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View Full Version : How did they write Bea Benaderet out


gilligan fanatic
12-21-2004, 10:11 AM
I know that Bea Benaderet died in 1968 and a Doctor repalced her character but did they kill of Kate or what

tdr
12-21-2004, 07:56 PM
If I remember correctly, without looking it up, Kate was "out of town," as she had often been for the last year or so, as the baby was coming due. Then Betty Jo received a letter from her telling how she was going to make it back if at all possible for the baby's arrival. This letter was read by Betty Jo and Steve together with Bea's voiceover, along with sad music, as if to confirm to the audience what was really happening; that she was dying and sinking fast at that time. Nevertheless, "Kate" did appear one last time, and another actress was shown only from rear and side views, as Bea voiced Kate's efforts to get to the hospital, and then she was seen at the foot of Betty Jo's bed, with Steve and Doc Stewart. In the next ep, as the baby was brought home, one of the other daughters just has a simple line like, "It's too bad Mom had to go out of town again right away." I don't remember personally, but I have read a message or 2 by viewers saying Kate was alluded to later as being deceased, but I think this was supposed to have been the next season. I also don't recall for sure, but I think she had already died before the birth episode premiered.

Roy5
03-18-2005, 03:02 PM
I don't think Kate was ever alluded to as deceased. Just "out of town" for the remainder of the series. In fact she was only referred to once or twice after the episode with Kathy Jo's birth. As for Bea passing away before that episode aired, that is correct. The air date was October 26, 1968, not long after Bea's passing.

Pus$y Galore
03-18-2005, 10:41 PM
So that's it. I've always wondered. I kept thinking I must have missed episodes for 30 + years!! I know it was a different time, but you'd think sooner or later they'd have to make a reasonable reference. The show went on quite a while after that with June Lockhart as the Doc and then even June left I think just before it was cancelled (that, or maybe was thinking of leaving - not sure - its been a while since it was on TV Land)!

Coffeecup
08-03-2005, 08:47 PM
I read or heard that Linda Kaye (Betty Jo) did that letter reading scene with sadness. She and cast knew Bea didn't have long to live.

Mikado
08-03-2005, 09:34 PM
:crying:

BarryATL
01-04-2007, 04:10 PM
Actually, there was a a brief reference to Kate's passing a season or two after her death. Uncle Joe made a reference to the Kate Bradley Memorial Suite. That was the only mention of Kate's passing.

Scoobiedoo30
01-04-2007, 04:53 PM
:(

Pus$y Galore
05-04-2007, 04:17 PM
Actually, there was a a brief reference to Kate's passing a season or two after her death. Uncle Joe made a reference to the Kate Bradley Memorial Suite. That was the only mention of Kate's passing.


I'll have to watch closely for that episode. You could tell just how sick she was when she did the voice over on KathyJo's birth ep. No wonder BettyJo and all looked so sad.

To me it was a disgrace to ignore it. I guess in those days the networks figured you just couldn't deal with death on a sitcom. All In The Family seems to be the first who would deal with it headon.

At the very least, they could have put something up at the closing credits (although maybe it was done on the original airing - as we know TVLand chops the hell out of everything).

Dusty's Fan
05-04-2007, 07:03 PM
That's a good point regarding the closing credits, though I've seen all of the episodes from the time of her illness and departure and ultimately Bea's death -- all uncut to my knowledge -- and there doesn't seem to be any memorial.

It's been said that the original name chosen for the baby was "Katie Jo" to honor Kate (Bea), but was changed to Kathy Jo when it became apparent that Bea would be passing away. I guess they thought the name would sadden people as a reminder that Kate was gone.

Stuck In The '70's
05-04-2007, 07:15 PM
I'll have to watch closely for that episode. You could tell just how sick she was when she did the voice over on KathyJo's birth ep. No wonder BettyJo and all looked so sad.

To me it was a disgrace to ignore it. I guess in those days the networks figured you just couldn't deal with death on a sitcom. All In The Family seems to be the first who would deal with it headon.

At the very least, they could have put something up at the closing credits (although maybe it was done on the original airing - as we know TVLand chops the hell out of everything).
That is true about how sitcoms handled deaths back then. Joseph Kearns of Dennis The Menace died and they replaced him with his brother played by Gale Goedon without even a mention. Howard McNear died on the Andy Griffith Show and nothing was mentioned. It was different here because Bea was the star of the show. I wonder if she was the first star of a sitcom to die while it was still on the air. I guess they didn't know how to deal with it.

mstewart
05-09-2007, 09:56 AM
In the 67-68 season, the season where Steve and Betty Jo were married, you can tell Bea was getting sick. She immediately aged the opening of that season and not long after that she was being treated. When she returned for the final episode of the 67-68 season you can tell she was sick. She was frail looking and the episode was, "Kate's Homecoming."

