Sunday, April 19, 2009


January 19, 1980
Music: Stu Phillips
Teleplay: Michael Sloan
Story: Michael Sloan & Glen A. Larson
Director: Michael Preece

This BJ AND THE BEAR episode is Silverman-era TV at its finest. BJ's favorite truck stop is besieged by armed hoods on a night when a squad of cheerleaders known as the Panhandle Pussycats is in the joint to judge a beauty pageant. While some of the Country Comfort regulars—Bullets (Joshua Shelley), Tommy (Janet Louis Johnson), Hammer (Charles Napier)—and the local mayor (Parley Baer) are being held at gunpoint, the goons' ringleader, John Kirk (Geoffrey Lewis), takes half the cheerleader squad, last year's Miss Country Comfort (Markie Post), and BJ (Greg Evigan) in BJ's truck. Kirk's plan to split up the hostages is a good one, ensuring that if something happens to the kidnappers on one end, the other side will kill their hostages.

For a series not generally remembered for its acting, Lewis is extremely good as the hard-bitten mercenary who'll fight any war for money. Executive producer Sloan provides him and Evigan with some strong dialogue about their combat experiences that provides more backstory than almost any other BJ AND THE BEAR heavy has ever had. "Siege" is a more serious episode than usual, and even manages to generate a bit of worry concerning the hostages' well-being.

Mark Goddard (LOST IN SPACE) also guest-stars as the Pussycats' manager, and William Sylvester (GEMINI MAN) is their millionaire benefactor set up to pay the ransom. Director Preece went on to helm 63 (!) episodes of WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.

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