CB handle of B.J. “Billie Joe” McKay (Greg Evigan) a handsome, former Vietnam veteran turned trucker on the comedy adventure B.J. AND THE BEAR/NBC/1979-81.
He drove a red and white Kenilworth tractor/trailer rig, hauling anything anywhere, as long as it was honest. His driving companion was a chimpanzee named Bear (a.k.a. “The Kid”).
B.J. first met Bear in Vietnam when Bear brought B.J. food while he was a POW. B.J. named his pet companion (who accompanied him on all of his trips) after Paul “Bear” Bryant, a football coach from the University of Alabama, whom B.J. considered the greatest coach of all times.
Stationed in Georgia, Billie Joe often ran into corrupt local police who were out to make his life miserable. They included Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo (Claude Akins) and Sgt. Beauregard Wiley of Winslow County (Slim Pickens) and his fellow sheriffs Cain (Ed Lauter) and Master (Richard Deacon).
When Billie Joe was not delivering freight or thwarting the plans of corrupt officials, he frequented The Country Comfort Truck Stop owned by Bullets (Joshua Shelley).
Theme Song Lyrics
Hey there, where ya goin’?
Not exactly knowin’
Who says you have to call just one place home.
He’s goin’ everywhere,
B.J. McKay and his best friend Bear.
He just keeps on movin’.
Ladies keep improvin’
Every day is better than the last.
New dreams and better scenes,
And best of all I don’t pay property tax.
Rollin’ down to Dallas.
Who’s providin’ my palace?
Off to New Orleans or who knows where.
Places new and ladies, too,
I’m B.J. McKay and this is my best friend Bear.
Later in the series, B.J. moved to Los Angeles and opened a trucking company called Bear Enterprises. Because a local politician named Captain Rutherford P. Grant (Murray Hamilton), the head of S.C.A.T. (Special Crimes Action Team) didn’t like the competition (he owned a piece of a rival trucking company), he foiled Billie Joe’s efforts to hire male drivers. Defying Grant, Billie Joe recruited a bevy of beautiful female truck drivers. They included:
- Judy Landers as Stacks
- Linda McCullough as Callie
- Barbara Horan as Samantha
- Candie Brough as Teri Garrison (Twins)
- Randi Brough as Geri Garrison (Twins)
- Sherilyn Wolter as Cindy Grant (Grant’s daughter)
- Sheila DeWindt as Angie Cartwright
Note: Bear’s real name was Sam. He was born in the wilds of Africa and imported to the United States by an animal dealer and later sold to his trainer, Marvin Downey. Bear’s stand-in was Jimmy the chimp.
See also – “BJ and the Bear” – Intro @ You Tube