Too bad there was no closure to Bea's passing for the viewers and cast. It was a brief mention of her when June came on the show when Kathy Jo was being taught to swim and Steve thought she was too little to learn. Billie Jo mentioned, "Mom taught us to swim when we were young." That was the last reference to Kate. The show was different all together after Bea's passing. It was not the same and not watchable. The show was running out of steam anyway before Bea got sick. The fifth season the show was showing its age.

Scoobiedoo30
05-09-2007, 02:46 PM
I know I missed Bea

FredScuttle
05-28-2007, 10:11 AM
Actually, there was a a brief reference to Kate's passing a season or two after her death. Uncle Joe made a reference to the Kate Bradley Memorial Suite. That was the only mention of Kate's passing.

Unless it was on one of the couple episodes that seem to get skipped on our local channel, I didn't hear any mention of a Kate Bradley Memorial Suit...they did have a Millard P. Bradley Memorial Suite, which was supposed to be the best room in the hotel. They mentioned that name several times in the last couple seasons.

ComedyGuy
09-17-2007, 11:13 PM
as we know TVLand chops the hell out of everything).

Well when TVLAND first aired they chopped nothing out of any episode from any show until they got more and more sponsers.

Did you know that Bea Benaderet was the voice of Betty Rubble on the cartoon "The Flintstones" ???

catlover79
09-17-2007, 11:23 PM
That is true about how sitcoms handled deaths back then. Joseph Kearns of Dennis The Menace died and they replaced him with his brother played by Gale Goedon without even a mention. Howard McNear died on the Andy Griffith Show and nothing was mentioned. It was different here because Bea was the star of the show. I wonder if she was the first star of a sitcom to die while it was still on the air. I guess they didn't know how to deal with it.
Not to mention over at Bewitched - they simply recast Gladys Kravitz after the passing of Alice Pearce. When Marion Lorne died, Aunt Clara was never mentioned again (at least, not to my knowledge). Didn't the same thing happen on Green Acres (two Doris Ziffels)?

Barney Miller did a great thing doing a retrospective episode to Jack Soo. Too bad more shows haven't followed that terrific example.

As for Bea - what a lovely lady and good actress. She truly was the heart and soul of PJ.

Mikado
09-17-2007, 11:42 PM
Did you know that Bea Benaderet was the voice of Betty Rubble on the cartoon "The Flintstones" ???
Yeah, i knew

Mikado
09-17-2007, 11:46 PM
Not to mention over at Bewitched - they simply recast Gladys Kravitz after the passing of Alice Pearce. When Marion Lorne died, Aunt Clara was never mentioned again (at least, not to my knowledge). Didn't the same thing happen on Green Acres (two Doris Ziffels)?

Barney Miller did a great thing doing a retrospective episode to Jack Soo. Too bad more shows haven't followed that terrific example.

As for Bea - what a lovely lady and good actress. She truly was the heart and soul of PJ.
That was standard back then, even as late as "Phillis", when the woman who played her boss was murdered, Cloris Leachman wrote and read a little tribute that they put on at the end of her last ep, and CBS cut it out, refusing to run it!

FactoryGirl
09-18-2007, 12:45 AM
That was standard back then, even as late as "Phillis", when the woman who played her boss was murdered, Cloris Leachman wrote and read a little tribute that they put on at the end of her last ep, and CBS cut it out, refusing to run it!

That was a sad case. Her name was Barbara Colby and back in high school, I did researches on several actors and actresses that died tragically, I was always morbidly intrested on topics like this. She was a beautiful woman who was sadly killed for no reason. What is terrible is that the killers were never caught!:mad:

janet42
09-19-2007, 03:38 AM
Well when TVLAND first aired they chopped nothing out of any episode from any show until they got more and more sponsers.

Did you know that Bea Benaderet was the voice of Betty Rubble on the cartoon "The Flintstones" ???

Yep. This is Bea Benaderet's TV History:

1950-1958 "George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" as Blanche Morton.
1958-1959 "The George Burns Show" as Blanche Morton.
1960-1964 "The Flintstones" as Betty Rubble.
1960-1961 "Peter Loves Mary" as Wilma the maid.
1962-1963 "The Beverly Hillibillies" as Cousin Pearl Bodine.
1963-1968 "Petticoat Junction" as Kate Bradley.

