|The Beverly Hillbillies|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Executive producer(s)||Al Simon|
Max Baer, Jr.
Harriet E. MacGibbon
|Opening theme||"The Ballad of Jed Clampett"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Location||Bel-Air, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California|
|Original run||September 26, 1962– March 23, 1971|
|No. of episodes||274 (List of episodes)|
|Related shows||Petticoat Junction|
The series is about a poor backwoods family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. A Filmways production created by writer Paul Henning, it is the first in a genre of "fish out of water" themed television shows, and was followed by other Henning-inspired country-cousin series on CBS. In 1963, Henning introduced Petticoat Junction, and in 1965 he reversed the rags to riches model for Green Acres. The show paved the way for later culture-conflict programs such as McCloud, The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Doc (TV series). Panned by many entertainment critics of its time, it quickly became a huge ratings success for most of its nine-year run on CBS.
The Beverly Hillbillies ranked among the top twenty most watched programs on television for eight of its nine seasons, twice ranking as the number one series of the year, with a number of episodes that remain among the most watched television episodes of all time.
In 1997, the episode "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" was ranked #62 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Theme music
- 3 Broadcast History
- 4 Popularity
- 5 Primetime Emmy Nominations
- 6 Cancellation and "the Rural Purge"
- 7 Main cast
- 8 Series storylines
- 9 Merchandise
- 10 Reunions
- 11 Reruns and syndication
- 12 Media
- 13 Movie version
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Beverly Hillbillies series starts with the OK Oil Company learning of oil in Jed Clampett's swamp land and paying him a fortune to acquire the rights to drill on his land. Patriarch Jed moves with his family into a mansion next door to his banker (Milburn Drysdale) in the wealthy Los Angeles County city of Beverly Hills, California, where he brings a moral, unsophisticated, and minimalistic lifestyle to the swanky, sometimes self-obsessed and superficial community. The theme song introduces the viewer to the world's most fortunate hunting accident – whereby Jed shoots at game but instead hits "Black Gold, Texas tea": he had discovered oil. Double entendres and cultural misconceptions were the core of the sitcom's humor. Frequently, plots involved the outlandish efforts taken by Drysdale to keep the Clampetts in Beverly Hills and their money in his bank. The family's periodic attempts to return to the mountains were often prompted by Granny due to a perceived slight she received from one of the "city-folk." The Beverly Hillbillies accumulated seven Emmy nominations during its run. Nearly a half century since its premiere, the series remains in syndication on MeTV.
The Hillbillies themselves were Buddy Ebsen as the widowed patriarch Jed "J.D." Clampett; Irene Ryan as his ornery mother-in-law, Daisy May "Granny" Moses; Donna Douglas as his curvaceous, tom-boy daughter Elly May Clampett; and Max Baer, Jr. as Jethro, the brawny, half-witted son of his cousin Pearl Bodine. Pearl (played by Bea Benaderet) appeared in most of the first season episodes, as did Jethro's twin sister Jethrine, played by Baer in drag, using Linda Kaye Henning's voiceover. Pearl was the relative who prodded Jed to move to California, after being told his modest property could yield $25 million.
The supporting cast featured Raymond Bailey as Jed's greedy, unscrupulous banker Milburn Drysdale; Harriet E. MacGibbon as Drysdale's ostentatious wife Margaret Drysdale; and Nancy Kulp as "Miss" Jane Hathaway, Drysdale's scholarly, "plain Jane" secretary, who pined for the clueless Jethro.
While Granny frequently mentioned that she was from Tennessee, the series never specified the state from which the Clampetts moved to California. However, they often referred to nearby towns such as Joplin, Branson, Springfield, Tulsa, Silver Dollar City, all of which are in or near southwest Missouri. In the eighth episode of season 8, named "Manhattan Hillbillies," Granny tells the police officer in Central Park that her family comes from Taney County (which is in southwest Missouri). Early episodes also contained several references to Eureka Springs, which is in northwest Arkansas. All of the communities are in the Ozark Mountains. The show's creator was Hamilton (Buddy) Morgan, a television technician from NYC. Producer Paul Henning is from Independence, Missouri, and donated 1,534 acres (621 ha) for the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson.
Animal trainer Frank Inn provided animals for all three of Hennings's hit shows, which included Elly May's "critters," such as chimp Alfie, who portrayed Cousin Bessie, and Duke, Jed's hunting bloodhound. Cousin Bessie was known to strategically outsmart Jethro whenever the latter attempted to make her a beast of burden.
A three-act stage play based on the pilot was written by David Rogers in 1968.
Two episodes of Petticoat Junction feature characters from The Beverly Hillbillies: "Granny, the Baby Expert" featuring Granny, and "A Cake from Granny" featuring Granny and Miss Jane. Although none of the characters from The Beverly Hillbillies ever appeared on Green Acres, an episode of Green Acres was named after The Beverly Hillbillies.
The show's theme song, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", was written by producer and writer Paul Henning and originally performed by bluegrass artists Flatt and Scruggs. The song was sung by Jerry Scoggins (backed by Flatt and Scruggs) over the opening and end credits of each episode. Flatt and Scruggs subsequently cut their own version of the theme (with Flatt singing) for Columbia Records; released as a single, it reached #44 on Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart (the lone country chart-topper for the duo). Flatt and Scruggs also had another Billboard country top ten hit with the comic "Pearl, Pearl, Pearl", an ode to the feminine charms of Miss Pearl Bodine who was featured in the episode "Jed Throws a Wingding," the first of several Flatt and Scruggs appearances on the show.
