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The Beverly Hillbillies was the most successful rural oriented comedy in history. It was ranked #1 in the nation during its first 2 years on the air. It ran from September 1962 until September 1971 and produced 274 episodes.

For more on The Beverly Hillbillies go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.

An Article From Time Magazine

On the Cob
Friday, Nov. 30, 1962 Article

The pone is the lowest form of humor.

But in five short weeks, country corn sent CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies to the top of Old Smoky in Nielsen ratings. Its climb was one of the swiftest in the history of television. Scheduled opposite the supposedly invincible Perry Como, it shot him daid.

Plow Tomorrow. Como tumbled before a program that is dedicated to finding out how many times the same joke can be repeated. Mountaineer Jed Clampett and his family, worth $25 million because oil was found in their swamp back in the Ozarks, have moved to Beverly Hills to live among the polychrome celebrities of show biz. Pa bought a house built by John Barrymore, and the place is easily large enough to be mistaken for a university. Pa takes an appreciative look at the smooth and gorgeous sweep of lawn and says, "Fine, we'll commence plowing tomorrow."

"But this is Beverly Hills!" says a shocked Angeleno banker.

"Dirt is dirt," says Pa.

Thin Hog. First things first: got to find water. Pa is in the habit of drilling wells with a shotgun. First he walks the lawn with a forked stick. The stick goes crazy because the lawn has a buried sprinkler grid. Pa fires a load into the sod just as the gardener turns on the system. "I ain't never missed yet," crows Pa. Granny peers into the deep freeze and complains that all the vittles is froze. "People ought to know better'n to store food up against a north wall," says Pa, who has all the good lines.

Jowls & Shanks. Pa is nicely played by Buddy Ebsen, 54, the ex-hoofer who last scored on TV as George Russell, constant companion of Davy Crockett. Pa has an oafishly agreeable young cousin named Jethro, who is a l'il weak-minded and has spent a dozen years in the fifth grade at Oxford. Oxford where? No one wonders except the thick-witted Hollywood types who want to know if Jethro went to Eton as a boy. "If I know Jethro, he went to eatin' when he was a baby," says Pa. Jethro is played by Max Baer Jr., the suitably muscled son of the onetime heavyweight champion.

Old steel-rimmed-glasses granny (Irene Ryan) is cordon bluegrass when it comes to cooking hawg jowls, fat back, corn pone, mustard greens, salted-down possum belly, squirrel shanks, crow gizzards, and boiled toad. Her granddaughter Elly May resembles Al Capp's Daisy Mae from head to toes, notably in profile. She is a tomboy, but she somehow wears Levi's as if they were a bikini. Actress Donna Douglas is typecast in the part. A few years ago she was the best hot-pepper eater in Baywood, La., where she also played boys' football, pitched in softball, called and slopped hogs, milked cows, and walked through fields eating sugar cane. She can whistle through her teeth loud enough to split the bark off a pine.

Deeds & Rumblings. The show is directed by Broadway's Richard Whorf and written by Paul Henning, whose jokes and routines have at various times fueled Fibber McGee, Rudy Vallee and Bob Cummings. The characters are engaging people even if they are called Beverly Hillbillies, and this is one time 35 million people aren't wrong. Like ABC's I'm Dickens,He's Fenster. the show is supplying an apparent demand for straightforward, unsophisticated, skillfully performed humor. "It's my kind of corn." says Director Whorf "right on the cob."

Another Article From Time Magazine

The Quick & the Dead
Friday, Nov. 08, 1963 Article

One night last week, network research departments stayed up beyond midnight analyzing the new Nielsen ratings (see box). CBS quietly nodded approval, since CBS was designated overall champion of the air five nights a week, utter master of daytime TV, and possessor of eight out of the top ten individual shows. ABC was pleased, because its position had improved since last year. It has twelve programs in the top 40, for example, whereas it only had six a year ago. NBC oinked woundedly that these early national Nielsens are premature. Viewers are still picking their winter ruts.

Plastic Shocks. It is true enough that TV shows collect people as a magnet collects iron filings; audiences slowly accumulate. Only seven new series are listed in the top 40, but more are certain to climb up there later on. Danny Kaye failed to make it, but at 16.7 he is close and will probably rise. Burke's Law, Mr. Novak, The Phil Silvers Show and The Breaking Point nearly made the top 40 too. Three bombs: The Judy Garland Show, The Jerry Lewis Show and, most surprisingly, East Side, West Side, the critically applauded television debut of Actor George C. Scott. Two new shows were dropped. Redigo, the new NBC half-hour version of last year's Empire, was cut down. So was NBC's Harry's Girls.

