About Christmas TV History

Friday, June 17, 2011

Convoy Christmas: B.J. and the Bear

If you came to one of my speaking engagements in 2010, you may have been given a handout I prepared entitled 'Convoy Christmas.'  This was a piece I wrote about trucking themed TV Christmas entertainments.  I know, right?  There have been several of these stories including: Christmas episodes of Alice, Monk and King of the Hill as well as the TV movie Christmas Comes to Wilow Creek which stars the dream team John Schneider and Tom Wopat.  Additionally, there's the 1979 Christmas episode of the B.J. and the Bear entitled 'Silent Night, Unholy Night.'  Only in the past year has someone finally uploaded this episode onto You tube for viewing.

Greg Evigan as B.J. McKay with his mischievous passenger, Bear.
 While delivering a truckload of Christmas turkeys to market, B.J. McKay meets a pregnant woman, Allie Spencer, who’s car has run off the road.  Her driving is erratic because she must deliver a diary to her attorney husband who is preparing the case against the corrupt, Sheriff McCandles.  McCandles knows that the diary is the only evidence against him and he’s after Tom Spencer as well as his wife, Allie.  B.J. takes the fragile woman under his protection--even if that means asking Sheriff Cain, dressed in a Santa suit, to help him escape from the clutches of the desperate McCandles.

Remember Ted Danson in these Aramis cologne magazine ads?

This episode offers everything you want it to including a scene where B.J. drives through a police car blockade which causes an explosion.  It even includes a scene with B.J. delivering Allie’s baby in the cab of his truck!  In addition to singing the TV series’ theme song, Greg Evigan as B.J. also sings ‘The Christmas Song’ at a children's Christmas party.  If you forget that this show was made in the 1970s, you’ll be reminded of this fact when you hear Fleetwood Mac’s ‘I Don’t Want to Know’ and J.D. Souther’s hit song ‘You’re Only Lonely’ in the background of this episode.  Another piece of trivia: the director of the episode is Vince Edwards.  TV junkies may recognize Edwards from the 1960s medical drama ‘Ben Casey.’  And, yes--that is a very young Ted Danson playing the role of attorney Tom Spencer.

Part 1 of 'Silent Night, Unholy Night'--sorry about the very low res image quality

To watch the rest of the episode, you can find it in my You tube channel 1970s Christmas playlist.  Click here.

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