Question: I vaguely remember the '70s show J.J. & the Governor from my childhood. Can you tell me anything about it? Susan, Savage, Minn.
Televisionary: Well, I can tell you it was actually called The Governor and J.J. despite the fact that Julie Sommars who played gubernatorial daughter Jennifer Jo "J.J." Drinkwater was cast first and was a key factor in choosing co-star Dan Dailey as her dad, Gov. William Drinkwater. I can also tell you that the comedy, which ran on CBS from September 1969 to December 1970 (and then again in reruns in the summer of '72), took place in an unnamed midwestern state. (Oh, and I can tell you to go here for a couple of G. and J.J. covers.)
Since the guv was a widower, twentysomething daughter J.J. stepped in as first lady for official duties when she wasn't working in her real job as an assistant curator at the zoo. Neva Patterson was Drinkwater's secretary, Nora Marlowe was his housekeeper, and James Callahan was his press secretary.
Part of the comedy revolved around the governor's bumbling, a problem with which Dailey himself was acquainted in his real life. "Real" is actually a relative term there, however, since one of his best examples involved the unreal tale (for most folks) of going on a fox hunt with Ronald Reagan, John Huston and Jose Ferrer at a hunt club where Dailey was Master of the Hunt. "We had six hounds and they all went off in different directions," he told TV Guide in 1969. "We spent the whole hunt trying to find the hounds."
To be sure, that kind of tale's only funny as long as you're not the fox or a PETA member (though since we can assume the fox survived that particular event, the little critter probably got a pretty good laugh out of it, too). The humor on the show was pretty subjective, as well.
"It is fast-paced, reasonably funny and even, for this type of program, relatively sophisticated," TV Guide reviewer Cleveland Amory wrote shortly after the series' debut. "But beyond that we will not go. In fact, as far as believability goes, if you believe the characters here, The Governor and J.J. is after your bedtime and you should not be watching it."
Since it was a childhood show for you, Susan, he was talking to you. Bad girl.