The Beverly Hillbillies: Wikis


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The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies.jpg
Title Screen
Format Sitcom
Created by Paul Henning
Starring 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
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 274 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Al Simon
Martin Ransohoff
Producer(s) Paul Henning
Location(s) Bel-Air, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Running time ca. 25 min
Original channel CBS
Picture format NTSC 480i
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 26, 1962 – September 7, 1971
Status syndicated on TV Land
Related shows The Beverly Hillbillies

The Beverly Hillbillies is an American television sitcom. Panned by many entertainment critics of its time, it quickly became a ratings success for CBS. The series was about a hillbilly family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California after finding oil on their land. A Filmways production, the series aired on CBS from September 26, 1962 – September 7, 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 May "Granny" Moses, Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett and Max Baer, Jr. as Jethro Bodine. It is the earliest "fish out of water" themed show, and was followed in 1965 by country-cousin series Green Acres.[citation needed]. Similarly-themed shows such as "McCloud", "The Nanny", "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and "Doc" would follow. It ranked among the top 12 most watched series on television for seven of its nine seasons, twice ranking as the #1 series of the year, with a number of episodes that remain among the most-watched television episodes of all time.[1]



The Beverly Hillbillies series starts with the OK Oil Company learning of an inadvertent strike in Jed Clampett's Ozark swamp land. Patriarch Jed moves with his family into a mansion next door to his banker (Mr. Drysdale) in the wealthy Los Angeles County city of Beverly Hills, California, where he brings a moral, unsophisticated, and minimalistic lifestyle to the swanky, self-obsessed, community. The theme song introduces the viewer to the world's only fortunate hunting accident – whereby Jed shoots at game but instead hits "black gold". Lasting nine seasons and accumulating seven Emmy nominations, it remains in syndication on several cable stations including TV Land.

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 several episodes during the first season, 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 a new breed of money, "million dollars". 25 million dollars to be exact. 25 million dollars in 1962 equates to over 179 million dollars in 2010.[2]

The supporting cast featured Raymond Bailey as Jed's greedy, unscrupulous banker Milburn Drysdale; Harriet E. MacGibbon as Drysdale's ostentacious 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 and Silver Dollar City, all of which are in southwest Missouri. In episode 8, of season 8, "Manhattan Hillbillies", Granny tells the Police Officer in Central Park that her family comes from Taney County, (SW 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 producer Paul Henning is from Independence, Missouri and donated 1,534 acres (621 ha) for the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson.[3]

Animal trainer Frank Inn provided animals for all three of Hennings' hit shows, which included "Elly May's critters", such as chimp "Alfie" who portrayed "Cousin Betsy", and "Stretch", Jed's hunting bloodhound dog a.k.a. "Duke". Inn also provided animals for Hennings' two other shows, which featured such favorites as "Higgins" ("Dog" and later "Benji") and the several hogs who played "Arnold Ziffle".

A three-act stage play based on the pilot was written by David Rogers in 1968.[4]

Theme music

The 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. It was #44 on the music charts in 1962 and a #1 country hit. 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 Records 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 hybrid music video combining, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", and Dire Straits', "Money for Nothing".


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.[5] The series enjoyed excellent ratings throughout its run, although it had fallen out of the top 20 most-watched shows during its final season.

The series received two Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series (1963, 1964) as well as nominations for cast members Irene Ryan (twice nominated as Best Series Actress, 1963, 1964) and Nancy Kulp (nominated for Best Comedy Series Supporting Actress, 1966)].

Nielsen ratings

  • 1962–1963: #1[6]
  • 1963–1964: #1[7]
  • 1964–1965: #12[8]
  • 1965–1966: #8[9]
  • 1966–1967: #9[10]
  • 1967–1968: #12[11]
  • 1968–1969: #10[12]
  • 1969–1970: #18[13]

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.
  • 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.

Cancellation and "the Rural Purge"

The Clampetts' truck (a 1921 Oldsmobile truck modified by George Barris) on display at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. Another truck is at the College of the Ozarks[14]

Nielsen ratings for the 1970–71 season show that the bottom had dropped out for the perennial Top 30 series, but was still fairly popular when it was canceled 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 canceled, despite some considerable Nielson 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."[15]

In addition to The Beverly Hillbillies,(rated #18) the series that were eliminated included, Green Acres, Mayberry R.F.D. (rated #15) and Hee Haw, the latter of which was resurrected in first-run syndication, where it ran for another 21 years. Petticoat Junction had been canceled a year earlier due to declining ratings following the death of its star, Bea Benaderet.