The six main cast members participated on a 1963 Columbia soundtrack album which featured original song numbers in character. Additionally, Ebsen, Ryan, and Douglas each made a few solo recordings following the show's success, including Ryan's 1966 novelty single, "Granny's Miniskirt."
The series generally featured no country music beyond the bluegrass banjo theme song, although country star Roy Clark and the team of Flatt and Scruggs occasionally played on the program. Pop singer Pat Boone appeared on one episode as himself, with the premise that he hailed from the same area of the country as the Clampetts (Boone is, in fact, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, although he spent most of his childhood in Tennessee).
The 1989 film UHF featured a "Weird Al" Yankovic parody music video, "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*," combining "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" and Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing."
NOTE: The most frequent time slot for the series is in bold text.
- Wednesday at 9:00-9:30 PM on CBS: September 26, 1962—June 10, 1964; September 25, 1968—March 26, 1969
- Wednesday at 8:30-9:00 PM on CBS: September 23, 1964—April 3, 1968; September 24, 1969—March 18, 1970
- Tuesday at 7:30-8:00 PM on CBS: September 15, 1970—March 23, 1971
Written-off as lowbrow by some critics, the show shot to the top of the Nielsen ratings shortly after its premiere and stayed there for several seasons. During its first two seasons, it was the number one program in the U.S. During its second season, it earned some of the highest ratings ever recorded for a half-hour sitcom. The season two episode "The Giant Jackrabbit" also became the most watched telecast up to the time of its airing, and remains the most watched half-hour episode of a sitcom as well. The series enjoyed excellent ratings throughout its run, although it had fallen out of the top 20 most watched shows during its final season.
(tied with Bewitched)
(tied with Daktari and Bewitched)
|9) 1970–1971||Not in the Top 30|
Influence on other television shows
Because of the show's high ratings, CBS asked creator Paul Henning to pen two more folksy comedies, spawning a mini-genre of rural sitcoms during the 1960s. Petticoat Junction featured an extended family, including three pretty young women of marrying age, running a small hotel in the isolated rural town of Hooterville. Green Acres flipped the Clampetts' fish-out-of-water concept by depicting two city sophisticates moving to Hooterville, which was populated by oddball country bumpkins.
Certain actors appeared on more than one of these series:
- Bea Benaderet, who had played Jethro's mother during the first season of The Beverly Hillbillies, was the mother of the family on Petticoat Junction.
- Linda Kaye Henning, who provided the voiceover for the Beverly Hillbillies character Jethrine, portrayed Benaderet's daughter Betty Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction (the only female who remained all seven seasons).
- Edgar Buchanan, who starred in all 222 episodes of Petticoat Junction and guest-starred in 17 episodes of Green Acres, also guested in three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, always as the character Uncle Joe Carson.
- Charles Lane played Homer Bedloe, vice president of the C. & F. W. Railroad, on both shows. He also played an apartment landlord to Jane Hathaway ("Foster Phinney") during the 1970–71 season.
- Sam Drucker, played by Frank Cady, of both Petticoat Junction and Green Acres, also appeared in several episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies.
- Several animal actors trained by Frank Inn, including Higgins the dog, also moved between series as needed.
Despite the actor cross-overs and the character Uncle Joe Carson's multiple appearances (which made it clear that the three shows were set in the same fictional universe), the two Hooterville series retained identities that were distinct from The Beverly Hillbillies.
Primetime Emmy Nominations
- Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead) - Irene Ryan (Winner: Shirley Booth for Hazel (TV series))
- Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy - Richard Whorf (Winner: John Rich (director) for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor (Winner: The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy - Paul Henning (Winner: Carl Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead) - Irene Ryan (Winner: Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy - Richard Whorf (Winner: Jerry Paris for The Dick Van Dyke Show)
- Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy - Nancy Kulp (Winner: Frances Bavier for The Andy Griffith Show)
Cancellation and "the Rural Purge"
The 1970–71 season failed to gain a top 30 Nielson placing and the show was cancelled in 1971 after 274 episodes. The CBS network, prompted by pressure from advertisers seeking a more sophisticated urban audience, decided to refocus its schedule on several "hip" new urban-themed shows and, to make room for them, all of CBS's rural-themed comedies were simultaneously cancelled, despite some considerable Nielsen ratings. This action came to be known as "the Rural Purge." Pat Buttram, who played Mr Haney on Green Acres, famously remarked that, "It was the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it."
In addition to The Beverly Hillbillies, the series that were eliminated included Green Acres, Mayberry R.F.D., and Hee Haw, the last of which was resurrected in first-run syndication, where it ran for another twenty-one years. Petticoat Junction had been canceled a year earlier due to declining ratings following the death of its star, Bea Benaderet.
- J.D. "Jed" Clampett
- Although he had received little formal education, Jed Clampett has a good deal of common sense. A good-natured man, he is the apparent head of the family. Jed's wife (Elly May's mother) died but is referred to in the episode "Duke Steals A Wife" as Rose Ellen. Jed is shown to be an expert marksman and is extremely loyal to his family and kinfolk. The huge oil pool in the swamp he owned was the beginning of his rags-to-riches journey to Beverly Hills. Although he longs for the old ways back in the hills, he makes the best of being in Beverly Hills. Whenever he has anything on his mind, he sits on the curbstone of his mansion and whittles until he comes up with the answer. Jed's full first name is never given in the television series, though 'Jedediah' was used in the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies theatrical movie (coincidentally, on Ebsen's subsequent series, Barnaby Jones, Barnaby's nephew J.R. was also named Jedediah). In one episode Jed and Granny reminisce about seeing Buddy Ebsen and Vilma Ebsen—a joking reference to the Ebsens' song and dance act. Jed appears in all 274 episodes.
