And best of all I don’t pay property tax
Television’s house of ideas, Glen A Larson, has created so many great, enduring television shows that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. But one show stands tall even among that tough field. BJ & The Bear
You could count on Mr. Larson to consistently rip off the flavor of the month. For example, when Star Wars became a monster hit in theaters, he followed with Battlestar Galactica on tv. So when audiences responded favorably to the 1977 big screen action/comedy Smokey & The Bandit, Larson took some elements from the film and quickly created his own show.
So in the tv version, we have a rascally truck driver (BJ, rather than ‘Bandit’) and his pet chimp named ‘Bear’ (instead of a pet orangutan as in Smokey) relentlessly pursued by Sheriff Lobo (rather than Sheriff Justice). The basic dynamic from Smokey & The Bandit was intact, though the tv version would have none of the star power of the film – no Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason, nor Sally Field.
A pilot movie was broadcast by NBC in 1978, and it proved popular enough for the network to green light a series. BJ & The Bear lasted three seasons on NBC, for an impressive 48 episodes. It even launched a spinoff based around Claude Akins’s character, Sheriff Lobo.
Each episode usually involved BJ and Bear discovering some criminal or immoral activity, and usually a pretty woman in some sort of distress. BJ would then bend the rules a bit to solve the problem, usually with some action and comedy to please fans of all ages.
In a later season, BJ started his own trucking company out of Los Angeles, and he hired 7 beautiful lady truckers – Samantha, Cindy, Angie, Callie, twins Geri & Teri, and my personal favorite Stacks, as portrayed by the lovely Judy Landers. They would find adventures together. Sometimes Andre the Giant would show up and hang out with them, too.
In other words, this is clearly one of the greatest tv shows of all time.
So sit back and enjoy the opening credits & theme song to one of the great television concepts of all time, BJ & The Bear.
While some folks may be so cynical as to decry the credibility of the basic concept of the show, I have always maintained that the most incredible thing in the show opening is not that an adult male trucker’s best friend is a chimpanzee, but rather that somewhere out on the highways of America there is at least one young, foxy lady truck driver.
The next season introduced seven more young, foxy lady truckers, propelling the show into science fiction.
BJ and The Bear Theme Song