If some people were leaping to doom, however, others were leaping for joy, and no one had as much cause to be ecstatic as Writer-Producer Paul Henning, 52, whose Beverly Hillbillies is apparently going to remain the most popular show in the nation for a second year, and whose Petticoat Junction is the highest-rated of all new shows. Henning, once of Missouri, is a sophisticated, urbane Hollywood type who sits at his typewriter ten hours a day gulping bouillon laced with yeast cubes or Metrecal as he turns out shock after shock of plastic corn.

People's Choice. The residents of Petticoat Junction are valley billies who seem to be lifted from a photographic negative of the Hillbillies show, with the same mock back-country manner and tone. The star (Bea Benaderet) is a widow who runs a rural hotel with her three foam-rubber daughters and her Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchanan), who has a pet wooden Indian 6 ft. tall that the gals keep hiding on him.

When Henning was a little fellow in Independence, Mo., he went to a Boy Scout camp in the Ozarks, where he soaked up the lore of the mountaineers and developed an ambition to write about them. But first he wrote for Burns and Allen, Rudy Vallee, and Fibber McGee and Molly. Then last year, he explains, "I felt that the climate was right for pure fun shows after a surfeit of hospital sagas, courtroom dramas and brawling westerns. If it's what the people want, God love 'em."

An Article About The Realities Of Television From Time Magazine.

Pruning Old Friends
Monday, Feb. 15, 1971 Article

With the current downturn in the TV economy (TIME, Feb. 1), the networks are cutting expenses as if they were X-rated movies. Employee rolls have also been snipped a bit. But even the latest reductions at CBS and ABC were what one ABC spokesman called a "pruning" involving faceless people, like secretaries or technicians. The next likely cutback will affect the viewers directly: it could involve old family friends like Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk and the Beverly Hillbillies.

TV series, according to industry rule of thumb, rise in cost between 8% and 10% a season. At the same time, they and their audiences often become more antique and less attractive to sponsors. That is why CBS last year dumped Petticoat Junction despite its relatively high ratings. Next season, with the networks limited to three nightly hours in prime time, there will be even less room for such granddaddy programs as CBS's Ed Sullivan Show (22 years old), NBC's The Red Skelton Show (19), ABC's Lawrence Welk Show (16) and CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies (9). They could be given a reprieve when the networks make their final decisions in the next month or so, but all seem likely to die as of now. Two younger golden oldies, Marlo Thomas's That Girl on ABC and NBC's The Bill Cosby Show, announced their retirements before the networks could consider canning them. Diahann Carroll's Julia is probably going off NBC after three seasons.

A particularly revealing illustration of the economic crunch is the case of Mission: Impossible. Paramount Television sells the series to CBS for upwards of $210,000 per episode, plus perhaps another 10% to 15% for one summer repeat. Even at that top dollar. Paramount reportedly loses about $30,000 a week on the multistarred, action-crammed production. Mission will ultimately be a moneymaker but only after it goes off network and the studio is then allowed to syndicate second and subsequent rerun rights. Thus, though the show may well be renewed, its producers would probably not grieve overmuch if it should selfdestruct.

Here's an article talking about the vast cancelations of popular shows including The Beverly Hillbillies...from Time Magazine.

The Losers Are ...
Monday, Mar. 29, 1971 Article

TV programming executives are consummate gamesmen. But traditionally, the fall schedules they announce close to Washington's Birthday unlike the trial balloons they float down Madison Avenue earlier are the ones they really mean. This year, there was an unprecedented amount of delay and, in the words of one ABC vice president, "a lot of lying." The explanation came last week with the schedules: 35 of TV's 77 prime-time series, including the longest running program of them all, The Ed Sullivan Show, were jettisoned. It was the most convulsive upheaval in network history.

The turnover was caused primarily by a Federal Communications Commission ruling that will limit the networks to three hours of nightly programming instead of three and a half between 7 and 11 p.m. (6 to 10 p.m. in the Central Time Zone). The resulting changes exceeded anyone's expectations. NBC's cancellations include Red Skelton, Andy Williams, Julia, The Name of the Game, Men of Shiloh (ne The Virginian), and Kraft Music Hall. NBC's Bill Cosby and ABC's Mario Thomas (That Girl) declared their retirements before they could be canned. ABC also clumped, among others, Lawrence Welk, Danny Thomas, Johnny Cash, Pearl Bailey and The Newlywed Game.