Main cast

Jedediah Clampett
Although he had received little formal education, Jed Clampett had 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 was shown to be an expert marksman and was 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 longed for the old ways back in the hills, he made the best of being in Beverly Hills. Whenever he had anything on his mind, he would sit on the curbstone of his mansion and whittle until he came up with the answer. Jedediah, the version of Jed's name used in the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies theatrical movie, was never mentioned in the original television series (though 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 Moses)
Called "Granny" by all, relatives or not, shotgun-toting Daisy Moses, Jed's mother-in-law, is a hot-tempered daughter of Dixie who loathed the move to California. She styled herself an "M.D." — "mountain doctor" — claiming to have a complete knowledge of herbs (which she pronounced "yarbs"), potions and tonics. She was extremely scrappy and was an expert at wielding a double-barreled, 12-gauge shotgun, although the one time she actually fired it, unknown to her, Mr. Drysdale had replaced the shotgun pellets with bacon rind and rock salt after he arranged for Hollywood stuntmen to dress up as fake Native Americans to "attack" the Clampett mansion. She was also able to tell the precise time, to the minute and even the second, by looking at the position of the sun. However without her glasses Granny was extremely nearsighted—once in a crossover with the Green Acres show—Granny mistakes a dog for a baby child and a coffee pot for a telephone! Paul Henning, the series' creator, clearly 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. She could be feisty, but her ideas could also be overruled. Two of Granny's phobias were "Injuns" (she actually bought wigs so the Clampetts wouldn't be "scalped") and the "cement pond" (swimming pool–she has a fear of water). In a long story arc in the show's eighth 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 had a peculiar way of retelling the American Civil War, where she thought that the South had won, and Jefferson Davis was the President. Any attempts to correct her met with failure. She was also known for slicing off switches to use on Jethro mainly, whenever he went 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 a 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 was 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 could throw a fastball as well as "rassle" most men to a fall. She could be as tender with her friends, animals and people, as she was tough with Jethro or anyone else she was rasslin'. 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 was squired about by eager young Hollywood actors with stage names like "Dash Riprock" and "Bolt Upright". Other boyfriends for Elly included Sonny Drysdale, Beau Short, beatnik Sheldon Epps and Mark Templeton, a frogman.
Elly's most notable weakness, oft mentioned when she was being "courted", was her lack of kitchen skills. Family members would cringe when, for plot reasons, Elly would take over the kitchen. Rock-like donuts and cookies, for example, were 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's episodes, Elly May takes a job as a secretary at the Commerce Bank although why she should be the only Clampett working is never explained.
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 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 boasted of Jethro's "sixth grade education" but nevertheless felt he was a bit of an idiot. Jethro was simply naive in the first season of the show, but became incredibly ignorant and pompous as the series progressed. He often showed off his cyphering abilities with multiplication and "go-zin-ta's", as in "five gozinta five one times, five gozinta ten two times," etc. After that, he decided to go to college. He managed to enroll late in the semester at a local secretarial school due to his financial backing and earned 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 in-joke—in real life Max Baer, Jr., has a Masters degree).
Many stories in the series involved Jethro's endless career search, which included such diverse vocations as 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 was to obtain as many pretty girls as humanly possible, which were usually the catalyst that prompted him to do so. While working as a producer, Jethro called himself "Beef Jerky", a wannabe playboy and man-about-town sophisticate. Out of all the Clampett clan, he was the one who made the most changes from 'country bumpkin' to 'city boy.' Another running gag is that Jethro was known as the "six foot stomach" for his ability to eat: in one episode he ate a jetliner's entire supply of steaks; in another episode Jethro tried 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. Jed once mentioned that Jethro was the only baby he knew born with a full set of teeth. Jethro could never succeed in any career he tried. Jethro appears in 273 episodes; he is not in the second-to-last episode 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 tried to teach Duke to fetch sticks, though to Jed, it looked as if Duke taught Jethro how to do that trick. In a couple of episodes, Duke got involved with a French poodle that was brought in to mate with Mrs. Drysdale's pampered pooch Claude. Apparently, the poodle had better taste and had Duke's puppies instead. When Mrs. Drysdale wanted Claude to get revenge against Duke, Jed warned her that he'd 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 touted a heritage that traced back to the Mayflower, but money-hungry Milburn's concerns were strictly monetary. When suffering an anxiety attack, Milburn sniffs a stack of money and is quickly revived. Although wife Margaret, a blue-blooded Bostonian, had obvious disdain for the "peasant" hillbillies, she tacidly agrees to tolerate them (rather than Milburn lose their ever growing account- which was $96,000,000 in 1969). Margaret loathed all four "vagabonds", but her most heated rivalry was with Granny, with whom she occasionally had some "scraps". Ray Bailey appears in 247 episodes. Harriet 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 had gambled away most of their money. Mrs. Drysdale's son Sonny, was a thirty-something collegian who didn't believe in working-up a sweat. Sonny Drysdale was Milburn Drysdale's stepson (played by Louis Nye), and an insufferable mama's boy. Finding Elly-May a lovely, naive, Pollyanna, he courted her until she literally tossed him. Although the character was fondly remembered by fans, Sonny only appeared in four episodes, three in 1962 and a final appearance in 1966. Mr. Drysdale appeased the Clampetts and said that anything they did was unquestionably right. He often forced others, especially his secretary, to placate to the Clampetts' unorthodox requests.
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!" Unlike Drysdale (who was merely interested in the Clampetts' wealth), Jane was genuinely fond of them (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 Jenny 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.


