The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from 1962 to 1971, starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr.
The series is about a poor backwoods family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. A Filmways production created by writer Paul Henning, it is the first in a genre of "fish out of water" themed television shows, and was followed by other Henning-inspired country-cousin series on CBS. In 1963, Henning introduced Petticoat Junction, and in 1965 he reversed the rags to riches model for Green Acres. The show paved the way for later culture-conflict programs such as The Jeffersons, McCloud, The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Doc. Panned by many entertainment critics of its time, it quickly became a huge ratings success for most of its nine-year run on CBS.
The Beverly Hillbillies ranked among the top twenty most watched programs on television for eight of its nine seasons, twice ranking as the number one series of the year, with a number of episodes that remain among the most watched television episodes of all time.
The ongoing popularity of the series spawned a 1993 film remake by 20th Century Fox.
In 1997, the episode "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" was ranked #62 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
The Beverly Hillbillies series starts when Jed Clampett, an impoverished mountaineer, discovers oil on his swamp land while hunting for dinner. The OK Oil Company pays him a fortune to acquire the rights to drill on his land. Patriarch Jed moves with his family into a mansion next door to his banker (Milburn Drysdale, of the Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills), in the wealthy Beverly Hills, California, where he brings a moral, unsophisticated, and minimalistic lifestyle to the swanky, sometimes self-obsessed and superficial community. The theme song introduces the viewer to the world's most fortunate hunting accident, whereby Jed shoots at game but instead hits "black gold, Texas tea": he had discovered oil. Double entendres and cultural misconceptions were the core of the sitcom's humor. Frequently, plots involved the outlandish efforts taken by Drysdale to keep the Clampetts in Beverly Hills and their money in his bank. The family's periodic attempts to return to the mountains were often prompted by Granny due to a perceived slight she received from one of the "city-folk." The Beverly Hillbillies accumulated seven Emmy nominations during its run. Over a half century since its premiere, the series remains in syndication on MeTV.
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 and beautiful, yet tomboyish 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 most of the first season episodes, 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 $25 million.
The supporting cast featured Raymond Bailey as Jed's greedy, unscrupulous banker Milburn Drysdale; Harriet E. MacGibbon as Drysdale's ostentatious wife Margaret Drysdale; and Nancy Kulp as "Miss" Jane Hathaway, Drysdale's scholarly, "plain Jane" secretary, who occasionally pined for the clueless Jethro.
The creators of the series seemed to place the Beverly Hillbillies as having previously lived somewhere in a mountainous area of the Southern US, yet beyond this, consistent information about specifically which part of the South they were from is not available. While Granny frequently mentioned that she was born and raised around Limestone, Tennessee, near Greensville (sic), (actually Greeneville), the series never specified the state from which the Clampetts moved to California. Various, sometimes conflicting clues can be found in certain episodes as to where the Beverly Hillbillies might have come from. In season 5 episode 17 it is claimed that they came from the town of "Bug Tussle" in an unspecified state.
While there is indeed a town of Bugtussle in Oklahoma, this does not appear to be consistent with other geographical clues from other episodes (for one, Oklahoma is mostly plains and the series explicitly states Jed is a mountaineer). In other episodes they often referred to nearby towns such as Joplin, Branson, Springfield, Tulsa, Silver Dollar City, all of which are in or near southwest Missouri. In the eighth episode of season 8, named "Manhattan Hillbillies," Granny tells the police officer in Central Park that her family comes from Taney County (there is a Taney County in southwest Missouri). Early episodes also contained several references to Eureka Springs, which is in northwest Arkansas. All of these communities are in mountainous portions (the Ozarks) of the Southern United States. The character accents, initial poverty, and existence of oil, however, are all more consistent with an Appalachian origin, much farther east. The show's creator and producer, Paul Henning is from Independence, Missouri, and donated 1,534 acres (621 ha) for the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson.
A three-act stage play based on the pilot was written by David Rogers in 1968.
The show's 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. Flatt and Scruggs subsequently cut their own version of the theme (with Flatt singing) for Columbia Records; released as a single, it reached #44 on Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart (the lone country chart-topper for the duo).
The six main cast members participated on a 1963 Columbia 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, though Boone is a native of Jacksonville, Florida.
The 1989 film UHF featured a "Weird Al" Yankovic parody music video, "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*," combining "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" and English rock band Dire Straits' 1985 hit song "Money for Nothing".