- Granny (Daisy May Moses)
- Called "Granny" by all, relatives or not, shotgun-toting Daisy Moses, Jed's mother-in-law, is a true daughter of Dixie. Paul Henning, the show's creator/producer quickly disposed of the idea of Granny being Jed's mother, which would have changed the show's dynamics, making Granny the matriarch and Jed subordinate to her. Granny can be aggressive but is often over-ruled by Jed. She is a confederate to the core, defending President Jefferson Davis, the Stars and Bars, and the simple life. Short-fused and easily angered, Granny fancies herself a "dunked" (not "sprinkled") Christian with forgiveness in her heart. She abhors "revenuers" and blue-coat Yankees. A self-styled "M.D." — "mountain doctor" — she claims to have an edge over expensive know-nothing city physicians. In lieu of anesthesia, Granny uses her "white lightning" brew before commencing on painful treatments such as leech bleeding and yanking teeth with pliers.
- Short and scrappy, Granny often wields a double-barreled, 12-gauge shotgun and fires it numerous times during the run of the show (in a first-season episode she chases Milburn Drysale with it when she found out his family had a feud with her family back in the hills). She fires it once at the front lawn when Jed is witching for water and several times on the skeet shooting range. During the mock Indian invasion she believed she was shooting live shells, though Milburn Drysdale had removed the buckshot to protect the actors portraying the Indians. She fires rock salt and bacon rind at a crow during the "Happy Valley" episode, and again at the back of an armored truck in which Milburn Drysdale was taking refuge in. She fires at (and hits in the posterior) Milburn Drysdale with rocksalt believing he is the ghost of "Lady Clemintine" ending their second visit to "Clampett Castle" in Kent, England.
- Granny also fires "Lady Fingers" (which Elly had baked for Jethro to take to the Army Reserve) into the posterior of an actor portraying Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during "The Battle of Culpepper Plantation"
- She is also able to tell the precise time via a sun dial and the weather via a beetle (Granny Versus the Weather Bureau). Without her glasses, Granny is extremely nearsighted — once in a crossover with the Petticoat Junction show, Granny mistakes a dog for a baby child and a coffee pot for a telephone. Two of Granny's phobias are "Injuns" (she actually buys wigs so the Clampetts won't be "scalped") and the "cement pond" (swimming pool–she has a fear of water). In a long story arc in the show's ninth season, Elly May dates a U.S. Navy frogman, which confuses Granny: After seeing the frogman climb out of the pool in his skin-diving wear, she thinks that anyone who swims in the pool will be turned into a frog. She also has a peculiar way of retelling the War Between The States, in which she thinks the South has won and Jefferson Davis is the president, while calling Sherman's March "Sherman's Retreat to the Sea". Any attempts to correct her meet with failure. She is also known for slicing off switches to use on Jethro, mainly whenever he goes too far with his dumb and idiotic schemes.
- There are references to Granny growing up in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. From episode 9: "When I was a girl back in Tennessee, I set so many boys' hearts on fire that they took to calling that neck of the woods The Smoky Mountains."
- Granny's full name, Daisy Moses, allegedly an homage to the popular and dearly loved folk artist Anna Mary Robertson, known to the world as Grandma Moses. (Grandma Moses died in 1961, a year before The Beverly Hillbillies made its television debut.) Granny is frequently referred to as "Granny Clampett" in a number of episodes but technically she is a Moses. Granny appears in all 274 episodes.
- Elly May Clampett
- Elly May, Jed's only child, is a mountain beauty with the body of a pinup girl and the soul of a tomboy. She can throw a fastball as well as "rassle" most men to a fall, and she can be as tender with her friends, animals, and family as she is tough with anyone she rassles. She said once that animals could be better companions than people, but as she grew older she saw that, "fellas kin be more fun than critters." Elly is squired about by eager young Hollywood actors with stage names like "Dash Riprock" and "Bolt Upright." Other boyfriends for Elly include Sonny Drysdale, Beau Short, beatnik Sheldon Epps, and Mark Templeton, a frogman.
- Elly's most notable weakness, oft mentioned when she is being "courted," is her lack of kitchen skills. Family members cringe when, for plot reasons, Elly takes over the kitchen. Rock-like donuts and cookies, for example, are a plot function in an episode featuring Wally Cox as bird watching Professor Biddle.
- Elly is briefly considered for film stardom at the movie studio owned by Jed. In one episode, hearing Rock Hudson and Cary Grant are both single, Granny asks that Elly be introduced to them.
- During the final season Elly May takes a job as a secretary at the Commerce Bank after Jed and Granny persuade her that it would be a good way to "meet a husband."
- In the 1981 TV movie of The Beverly Hillbillies, Elly May is head of a zoo. Elly May appears in all 274 episodes.
