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Beverly Hillbillies

Yeee haaaa da ga ching ching ching (banjo music).  A poor family that lived out in the woods suddenly strikes oil and becomes a Bevery Hills family.  Not only do they not know much about money; they don't know about normal life, in the city or otherwise.

Category: Sitcom

Created By: Paul Henning

Stars: Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer Jr. Raymond Bailey, Nancy Kulp, Bea Benaderet, Harriet E. MacGibbon

Opening Theme: The Ballad of Jed Clampett

Country of Origin: United States

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of episodes: 274

Executive Producers: Al Simon and Martin Ransohoff

Producers: Paul Henning

Locations: Bel-Air, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Original Channel: CBS

Original Run: September 26, 1962 to May 23, 1971

Related Shows: The Beverly Hillbillies (Film)

This is a show about a poor family that lived out in the woods and accidentally struck oil.  They become amazingly wealthy and move to The Hills...Beverly that is.....plastic parts land.....where you go to the psychiatrist (therapist.....oooh I'm rich so I don't go to a psychiatrist.....and rich people don't sweat; they perspire) more than you go to the grocery store.  Beverly Hills is also a place that a lot of people sniff and don't have a cold.  Okay but I'm sure it's nice anyway.  

The Beverly Hillbillies was produced by Filmways.  The series was on CBS originally from  September 26, 1962, - March 23, 1971 and comprises 274 episodes -- 106 in black-and-white (1962-1965), and 168 in color (1965-1971). The show starred Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett, Irene Ryan as Daisy "Granny" Moses, Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett, and Max Baer, Jr. as Jethro Bodine.


The series starts out with the family living in the woods in their run down shack.  Jed Clampett strikes oil on one of his hunting adventures.  The family becomes rich and moves to Beverly Hills.  Jed tries to live like he's still in the woods even though he's now rich.  The show lasted 9 seasons and won 11 Emmys out of 27 nominations.  The Beverly Hillbillies is still airing in syndication on many networks.

The characters include the following:

Buddy Ebsen plays Jed Clampett who is a widower.

Irene Ryan is Jed's mother-in-law, Daisy "Granny" Moses.

Donna Douglas is Elly May Clampett, Jed's daughter.

Max Baer Jr. is Jed's cousin Jethro Bodine.


Supporting Cast

Raymond Bailey played Jed's greedy banker Milburn Drysdale.

Harriet E. MacGibbon played Drysdale's snobbish wife Margaret Drysale.

Nancy Kulp played Drysdale's secretary "Miss" Jane Hathaway loved stupid people.

Jed's cousin Pearl Bodine (played by Bea Benaderet) was Jethro's mother. She appeared in several episodes during the first season, as did Jethro's twin sister Jethrine, played by Baer in drag, using Linda Kaye Henning's voiceover.

Sharon Tate had a recurring role during the early years of the series.  She played Janet Trego, an assistant to Miss Hathaway at the Commerce Bank.  Sharon Tate had also appeared as one of Elly May's classmates in "Elly Starts to School".

Jed's dog, Duke, was played by Stretch.  The other animals on the show were nicknamed "Elly May's critters."

Beverly Hillbillies Theme music

The shows theme song, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", was written by producer and writer Paul Henning.  It was 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.  



The Beverly Hillbillies was meant to be and was just fun.  It used physical comedy and play on words to entertain the audience.  One critic said "one joke, nine years."

The show was at the top of the Nielson Ratings for many seasons.  In the first two seasons it was number one program in the U.S.  

The Beverly Hillbillies series got two Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series.  It also got nominations for cast member Irene Ryan and Nancy Kulp.


The Beverly Hillbillies influence on other television shows

The shows popularity led to CBS asking creator Paul Henning to write two other comedies.  Petticoat Junction was one of those comedies.  Petticoat Junction was a show about an extended family with three beautiful young women who were of marrying age.  The family ran a small hotel in Hooterville.  I wonder if that's where the Hooters restaurants got their brand idea.  Well they show an owl.  Yes owls hoot but let's be honest they are thinking about women's hooters.  It's obvious right?  Or did they want to have the members of MENSA meet in a wholesome restaurant to compare study notes.  Oh and the women with big hooters serving the food and alcohol just happen to be the only women who wanted the job.  Enough about that......for now.

Green Acres was another one of his comedies.  That show was about a couple from the city moving to Hooterville, which was full of banjo playing country folk.  Well okay maybe they didn't play the banjo but it would make sense.  There were some actors that appeared on one or more of these comedies.  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 was the voiceover for Beverly Hillbillies character Jethrine.  She also played Benaderet's daughter Betty Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction.

