would be a great fit for this role,” he told Soap Opera Digest in 2020, “I immediately just wanted to get better every day and do the best I could to add to the show. I mean, I didn’t know anything about The Young and the Restless… I didn’t know the legacy that it had…

“But once I did,” he added, “I was very confident and eager to get going.”

At first, James’ character — Devon Hamilton, as if you didn’t know — was sorta the show’s go-to when it wanted to do a “very special” storyline, whether about the foster-care system or deafness or getting stuck in a lion’s cage at the zoo.

OK, maybe that last one wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Afterschool Special.

Shemar Moore, Bryton McClure"The Young and the Restless" Set CBS Television City 4/5/05 ©Brian Lowe/ 310-657-9661 Episode #8130

Malcolm’s reaction when Devon insisted that it could’ve happened to anybody.

Credit: Brian Lowe/JPI

More: Who’s who in the Hamilton-Winters family [PHOTOS]

James, and along with him Devon, evolved — to the point that they’ve become frontburner mainstays. If a plot is hot and getting hotter, odds are you’ll find Neil and Drucilla Winters’ adopted son smack-dab in the middle of it. “I definitely didn’t anticipate this long [a run] or even think that far into the future” when trying out, the Emmy winner told TV Source in 2019. “Never in a million years did I expect it would be this integrated into the canvas of such an iconic show. And now here we are… ”

That, we are. On this joyful occasion, join us, why don’t ya, in paying tribute to James’ accomplishments as Devon by reviewing the character’s “Wait, what?!?” history via the below photo gallery.