Home Television Comedy Governor and JJ, The

Governor and JJ, The

1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 0 (USA)
39 x 30 minute episodes

Set in an unnamed Midwestern state, The Governor and JJ co-starred Dan Dailey as Governor William R Drinkwater and Julie Sommars as his twenty-something daughter, Jennifer Jo (or JJ).

Since the Governor was a widower, JJ stepped in as First Lady for official duties when she wasn’t working in her real job as an assistant curator at the zoo. Much of the comedy revolved around the governor’s bumbling and the generation-gap conflicts between the middle-aged governor and his young daughter, who share an abiding affection and loyalty for each other even amidst any temporary disagreements.

Neva Patterson was Drinkwater’s secretary, Maggie, Nora Marlowe was his motherly housekeeper Sara, and James Callahan was his press secretary, George. Ed Platt had a recurring role as the head of Governor Drinkwater’s (unspecified) political party.

In later episodes, the Drinkwaters adopted a basset hound named Guv.

Gary Collins made a couple of appearances during the first season as young veterinarian Dr Bob Livingston, a love interest for JJ. Another recurring character introduced during the show’s first season was Governor Drinkwater’s jet-setting mother Ella, played initially by veteran character actress Jessie Royce Landis and in later appearances by Linda Watkins.

Kent Smith played Ella’s long-ago beau, Frank Courtwright, a lobbyist who ultimately became her second husband. They continued to appear periodically until the series finale.

Early episodes also featured cameo appearances by some real-life governors, and it became a status symbol for the politicians who dropped in long enough to exchange a few lines with Dan Dailey’s fictional counterpart.

This CBS sitcom ran from September 1969 to December 1970 (and aired again in reruns in the summer of 1972).

At the time of the series debut, an American TV Guide reviewer said, “if you believe the characters here, The Governor and JJ is on after your bedtime and you should not be watching it.”

Dan Dailey died from anaemia on 16 October 1978.

Jennifer Jo “JJ” Drinkwater  
Julie Sommars
Governor William R Drinkwater
Dan Dailey
George Callison
James Callahan
Maggie McLeod

Neva Patterson
Sara Andrews

Nora Marlowe
Orrin Hacker
Ed Platt