Most fans know about Jimmy Buffett's musical career as a singer and songwriter. Fewer know of his success as a book writer, a novelist and a semi-autobiographical writer.

Only a handful caught his short career as a television actor. Now, all Buffett fans can view Buffett's entire TV career.

Paramount+ is streaming all seven episodes of "Hawaii Five-0" featuring Buffett playing a part he had written. He played Alabama-born helicopter pilot Frank Bama. Bama-raised and Bama-named.

The Bama character came from an earlier Buffett novel, "Where is Joe Merchant?" Producers working on "Hawaii Five-0" were looking for a particular type of character, and they found one in the Buffett novel. They also found someone to play the character Jimmy Buffett.

Buffett played the Bama role in seven episodes from 2011 to 2020. By accessing Paramount+, you can stream the seven Buffett episodes.

Played by Jimmy Buffett:

·        Episode 2x10: Ki'lua (November 21, 2011)

·        Episode 3x20: Olelo Pa'a (April 15, 2013)

·        Episode 5x18: Pono Kaulike (Mar 6, 2015)

·        Episode 7x13: Ua Ho'i Ka 'opua I Awalua (Jan 13, 2017)

·        Episode 8x18: E Ho'oko Kuleana (March 30, 2018)

·        Episode 9x25: Hana Mao 'ole Ka Ua O Waianae (May 17, 2019)

·        Episode 10x19: E ho'i na keiki oki uaua o na pali (Mar 6, 2020)

You can put together your own Buffett marathon by watching his seven "Hawaii Five-0" episodes.

Buffett grew up in mid-town Mobile, graduating high school from "McGill Institute," now McGill-Toolen. His first musical performances were as a trombone player in the McGill band. To purloin a phrase, he was "unsung."

Some early days as a singer and guitarist were at The Admiral's Corner, the bar at the corner of Government Street and Joachim Street in the famous Admiral Semmes Hotel. He mostly played for Mobile friends and a few hotel guests. He earned $5 a night plus tips.

Buffett had a difficult time then getting the popular local radio station, WABB, to play his early records. That experience resulted in a Buffett song and recording that also did not get much airplay, "If I Had a Saxophone."

Buffett's parents, James and Peets Buffett, lived in Mobile during most of their working careers. In retirement, they moved to the Eastern Shore of Baldwin County and enjoyed the sunsets and Jubilees in their sunset years.

Buffett's first known recording sessions were at a small, struggling studio in Baldwin County's Daphne.

Buffett would often headquarter in Baldwin County with his parents or his sister Lucy Buffett (Lulu) in frequent visits home. He never forgot where he came from. Living and working in Hattiesburg, New Orleans, Nashville, Key West, the Caribbean, and in the sea and air (he was a pilot), he gravitated home to the Alabama Gulf Coast.

The real Frank Bama, Jimmy Buffett, was generous with his time and money. He anonymously donated two vintage World War II aircraft to the Battleship Alabama Park, on the Mobile/Baldwin line. He performed dozens of impromptu, unpaid sets at Buffett-ambianced spots in Baldwin County – Lulu's (a Gulf Shores restaurant owned by his sister, Lucy Buffett); Judge Roy Bean's (owned by Buffett friend Jack West); the Hangout; and fundraisers after hurricane damage.

Jimmy Buffett died September 1, 2023, but his music and his legacy live on, not only in song and books but also in television.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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