Barnaby Jones and Cannon


Barnaby Jones (1973-1980)
Cannon (1971-1976)
Type: Spin Off

   One classic detective show deserves another. That almost makes sense and describes this situation pretty well.

   Debuting in 1971 Cannon starred portly William Conrad (I mean, come on - he later was the "Fatman" end of Jake And The Fatman) as a hardly typical P.I. Usually you think Private Eye you think of a guy who's fit, rugged and barely scraping by. Ha! Not Cannon. Like I said, this guy was hardly ready to do wind sprints. He was heavy! And he didn't have some support crew. Nope, if something needed looking into Frank handled it on his own. And "barely scraping by"??? Screw that. Frank had the money and he charged a pretty penny for his services so that he could enjoy the good life - great food, big cars. But the big guy had reason to try and "enjoy life" - his past sucked hard eggs. A former cop he dropped off the force after his wife and son were killed in a car crash. Yikes.

   Barnaby Jones had similar elements to his character's set up only they were mixed up and switched around. Barnaby Jones was a former Private Detective whose son's death caused him to come out of retirement rather than go into it. Barnaby Jones's son Hal had taken over his father's detective business and ran it until he was killed during an investigation. Frank Cannon was on the case and managed to convince Buddy Ebsen to come out of retirement to help him find the killer.

   Now the thing is even though Barnaby Jones started on Cannon, I see this more as a crossover than as a spin off. Usually with a spin off a character is introduced on one show and then a little later gets their own show. In this case Barnaby Jones was set to go Cannon or not. The first Barnaby Jones story concerning his son was a two parter that started with him being introduced on Cannon and then concluded on the first episode of Barnaby Jones's own show.

   At least that's what seems to be the case. I must admit in looking into this there seems to be a bit of confusion over the start of Barnaby Jones. Everyone seems to agree he started with a Cannon crossover but various sources give conflicting dates and specifics. And I'd like to claim I new everything first hand but when this stuff aired I was two or three years old so, sorry, not possible. When I get more solid info I will update this page. These shows are definitely linked though with further crossovers between the two of them as time went on. Once out of retirement, Barnaby Jones decided to stay out and keep the family business alive. Helping him was his son's widow Betty. Barnaby Jones had a good long run actually outlasting Cannon.

   While I'm on the subject of Barnaby Jones it should be noted that the character did have another near crossover. Barnaby J. was played by veteran actor Buddy Ebsen. Earlier he had also created the famous role of Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. When The Beverly Hillbillies was remade as a big budget feature film, Buddy Ebsen made a cameo not as Jed but as detective Barnaby Jones. I am not counting this though as a legit crossover for this sites purposes. Why? Well because the movie was not a continuation of the old show. It didn't share the same continuity. It was a fresh start with the characters in the 90's. So therefore the crossover really doesn't tie Barnaby Jones to the original show. Am I nit picking like a pro? Sure but its my sight. Sue me. My site, my rules (hehehehe).


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