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Jimmy “JJ” Walker on the Subject of Good Times – It Wasn’t Exactly “DY-NO-MITE!”

Entertainment | September 17, 2018

The Cast of 'Good Times' The Evans family and their neighbor Willona share a laugh in a scene from the hit sitcom 'Good Times,' 1974. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

James Carter Walker, Jr., better known to the world as Jimmy “JJ” Walker turned 71 years old this year. Walker’s most notable role was portraying, JJ, on the sitcom, “Good Times.”  

Jimmy Walker is probably best remembered for his role on, “Good Times,” in the 70’s.

If you remember the show, it was about the Evans,’ a tight knit, African American family struggling to make ends meet and get by in this world. Both Parents worked hard to make sure their children had every advantage they could provide for them.  

John Amos and Esther Rolle portrayed James and Florida Evans in “Good Times.”

The patriarch of the family was father, James Evans, Sr., portrayed by John Amos; Florida Evans, portrayed by Esther Rolle, was his strong and supportive wife; Jimmy Walker portrayed the eldest son, JJ Evans (short for James, Jr.); Thelma Evans, the only daughter and middle child, was portrayed by Bern Nadette Stanis; and last but not least was Michael Evans, the baby of the family,  was portrayed by Ralph Carter. Of course, I could not forget to mention the ever present single neighbor named Willona, portrayed by Ja’Net DuBois.

“Good Times” was released in the 70’s when the cultural climate was changing.

Shows like “Good Times” gave white America a glimpse into the inner workings of the African American family. It was interesting to note that at the time, many white families had no idea that family is family and that we all have the same struggles. “Good Times” was intended to be a comedy but was also based on real life struggles with a serious side. Although, JJ provided much of the comedic relief, according to him, it wasn’t always, “DY-NO-MITE!” This is the term JJ used to describe everything from his love life to himself in general.

JJ Evans' famous catchphrase was, “DY-NO-MITE!”

When ever JJ had a particularly good date, a good day at school or just wanted to shout his own praises, he would deliver a dramatic, “DY-NO-MITE!” It always came with a boisterous and animated delivery and was his signature "go to" throughout the series and beyond. That is not necessarily how he felt about the show, “Good Times,” in reality, however.

In an interview with Jimmy Walker, he revealed that all was not what it seemed on, “Good Times.”

A very candid, tell-all interview with Jimmy Walker revealed that all was not what it seemed on the set of “Good Times.” While the television family was very close and supportive of one another, that wasn’t the case once the cameras stopped rolling. He reported that there was no comradery, personal friendships, or even casual relationships, off set. He is quoted as saying, “I will honestly say, I don’t remember ever speaking a word to Esther the whole time she was there. I think the same basically goes for John. We talk more now but very, very little. We were never friends, never talked. If you said at that time ‘Call Esther and ask her about [something],’ I wouldn’t even have her number,” he added.” I couldn’t have called John. I wouldn’t have had his number … We never spoke to each other. Only on the set … We never did anything together.”

In reality, Jimmy Walker was of the impression that his talent and enthusiasm, alone, may have carried the show in ratings. He didn’t feel like his fellow cast members appreciated that they were actually on a hit television sitcom at the time. “Good Times” had a huge following and did very well in the ratings. Walker was quoted as saying, “I think that they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.  “These people, anytime you said anything, they get crazy, they get upset. ‘They don’t get it, man."

Although, Jimmy Walker may have been left with a bad taste in his mouth surrounding his days on, “Good Times,” it certainly jump started his career. He started out as a kid born in the Bronx who fought his way to the top. Currently, he still draws big crowds for his stand-up comedy shows and continues to entertain audiences all these year later.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.