And that doesn't include her radio history and movie history in which she played character roles in 5 movies. She also did female voices in Cartoons. :)

ComedyGuy
09-19-2007, 11:19 AM
Didn't the same thing happen on Green Acres (two Doris Ziffels)?

Not to go off topic but I seem to remember a sorta skinny Doris Ziffel then the a heavier one but I might be wrong though.

janet42
09-20-2007, 11:12 PM
Not to go off topic but I seem to remember a sorta skinny Doris Ziffel then the a heavier one but I might be wrong though.

Barbara Pepper played Doris Ziffel from 1965-1969 until she got too sick to do
the part. Fran Ryan played Doris Ziffel from 1969-1971. Green Acres was cancelled in 1971.

treky
09-26-2007, 01:59 AM
Yep. This is Bea Benaderet's TV History:

1950-1958 "George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" as Blanche Morton.
1958-1959 "The George Burns Show" as Blanche Morton.
1960-1964 "The Flintstones" as Betty Rubble.
1960-1961 "Peter Loves Mary" as Wilma the maid.
1962-1963 "The Beverly Hillibillies" as Cousin Pearl Bodine.
1963-1968 "Petticoat Junction" as Kate Bradley.

And that doesn't include her radio history and movie history in which she played character roles in 5 movies. She also did female voices in Cartoons. :)
speaking of GREEN ACRES; she also did the voice of the wife (I don't know the characters name) in the radio show "GRANBYS GREEN ACRES" which was the inspiration for the TV show.

janet42
10-08-2007, 10:54 PM
speaking of GREEN ACRES; she also did the voice of the wife (I don't know the characters name) in the radio show "GRANBYS GREEN ACRES" which was the inspiration for the TV show.

The character's name that Bea Benaderet played on "Granbys Green Acres" was Martha Granby. :)

cmulwee001
01-16-2012, 03:50 PM
You're right. There NEVER was a Kate Bradley Memorial Suite. Only A Millard P. Bradley Memorial Suite. The very name of "Kate" is never mentioned.

McGillicuddy
01-16-2012, 04:48 PM
Toward the mid to late 70's I can think of two examples where they addressed the death of a major cast-member on a show, on Eight is Enough, when Diana Hyland died and on The Waltons when Will Geer died. In both these situations, they eventually had an episode in tribute to each of them.

Can anybody think of any other time a death was acknowledged before 1977 or so? (Instead of saying the character was "just away", replaced, or never refered to again)

ThomasE
01-18-2012, 10:50 PM
I don't think they were trying to be disrespectful to the memory of Bea, I think it would have been too touchy of a subject to deal with considering the direction of the show at the time.

scrapple
02-08-2012, 09:17 PM
When I see Bea's biography, the first thing I think of is that she was the original choice to play Ethel Mertz (opposite Gale Gordon as Fred).

As for the two deaths on Bewitched, it is ironic that both actresses (Alice Pearce and Marion Lorne) won posthumos Emmy Awards, both accepted by Elizabeth Montgomery, who cried when she accepted Pearces .

biffbronson
02-17-2012, 05:37 AM
It's rarely mentioned that the name of Betty Jo and Steve's daughter, Kathy Jo, is selected in honor of or tribute to the Kate (or Katherine) character.

Petticoat Junction became one of at least 7 simultaneously airing sitcoms where a mother had passed on, including Family Affair, My Three Sons, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry RFD, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, and The Brady Bunch (the boys' first mom was gone). And in 4 of those, a dad had passed away as well (5 if you include Dodie's dad on My Three Sons).

Not only that, but the later series Nanny and the Professor which began a few seasons later also had a departed mom. And of course, as far as non-sitcoms, Bonanza had the sons' 3 moms all departed.

TV_on_the_Porch
02-17-2012, 06:55 AM
Nanny And The Professor and Petticoat Junction were concurrent in their runs for the better part of 1970, though only for a short time with new episodes. But they did overlap, just fyi.

The baby was referred to as Katie Jo at least once. The episode wherein she is called that was almost definitely shot before Bea died.

