B.J. and the Bear (1979) - " The Foundlings" with Patrick Woodall
July 31, 2020
60
02:01:2091.13 MB television, 1979, drama, NBC, 1970s, Glen A. Larson, Greg Evigan,

B.J. and the Bear (1979) - " The Foundlings" with Patrick Woodall

Patrick Woodall
Patrick Woodall

Patrick Woodall makes a return appearance to take on 1979's man with monkey trucker classic B.J. and the Bear

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B.J. and the Bear (1979) - "The Foundlings"

Available to Watch: YouTube

Aired: February 10, 1979

Episode Run: 48

Created by: Glen A. Larson, Christopher Crowe

Cast:

  • Greg Evigan as BJ
  • Claude Akins as Sherriff Lobo
  • “Sam the Chimp” as BJ

Amazon/IMDB User Reviews

Rated 7/10 by mm-3916 in April 2019:

"Loved this show when I was 10. There was a bad butt trucker, a ex Nam medic mystery solving truck driver, beautiful women everywhere and a pet monkey called Bear. B J can go into a small town solve a mystery aka Dukes of Hazzard style, impressing the pretty girl in the mystery, and manage to deliver his load on time every week on the 45 minute show. What not to like add pro wrestlers, hot gals, bar fights, corrupt cops (aka sheriff Lobo) and the Bear doing cute things made for me a fun hours while drink quick and staying up late. What more can a kid want for a Friday night show. I ate a truck stop once and was disappointing when real life hit, their was no murder with beautiful around just stressed out truckers trying to get the delivery done on time. Well B J and the Bear is a formulate southern style Dukes of Hazzard show. 7 stars."

Fun Facts 

  • Break 1-9er Wipe my ass: The show was created to capitalize on the trucker and CB craze, which had such properties as the 1974 trucking series Movin On (which starred Claude Akins), the song "Convoy" by CW McCall, the films White Line Fever in '75, Smokey and the Bandit in '77, Convoy in '78 and Every Which Way But Loose in '78 which had Clint Eastwood with a monkey.

  • No Optimus: BJ’s truck was known as Rolling Thunder and is still toured at car shows around the US

  • Dwarf Tossing: In the season 3 premiere, the show changes formats with the episode BJ and the 7 Lady Truckers. BJ moves to Los Angeles to settle down and run the trucking company Bear Enterprises. But he’s continuously foiled by the the dirty cop and head of the state’s SCAT (Special Crimes Action Team) squad who secretly owns a competing trucking company. The cop keeps harassing BJ and he can’t hire legit drivers so he hires 7 lady truckers: the cop’s daughter, twins, a rough chick, two others named Callie and Samantha and a “busty blonde” named Stacks.

  • Lobo Gets a Spinoff: Claude Akins Sheriff Lobo was popular enough to get his own spinoff: The Misadventures of Sherrif Lobo, which ran for 37 episodes over 2 years. It’s described as an action spinoff which dealt with the reformation of the character because other people look up to him. In its second season the governor of Georgia reassigns Lobo to Atlanta for his special crimes action team (SCAT) in Atlanta thanks to the low crime rate in Orly. NBC President said the show was performing well in rural areas but not cities, so he decided to move the show to Atlanta.

  • More Spinoffs: Two episodes in season two were centered around a pair of female PIs; both episodes were created to serve as pilots for the same show but neither went forward.

  • Syndication: Eventually as ratings started to tank, both shows were sold into syndication as a bundle called the BJ/Lobo Show

  • Dont Fuck with Monkeys: Several chimps played the role of Bear, but the main one was Sam. However, the only one I could find the fate of was Moe, who eventually led to his owner ending up in a coma with his genitals and nose ripped off:

    • St. James and LaDonna Davis adopted the orphaned Moe as a baby monkey. They were so in love with Moe, he became the ring bearer at their wedding, slept in their bed and ate at the family table.

    • He became a star in West Covina, CA, and started getting work to entertain children and then show business where he landed BJ.

    • In 1998, an accidental electric shock panicked him and he broke out of his cage and ran into the neighborhood where he attacked a cop and a squad car when the police showed up.

    • In 1999 Moe big a woman’s finger and the neighborhood insisted he go. The city charged the Davises with harboring a dangerous animal and kept Moe as evidence for 4 years. Eventually the charges were dropped after 4 years and he was retired to Haven Ranch east of Bakersfield where monkey actors go
      to retire. 

    • On Moe’s 39th birthday the Davises went to visit him and brought him chocolate milk and cake. But as she was setting food down for Moe, 2 females and 2 males escaped their cages and the males went after the Davises.

    • One knocked LaDonna down from behind and when she started to put a hand out to brace for a fall, one of the monkeys bit a thumb off. 

