Boasting both big-rig trucks and a chimpanzee co-star, B.J. and the Bear was an immediate hit on NBC’s late 70’s lineup, also making a star out of its charming-but-corrupt villain, Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo. NBC capitalized on this character’s popularity by almost immediately spinning him off into his own one-hour comedy/adventure series in the fall of 1979.
In The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, the title character was placed in the unique position of becoming an unintentional hero. He would conspire to make money in some illicit fashion and inevitably end up stumbling onto some serious criminal activity in the process. Since the nature of his job was to uphold the law, he’d find himself forced to bring the criminals to justice, thus missing out on his chance at ill-gotten gains.
Lobo’s two deputies, the dim-witted Perkins and smarter-but-still-naïve Birdie, were just thick enough to believe that the sheriff was strictly on the up-and-up. The show also introduced a sister for Lobo in Rose, who also was married to Perkins. Rounding out the original cast of characters were Sarah, a motel owner who dated Birdie, and Margaret Ellen, a waitress with a penchant for skimpy outfits. The tone of the series was light, emphasizing three things that boys of all ages could agree on: slapstick humor, car-chase action, and plenty of sexy women.
The show’s story (but not its tone) was changed dramatically for its second season. The title was shortened to Lobo, and the setting was changed from Orly County, Georgia, to the more cosmopolitan choice of Atlanta. It seems that Lobo neglected to send in crime statistics for his county to Atlanta, leading law enforcement agents to believe that he had reduced the crime rate there to an extremely low rate.
With stats like those, Lobo and his deputies were immediately transferred to Atlanta to work on a special task force, where they worked under Chief of Detectives J.C. Carson and Sgt. Hildy Jones. Both men considered Lobo and his minions to be dumb hicks, but they got along just fine with Peaches and Brandy, two sexy undercover femme cops (and who wouldn’t?).
Sheriff Lobo continued to fight crime in his unintentional way until August of 1981, when the show was canceled. Still, two years on prime time TV ain’t bad for a crooked sheriff and a pair of yokel deputies, especially without the benefit of a chimpanzee co-star.
USA / NBC / x50 minute episodes / 18 September 1979 – 2 September 1980 as The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and 30 December 1980 – 25 August 1981 as Lobo
Claude Akins as Sheriff Elroy S. Lobo (1979-81)
Cydney Crampton as Rose Lobo Perkins (1979-80)
Janet Lynn Curtis as Margaret Ellen (1979-80)
Leann Hunley as Sarah Cumberland (1979-80)
Brian Kerwin as Deputy “Birdie” Hawkins
Mills Watson as Deputy Perkins
Nell Carter as Sgt. Hildy Jones (1980-81)
Nicolas Coster as Chief J.C. Carson (1980-81)
Amy Botwinick as Peaches (1980-81)
Tara Buckman as Brandy (1980-81)