Edgar Buchana starred in all 222 episodes of Petticoat Junction.  He guest-starred in 17 episodes of Green Acres.  He also appeared on 3 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as the Uncle Joe Carson character.

There were many animal actors.  Higgins the dog was one of these actors.  He appeared in whatever series he was needed.  The three shows were interconnected in many ways but the Hootesville series were distinct in some ways from The Beverly Hillbillies.  That sounds like Quebec.  

Cancellation of The Beverly Hillbillies and "the Rural Purge"

From 1970 to 1971 The Beverly Hillbillies Nielson ratings were down and it was out of the Top 30 series.  It was still popular when it was cancelled in 1971 after 274 episodes.   Advertisers convinced CBS to change the direction of its shows.  They wanted CBS to make more urban-themes shows.  CBS cancelled all of it's rural-themed comedies like Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres.  Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres, famously remarked that, "It was the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it."

Mayberry R.F.D. and Hee Haw were also cancelled.  Petticoat Junction was cancelled a year earlier when the ratings dropped after Bea Benaderet died.


The 1981 CBS TV movie of The Beverly Hillbillies

In 1981, a Return of the Beverly Hillbillies TV movie was aired on the CBS network. Irene Ryan had died, so her character was written out and made Imogene Coca granny's Mother.   Max Baer didn't want anything to do with the movie so Ray Young played the part of Jethro Bodine.  

In the movie the mansion we were all used to seeing was not used because the owners wanted too much money.  Jed was back in Bugtussle.  Elly May and Jethro stayed in the Golden State.  Jane Hathaway took a job with the Department of Energy and wanted to use Granny's "White Lighnin" to solve the energy crisis.  Since Granny was dead Granny's "Maw" (Imogene Coca) had to reveal the secret recipe.  Jethro became a spoiled Hollywood producer.  Jane and her boss had a romance.  Elly May ran a petting zoo.  At the end of the movie the four main characters got together.  Diehard fans weren't completely with the movie.

In 1993 another movie was made and it stuck to the original story ideas.  It told the story from the time they struck oil to how they lived in Beverly Hills.  


The Beverly Hillbillies Re-runs, videocassettes, DVDs, and merchandise

The show plays in syndication all over the world.  Paul Henning, before his death, authorized MPI Home Video to officially release the best of the first two seasons on DVD.  


The Beverly Hillbillies Characters and critters

Jed didn't get much edumacation but he's not stupid.  He's an easy person to deal with.  He's good with a gun and is a loyal leader of the family.  He did make a bad shot with his gun and that's when he struck oil.  He prefers the life he had in the hills of Tennessee but he makes the best of living in Beverly Hills.  He would think through any challenges that came up by whittling a stick at the curb in front of his mansion.

Granny was into shooting with a shotgun too.  She had in interest in understanding human nature.  She thought of herself as a doctor (M.D. mountain doctor).  She was more of a witch doctor.  She was always looking for a fight.  She could accurately tell the time by looking at the position of the sun.  Granny couldn't be Jed's mother because Jed had to be the head of the household.  So Granny stayed the mother-in-law.  Jed and Granny got along pretty well.  There were two things that Granny was mainly afraid of.  She was afraid of "injuns".  She actually was scared of being scalped.  She was also scared of water so she was scared of the pool.

Granny's fully name is Daisy Moses.  Jethro was proud of his ed-ja-ma-cation; he spent 12 years in school before passing grade six.  He wanted to go to college.  He did get into secretary school because he had money.  He got his diploma because the school didn't think he'd ever understand what is being taught and he was also too disruptive.



Jethro was always looking for work.  He tried to get work at a brain surgeon, a spy, Hollywood producer, and soda jerk.  While he tried movie producing he acted like a playboy and a suit.  Out of the whole family he was the most to change his/her way of living.  Jethro was nicknamed the "Six foot stomach" because he could eat a lot.  Jethro didn't do well at anything he tried, except the Hollywood producer career.

Elly May is a Tom girl.  She could throw a fastball and "rassle" any man.  She was beautiful but didn't know much about anything.  Isn't it lucky she was beautiful.  That's not sexist is it?  Sorry.  She dated Hollywood actors.

Duke is The Clampetts' family dog.  He's an old bloodhound.  Jed got his for four bits (50 cents).  

