B. J. and the Bear

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B. J. and the Bear
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 by Gil Bettman
Bruce Bilson
Daniel Haller
Bruce Kessler
Christian I. Nyby II
Michael Preece
Charles R. Rondeau
Starring Greg Evigan
Claude Akins
Theme music composer Glen A. Larson
Opening theme B. J. and the Bear
Composer(s) William Broughton
Stu Phillips
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 48
Production
Executive producer(s) Glen A. Larson
Michael Sloan
Producer(s) Lester Wm. Berke
Joe Boston
Richard Lindheim
Robert F. O'Neill
Cinematography Frank Beascoechea
Charles Mills
Frank Thackery
Running time 45–48 minutes
Production company(s)

Universal Television

Glen A. Larson Productions
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run February 10, 1979 (1979-02-10) – August 11, 1981 (1981-08-11)
Chronology
Related shows The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo

B. J. and the Bear was an American comedy series which aired on NBC from 1979 to 1981. Created by Glen A. Larson and Christopher Crowe, the series stars Greg Evigan and Claude Akins. The theme song, also titled "B. J. and the Bear" was written by Glen Larson and performed by the lead star, Greg Evigan.[1]

Plot[edit]

Greg Evigan stars as B. J. (Billie Joe) McKay, a professional freelance itinerant trucker who travels the country's highways in a red and white Kenworth K-100 cab over semi truck with his pet chimpanzee Bear (named after Bear Bryant, the famed football coach for the University of Alabama[2]). He is constantly harassed by Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo (Claude Akins,[3] eventually spun off onto his own show The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo along with guest character "Waverly" Ben Cooper). 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.

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 from hiatus 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).

In popular culture[edit]

In Season 4, Episode 7 of the popular Canadian sitcom Trailer Park Boys Bubbles is about to get his big rig license, he says to Julian "I'm gonna be just like that B. J. and the Bear cock-sucker, 'cept I'm gonna have kitties in my truck instead of some stinky 'assed little monkey."

In the 1995 movie Mallrats, Jason Lee's character Brodie makes a reference to the show with: "Why don't they ever bring back or remake good shows, like B. J. and the Bear. Now there's a concept I can't get enough of, a man and his monkey".

In episode 302, "Peanut Butter, Eggs, and Dice" of Mr. Show with Bob and David, during a sketch entitled "The Bob Lamonta Story," Bob Lamonta's father, played by Bob Odenkirk, tells the Bob Lamonta character, played by David Cross, during an out-of-body experience to wake him and his mother when B. J. and the Bear comes on.

In an episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl's brother Randy asks Joy why a chimp was named "Bear". She obligingly explains that B. J. McKay was a fan of the University of Alabama's football team, hence the moniker. In yet another episode, while Randy is going to sleep, he asks what Bear's name is, even though he just said it in the title of the show.

In the series Breaking Bad, a replica of the red and white Kenworth appears in the episode "One Minute". In the Breaking Bad Original Mini Episode "Just Married", character Hank Schrader makes a pun with the show's title as "B. J. and the Bear, minus the bear".

In the comedy series 30 Rock, Kenneth Parcell refers to the show as You-Know-What and the Bear.

Seattle-based indie rock group Minus the Bear derives their name from a joke referencing B. J. and the Bear. "A friend of the band had gone on a date,” explains singer-guitarist Jake Snider, "and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, 'You know that TV show from the '70s, B. J. and the Bear? It was like that... minus the Bear.' That’s the straight truth."[5]

In the South Park episode The Ring, Cartman quotes the theme song, referencing "B. J. McKay and his best friend Bear."

In the 2007 Quentin Tarantino's Movie Death Proof, Kurt Russell's character introduces himself as Stuntman Mike McKay and is mocked by two other characters (Dov and Omar) by making a reference to B. J. and the Bear due to his last name.[6]

References[edit]

  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
  5. ^ "Minus the Bear" Spin Magazine. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  6. ^ "The Quentin Tarantino Archives" Wiki. Retrieved 2014-01-08.

External links[edit]