B.J and the Bear was a late 1970's action show created by Christopher Crowe and Greg A. Larson, whom you might remember as the creator of many of the top TV shows throughout the 1980's and 1990's, including The Fall Guy starring Lee Majors.

A smarmy big rig trucker named B.J. McKay, played by the smarmy Greg Evigan, traveled around Georgia hauling freight with his trusty sidekick named Bear. Bear wasn't a real bear...he was actually a chimpanzee named after the coach of the University of Alabama's football team. In later episodes B.J. settled down in California to run Bear Enterprises, a new trucking firm. Scripted hilarity ensued.

The antagonists were corrupt lawmen and politicians. Actually, they were so absolutely inept that I'm surprised they weren't used as an entrance exam for entering Congress. Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo, played by Claude Akins, probably had the highest IQ except when it came to hiring deputies. Greg A. Larson quickly spun off Lobo as a separate series, but it didn't last long when B.J and the Bear began to fade. The only smart law enforcement officer was The Fox, played by Conchita Ferrell, who was working on reigning in the corruption.

When the show returned after a longish hiatus, B.J. moved his Bear and his truck to California. The main antagonist switched to evil politician Rutherford T. Grant, played by Murray Hamilton. Grant was in charge of the Special Crimes Action Team (which ironically spells SCAT), but he also secretly a co-owner of TransCal, a competing trucking company.

A typical episode involved B.J and the Bear delivering loads while the idiots conspired to prevent him. Another common one involved B.J coming to the rescue of some barely-clad sweet young thing. One can easily spot the influences that the Dukes of Hazzard had on the late 70's shows. When they moved to California, Grant kept B.J. from hiring competent truckers, so he was forced to hire seven hot babes instead. Yes, that was worded correctly..."competent" meant men drivers on the show. The jiggle squad included actresses Judy Landers and twins Candi and Randi Brough. I'm sure feminism was set back one year for every episode, of which there were 47 total over three seasons (1978-1981).

B.J. used a Kenworth K-100 Aerodyne semi, of which there were six on the lot. Evigan drove two of the trucks and the rest ended up getting wrecked in the process of filming, including one truck where the chimpanzee went on a rampage and destroyed the interior.

These days, you can buy the complete series, usually combined with The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, on DVD and Blu-Ray. Greg Evigan still tours and signs autographs, and there is still, to this day, an active fan club for the show.

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