The Drysdales were the Clampetts' neighbors.  Mrs. Drysdale hated the Clampetts.  Mr. Drysdale wanted to keep the Clampetts nearby so he could control their millions which were in his bank.  

Jed's cousin Pearl Bodine was Jethro's mother.  She and Granny had problems with each other.  Bea Benerderet played Pearl.  She ended up playing the mother in Petticoat Junction so she wasn't seen on The Beverly Hillbillies after a year.  

The trainer of all the animals in The Beverly Hillbillies series was Frank Inn, who also trained the animals for the contemporaneous rural comedy series Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

The Beverly Hillbillies Series storylines

Most of the episodes focused on the differences between "hillbilly" ways and "civilized" American culture.  If you haven't figured it out yet that would be the Clampetts against the Drysdales.  


Malaprops and colloquialisms

If she fell in the river, they'd skim ugly for two weeks (Jed's reference to a homely girl)

As tongue tied as a love sick school boy

Cee-ment pond (the swimming pool)

Big pink chicken (A flamingo)

Cleaner than a hound's tooth

Critters (any animal par.Elly May's assorted pets)

Double-naught spy (Jethro's version of the James Bond '00' spies)

A billiard (bill-E-ard) (A rhino, because the stuffed rhino head is mounted on the wall of the billiard room)

Stars and Bars (The Confederate Flag)

Fancy eatin' table (the billiard table)

Fancy eatin' room (the billiard room)

Faversham (The name of the butler at the castle in England mistaken as a greeting)

fay-ver-rite (how the Hillbillies pronounced favorite)

Fire-spittin' bicycle (Jethro's motorcycle)

Pot passers (pool cues with a notch carved in the end)

Fancy leather lunch boxes (briefcases)

Feelin' lower than a well digger's heel

Feelin' lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut

Lower than a hog's jowl on market day

Frisky as a flea on a fat dog

Gazintas (division, ie: two gazinta (goes into)six three times)

A golf (some kind of creature that flies like a bird and lives in the ground like a gopher)

Golf eggs (golf balls)

Green (naive, gullible, easily deceived)

He was only greenin' ya! (He was only fooling you!)

Hot smokin' sassafras! (This inspired the title of the Bubble Puppy's only hit song)

Happier than a cat at a fish fry

If brains were lard, his wouldn't grease too big a pan

Madder than a barefooted centipede standin' on a hot rock

Makin' more racket than a jack ass in a tin barn

Makin' more noise than a heifer going through a dry thicket

Meat Stabbers (Sharpened pool cues)

Nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

Old violins make the sweetest music, o' course you gotta have the right bow (beau) -- said when Granny went courtin'

Ornery as a mud wasp in a dry gourd

P-new-moe-nie (pneumonia)

Polecat (a skunk)

Pretty as a bag filled with striped candy

Pretty as fresh-churned butter

Pretty as a mess o' fried catfish

Rootin' around like a hog in a new pen

Runnin' like a bee-stung cat

Set a spell (sit for a while)

Showin' more meat than a butcher's window (scantily dressed)

Spark/sparkin' (court/courting, date/dating)

Squawking like a two-pound chicken laying a three-pound egg

Switchin' (Spanking)

Varmints (slang for vermin, usually used by Granny as an insult)

Vittles (victuals, which is actually pronounced "vittles"; food)

We-e-e-ll doggies! (Jed's characteristic expression of impressed astonishment)

You're green enough to stick in the ground and grow.

You're totin' water with a leaky bucket.

Deep fried in possum fat (a method of cooking)

You're dropping your bucket down an empty well.

I'm gonna fetch my shotgun.

One of these days I've got to have a long talk with that boy.

Fixin' ta' (getting ready to do something)

Directly (as soon as possible)

Sunday-Go-To-Meetin' Clothes (formal attire)

Slick-um-Smell-um (Jed's hair tonic and/or cologne)

Naught (zero)

Where that man spits, grass don't grow any more (reference to

Judge 'Vinegar' Joe)

Cal-uh-forn-ny (California)


Almost all the actors (Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan & Donna Douglas) appeared in all 274 episodes of the series, with the exception of Max Baer, Jr., who appeared in the second highest amount of episodes, appearing in 273 of the 274 episodes. When Buddy Ebsen passed away on July 6, 2003, Max Baer, Jr. & Donna Douglas became the only two surviving cast members of The Beverly Hillbillies.

During President Bill Clinton's adminstration, Saturday Night Live did a spoof in which Clinton goes to the White House to the theme of "The Beverely Hillbillies"!


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