J.J. Starbuck

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J.J. Starbuck
Title card
Genre Crime drama
Created by Stephen J. Cannell
Developed by NBC
Starring Dale Robertson
Jimmy Dean
Shawn Weatherly
and Ben Vereen
Theme music composer Mike Post
Opening theme 'Gone Again' Music by Mike Post, Lyrics by Stephen Geyer, Performed by Ronnie Milsap
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 16
Executive producer(s) Stephen J. Cannell
Producer(s) J. Rickley Dumm
Location(s) San Antonio, Texas,
Santa Clarita, California
Running time 44 minutes
Original network NBC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original release September 26, 1987 – June 28, 1988 (1988-06-28)
Related shows Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

J.J. Starbuck is an American crime drama series that aired on NBC from September 1987 to June 1988. The series follows cornpone-spouting Jerome Jeremiah "J.J." Starbuck, a billionaire Texan who wears ten-gallon hats, cowboy boots and fancy western shirts. He drives a flashy limousine with steer horns on the hood and a horn that plays "The Eyes of Texas," and spouts a steady stream of folksy homilies.


J.J. Starbuck was an ostentatious self-made Texas billionaire who earned his fortune in oil and a variety of other investment ventures. Unfortunately, J.J.'s work had become his life, at the expense of his family. Then, one day his wife Lee and son Mark decided to pay J.J. a surprise visit aboard an off-shore oil rig he was working when their plane crashed en route and both were killed. Only then did J.J. realize that the two most valuable assets in his life were lost and no amount of money could ever buy them back. From that day on, J.J. Starbuck became a changed man. He turned day-to-day control of his company, Marklee Enterprises, over to his trusted second, Charlie Bullets (played by character actor David Huddleston in the pilot, and sausage pitchman Jimmy Dean thereafter), and hit the open road in his 1961 Lincoln Convertible to see to it that others didn't make the same mistakes he did. He traveled the country helping out "good folks" in trouble using his considerable influence and contacts, and more than a little detective work.

For most of the program's one-season run, J.J. was basically a loner. Then, during a break in production late in the fall of 1987, star Dale Robertson was at home on his ranch in Oklahoma when he took a tumble from a horse and injured his hip and leg. The injury was written into the series and J.J. picked up a new driver and traveling companion in the process. Actor/entertainer Ben Vereen reprised his character E.L. "Tenspeed" Turner from the 1980 ABC detective series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe to fill the role.[1] Straight-arrow J.J. and con-artist E.L. were a mismatched pair, but they were beginning to grow on each other. NBC allowed them only five adventures together before pulling J.J. Starbuck from the schedule. The show was replaced by the crime drama In the Heat of the Night.



Title Air date
1 "Pilot" 26 September 1987 (1987-09-26)
2 "A Killing in the Market" 29 September 1987 (1987-09-29)
3 "Murder in E Minor" 20 October 1987 (1987-10-20)
4 "The Blimpy Who Yelled Blue" 27 October 1987 (1987-10-27)
5 "First You've Got to Go to the Picnic" 3 November 1987 (1987-11-03)
6 "Incident at Sam September" 10 November 1987 (1987-11-10)
7 "Gold from the Rainbow" 5 December 1987 (1987-12-05)
8 "Graveyard Shift" 15 December 1987 (1987-12-15)
9 "The 6% Solution" 26 December 1987 (1987-12-26)
10 "The Circle Unbroken" 16 January 1988 (1988-01-16)
11 "Murder by Design" 23 January 1988 (1988-01-23)
12 "Cactus Jack's Last Call" 13 February 1988 (1988-02-13)
13 "A Song from the Sequel" 20 February 1988 (1988-02-20)
14 "Permanent Hiatus" 27 February 1988 (1988-02-27)
15 "Rag Doll" 19 April 1988 (1988-04-19)
16 "The Rise and Fall of Joe Piermont" 28 June 1988 (1988-06-28)


  1. ^ J.J. Starbuck creator/producer Stephen J. Cannell was also the man behind Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

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