J.J. Starbuck

NBC (ended 1988)


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J.J. Starbuck

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Dale Robertson, who seemed to have disappeared after Death Valley Days, shows up again with longhorns on his Cadillac as a billionaire businessman who just likes to help good folks, punish bad ones, and homilize in J. J. Starbuck (Tuesdays; 9 to 10 P.M.; NBC), one of several entries from the tireless Stephen J. Cannell. It's been a long time since Tales of Wells Fargo and Death Valley Days, so long that Dale Robertson's predecessor, a certain Mr. Reagan, as host of the latter traded his white hats for the White House. And yet, some things never change; in the 20 years since he left series television, time has stood still for Dale Robertson. His "new" character still wears 10-gallon white hats, Roy Rogers jackets and string ties, talks with a Texas accent so thick it would make J.R. gag, and drives a '64 Lincoln Continental with steer horns on the hood and a horn that honks The Eyes of Texas. Did anybody mention the word subtlety? I didn't think so. In time-honored TV tradition (Burke's Law, Banacek), J.J. Starbuck is an eccentric tycoon (in this case a Texas industrialist) who's gotten a little bored raking in the cash, and so he adopts what all TV trillionaires like to adopt for a hobby: He goes around the country solving kooky crime, the bloodier the better. Whooooeeee! Along the mystery way he spews an endless litany of down-home homilies — such as, "I like to keep an open mind — in case somebody comes along and drops an idea in it." Nice thought. If only it could happen to more television writers ... Theme Song: "Gone Again" sung by Ronnie Milsap "J.J. Starbuck" had a 90-minute debut Saturday Sept. 26,1987, at 9:30 p.m., and moved to Tuesdays at 9 on Sept. 29. It's a sequel/spinoff to another Cannell production, Tenspeed & Brownshoe, featuring Ben Vereen reprising his character as E.L. "Tenspeed" Turner.moreless