- Jethro Bodine
- Jethro (though he addresses Jed as his uncle) is the son of Jed's cousin, Pearl Bodine. He drove the Clampett family to their new home in California and stayed on with them to further his education. The whole family boasts of Jethro's "sixth grade education" but nevertheless feels he is a bit of an idiot. Jethro is simply naive in the first season of the show but becomes incredibly ignorant and pompous as the series progresses. He often shows off his cyphering abilities with multiplication and "go-zin-ta's," as in "five gozinta five one times, five gozinta ten two times," etc. The tallest student in his class in the town of Oxford (so named because "that's where the oxen used to ford the creek") because of his age, he is often impressing others that he graduated "top of his class at Oxford." In Beverly Hills, he decides to go to college. He manages to enroll late in the semester at a local secretarial school due to his financial backing and earns his diploma by the end of the day because he didn't understand what was going on in class and was too disruptive. (This was an ironic in-joke—in real life Max Baer Jr, has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Santa Clara University(Also Minored in Philosophy)).
- Many stories in the series involve Jethro's endless career search, which include such diverse vocations as a millwright, a brain surgeon, street car conductor, double-naught spy, Hollywood producer (a studio flunky remarks Jethro has the right qualifications for being a producer-a 6th grade education and his uncle owns the studio. The in-joke gag of Jethro as a movie producer was replayed in the 1981 movie), soda jerk, short order cook, and once as a bookkeeper for Milburn Drysdale's bank. More often than not, his overall goal in these endeavors is to obtain as many pretty girls as humanly possible. Out of all the Clampett clan, he is the one who makes the most change from 'country bumpkin' to 'city boy.' Another running gag is that Jethro is known as the "six foot stomach" for his ability to eat: in one episode he eats a jetliner's entire supply of steaks; in another episode Jethro tries to set himself up as a Hollywood agent for cousin "Bessie"-with a fee of 10,000 bananas for Bessie and 1,000 bananas for Jethro. At one time Jed mentions that Jethro was the only baby he knew born with a full set of teeth "just like a beaver." Jethro appears in 272 episodes; he is not in the third- or second-to-last episodes but Baer of course remains billed in the title credits. Baer claimed he only auditioned for the role of Jethro for fun and never expected to get the part. Supposedly, he clinched the part largely because of his grin.
- The Clampetts' family dog. He's an old bloodhound that Jed had bought for four bits (50 cents) when he was a puppy. In early episodes, Jethro tries to teach Duke to fetch sticks, though to Jed it looks as if Duke is teaching Jethro how to do the trick. In a couple of episodes, Duke gets involved with a French poodle that was brought in to mate with Mrs. Drysdale's pampered pooch Claude. Apparently, the poodle has better taste and has Duke's puppies instead. When Mrs. Drysdale wants Claude to get revenge against Duke, Jed warns her that he's seen that old hound dog hold his own against a bobcat.
- The Drysdales
- Milburn, Margaret, and Sonny: The Drysdales are the Clampetts' next door neighbors. Milburn is the Commerce Bank's tightwad president and the friendly bumpkins' confidant. The haughty Mrs. Drysdale touts a heritage that traces back to the Mayflower, but money-hungry Milburn's concerns are strictly monetary. When suffering an anxiety attack, Milburn sniffs a stack of money and is quickly revived. Mr. Drysdale appeases the Clampetts and says that anything they do is unquestionably right. He often forces others, especially his secretary, to placate the Clampetts' by granting their unorthodox requests. Although wife Margaret, a blue-blooded Bostonian, has obvious disdain for the "peasant" hillbillies, she tacitly agrees to tolerate them (rather than Milburn lose their ever growing account—which is $96,000,000 in 1969, equal to $608,406,534 today). Margaret loathes all four "vagabonds," but her most heated rivalry is with Granny, with whom she occasionally has some "scraps." Raymond Bailey appears in 247 episodes. Harriet E. MacGibbon appears in 55 episodes between 1962 and 1969, she is not seen in the last two seasons of the show although is occasionally mentioned. Margaret's aged father has gambled away most of their money. Mrs. Drysdale's son—and Milburn's Stepson—is Sonny (played by Louis Nye), who is a forty-something collegian who doesn't believe in working up a sweat and is an insufferable mama's boy. Finding Elly May a lovely, naive Pollyanna, he courts her until she literally tosses him. Although the character is fondly remembered by fans, Sonny only appears in four episodes, three in 1962 and a final appearance in 1966.
- Jane Hathaway
- Jane Hathaway, whom the Clampetts addressed as "Miss Jane," is Drysdale's loyal and efficient secretarial assistant. Though she always carried out his wishes, she was inherently decent and was frequently put off by her boss' greed. When she was annoyed with him, as was often especially when one of Drysdale's schemes went too far, she would usually and forcefully say "Chief!" Jane was genuinely fond of the family (to the Clampetts, she was considered family; even Granny, the one most dead-set against living in California, liked her very much and thought of her as part of the family), in fact, she actually harbored something of a crush on Jethro for most of the series' run. At first, she mistook the Clampetts as the servants, until she realized who they really were (which almost cost her her job). Miss Hathaway frequently has to "rescue" Drysdale from his idiotic schemes, receiving little or no thanks for her efforts. In one episode, she and Granny, disguised as "geisha girls," finally have enough and "crown" Drysdale and Jethro, who have made one too many comments about women serving men. Jane is loyal to Drysdale as well, despite her misgivings toward his avarice and greed. In one episode, the Clampetts, feeling money has corrupted them, give all of their money to Virginia "Ginny" Jennings (Sheila Kuehl), a college student. While Drysdale moans the loss of the money, Jane immediately tells him to stop thinking about the Clampetts and start trying to get the Jennings account. Eventually, everyone discovered Jennings' real motives, and she was gone, with the Clampetts getting their money back, and things were as they were before. In one episode, it is established that Miss Jane sacrificed her job as the top secretary of the top executive of the top insurance company to join Mr. Drysdale at the Commerce Bank. Miss Jane was a Vassar graduate. Jane Hathaway appears in 246 episodes.