    • Then the males turned to St. James. A ranch hand shot and killed one male, but ran out of ammunition, so the other male dragged St. James another thirty feet where he chewed off St. James genitals, mauled all of his limbs and chewed his nose off before being shot and killed. As of April 2005 St. Davis was still in a coma.

    • Ranch personnel said that Moe was depressed for a few days but now he’s doing fine...as of 2005.

  • Greg Evigan (and family): Started his career with the Rock drama "A Year On Top". He has appeared in 100 TV shows and films, notably BJ and the Bear as BJ, My Two Dads as Joey Harris, and Melrose Place

    • Fun Fact: His daughter Briana Evigan starred in the video for Lincoln Parks "Numb" and the movie Step Up 2: the Streets. His other daughter Vanessa Lee has guest starred in Boy Meets World, Norm, and How I Met Your Mother.

    • Fun fact: Evigan turned down Knight Rider.  I was offered the TV show Knight Rider.  [Show creator] Glenn Larsen offered me Knight Rider,  but I wouldn’t have done My Two Dads if I had done that.  I wouldn’t have been able to switch from the drama to the comedy. Once I did BJ and the Bear, I was that guy — typecast as the truck driver with the chimpanzee. Getting to do comedy was special.

    • Fun Fact: Greg Evigan is tired of boobs: When asked whats the weirdest thing hes ever signed, he said " In my life? (Laughs) Probably a breast. Just one. After you got through with the one, it was getting old. (Laughs)"
  • Sam the Chimp (BJ):The main chimp for the show, Sam, was born in Africa in April of 1974 and was adopted by his trainer Marvin Downey from Acton, CA. He graduated from the Walking Wildlife School and got his start on TV with the series Rosetti and Ryan where he played a chimp who stole evidence and followed it up with several guest appearances on Fantasy Island and guest starred in the TV movie version of Captain America. A year and a half after the show ended, Sam got liver cancer and died at 7 years old.

    • Fun fact: Sam would routinely flirt with the women in the third season. He would frequently just stare at them and pinch them.

    • Fun fact: He was known to attack and bite male cast and crew members. He had over 25 attacks during his time on BJ and the Bear including Greg Evigan. And he attacked national treasure Abe Vigoda who was guest starring on one episode, when he bit his elbow. And even though he bit Evigan, he was really protective of him and any time Evigan was being attacked for the show they’d have to remove BJ from the set because he would try to protect him.

  • 1979 in pop culture: 
    • Avg Cost of a gallon of gas: $0.86 ($2.17 today)

    • Avg cost of a new house: $58,100 ($423,000 today)

    • Average rent: $280 ($1405 today)

    • Avg Salary: $17500 ($74,200 today)

    • Minimum wage: $2.90 (7.25 today)

    • Avg cost of a movie ticket: $5 ($9.26 today)

    • Cost of a Super Bowl ad: $185,000; $6 million today

    • Top grossing films: Alien, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Rocky 2, The Amityville Horror and Superman

    • Top 5 songs: My Sharona by The Knack

    • Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols dies of a heroin overdose during the trial for murdering his girlfriend

    • Pink Floyd releases the albumThe Wall while Michael Jackson releases Off the Wall

    • YMCA sues the Village People for libel and defamation. The suit was later dropped

    • Sony introduces the first Walkman for $200, which would be about $700 today

    • The first cell network was developed and the snowboard was invented

    • The movie The China Syndrome, about a nuclear meltdown caused by a fault sensor and stuck open release valve debuts 12 days before the 3 Mile Island nuclear meltdown, which was caused by a faulty sensor and a stuck open release valve

    • Elvita Adams jumped from the 86th floor of the Empire State building in an attempted suicide...only to be saved by a gust of wind which blew her back onto the 8th floor. Her only injury was a broken hip

    • The first human death by robot happened on a Ford assembly line in Michigan. 

  • 1979 in TV:
    • Nickelodeon makes its debut on cable TV with a premiere of Pinwheel
    • The thrillride network CSPAN also makes its debut
    • ESPN launches as the first 24 hour channel
    • The final episode of All in the Family airs with 40.2 million people watching; Archie would continue after Edith’s death in Archie Bunker’s Place later that year
    • In Abilene Texas, KTAB takes over the CBS affiliation from KTXS, which then becomes the ABC affiliate, making Abilene one of the last markets in the US to receive full service from the 3 major networks

  • Top rated shows of 1979: 60 Minutes, Three’s Company, That’s Incredible, MASH, Dallas, Flo,The Jeffersons, The Dukes of Hazzard and One Day at a TIme

  • Shows Premiering in 1979: Hello Larry, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Ropers, Sportscenter, Buck Rogers, Scooby Doo and Scrappy Do, Trapper John MD and Knots Landing

  • Shows Ending in 1979: All in the Family, Battlestar Galactica, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, Wonder Woman and Grandpa Goes to Washington