Another iconic figure of my youth who did not live up to expectations



I never know where the next memory trigger is going to come from. I see and hear so many memories from the clients who come through my door that I typically don’t have a problem coming up with new content for this blog. Today’s memory is courtesy of a woman who came in with a relatively easy order. She needed the photos stored in her phone transferred to a flash drive. I try to do those on a same day basis so my clients don’t have to leave their phone with me.

While the files were being transferred, we made small talk. Turns out, back in the day she was a successful lounge singer in Vegas, and was coached by none other than Wayne Newton (Danke Shoen, anyone?) I asked her to tell me one story about her entertainment days. I couldn’t have been more surprised with her response.

It seems she worked on the NBC show, BJ and the Bear. It was a short-lived series (1979-1981) which featured trucker B.J. McKay (played by Greg Evigan) and his pet chimpanzee, Bear. They travelled the roads in their red and white Kenworth K-100 Aerodyne finding adventure wherever they went.

The show hit the airwaves at the height of the trucker craze when CB radios were the current fad. Convoy was a popular song, Smokey and the Bandit was in the theaters, and everyone in America tried to think of a clever and catchy CB “handle” they could use as their nom de plume. (Mine was “Red Flash”… better to not ask why.)

Her memory:  the Bear was a real bear to work with. Very mean. She hated that chimp and couldn’t stand to be around him.  “But he seemed so cute on the show,” I countered. “Mean,” she repeated, “They just made him look cute.”

I guess you never truly know about the TV personalities you grew up watching. They can seem normal as their character on the show but turn into a real animal when dealing with them in person. 

In case you forgot, here’s the theme song to BJ and the Bear.


Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family videos through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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