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Who Invited Jed Clampett/Barnaby Jones?
Jason Daniel Baker from Toronto, Canada
16 August 2011
Police Lieutenant Hoyt's little girl Kathy is abducted by an evil creep
(James Olson) who poses as a cop to win her trust. The kidnapper has
abducted another girl as well and possibly more. The police don't make
it a priority and Hoyt freaks out. Houston's Uncle Roy (Buddy Ebsen)
just happens to be hanging around the police station to see the
normally stoic Hoyt flip out hysterically and calls C.J. to bring in
Houston to help Hoyt.
Houston is drawn in here more as an interested party/philanthropic
vigilante rather than a private investigator and given his friendship
with Hoyt (Lincoln Kilpatrick) it is pretty plausible.
Why Jed Clampett/Barnaby Jones/Uncle Roy (Buddy Ebsen - The
Danish/Latvian Floridian) is here in season three on a detective show
on ABC is to deliver the senior citizen demographic (generally tuned to
CBS back then) many of whom would have been senile thus allowing them
to think they were watching an episode of Barnaby Jones, a show very
popular among older audiences.
I guess they figured they couldn't bring in Ebsen as Houston's father
since the confusion of his origins hearkened back to contradictory
themes from the first two seasons i.e. that Houston had a mother
growing up or didn't. David Wayne had played Houston's adopted father
and Lloyd Bridges had played his adopted father. Wayne didn't have the
following Bridges or Ebsen did and Bridges, ten times the actor Ebsen
ever was, was likely unavailable to play a recurring role on a series
he was not the star of.
For me the addition of Buddy Ebsen - an utterly horrid actor with a
creepy look in a superfluous role eroded my enthusiasm for the series
when I was a kid watching the episodes when they were first run. My
reaction upon seeing him every time was "Oh geez, not him again!". As
his role continued it meant that you either saw less of C.J. or Houston
with his character in the place of one or the other and almost never
for any reason which served the plot. That is particularly true in this
A lot of people believe that this series began to decline as it
embraced a more serious tone but a much darker vibe which included
serial murders of women and child abduction as we see here and in
several episodes in season two and season three.
The real reason it began to lose steam was because it was constantly
eroding its already shaky credibility with audiences by moving in too
many directions chasing different demographics which made it vulnerable
to collapse under the weight of the absurd premise with which it had
started. This show, often one of the more appealing ones on TV in its
day, equally as often if not more often, misfired so badly as to shoot
itself in the foot.
This happens to be one of several episodes which portrayed doctors in
an unfavourable light. Season 1, Episode 11 - "The Rock and the Hard
Place", Season 1, Episode 20 - "Fear For Tomorrow", Season 2, Episode 1
- "Heritage" all feature doctor characters who are greedy quacks. This
one has a psychiatrist who cleared a paedophile to be released from an
This show gave work to a lot of former stars from old TV shows. You
might recognize Paul Petersen - Jeff Stone from the Donna Reed Show
playing one of the uniformed cops. He had brief walk-on roles on the
show as either uniformed cops or security guards in at least a half
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