B. J. and the Bear

Last updated
B.J. and the Bear
B. J. and the Bear cover.jpg
Genre Comedy
Created by Glen A. Larson
Christopher Crowe
Written by Glen A. Larson
Michael Sloan
Frank Lupo
Tom Sawyer
Christopher Crowe
Sidney Ellis
Rick Kelbaugh
Directed byGil Bettman
Bruce Bilson
Daniel Haller
Bruce Kessler
Christian I. Nyby II
Michael Preece
Charles R. Rondeau
Starring Greg Evigan
Claude Akins
Theme music composerGlen A. Larson
Opening themeB.J. and the Bear
ComposersWilliam Broughton
Stu Phillips
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes48 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersGlen A. Larson
Michael Sloan
ProducersLester Wm. Berke
Joe Boston
Richard Lindheim
Robert F. O'Neill
CinematographyFrank Beascoechea
Charles Mills
Frank Thackery
Running time45–48 minutes
Production companies Universal Television
Glen A. Larson Productions
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original network NBC
Picture formatColor
Audio format Monaural
Original releaseFebruary 10, 1979 (1979-02-10) 
May 9, 1981 (1981-05-09)
Chronology
Related shows The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo

B.J. and the Bear is an American comedy television series which aired on NBC from February 10, 1979, to May 9, 1981. Created by Glen A. Larson and Christopher Crowe, the series stars Greg Evigan. The series was produced when the CB radio and trucking craze had peaked in the United States, following the 1974–1976 television series Movin' On, the number one song "Convoy" (1975) by C. W. McCall, as well as the films White Line Fever (1975), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Convoy (1978), and Every Which Way but Loose (1978).

Contents

The theme song, also titled "B.J. and the Bear", was written by Glen Larson and performed by Greg Evigan. [1]

Premise and storylines

Greg Evigan stars as Billie Joe "B.J." McKay, a professional freelance itinerant trucker who travels the country's highways in a red and white Kenworth K-100 Aerodyne (a COE semi truck) with his pet chimpanzee Bear (named after Bear Bryant, the famed football coach for the University of Alabama [2] ). In the pilot movie, it is stated that he had spent two years in Vietnam as a medical helicopter pilot, had been a captain and earned the Distinguished Service Cross. He was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam at the Hanoi Hilton for four months in 1973 after his helicopter went down over the DMZ. Episodes typically deal with B.J. uncovering or getting mixed up with crime in the area he's traveling through, and a local resident — usually, a young, beautiful woman — appealing to him for help.

A frequent guest star in the first season is Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo (Claude Akins, [3] who previously starred in the trucking series Movin' On ), whose character eventually spun off onto his own show The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo along with guest character "Waverly" Ben Cooper.

Two episodes in season two, Eyes Of Texas (1979) and The Girls On The Hollywood High (1980), were designed as prospective pilots for a series about a pair of private detectives called Heather Fern (Rebecca Reynolds) and Caroline Capoty (Lorrie McCaffrey in the first one, Heather Thomas in the second). The latter episode has cameo appearances from John S. Ragin and Robert Ito as their characters from Quincy, M.E. (also a Glen A. Larson series). [4]

In 1981, when the show returned for its third season with the two-part episode B.J. and the Seven Lady Truckers (not to be confused with the season two opener Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers, also a two-parter), B.J. has settled down to run Bear Enterprises, a trucking company based in Los Angeles. His nemesis is Rutherford T. Grant (Murray Hamilton), the corrupt head of the state's Special Crimes Action Team, who is a secret partner in a competing trucking company. Because of Grant's harassment, B.J. is unable to hire experienced truckers, and is forced to hire seven beautiful young female truckers, consisting of Grant's daughter Cindy (Sherilyn Wolter), twins Teri and Geri (Candi and Randi Brough), no-nonsense Angie (Sheila Wills), Samantha (Amanda Horan Kennedy), Callie (Linda McCullough), and a busty blonde nicknamed "Stacks" (Judy Landers), along with a female dispatcher, Stacy (Susan Woolen). Though Universal has not yet released BJ And the Bear on DVD many gas have cleverly put it on DVD.

Episodes

Pilot (1978)

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"The Foundlings" Bruce Bilson Christopher Crowe & Glen A. LarsonOctober 4, 1978 (1978-10-04)

Season 1 (1979)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Odyssey of the Shady Truth" Christian I. Nyby II T: Michael Sloan
S/T: Kenneth Realman
February 10, 1979 (1979-02-10)
22"Shine On"Christian I. Nyby IIChris Lucky & Frank Lupo February 24, 1979 (1979-02-24)
33"A Coffin with a View" Ray Austin Michael SloanMarch 10, 1979 (1979-03-10)
44"Deadly Cargo"Cliff BoleMichael SloanMarch 17, 1979 (1979-03-17)
55"Never Give a Trucker an Even Break"Christian I. Nyby IIS: Richard Lindheim
S/T: Frank Lupo
March 24, 1979 (1979-03-24)
66"Lobo's Revenge"Bruce BilsonS: Glen A. Larson & Richard Lindheim
S/T: Michael Sloan
April 7, 1979 (1979-04-07)
77"The Murphy Contingent"Rod HolcombFrank Lupo & C. R. O. ChristopherApril 14, 1979 (1979-04-14)
88"Wheels of Fortune"Bruce BilsonGlen A. LarsonApril 21, 1979 (1979-04-21)
99"Crackers" Michael Caffey S: Glen A. Larson
S/T: Michael Sloan
April 28, 1979 (1979-04-28)
1010"Lobo"Bruce BilsonS: Michael Sloan
S/T: Glen A. Larson
May 5, 1979 (1979-05-05)