Note- In 1999 TV Guide ranked her number 38 on its '50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time' list.
- Pearl Bodine
- Jed's cousin Pearl Bodine, portrayed by Bea Benaderet, was Jethro's widowed mother. In the last season, Granny mentioned that her husband, Fred Bodine, had drowned in a fishing accident when Jethro was just a baby (although, in an earlier episode, Jethro shared some memories of his father with a psychiatrist). Pearl was a generally well-meaning mother to Jethro. She also was a popular character, often used as a foil for Granny, and became a regular part way through the first season (the end credits were even refilmed to include Pearl with the other family members). She disappeared after the first year because Benaderet had become the star of another Paul Henning series, Petticoat Junction. Like Elly May, Pearl's name came from that of a character (Pearl Lester) in the popular rural-life novel, play, and film Tobacco Road. Pearl Bodine appears in 22 of the first season's episodes, 1962–63, and later makes a cameo in the 1967 episode "Greetings From The President". In the episodes "The Clampetts Get Psychoanalyzed" & "The Psychiatrist Gets Clampetted" Herbert Rudley plays the psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Twombley. In the episodes Pearl is enamored with Dr. Twombley; Benaderet's real life husband is named Eugene Twombley. The role was first offered to Shirley Collie.
- Jethrine Bodine
- Jethrine is Pearl's king-sized daughter, Jethro's twin (and is also played by Baer, though voiced by Linda Kaye Henning). Jethrine appears in 11 episodes in 1962–63; she moves with her mother to the Clampett mansion later that season but occasionally is not seen in episodes during her stay in California. Jethrine was upset in leaving the hills as it meant separation from her "sweetie", traveling salesman Jazzbo Depew. Late in the season it was explained in an episode that Jethrine had returned home to marry Depew, although the wedding was never seen in the series (nor was Jethrine ever seen again, although she was occasionally referenced). Jethro and Jethrine rarely appeared in the same scene in any of the programs and then they were never on-camera at the same time except for the rare back-of-the-head shot of one done by a double. Jethrine appears in the 1993 movie version.
- Dash Riprock
- Dash played by Larry Pennell was the handsome Hollywood actor employed by Jed's movie studio. He and Elly May met while she was working as an extra at the studio. Once Dash saw the beautiful Elly in her bathing suit, he was smitten with her. The two had an on-and-off relationship. In one episode, Mr. Drysdale forced Dash into courting Elly May by threatening to put him in a television show called Crabman. Elly initially liked Dash and enjoyed being with him on dates. Jethro, however, was more enamored with Dash and his playboy persona than was his comely cousin. Riprock was a send-up of the blatantly fake screen names employed by a number of movie actors of the period. Riprock's real name (before being changed by Hollywood moguls) was "Homer Noodleman," and he was from Peoria, Illinois. Dash Riprock was in 10 episodes, mainly between 1965–69.
- Lowell Redlings Farquhar
- Lowell is the elderly father of Mrs. Drysdale whom Granny considers a potential beau. Lowell (played by Charles Ruggles) is in three episodes, 1965–66.
- Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
- Country music stars Flatt and Scruggs (who play themselves in seven episodes, 1963–68), are longtime friends of the Clampetts "back home" (Kimberling City, Missouri) who visit with the Clampetts when they are on tour in California. The duo had a number-one Billboard country single with the show's "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (although the song is actually performed in the credits by Jerry Scoggins to Flatt and Scruggs' instrumental). Actress Joi Lansing played Flatt's wife, Gladys, in five episodes, 1963–68.
- John Brewster
- Brewster (played by Frank Wilcox), is the President & CEO of the OK Oil company headquartered in Tulsa who purchases the oil rights to the gusher on the Clampett home back in the hills. The Clampetts are quite fond of him, and his wife occasionally visits them in California. John Brewster appears in 14 episodes, 1962–1966.
- Janet Trego
- Janet (played by Sharon Tate) is a beautiful secretary at the Commerce Bank. Although Janet appears in 15 episodes, 1963–65, her role is generally quite minor. Tate was later murdered by Charles Manson's "Family" just before the start of the eighth season.
- Sam Drucker
- Sam (played by Frank Cady) owns the general store in Hooterville. Granny is constantly under the impression that Sam wants to marry her, however Sam has no intentions of doing so. He appears in 10 episodes between 1968–1970. Cady also starred as Sam Drucker in Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. Cady reprised the role of Sam Drucker for the 1990 Green Acres reunion movie Return to Green Acres
- Helen Thompson
- Helen (played by Danielle Mardi) is a beautiful British secretary at the Commerce Bank. Helen takes over Jane Hathaway's job as Mr. Drysdale's secretary after Ms. Hathaway resigned. Helen appears in 17 episodes between 1969–1971. Helen was one of the ringleaders of the protest group the secretaries of the Commerce Bank created, GRUN (Girls Resist Unfair Neglect). She, along with many other secretaries as well as Elly and Granny, lived with Ms. Hathaway for a short time in her apartment.
