Jimmie 'JJ' Walker: 'Good Times' Wasn't Such A Good Time

By | September 16, 2018

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Jimmie Walker in 1974. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)

As the character JJ Evans on Good Times, famous for dropping the catchphrase "Dyn-O-Mite!," actor and standup comedian Jimmie Walker became one of the best-loved sitcom stars in the mid-'70s. Walker, who is currently in his early 70s, doesn't pull punches -- perhaps it's his standup comedy heritage that makes him such a truth-teller. He was recently interviewed by the Television Academy, and his insights about Good Times and his castmates are eye-opening.

We've all had good jobs and bad. Sometimes, the people you work with feel like a family, and sometimes they really don't. Jimmie Walker ended up playing a part on a show about a close-knit family, but his TV family -- his co-stars -- were far from close in real life. Good Times was on the air from 1974-79, and it was a quality show with a great cast. Walker, though, feels the show could have lasted even longer if everyone had been on the same page. Instead, Walker and his co-stars -- particularly Esther Rolle and John Amos, his TV parents -- were more or less strangers.

'Good Times' Was About A Family's Love

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If you remember the show, it was about the Evanses, 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.  

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; Jimmie Walker portrayed the eldest son, JJ (short for James, Jr.); Thelma Evans, the only daughter, and middle child, was portrayed by BernNadette Stanis; and last but not least was Michael Evans, the baby of the family, was portrayed by Ralph Carter. The ever-present single neighbor, Willona, was portrayed by Ja’Net DuBois.