How Well Do You Remember “Barnaby Jones”?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: CBS

About This Quiz

The '00s made every TV fan in America feel like a DNA expert thanks to the popularity of forensic investigations series like "CSI" and its spin-offs, not to mention similar shows like "Bones," "Law and Order" or "NCIS." Turns out, this concept of solving crimes based on forensics has actually been done before — and it was way before the days of personal computers, cell phones or all that other modern tech most of us take for granted.

Back in the 1970s, while "Starsky and Hutch" were cruising the gritty streets of Bay City, Robert Blake was playing a plainclothes cop on "Baretta," Rockford was making the transition from prisoner to PI, and Columbo was donning that trademark trench coat, "Barnaby Jones" was busy taking the standard whodunit series in a whole new direction. Instead of an actor in his prime, the gumshoe at the heart of this series was a senior citizen long past retirement age. Rather than chase down the criminals and muscle them into cuffs, the title character on this show had to rely on other skills. Jones not only frequently outwitted gun-toting bad guys but also spent plenty of time in his laboratory using chemistry and forensics to solve crimes and put the culprits behind bars.

Do you remember the characters and key moments from this beloved PI series? Prove it with our "Barnaby Jones" quiz!

The series began with Jones coming out of retirement to take on new PI work. What inspired this life change?

At the start of "Barnaby Jones," viewers learn that the PI had left his business to his son Hal upon retirement. After his son's murder, he goes back to work to run the detective agency and track down his son's killer.


Buddy Ebsen starred as Barnaby Jones, but do you remember what iconic '60s TV character he played previously?

Before he was a crime-solving PI on "Barnaby Jones," Buddy Ebsen played Jed Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies" from 1962 through 1971. The poor mountain man who struck it rich and moved to California was 65 when he took on the role of Jones and was in his early 70s by the time the show ended.


Can you recall the name of Jones' secretary, who also happened to be his daughter-in-law?

Hal Jones' wife Betty was left a widow by his murder. When Barnaby came back to take on new clients, Betty Jones, who was played by Lee Meriwether, joined the business as his secretary.


If you wanted to buy Barnaby Jones a drink to thank him for solving a tough case, which of these would he prefer?

"Barnaby Jones" turned the image of the hard-drinking detective on his head. The title character rarely indulged in alcohol during the show and instead declared that he could "eat anything as long as I can wash it down with a cold glass of milk."


Each episode of the show was split into acts. Remember exactly how many?

The series followed the same format as other shows produced by Quinn Martin, which included "The Fugitive" and "The Untouchables." After an epilogue narrated by Hank Simms, each episode was split into four acts, with a commercial break in between each one.


Which of these did Barnaby Jones have that most other TV detectives did not?

Barnaby Jones relied on his background in chemistry and toxicology to help him solve crimes. He did much of this scientific and forensic work in his very own crime lab.


Remember which city served as the setting for the series?

"Barnaby Jones" was set in the sunny city of Los Angeles, California. Throughout his career, Jones had lectured at various California colleges on top of his detective duties.


"Barnaby Jones' was a spin-off of sorts. Which show was it spun-off from?

The detective series "Cannon," featuring William Conrad in the lead role, was so popular in the early '70s that it led to the creation of "Barnaby Jones." Conrad appeared in the first episode of "Barnaby Jones" playing his role from "Cannon," and the two series also enjoyed a crossover storyline later on called "The Deadly Conspiracy."


In addition to private clients, which type of business helped keep Barnaby busy throughout the series?

The Cal Meridian Insurance Company gave Barnaby Jones plenty of business throughout the series. Jones worked to investigate fraud and other insurance-related cases in a way that might remind some people of the adventures of classic radio detective Johnny Dollar.


What was the first name of Barnaby's relative J.R., who came to L.A. and became a major figure on the show starting in season five?

Buddy Edsen was pushing 70 by the fifth season of "Barnaby Miller," so it only made sense to bring on a new major character to share the spotlight. Enter Jedediah Romano Jones, who was played by Mark Shera and went by the nickname J.R.


