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Beverly Hillbillies

By Anonymous

One of the most underrated sitcoms of all-time, "The Beverly Hillbillies" is second only to "I Love Lucy" in its endearing popularity. No other series in television history climbed to the top the ratings so fast. From 1962 - 1964 it was the most watched series on television, boasting an average viewing audience of 60 million viewers. Several episodes of the series hold the title for being among the most watched single episodes in television history. And of course, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" remains one of the most recognizable TV themes ever.

As with most sitcoms, the first few seasons of the "Hillbillies" were by far the best (the black and white episodes). When the Clampetts went to London, Silver Dollar City and Washington, D.C., it was obvious series producer and creator Paul Henning was running out of storylines for the show. Although the series ran nine years, from 1962 - 1971, if you had stopped watching after the fifth season (1966-67), you probably didn't miss much.

The stand out characters in the series were Granny (played by talented Irene Ryan), Miss Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) and Mrs. Drysdale (Harriet MacGibbon). These were three outstanding characters actresses who contributions to the series helped to make it a hit. Buddy Ebsen was often too stoic in his characterization of Jed Clampett. Max Baer gave one of the most painful-to-watch, over-the-top performances in the history of television. Yeah, we know Jethro is stupid, but come on, Max. Tone it down. Donna Douglas is pretty as Elly May, but her ability to look good does not extend to acting. She was but merely a prop. Raymond Bailey's bungling, greedy Mr. Drysdale had its moments, but few memories.

Most critics today still don't get this show. And, with good reason. No other series in history got away with making such a buffoon out of the sophisticated crowd. The success of this series has more to do not with the "rural" humor, but the fact that dirt poor people could be wealthy overnight. Just like the morbid infatuation we have with lotteries, the ability to become millionaires and daydream about what we do with all that money. If we can't win it, then we like to watch other people win it. Just like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", audiences will continue to fall in love with shows about people who win big money, or discover oil. That is really the true success behind why the Clampetts are as popular as ever.

One reason for the shows continued popularity among TV stations is that the copyright for the series was not properly re-registered when the time came. This means that you can find very cheap collections of these episodes on DVD. Be forewarned, however, than many are of poor quality. Check the reviews at Amazon.com before purchasing one.

Beverly Hillbillies on DVD!
Beverly Hillbillies is now available on DVD! Get it at Amazon.com!
Season One

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 26, 1962 - September 7, 1971

Cast: Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett), Irene Ryan (Granny), Donna Douglas (Elly May), Max Baer Jr. (Jetro Bodine)

Network: CBS

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS


Beverly Hillbillies memorabilia!
Beverly Hillbillies Videos and DVDs!
Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett) memorabilia!
Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampett) Videos and DVDs!
Irene Ryan (Granny) memorabilia!
Irene Ryan (Granny) Videos and DVDs!

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Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Service.
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