Season 2 (1979–80)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers: Part 1"Christian I. Nyby IIS: Glen A. Larson
S/T: Michael Sloan
September 29, 1979 (1979-09-29)
122"Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers: Part 2"Christian I. Nyby IIS: Glen A. Larson
S/T: Michael Sloan
October 6, 1979 (1979-10-06)
133"Cain's Cruiser"Charles R. RondeauRobert L. McCulloughOctober 13, 1979 (1979-10-13)
144"Pogo Lil" Bernard McEveety Richard KelbaughOctober 20, 1979 (1979-10-20)
155"Cain's Son-in-Law"Charles R. RondeauFrank LupoOctober 27, 1979 (1979-10-27)
166"Run for the Money: Part 1"Bruce BilsonS: Glen A. Larson & John Peyser
T: Michael Sloan
S/T: Sidney Ellis, Frank Lupo & Robert L. McCullough
November 3, 1979 (1979-11-03)
Crossover story with The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo .
177"The Eyes of Texas"Bruce BilsonGlen A. LarsonNovember 10, 1979 (1979-11-10)
188"Mary Ellen"Frank BeascoecheaT: Sidney Ellis & Michael Sloan
S/T: Jimmy Sangster
November 17, 1979 (1979-11-17)
199"Gasohol"Charles R. RondeauS: Richard Bluel & Pat Fielder
T: Robert L. McCullough
November 24, 1979 (1979-11-24)
2010"B.J.'s Sweethearts"Jeff GoldMichael SloanDecember 1, 1979 (1979-12-01)
2111"Fly a Wild Horse"Christian I. Nyby IIRichard KelbaughDecember 8, 1979 (1979-12-08)
2212"Silent Night, Unholy Night"Vince EdwardsMichael SloanDecember 15, 1979 (1979-12-15)
2313"Fire in the Hole"Bruce KesslerS: Richard Kelbaugh
T: Sidney Ellis
January 12, 1980 (1980-01-12)
2414"Siege"Michael PreeceS: Glen A. Larson
S/T: Michael Sloan
January 19, 1980 (1980-01-19)
2515"Through the Past, Darkly"Charles R. RondeauS: Steven C. Kurzfeld, Glen A. Larson & Chris Lucky
T: Robert L. McCullough
S/T: Frank Lupo
January 26, 1980 (1980-01-26)
2616"Bear Bondage"Bruce KesslerS: Richard Lindheim
T: Frank Lupo & Robert L. McCullough
February 2, 1980 (1980-02-02)
2717"B.J. and the Witch"Charles R. RondeauSidney EllisFebruary 9, 1980 (1980-02-09)
2818"The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful"Christian I. Nyby IIRobert L. McCulloughFebruary 16, 1980 (1980-02-16)
2919"The Girls on the Hollywood High"Bruce BilsonS: Ron Friedman
S/T: Glen A. Larson
February 23, 1980 (1980-02-23)
3020"The 18-Wheel Rip-Off"Gil BettmanS: Sidney Ellis
S/T: Michael Sloan
March 22, 1980 (1980-03-22)
3121"The Friendly Double Cross"Keith AtkinsonS: Frank Lupo
T: Robert L. McCullough
March 29, 1980 (1980-03-29)

Season 3 (1981)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
32
33
1
2
"B.J. and the Seven Lady Truckers: Parts 1 & 2" Christian I. Nyby II Michael SloanJanuary 13, 1981 (1981-01-13)
343"The Fast and the Furious: Part 1"Christian I. Nyby IIRobert L. McCulloughJanuary 20, 1981 (1981-01-20)
354"The Fast and the Furious: Part 2"Christian I. Nyby IIMichael HalperinJanuary 27, 1981 (1981-01-27)
365"Intercepted Pass"Georg FenadyRogers TurrentineFebruary 3, 1981 (1981-02-03)
376"Down & Dirty"Michael PreeceRogers TurrentineFebruary 10, 1981 (1981-02-10)
387"Beauties and the Beasts"Christian I. Nyby IIStory by: Ken Pettus
Teleplay by: Robert L. McCullough & Tom Sawyer & Michael Halperin & Richard Christian Matheson & Thomas E. Szollosi
February 17, 1981 (1981-02-17)
398"Blond in a Gilded Cell"Christian I. Nyby IIRobert L. McCulloughMarch 3, 1981 (1981-03-03)
409"For Adults Only" Daniel Haller Tom SawyerMarch 10, 1981 (1981-03-10)
4110"A Bear in the Hand"Christian I. Nyby IIMichael HalperinMarch 17, 1981 (1981-03-17)
4211"Seven Lady Captives"Christian I. Nyby IITom SawyerMarch 24, 1981 (1981-03-24)
4312"S.T.U.N.T."Daniel HallerStory by: Michael Sloan & Richard Lindheim
Teleplay by: Michael Sloan
March 31, 1981 (1981-03-31)
4413"Who Is B.J.?"Peter CraneMichael SloanApril 25, 1981 (1981-04-25)
4514"Detective Finger, I Presume"Gil BettmanRobert L. McCulloughMay 2, 1981 (1981-05-02)
4615"The Two Million Dollar Hustle"David PhinneyStory by: Tom Sawyer
Teleplay by: Tom Sawyer & Robert L. McCullough & Michael Halperin
May 9, 1981 (1981-05-09)

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References

  1. Robinson, Mark (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. McFarland. p. 26. ISBN   9780786465170.
  2. Witbeck, Charles (June 24, 1979). "'BJ and the Bear': a silent interview with Sam the chimp". Chicago Tribune: J3.
  3. "Claude Akins; actor in classic movies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 4. 1994-01-28.
  4. Lee Goldberg, Unsold Television Pilots: 1955 through 1989, 1990, pp. 352-353, McFarland, ISBN   0-89950-373-X