Think you can name the city J.R. lived in before settling down with Barnaby on the West Coast?

J.R. grew up in the windy city of Chicago but liked the weather out west so much that he stayed in L.A. with Barnaby. He quickly joined the detective agency and began solving cases of his own.


What event sent J.R. to the West Coast to settle down with Barnaby and Betty?

Just as Barnaby came out of retirement to solve his son's murder, J.R. moved to California after his own father was killed. J.R.'s dad, Monroe Jones, was Barnaby's cousin and worked as a police sergeant in the Midwest.


In addition to helping his dad's cousin solve cases, how did J.R. spend his time?

J.R. began attending law school upon moving to L.A., but also spent plenty of time sniffing out clues with his cousin Barnaby Jones. Given Barnaby's advancing age at the time, it was a big help to have someone younger around to handle his legwork.


Every PI needs a source in law enforcement. Who was Barnaby Jones' contact in the LAPD?

John Carter played Lt. John Biddle of the LAPD. He often appeared on "Barnaby Jones" to slip info to the title character ... who offered him plenty of tips of his own in return.


Do you know where Monroe Jones was murdered?

Barnaby's cousin Monroe Jones was determined to find out who murdered his partner on the police force. When he got wind of a possible informant in L.A., he flew to the SoCal city, only to be killed in a shooting ambush.


Guess which of these was really sinking yachts in "The Coronado Triangle."

The season six episode "The Coronado Triangle" was inspired by tales of the Bermuda Triangle, where countless ships were rumored to have sunk. As Barnaby Jones discovered, the only thing sinking yachts in this area near Mexico and California was a group of hijackers.


Barnaby was hit by a bullet while searching for a witness hiding in the woods in season seven. What effect did the shooting have on him?

A graze from a bullet knocked Barnaby out in the season seven opener. When he came to, he was temporarily blind, and forced to take on a trio of hit men to make it out of the forest alive.


Choose the correct name of "The Brady Bunch" star who played stuntman DeWitt Robinson in the season six opener.

After raising six kids as Mike Brady on "The Brady Bunch," actor Robert Reed was ready for a change. He appeared on "Barnaby Jones" as a stuntman named DeWitt Robinson who tries to fake his own death. Unfortunately, his plan goes wrong, and a priest is killed in the process.


Buddy Ebsen's real-life daughter showed up in various guest roles throughout the series. Remember the name of this actress?

"Barnaby Jones" was a family affair, with Buddy Edsen's daughter Bonnie appearing regularly in guest spots. Lee Meriwether's daughter Kyle Aletter, who later worked on "The Price Is Right," also showed up on this classic '70s detective series.


While "Barnaby Jones" is remembered for featuring familiar faces in guest roles, one of these celebs never made an appearance. Know which one?

Dozens of people who appeared in minor roles or "Barnaby Jones" went on to find TV or movie fame, including Morgan Fairchild, Tommy Lee Jones, Bill Bixby and Larry Hagman. While William Shatner had a major guest spot, his "Star Trek" co-star Leonard Nimoy never showed up on the series.


A two-part season seven episode shows Barnaby taking a life. What was he investigating at the time?

In the two-part "Echo of a Distant Battle," Barnaby is hired to track down a missing Vietnam War veteran. During his investigation, Jones ends up shooting and killing someone, causing the D.A. to take away his gun while the police look into the matter.


A season eight storyline revolved around one character heading to Hawaii to visit friends. Remember which one?

J.R.'s trip to paradise was captured in the "Nightmare in Hawaii" storyline. It turns out the trip didn't turn out all that well. In fact, J.R. ended up getting arrested for stabbing a man while in the islands.


While on a trip to Hawaii, where was J.R. when he got badly injured in a trap?

A season eight trip to Hawaii spelled plenty of trouble for J.R. After being arrested for stabbing a man, he escaped the prison, only to end up injured in a booby trap on his friend's illegal marijuana farm. Luckily, Barnaby Jones was able to head to the islands and save J.R. before it was too late.