I've almost finished watching season 7 recently uploaded you-know-where. Unless there's a reference to Kate in one of the last couple episodes, the only time she's mentioned is in the season premiere. The reason why many are sure the passing of Kate was mentioned but are vague on specifics is because there was not really anything said about her at all. It's the way it was said that so strongly conveyed the message. Steve objected to the baby being brought up to splash around in the water tower and Billie Jo reassures him that their mother taught all them to swim, to which Bobbie Jo adds (and you have to see this to appreciate just how well she communicates between the lines) "and in the same old water tower" in a sad voice, her eyes moving down as she says it.

That was it.

Disneyfan
04-29-2012, 12:13 PM
Does anyone here have any specific 'behind-the-scenes' info of how soon Bea Benederet took a turn for the worse, or how long she died after filming her last scene for the show?

I believe episode 3 of season 6, Kate appears only ONCE. (She stops to visit Betty Jo while Doc Stuart is visiting Betty Jo and Steve's cottage.)

I'm also surprised that Bea was able to do a voiceover for the next episode "the valley has a baby."

It seems that Bea was quite a fighter, to be working almost up to the minute she died.:(

I wonder if she knew she was going to die? I know that might seem to be a silly question, but I wonder how many people would even care to continue working if they were terminally ill?

Jude The Obscure
05-04-2012, 02:49 PM
Alice Pearce worked the entire time on Bewitched knowing she had terminal cancer, but never told anyone. It wasn't until those final 3-4 episodes where she looks very gaunt do you realize that anything is wrong with her.

in Bea's case, she fully expected to recover--she filmed those first 5-6 episodes of the season with a PLANNED break time--it had already been decided to bring in June Lockhart as Dr. Janet Craig to come in and fill Bea's void as the maternal presence (since Rosemary DeCamp already accepted the That Girl role as Ann Marie's mother). It was intended that Bea would be allowed time to recover and then be featured in occasional spots later in the season with Dr. Craig along for the ride. I have some copies of newspaper articles posted on my Facebook Petticoat Junction page that explain the behind the scenes. It came as a complete shock to everyone that Bea was not going to recover.

Disneyfan
05-04-2012, 03:11 PM
in Bea's case, she fully expected to recover--she filmed those first 5-6 episodes of the season with a PLANNED break time--it had already been decided to bring in June Lockhart as Dr. Janet Craig to come in and fill Bea's void as the maternal presence (since Rosemary DeCamp already accepted the That Girl role as Ann Marie's mother). It was intended that Bea would be allowed time to recover and then be featured in occasional spots later in the season with Dr. Craig along for the ride. I have some copies of newspaper articles posted on my Facebook Petticoat Junction page that explain the behind the scenes. It came as a complete shock to everyone that Bea was not going to recover.
Thank you!:)

I'm on FB (and on a PJ page there, it might be the same one?)

What is you FB titled (if you don't mind?) I'd love to see the articles.

Jude The Obscure
05-04-2012, 06:21 PM
"Bring Petticoat Junction Season 3 to DVD". One day, I may do a brand new page since FB doesn't allow you to retitle fan pages ( a stupid policy FWIW).

Disneyfan
05-05-2012, 10:03 PM
I just read the articles.:( How sad that she died. I'm relieved though, that she obviously thought she'd recover. Sad that they know so many treatment options available today than there were in '68. Thank you for sharing.:)

Jude The Obscure
05-06-2012, 05:00 PM
You're welcome! :) I assume you joined my page?

Disneyfan
05-06-2012, 10:31 PM
Yes. I joined as soon as I found it. Great to see there are so many PJ fans!:)

Samme
10-18-2012, 05:30 AM
Nanny And The Professor and Petticoat Junction were concurrent in their runs for the better part of 1970, though only for a short time with new episodes. But they did overlap, just fyi.

The baby was referred to as Katie Jo at least once. The episode wherein she is called that was almost definitely shot before Bea died.

I've almost finished watching season 7 recently uploaded you-know-where. Unless there's a reference to Kate in one of the last couple episodes, the only time she's mentioned is in the season premiere. The reason why many are sure the passing of Kate was mentioned but are vague on specifics is because there was not really anything said about her at all. It's the way it was said that so strongly conveyed the message. Steve objected to the baby being brought up to splash around in the water tower and Billie Jo reassures him that their mother taught all them to swim, to which Bobbie Jo adds (and you have to see this to appreciate just how well she communicates between the lines) "and in the same old water tower" in a sad voice, her eyes moving down as she says it.

That was it.


I just saw that episode a few days ago and noticed that moment.
I had to use the DVR to replay it and make sure what I saw, but it's there, and it's a very kind and sad moment that passes between Meredith and Lori. It was small, very well done, and obviously heartfelt.