- Shorty Kellums
- Shorty (played by Shug Fisher) is Jed's longtime buddy from back home whom Jed reunites with in 1969 when the Clampetts go back for an extended period to the Hills. Shorty is a wiry little man who is crazy about voluptuous girls half his age. Shorty later moves into the Clampett mansion in Beverly Hills for a period. Shorty Kellums appears in 17 episodes in the 1969–70 season, and returned again briefly during 1970–71.
- Elverna Bradshaw
- Elverna is Granny's longtime rival back in the Hills, a gossip second to none. She makes a brief appearance in a 1963 episode when the Clampetts go back to the Hills to fetch Pearl to California but is not seen again until 1969 when the Clampetts return to their native land for an extended visit. However, both Granny and Jed referred to the character in several episodes throughout the series' run. Elverna (played by Elvia Allman) and Granny rekindle their feud in a match to see who will be first wed, Elverna's daughter or Elly May. For reasons not really explained, Elverna also moves into the Clampett Beverly Hills mansion during the same period that Shorty does; both of them, however, are gone from the estate for the final 1970–71 season, presumably having returned home. Elverna Bradshaw appears in 13 episodes, 1963–1970.
- Matthew and Mark Templeton
- The Templetons are two brothers both played by actor Roger Torrey, who originally auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the part of Jethro. Matthew is seen in three episodes in October 1969 during the Clampetts' stay in the Hills where Granny tags the preacherman as a prospective husband for Elly. Unfortunately, Granny learns that Matthew is married. Just a year later back in California, Elly meets Matthew's brother, Mark Templeton, who is a marine biologist, a frogman whom Granny believes is actually part frog. The Mark Templeton storyline played out for nine episodes and was abruptly dropped although advance publicity for the show indicated Elly May and Mark would be marrying during the season; however, the show was cancelled at the end of that season as part of the CBS Rural Purge.
In addition to the family dog, Duke, a number of animals lived on the Clampett estate thanks to animal-lover Elly. These animals were collectively known as her "critters".
The most prominent pets were chimpanzees. The first chimp on the show was named "Skipper", who was a Christmas present from Mr. Drysdale. The following season, Elly May acquired a female chimp named "Cousin Bessie", so named because she was Skipper's cousin. She was a regular for the remainder of the series. A running gag is that Cousin Bessie frequently proves to be smarter than "educated" Jethro. There was also a chimp called Maybelle.
As well as typical pets such as dogs/puppies and cats/kittens Elly was also shown to keep exotic animals such as deer, possums, a bear named Fairchild, some goats, a raccoon named Elmer, a kangaroo, Earl the rooster, Charlie the skunk, Gem the mink, a puma named Jethro, a hippo named Harold, a sea lion named Shorty and many more. There was also a mutt named Jojo and a wild pig named Pearl.
Most episodes revolved around the clash between the "uncivilized" hillbilly culture represented by the Clampetts and the "civilized" American culture of the Drysdales. The Clampetts lived as they always had, even in their large, elegant mansion, never abandoning their mountain attire or replacing the old rattletrap truck in which they had moved to California. Although when asked what kind of truck it is, Jethro said 'I think it's a Stutz', it is actually based on a 1921 Oldsmobile. All the Hillbillies were handy with firearms and always seemed to have their weapons close at hand and ready to draw. They continued to grow their own food, and Granny made lye soap and moonshine. The extreme potency of the moonshine liquor and the harshness of the lye soap were running gags throughout the run of the series.
As another running joke, the movie theaters back in the hills were still showing films from the silent movie era and the Hillbillies were unaware of talking pictures or more contemporary movie stars. Granny's favorite actor was Hoot Gibson, but she also had an intense crush on William S. Hart, and the whole Clampett family adored Mary Pickford. Silent movie legend Gloria Swanson made a memorable guest appearance on the show as herself in an episode that featured a comic parody of a silent melodrama. The Clampetts did, however, have a television, on which they watched soap operas and "rasslin'", as well as John Wayne movies, as he was apparently one of the few "talkie" movie stars of whom they were aware. Wayne made a brief cameo as himself after the Clampett mansion was "attacked" by stuntmen dressed as Native Americans.
Pearl and Granny often fought for kitchen supremacy. Pearl once told Granny "a blood cousin trumps a mother-in-law". This underscored a familial disconnect between Jethro and Granny; although they shared no bloodlines, Jethro still called her "Granny" (as did everyone else on the show, including Miss Jane and the Drysdales). Other than their kitchen wars, relations between Granny and Pearl were generally friendly. The second season began with a brief mention of Pearl having moved back to the hills, an ironic departure, as it was Pearl who had urged Jed to move to California. The change came about because actress Bea Benaderet had left the show to star in Petticoat Junction. Mrs. Drysdale soon became Granny's main sparring partner.
Although both Douglas and Baer were well into their twenties when the series started, during the first years of the series, their characters were supposed to be teenagers. Elly May was enrolled in an elite girls' school in the first season, although no further mention was made of her education in later episodes. Jethro was enrolled in a sixth-grade class with much younger students; a few episodes later on, the scripts suggested that he was still in school.