At CBS, where the new regime of President Robert Wood and Programming Vice President Fred Silverman is rapidly ridding that network of its lingering Saturday Evening Post image, the casualty rate was the highest of all. Out, in addition to Sullivan, were such other golden oldies as Andy Griffith, Jim Nabors, The Beverly Hillbillies, Hogan's Heroes, Family Affair and Hee Haw. "The time has come to go big city as opposed to hayseed," says Silverman. Translation: CBS, adopting the reasoning of its competition, has decided that who watches a show is as important as how many. The young adult, metropolitan market is preferred by most sponsors because it buys more than rural customers and switches brands more often.

No Relevance. The networks' replacement shows, at least on paper, do not presage any major format breakthroughs for next season. The straitened conditions in the movie business have made a few top-rank stars available to TV for the first time and have forced a few old favorites to return. James Stewart will make his series debut as a college professor in an NBC situation comedy. ABC has landed Shirley MacLaine for a sitcom in which she is a roving photojournalist, Tony Curtis as a jet-set adventurer in an action series and Anthony Quinn as a Mexican-American mayor. CBS signed Glenn Ford for a western and brought back Dick Van Dyke in another sitcom.

The trend is away from the variety grab bags and toward action melodramas. "There will be no return to relevancy," says ABC Vice President Ed Vane. With acute understatement, he adds: "We didn't handle it too well." Another executive says: "The name of the game next fall will be law-and-order." Eleven of the shows will feature law-enforcement types. Don Adams, in his first sitcom since Get Smart, will be a dunderhead detective on NBC. The same network has cast George Kennedy as a cop turned priest; the show is not called God Squad but Sarge. If nothing else, Douglas Cramer, executive vice president of Paramount TV, which produces Odd Couple and Mission: Impossible, expects most scripts to be "tougher and more sophisticated" next season.

The distinction (or lack of it) between 1971-72 and the past will be due more to the FCC rule than any network decision. The regulation's laudable intention to spur individual stations and independent producers into innovative programming has been all but defeated by the naive way in which the commission drafted the rule and then modified it with exemptions. Producers call the rule the FCC's "Viet Nam." Local stations have overcome their panic at the prospect of having to be creators instead of just salesmen. All of them will be able to use old network material for a year.

The net result of the rule is that the nightly half hour turned back to the stations will be filled largely with syndicated games like Beat the Clock and third or fourth reruns of series like I Dream of Jeannie. "For the most part," says CBS Vice President Silverman, "it will be garbage."

Cast Obituaries:

To read Irene Ryan's Obituary from the AP go to

To read Raymond Bailey's Obituary from the AP go to

Here is Nancy Kulp's Obituary from the AP

Nancy Kulp, 69, Dies; Film and TV Actress
Published: February 5, 1991

PALM DESERT, Calif., Feb. 4 Nancy Kulp, an actress best known for her role as the secretary Jane Hathaway on the television series "The Beverly Hillbillies," died of cancer on Sunday at a friend's home. She was 69 years old.

Miss Kulp held a journalism degree from Florida State University and wrote feature articles for the Miami Beach Tropics in the early 1940's.

She began her film career with nonspeaking parts before landing talking roles in "The Model and the Marriage Broker" and "Shane." She first displayed her comedic skills as a secretary in "The Bob Cummings Show" on television in the late 1950's.

In 1962, she was cast as the plain, erudite secretary hopelessly in love with Jethro in "The Beverly Hillbillies."

In 1984 Miss Kulp ran for Congress as a Democrat from Port Royal, Pa., but was defeated by the incumbent, Bud Shuster. Her "Beverly Hillbillies" co-star Buddy Ebsen had publicly opposed her as too liberal. She later moved to Palm Springs, Calif.

The Screen Actors Guild said there were no survivors.

Here is Buddy Ebsen's Obituary from the New York Times

Buddy Ebsen, of 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' Dies at 95
Published: July 8, 2003

Buddy Ebsen, a gangly and personable Ziegfeld song-and-dance man in the late 1920's who gained lasting fame on television as Davy Crockett's sidekick, a hillbilly in Beverly Hills and an aging private eye, died on Sunday in Torrance, Calif. He was 95 and lived in nearby Palos Verdes.