Jed's cousin Pearl Bodine–portrayed by Bea Benaderet–was Jethro's mother. She 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 a 1967 episode. 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&madsh;Benaderet's real life husband is named Eugene Twombley
Jetherine Bodine
Jetherine is Pearl's king-sized daughter, Jethro's twin (and is also played by Baer, though voice by Linda Kaye). Jetherine 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. Jetherine 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 Jetherine had returned home to marry Depew, although the wedding was never seen in the series (nor was Jetherine ever seen again, although she was occasionally referenced). Jethro and Jetherine 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. Jetherine 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 Ellie 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 actor's 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.
Lowell 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 play themselves in seven episodes, 1963–68, who are longtime friends of the Clampetts "back home" (which gives some credence to the belief the Clampetts are from Tennessee) 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 Scroggins to Flatt and Scruggs' instrumental). Actress Joi Lansing plays Flatt's wife, Louise, in five episodes, 1963–68.
John Brewster
Brewster (played by Frank Wilcox), is the oil tycoon who purchases the oil rights to the gusher on the Clampett home back in the hills. The Clampetts are quite fond of him and and his wife occasionally visit 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.
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.
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, Elvia'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 back home. {A running gag was Shorty literally running to keep from being married to Elverna and Jed Clampet having to catch Shorty}. Elverna Bradshaw appears in 13 episodes, 1963–1970.
Matthew Templeton/Mark Templeton
The Templetons are two brothers both played by actor Roger Torrey. 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 is considered by many Hillbillies fans as the nadir of the series and played out for nine unpopular episodes and was abruptly dropped although advance publicity for the show indicated Elly May and Mark would be marrying during the season. Many fans feel the show never recovered from this lame storyline which led in part to its cancellation at the end of the season despite fairly good ratings. Roger Torrey auditioned for the part of Jethro, and many believe he would have gotten the part had Max Baer not auditioned for it.

The "critters"

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, Ellie Mae 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.

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

Series storylines

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 1922 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 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.

A running theme during the series involved the outlandish efforts Mr. Drysdale took to keep the Clampetts in Beverly Hills (and their money in his bank). Their desires to return to the mountains were often prompted by Granny after some perceived slight she received from the "city-folk" around them. 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.

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 at Silver Dollar City in Branson, 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 passed away 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.[16]

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.

Reruns and syndication

The Beverly Hillbillies are still televised daily around the world in syndication. In the United States, the show is broadcast on TV Land many times throughout each day of the week, including weekends, albeit heavily edited. The show also airs on WGN America.

The show is distributed by CBS Television Distribution, the syndication arm of CBS Paramount Television. 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.


VHS and DVD releases

Many episodes of the first two seasons of the series are in the public domain because CBS, having bought the rights to the series shortly after its cancellation, neglected to renew their copyrights. As a result, these episodes have been unofficially 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 and much-loved theme music has been replaced by generic music due to copyright issues.

However, before his death, Paul Henning, whose estate now holds the original film elements to the public domain episodes, authorized MPI Home Video to officially 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.

For many years, 20th Century Fox, through a joint venture with CBS called CBS/Fox Video, officially 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. [17] Both seasons are available to be purchased together from major online retailers.

Season Sets

DVD name Ep# Release date Additional Information Distributor
The Beverly Hillbillies – Ultimate Collection Volume 1 26 September 27, 2005
  • Contains Episodes 1–27 from Season 1, excluding Christmas episode unedited
MPI Home Video
The Beverly Hillbillies – Ultimate Collection Volume 2 27 February 28, 2006
  • Contains Episodes 28–36 from Season 1, select episodes from Season 2 unedited
MPI Home Video
The Beverly Hillbillies – The Official Second Season 36 October 7, 2008
  • Original episode sponsor openings and closing
  • Irene Ryan screen test as "Granny"
  • Clip from "The Stars' Address is CBS" – 1963 Fall Preview Show
  • CBS network promo (1963/64)
  • Paul Henning Interview (1969)
CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount)
The Beverly Hillbillies – The Official Third Season 34 February 17, 2009
  • The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies
  • Original episode sponsor openings and closings
  • Photo gallery
CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount)
The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Second & Third Seasons 70 February 17, 2009
  • All previously released material on separate sets
CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount)

See also


External links

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