Should Granny or one of her kin feel lonely for the hills, banker Drysdale would bend over backwards to placate the offended subject. Drysdale went so far as to re-create the log cabin the Clampetts had lived in and place it right next to the "cee-ment pond" and the still Granny had installed to make moonshine. Another time Drysdale followed the Clampetts to the "Hills" and bought up the Silver Dollar City "bank" just to make sure he had a controlling interest in the Clampetts' money. One running gag was that when Jed would take money out of his pocket, Drysdale's blood pressure would go up. A similar running joke was that when it seemed the Clampetts would take their money out of his bank, Drysdale's face would turn green. A variation of the joke of Drysdale's face changing color is in one episode when, after being given some of Granny's "Tennessee Tranquilizer" (moonshine), Drysdale's face turns red.
Another frequent source of humor dealt with Jethro's endless career search, which included such diverse vocations as soda jerk, brain surgeon, Hollywood celebrity, and secret "double naught" agent/spy. Jethro coveted movie star fame and relished becoming a "playboy" like Elly's beau Dash Riprock. Jethro's stupidity usually caused such career attempts to fail spectacularly, as when he decided to open a "topless" restaurant ("The Happy Gizzard"), where the waiters and waitresses were hatless. The one time in the series when Jethro almost succeeded as a "Hollywood celebrity" was when "Cousin Roy" (Roy Clark) tried to get Jethro to back him up as a country singer in Hollywood; Jethro refused and failed as usual. Jethro did have one success, of sorts. When he rescued a Bird Watchers girl troop who fell into the "cement pond" (they were attacked by ants), Jethro got a "lifesaving badge".
Misunderstandings were a general source of humor in the program: when the Clampetts did not understand something they had never encountered before (such as a water faucet), or when various city dwellers could not comprehend something the Clampetts were talking about. A group of businessmen overheard Jed talking about "crawdads" and concluded that he was discussing a new type of military vehicle, which they wanted to invest in. Conversely, when Jed muses to Mr. Brewster about whether he can afford to move to Beverly Hills, Brewster responds with, "Why, Mr. Clampett, with your money, you could afford the Taj Mahal," to which Jed rejoins, "I'll take it!" When Brewster insists he was making a joke; Jed allows that he can go right ahead. Brewster: "Well, that was the joke." Jed: "Mr. Brewster, you're an awfully nice feller, but I've heard a sight better jokes than that!"
The Clampetts went back to the hills for Christmas during the first season but did not return there until the eighth season, during which several episodes were filmed on location in Kimberling City, Missouri. During this period, Shug Fisher and Elvia Allman joined the cast as Shorty and Elverna (Allman had appeared on an episode in the first season playing the same character).
One constant throughout the series was that the Hillbillies, who were scrupulously honest, were surrounded by cynical, conniving and money-hungry "city-folk," whose plans were always foiled (usually unknowingly) by the Clampetts.
The 1960s saw a plethora of tie-in merchandise hit store shelves, particularly toys. Several different coloring books and jigsaw puzzles were released, as was a fairly long-running comic book. There were even Hillbillies Halloween costumes. A Beverly Hillbillies lunchbox is among the most valuable pieces of memorabilia from the era.
The Beverly Hillbillies made the cover of TV Guide nine times between 1962 and 1970. Donna Douglas is the only cast member pictured on every cover. Donna Douglas was also one of the most publicized actresses of the era, making the covers of many movie magazines.
In 1993, a 110-card set of Beverly Hillbillies trading cards was released by Eclipse Comics. Although timed to coincide with the release of the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies film, these cards featured photos from the original television series, with storylines and character details on the back. An earlier card series from 1963 is highly sought by collectors and is among the most expensive non-sports cards sets.
1981 CBS TV movie
In 1981, a Return of the Beverly Hillbillies television movie, written and produced by series creator Paul Henning, was aired on the CBS network. Irene Ryan had died in 1973, and Raymond Bailey had died in 1980. The script acknowledged Granny's passing but featured Imogene Coca as Granny's mother. Max Baer decided against reprising the role that both started and stymied his career, so the character of Jethro Bodine was given to another actor, Ray Young.
The film's plot had Jed back in his old homestead in Bugtussle, having divided his massive fortune among Elly May and Jethro, both of whom stayed on the West Coast. Jane Hathaway had become a Department of Energy agent and was seeking Granny's "White Lightnin'" recipe to combat the energy crisis. Since Granny had gone on to "her re-ward", it was up to Granny's centenarian "Maw" (Imogene Coca) to divulge the secret brew's ingredients. Subplots included Jethro playing an egocentric, starlet-starved Hollywood producer, Jane and her boss (Werner Klemperer) having a romance and Elly May owning a large petting zoo. The four main characters finally got together by the end of the story.
Having been filmed a mere decade after the final episode of the original series, viewer consensus was that the series' original spirit was lost to the film on many fronts, chief of which being the deaths of Ryan and Bailey and Baer's absence, which left only three of the six original cast members available to reprise their respective roles. Further subtracting from the familiarity was the fact that the legendary Clampett mansion was unavailable for a location shoot as the owners' lease was too expensive. Henning himself admitted sheer embarrassment when the finished product aired, blaming his inability to rewrite the script due to the 1981 Writers Guild strike.
The Last Hillbilly Hurrah
In 1993, Ebsen, Douglas, and Baer reunited onscreen for the only time in the CBS-TV retrospective television special, The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies which ranked as the 4th most watched television program of the week – a major surprise given the mediocre rating for the 1981 TV-movie. It was a rare tribute from the "Tiffany network" which owed much of its success in the 1960s to the series but has often seemed embarrassed by it in hindsight, often down-playing the show in retrospective television specials on the network's history and rarely inviting cast members to participate in such all-star broadcasts.