For nine seasons, starting in 1962, the lanky, 6-foot-3 Mr. Ebsen was the canny Jed Clampett, the patriarch of "The Beverly Hillbillies." The show was initially ridiculed by many reviewers as the most abysmally lowbrow series in television history. But the slapstick exploits of Jed, Granny, Elly May and Jethro a cartoonlike backwoods family suddenly rolling in oil wealth proved a runaway hit, soaring to top place in the Nielsen ratings within five weeks of its debut. It remained among the 10 most popular shows through 1971.

Then Mr. Ebsen became the protagonist of another successful CBS television series, "Barnaby Jones," a laconic private investigator in late-and-getting-later middle age whose shrewdness was cloaked in nonchalance. The one-hour show began in early 1973 and ran continuously from 1974 to 1980 and many more seasons after that in reruns.

Mr. Ebsen started his career in vaudeville and nightclubs, then advanced to the stage and films. In Hollywood he gained particular recognition in the 1930's with his flamboyant dancing and singing of "At the Codfish Ball" with Shirley Temple in "Captain January" and by gamely battling malaria in "Yellow Jack." His other 30's film hits included "Broadway Melody of 1936," "Born to Dance," and "The Girl of the Golden West."

He was originally signed to play the Scarecrow in the MGM classic "The Wizard of Oz." But in a late casting switch, Ray Bolger pushed him out of the part, and Mr. Ebsen was recast as the Tin Woodman. After weeks of rehearsal, however, a severe allergy to the aluminum-based makeup forced him to relinquish that part to Jack Haley.

In 1938 MGM offered him a seven-year contract, starting at $2,000 a week, but requiring him to give the studio absolute control over his career. The independent Mr. Ebsen rejected that provision. As a result MGM blackballed him throughout the industry and his film career went into eclipse for nearly 20 years, until Walt Disney hired him as a character actor in the mid-1950's to play Georgie Russell, the sidekick of Davy Crockett (portrayed by Fess Parker) on television and in films.

Mr. Ebsen made it through his lean years by performing on the stage, mostly on the road. "I probably enjoyed show business most when I was doing plays like `The Male Animal' and `Good Night, Ladies,' when people would lay down their money and laugh and you'd see them walk out happy," he said to The New York Post in 1965. "By God, I'd feel honest. I could go home with a good taste in my mouth. You'd feel better, you'd feel more alive and like you were justifying your existence."

"The one flaw in this," he said of "The Beverly Hillbillies," even though the series enjoyed great popularity, "is that you can't hear the people laughing."

Buddy Ebsen was named Christian Rudolph Ebsen Jr. at his birth on April 2, 1908, in Belleville, Ill. Ten years later his father, who owned a dancing school, moved the family to Orlando, Fla. Buddy took premedical courses at Rollins College and the University of Florida, but a collapse of the state's land boom forced him to leave school in 1928 and to pursue a career as a dancer in New York with his younger sister, Vilma. The pair won parts in the chorus of "Whoopee" and as featured dancers in "Flying Colors" and the "Ziegfeld Follies of 1934" and went on to success in Hollywood.

In World War II, Mr. Ebsen served in the Coast Guard as the executive officer on the U.S.S. Pocatello, a submarine chaser in the North Pacific. In his free time he wrote sketches and staged variety shows and musicals. He met a fellow lieutenant, Nancy Wolcott, and they were married in 1945. They had four daughters and a son. He also had two daughters with his first wife, the former Ruth Cambridge. Both marriages ended in divorce. In 1985 he married Dorothy Knotts. According to a family statement, he is survived by his wife, his sister, six children and six grandchildren.

Mr. Ebsen's later movie performances included Audrey Hepburn's poignant, abandoned husband in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) and a steely old cowpoke in "Mail Order Bride" (1964). He excelled in many television plays and wrote or partly wrote songs like "Whispering Pines, and "Squeezin' Polka." He also wrote plays that were performed in regional theaters.

His television series "Barnaby Jones" had a deeply loyal following, including 30 New York business executives, aged 55 to 70, who met for lunch every Wednesday for years at a Rockefeller Center restaurant and later viewed the show's reruns together. A major reason for their loyalty, they agreed, was that Barnaby Jones was an old man doing a young man's job, inspiring them not to retire at 65.

