J.J. Starbuck

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J.J. Starbuck
GenreCrime drama
Created byStephen J. Cannell
Developed byNBC
StarringDale Robertson
Jimmy Dean
Shawn Weatherly
and Ben Vereen
Theme music composerMike Post
Opening theme'Gone Again' Music by Mike Post, Lyrics by Stephen Geyer, Performed by Ronnie Milsap
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Executive producerStephen J. Cannell
ProducerJ. Rickley Dumm
Running time44 minutes
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 26, 1987 (1987-09-26) –
June 28, 1988 (1988-06-28)
Related showsTenspeed and Brown Shoe

J.J. Starbuck is an American crime drama television series that aired on NBC from September 26, 1987 to June 28, 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 short-lived 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 bounced the series between Tuesday and Saturday nights before cancelling it after 16 episodes.



No.TitleOriginal air date
1"Pilot"September 26, 1987 (1987-09-26)
2"A Killing in the Market"September 29, 1987 (1987-09-29)
3"Murder in E Minor"October 20, 1987 (1987-10-20)
4"The Blimpy Who Yelled Blue"October 27, 1987 (1987-10-27)
5"First You've Got to Go to the Picnic"November 3, 1987 (1987-11-03)
6"Incident at Sam September"November 10, 1987 (1987-11-10)
7"Gold from the Rainbow"December 5, 1987 (1987-12-05)
8"Graveyard Shift"December 15, 1987 (1987-12-15)
9"The 6% Solution"December 26, 1987 (1987-12-26)
10"The Circle Unbroken"January 16, 1988 (1988-01-16)
11"Murder by Design"January 23, 1988 (1988-01-23)
12"Cactus Jack's Last Call"February 13, 1988 (1988-02-13)
13"A Song from the Sequel"February 20, 1988 (1988-02-20)
14"Permanent Hiatus"February 27, 1988 (1988-02-27)
15"Rag Doll"April 19, 1988 (1988-04-19)
16"The Rise and Fall of Joe Piermont"June 28, 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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