Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not This Day In Knickerbcker Village History: Oct. 31, 1962, The Beverly Hillbillies, Episode 6

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After a steady diet of this crapola it's no wonder that there was youth rebellion in the later 60's. This show aired from 9-9:30 on Channel 2 and was entitled Trick Or Treat. from wikipedia:
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American television series 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.
At the beginning of The Beverly Hillbillies series, the OK Oil Company discovers oil in a swamp in the Ozarks owned by family patriarch Jed Clampett. Jed moves with his family to the wealthy Los Angeles County city of Beverly Hills, California, where he attempts to live a rural lifestyle despite his wealth. This sequence of events was recapitulated in the title credits for each show and was described in the lyrics of the theme song, so that new viewers would easily understand who the Hillbillies were and why they were in Beverly Hills (although the credits and song portray Jed finding the oil while hunting as opposed to knowing the oil was there but being unaware of the value). Lasting nine seasons and accumulating 7 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 mother-in-law, Daisy May "Granny" Moses; Donna Douglas as his daughter Elly May Clampett; and Max Baer Jr. as his cousin's son Jethro Bodine.
The supporting cast featured Raymond Bailey as Jed's greedy banker Milburn Drysdale; Harriet E. MacGibbon as Drysdale's snobbish wife Margaret Drysdale; and Nancy Kulp as Drysdale's secretary, "Miss" Jane Hathaway, who pined for the clueless Jethro.
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.
Although not a major character, actress Sharon Tate had a recurring role during the early years of the series. Tate appeared in a dark wig as Janet Trego, an assistant to Miss Hathaway at the Commerce Bank. Two episodes before Janet's debut episode, Sharon had appeared (sans wig) as one of Elly May's classmates in "Elly Starts to School"
Veteran canine actor Stretch portrayed Jed's bloodhound Duke, and the many other animal actors on the series came to be known as "Elly May's critters".
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.
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.
Despite being panned 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 2 episode The Giant Jackrabbit also became the most watched telecast up to the time of its airing, and still remains the most watched half-hour episode of a sitcom as well It was ranked in the top ten most watched prime time programs for six of its nine seasons.
The series received two Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series as well as nominations for cast members Irene Ryan and Nancy Kulp.
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.
* 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.
* Edgar Buchanan, who starred in all 222 episodes of Petticoat Junction and guest-starred in 17 episodes of Green Acres, also guested in 3 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, always as the character Uncle Joe Carson.
Nielsen ratings for the 1970-71 season indicate 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. 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."
In addition to The Beverly Hillbillies, the series that were eliminated included Green Acres, Mayberry R.F.D. 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.

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