The Legend of The Beverly Hillbillies special ignored several plot twists of the TV movie, notably Jethro was now not a film director but a leading Los Angeles physician. Critter-loving Elly May was still in California with her animals but Jed was back home in the Hills, having lost his fortune, stolen by the now-imprisoned banker Drysdale (a plot twist that many fans found unsettling for this good-natured show.) Nancy Kulp had died in 1991 and was little referred to beyond the multitude of film clips that dotted the special (which curiously failed to include a single film clip of Harriet MacGibbon.) The special was released on VHS tape by CBS/Fox Video in 1995 and as a bonus feature on The Official Third Season DVD Set in 2009.
The Beverly Hillbillies is still televised daily around the world in syndication. In the United States, the show is broadcast on TV Land and MeTV and was previously on WGN America. A limited number of episodes from the earlier portions of the series run have turned up in the public domain and as such are seen occasionally on many smaller networks.
The show is distributed by CBS Television Distribution, the syndication arm of CBS Television Studios. The repeats of the show that debuted on CBS Daytime on September 5–9, 1966 as "Mornin' Beverly Hillbillies" through September 10, 1971 and on September 13–17, 1971 as "The Beverly HILLBILLIES" lasted up to Winter 1971–1972. It aired at 11:00–11:30am Eastern/10:00-10:30am Central through September 3, 1971, then moved to 10:30–11:00am Eastern/9:30-10:00am Central for the last season on CBS Daytime.
Copyright issues and availability
There are 55 episodes of the series that are in the public domain, (all 36 season one episodes and 19 season two episodes), because Orion Television, successor to Filmways, neglected to renew their copyrights. As a result, these episodes have been released on home video and DVD on many low-budget labels and shown on low-power television stations and low-budget networks in 16 mm prints. In many video prints of the public domain episodes, the original theme music has been replaced by generic music due to copyright issues.
Before his death, Paul Henning, whose estate now holds the original film elements to the public domain episodes, authorized MPI Home Video to release the best of the first two seasons on DVD, the first "ultimate collection" of which was released in the fall of 2005. These collections include the original, uncut versions of the first season's episodes, complete with their original theme music and opening sponsor plugs. Vol. 1 has, among its bonus features, the alternate, un-aired version of the pilot film, The Hillbillies Of Beverly Hills (the version of the episode that sold the series to CBS), and the "cast commercials" (cast members pitching the products of the show's sponsors) originally shown at the end of each episode.
With the exception of the public domain episodes, the copyrights to the series were renewed by Orion Television. However, any new compilation of Hillbillies material will be copyrighted by either MPI Media Group or CBS, depending on the content of the material utilized. The trademarks, concepts and character rights are the exclusive property of CBS Broadcasting.
For many years, 20th Century Fox, through a joint venture with CBS called CBS/Fox Video, released select episodes of Hillbillies on videocassette. After Viacom merged with CBS, Paramount Home Entertainment (the video division of Paramount Pictures, which was acquired by Viacom in 1994) took over the video rights.
In 2006, Paramount announced plans to release the copyrighted episodes in boxed sets through CBS DVD later that year. The show's second season (consisting of the public domain episodes from that season) was released on DVD in Region 1 on October 7, 2008 as "...The Official Second Season". The third season was released on February 17, 2009. Both seasons are available to be purchased together from major online retailers.
In 1993, a movie version of The Beverly Hillbillies was released starring Jim Varney as Jed Clampett and featuring Buddy Ebsen in a cameo as Barnaby Jones, the lead character in his long-running post-Hillbillies television series.
- List of The Beverly Hillbillies episodes
- List of The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres episodes
- The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), a movie based on the series
- Zeke Manners, who led a band called The Beverly Hillbillies in the 1930s
- Rural purge
- "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies", a song by "Weird Al" Yankovic
- Nielsen Media Research (August 6, 2000). "Top 100 TV Shows of All Time". Variety. http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=chart_pass&charttype=chart_topshowsalltime. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
- "Hollywood To Make Movie Of Old 'Beverly Hillbillies'". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1993-01-24/news/9301240378_1_beverly-hillbillies-dabney-coleman-series-the-beverly. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
- The 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time
- Dale Cox. "Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area – Branson, Missouri". Exploresouthernhistory.com. http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/henning1.html. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- The Beverly Hillbillies stage play, adapted by David Rogers
- The Beverly Hillbillies: The Giant Jackrabbit – TV.com
- "Ralph Foster Museum – Beverly Hillbillies Car, Point Lookout, Missouri". Roadsideamerica.com. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14355. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- ClassicTVHits.com: TV Ratings > 1970's
- Lewis, Matt (April 7, 2011). "Why Fox News let Glenn Beck go". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/07/glenn-beck-fox-news. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- Ken Berry interview
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. pp. 191. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
- 20 maart 2008. "Paul Henning – Archive Interview Part 8 of 8". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxn4V6p1OYw. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- "The Beverly Hillbillies DVD news: Announcement for The Beverly Hillbillies – The Official 3rd Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Beverly-Hillbillies-Season-3/10886. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
- The Beverly Hillbillies at the Internet Movie Database
- The Beverly Hillbillies at TV.com
- Watch full episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies on TV Land
- The Beverly Hillbillies at the Museum of Broadcast Communications
- Beverly Hillbillies Theme Bluegrass Lyrics (The Ballad of Jed Clampett)
- All 55 public domain episodes (Season 1 and part of 2)
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