The second episode of "Barnaby Jones" featured a very familiar guest star playing dual roles. Check your mental captain's log to figure out who it was.

Enterprise Captain James Kirk appeared in a major role on the second episode of "Barnaby Jones." Actor William Shatner starred as Phil Carlyle, a man who commits murders and disappears before turning up with a new name in a faraway town in an effort to get away with the crime.


When Barnaby and J.R. are not on the job, which of these hobbies are they most likely to be involved in?

Barnaby loves to unwind with a fishing rod in his hand, but sometimes, trouble finds him even when he's on vacation. This is what happened in the season six episode "Band of Evil," when Barnaby and J.R. ended up investigating a missing rancher while on a fishing trip.


A singing sister duo posed problems for Barnaby and company throughout season five. What were their names?

Pearl and Ruby Conners appeared as The Starshine Sisters singing duo during season five. After tracking them down the first time, Barnaby is forced to find them again after they end up escaping and turning back up as a singing act known as The Dreammakers.


The actor who would later play Spicoli on "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" had his first acting role on "Barnaby Jones." Do you know his name?

Leo Penn served as one of the directors on "Barnaby Jones." While casting the season eight episode "School of Terror," production members picked Leo's son Sean to appear in a bit part. This young actor named Sean Penn would later go on to become a huge movie star.


Name the character kidnapped by a gang in season six.

In an effort to prevent a major gang war, a local gang leader sends his goons to kidnap Barnaby and force him to solve the murder of a rival leader. When they can't find Barnaby, the gang members kidnap J.R. instead, leaving it up to Barnaby to rescue him.


Which event leads Barnaby to take a rare drink of liquor during an emotional season six story arc?

A pair of episodes titled "Final Judgement" in season six found Barnaby swapping his usual glass of milk for something stronger. So what had this teetotaler reaching for the alcohol? The realization that a man he accused of kidnapping years ago might actually have been wrongly convicted.


The Barnaby Jones character showed up in 1993 big screen remake of a classic TV series. Which one?

Beloved sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies" got a major movie remake in 1993. While "Barnaby Jones" star Buddy Ebsen played Jed Clampett on the original series, he was invited back to the Hillbillies movie to play lawyer Barnaby Jones, while Jim Varney took on the role of Jed.


Why wasn't a reunion movie or TV special ever aired once the series ended?

While many classic sitcoms get reunion specials after the series ends, and some even see the cast reuniting for TV movies in future decades, the cast of "Barnaby Jones" never went this route. It turns out, Buddy Ebsen just wasn't into the idea, though he did write a fictional book based on the series that was published after his death.


The series finale saw one of the characters accused of a double murder. Can you recall which one?

The final episode of "Barnaby Jones" saw Betty accused of a double homicide in a story that was supposed to serve as a backdoor pilot for a series focused on the Tarkington Detective Agency. The series never aired because it lost its spot in the schedule to another series ... "The Waltons."


Before she was Betty Jones, Lee Meriwether donned a superhero suit, but can you remember which one?

Not only did she wear the Miss America crown in 1955, but Lee Meriwether also wore a skintight black suit to play Catwoman in 1966. She appeared in the iconic role in the "Batman" film, which starred Adam West in the title role and Cesar Romero as the Joker.


How many Emmy Awards did "Barnaby Jones" win over its entire run?

The show never won a single Emmy but did earn two nominations. Lee Meriwether earned one in 1977, and the show got another nod for cinematography in 1979. The characters on "The Golden Girls" certainly liked to watch it, and President Richard Nixon was also a huge fan.


"Barnaby Jones" was cancelled after eight seasons. What year did it go off the air?

Eight seasons of "Barnaby Jones" aired on CBS between 1973 and 1980. The show lasted four years longer than "Cannon," which inspired the adventures of "Barnaby Jones" and ended in 1976.


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