The performer savored life on his 36-acre ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, was an expert sailor who skippered his 35-foot catamaran, Polynesian Concept, to victory in major races and had founded and headed a company that built oceangoing catamarans.

Mr. Ebsen's long-running television series made him a multimillionaire, but in the 1980's he appeared regularly in a new adventure series, "Matt Houston," as a former intelligence agent and uncle of the protagonist, a wealthy investigator. Asked in 1984 by United Press International why he had returned to the rigors of a weekly show, he replied: "I'm used to getting up at dawn and going to the studio to be with my pals on the set. It's my lifestyle, and I wouldn't trade it for any other."

Here is Donna Douglas' Obituary from CNN.

Donna Douglas, Elly May on 'Beverly Hillbillies,' dead at 81

By Todd Leopold, CNN

Updated 7:55 AM ET, Sat January 3, 2015

(CNN)Donna Douglas, who played voluptuous tomboy daughter Elly May Clampett on the 1960s TV series "The Beverly Hillbillies," has died. She was 81.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, TV station WAFB, a CNN affiliate, reported that Douglas died Friday morning. Douglas lived in Zachary, Louisiana.

Her assistant, Jeffrey Dalrymple, confirmed her passing to CNN.

Douglas spent nine years as Elly May, one of the main characters of the hugely popular "Beverly Hillbillies." The series concerned a poor Ozark family who stumbled upon an oil fortune and then moved to the Southern California bastion of wealth, where their rural ways often clashed with the local swells -- particularly Margaret Drysdale, the wife of the man who ran the bank where the Clampetts kept their money.

The other characters were Elly May's subtly wise father, Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen); her feisty grandmother Daisy (Irene Ryan); and her cousin Jethro Bodine (Max Baer Jr.), forever chasing women and fame.

In some ways, Douglas -- who was born Dorothy Smith -- was a natural for the role. She was from a small town, Pride, Louisiana, and was a genuine tomboy.

Her official website says she spent her childhood "climbing trees, swinging on vines (and) playing football, basketball, and softball with her older brother and all her boy cousins." She also loved animals, a character trait she indulged on the show.

A beauty queen, she moved to New York in the late '50s and attracted attention as a model and for her appearances as Perry Como's "Letters Girl." She had some small roles in films and bigger ones on TV series, including a memorable "Twilight Zone" episode, "Eye of the Beholder."

But it was "The Beverly Hillbillies" that made her a star. At its peak in the early '60s, the show was the most popular on television, drawing stratospheric ratings seldom equaled by episodic television, despite criticism from reviewers who disliked its broad humor. In fact, a number of 1964 episodes still rank among the most-watched TV shows (non-Super Bowl division) of all time.

However, Douglas found it hard to break away from Elly May. Her only starring movie role was in "Frankie and Johnny," a 1966 Elvis Presley vehicle. She and the King did become friendly, bonding over a shared interest in spiritual subjects, according to a website dedicated to Presley's female co-stars.

Douglas worked sporadically after "Hillbillies" was canceled in 1971, with the Internet Movie Database listing roles in "Night Gallery," "Love, American Style" and "Adam-12," among others. But she mainly devoted herself to singing and personal appearances.

However, she never regretted her claim to fame.

"Today the role of Elly May has been a beautiful opportunity, a wonderful little door opener for me to share my heart with others, whether speaking in churches, ladies conferences, youth groups, schools, conventions, and various civic organizations, or one on one," her website bio said. "Amazing what God can do with a life, if given the opportunity!"

Douglas was married twice and is survived by a son, Danny Bourgeois.

To read some articles about the Beverly Hillbillies go to and and and and and and and and and

To watch some episodes from The Beverly Hillbillies go to

For a Website dedicated to The Beverly Hillbillies go to

To go to Tim's TV Showcase go to

For an episode guide go to

For a Website dedicated to Buddy Ebsen go to

For Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies
Mansion & Casino go to

For a Website dedicated to everything from the 1960's go to

For another website dedicated to the 1960's go to

To watch The Beverly Hillbillies-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For more on Buddy Ebsen go to

For two great reviews of this classic sitcom go to and
Date: Wed March 3, 2004 � Filesize: 59.5kb, 40.1kbDimensions: 596 x 759 �
Keywords: Beverly Hillbillies


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