Buddy Ebsen learned not to question the popularity of ''Barnaby Jones''

You can't have Barnaby Jones without Buddy Ebsen.

There are people who are just downright likable; people like Robin Williams and Mr. Rogers who, before being funny, kind, or earnest, have an undeniably positive energy that people can't help but be drawn to. Another great example of one of those people is Buddy Ebsen, who audiences gravitated towards in The Beverly Hillbillies, and continued to love when he starred in Barnaby Jones

Jones had countless fans, including former president Richard M. Nixon, who once stopped by the Barnaby Jones Luncheon Club, then full of Ebsen's fans, to drop off a wedding present for Ebsen and his wife. It's safe to say that Barnaby Jones is well-loved and well appreciated too.

But if there's a secret to Ebsen's success, he doesn't want to know about it. According to an interview with the Associated Press, Ebsen that he couldn't find a single reason for the show's popularity, but explained, "My position and policy is not to poke around too much into blessings."

He continued, "We just try to do good stories, use good actors, and do it in such a way that people believe it. If you tell a good story, that's good enough. You don't have to analyze it." So for Ebsen, things were pretty simple, and while he played a detective on screen, he didn't really see how sleuthing around the show's success would be a good use of his time.

Barnaby Jones' executive producer Quinn Martin has a very simple answer for why the show was so popular: The star, Ebsen himself. Martin said, "The key to the show is Buddy." He did agree with Ebsen that the simple formula of the show made it a surefire classic. He commented, "It's a classic idea with a star that's well done."

But while the skeleton of the show was cinematically sound, Martin was aware that Ebsen was the key to making the series special. He said, "I think it can go on for as long as Buddy wants to do it. I don't think it could go on without him."



Watch Barnaby Jones on MeTV!

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4 Comments

JMilburn 2 months ago
Im my opinion, one of the most underrated TV shows from the "classic" era--solid stories and solid actors--and no less from the main man himself--Barnaby's character was that of a man of high morals and character, and someone other people gravitated to and trusted--and he always saved the day for so many people. Lee Meriweather is another actress who is overlooked from that time and who brought another character of great presence and spirit to that show. There are a lot of what I call "underrated shows" from the classic era: The Honeymooners, Dragnet, The Fugitive, and one that is highly missed from TV and most underappreciated: The Untouchables. That series, like The Fugitive, was only 4 seasons, but both shows featured a who's who of guest stars through their runs and fantastic acting--as did Perry Mason as well.....but I think The Fugitive and The Untouchables are maybe the two most underappreciated and forgotten series from the classic TV era.
Pacificsun JMilburn 2 months ago
Very much agree and glad you brought the subject to the viewer's attention. Some of those late night entries aren't discussed much for being on so late. MeTV used to run the Untouchables. And did almost any of those Shows mentioned. Though I can't remember Murder She Wrote (which might've been snapped up by Hallmark). But it's hard for many current viewers to believe that from 2014 on they ran every worthwhile Classic TV program on, and probably three times as many dramas. Whereas they've mainly turned to comedy now. And sent their action/adventure Shows over to Heroes & Icon channel. Block programing is the style of viewing determined for now. Though IMO the sequential was nice for variety and change of pace.
Pacificsun 2 months ago
I like that angle being used in the article. An apt description and example of an entertaining (talented) personality representing the Classic TV Stars we enjoy. We could fill a page here at least with many favorites from the past. IMO, Buddy Epson maintained and honest (realistic) humility. And seemed to be concerned about being in the moment of performance. We surely are missing those kind of instinctual actors in this day. Great story and thank you, Writers!!
Runeshaper 2 months ago
Buddy Ebsen was GREAT in everything!
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