September 26, 1962 (1962-09-26)
May 29, 1963 (1963-05-29)
September 25, 1963 (1963-09-25)
June 10, 1964 (1964-06-10)
September 23, 1964 (1964-09-23)
June 16, 1965 (1965-06-16)
September 15, 1965 (1965-09-15)
May 18, 1966 (1966-05-18)
September 14, 1966 (1966-09-14)
April 19, 1967 (1967-04-19)
September 6, 1967 (1967-09-06)
April 3, 1968 (1968-04-03)
September 25, 1968 (1968-09-25)
March 26, 1969 (1969-03-26)
September 24, 1969 (1969-09-24)
March 18, 1970 (1970-03-18)
September 15, 1970 (1970-09-15)
March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23)
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. The series enjoyed excellent ratings throughout its run, although it had fallen out of the top 20 most watched shows during its final season.
tied with Bewitched
tied with Daktari and Bewitched
Not in the Top 30
The ninth season during the 1970-71 television season placed 33rd out of 96 shows. Despite the respectable ratings, the show was cancelled in the spring of 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 cancelled. This action came to be known as "the Rural Purge." Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres, famously remarked, "It was the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it."
J.D. "Jed" Clampett:
Although he had received little formal education, Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) has 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 is shown to be an expert marksman and is 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 longs for the old ways back in the hills, he makes the best of being in Beverly Hills. Whenever he has anything on his mind, he sits on the curbstone of his mansion and whittles until he comes up with the answer. His catchphrase is, "We-e-e-ell, doggies!" Jed's full first name is never given in the television series, though 'Jedediah' was used in the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies theatrical movie (coincidentally, on Ebsen's subsequent series, Barnaby Jones, Barnaby's nephew J.R. was also named Jedediah).
Daisy May Moses (Irene Ryan), called "Granny" by all (relatives or not) is Jed's shotgun-toting mother-in-law and a true daughter of Dixie. Paul Henning, the show's creator/producer quickly 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. Granny can be aggressive but is often overruled by Jed. She is a confederate to the core, defending President Jefferson Davis, the Stars and Bars, and the simple life. Short-fused and easily angered, Granny fancies herself a "dunked" (not "sprinkled") Christian with forgiveness in her heart. She abhors "revenuers" and blue-coat Yankees. A self-styled "M.D." -- "mountain doctor" -- she claims to have an edge over expensive know-nothing city physicians. In lieu of anesthesia, Granny uses her "white lightning" brew before commencing on painful treatments such as leech bleeding and yanking teeth with pliers.
Short and scrappy, Granny often wields a double-barreled, 12-gauge shotgun and fires it numerous times during the run of the show (in a first-season episode she chases Milburn Drysdale with it when she found out his mother's family had a feud with her family back in the hills). She fires it once at the front lawn when Jed is witching for water and several times on the skeet shooting range. During the mock Indian invasion she believed she was shooting live shells, though Milburn Drysdale had removed the buckshot to protect the actors portraying the Indians. She fires rock salt and bacon rind at a crow during the "Happy Valley" episode, and again at the back of an armored truck in which Milburn Drysdale was taking refuge in. She fires at (and hits in the posterior) Milburn Drysdale with rocksalt believing he is the ghost of "Lady Clemintine" ending their second visit to "Clampett Castle" in Kent, England.
Granny also fires "Lady Fingers" (which Elly had baked for Jethro to take to the Army Reserve) into the posterior of an actor portraying Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during "The Battle of Culpepper Plantation"
She is also able to tell the precise time via a sun dial and the weather via a beetle (Granny Versus the Weather Bureau). Without her glasses, Granny is extremely nearsighted -- once in a crossover with the Petticoat Junction show, Granny mistakes a dog for a baby child and a coffee pot for a telephone. Two of Granny's phobias are "Injuns" (she actually buys wigs so the Clampetts won't be "scalped") and the "cement pond" (swimming pool-she has a fear of water). In a long story arc in the show's ninth 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 has a peculiar way of retelling the War Between The States, in which she thinks the South has won and Jefferson Davis is the president, while calling Sherman's March "Sherman's Retreat to the Sea". Any attempts to correct her meet with failure. She is also known for slicing off switches to use on Jethro, mainly whenever he goes 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." In season 9, episode 23, she says she if from Limestone, Tennessee.
Granny's full name, Daisy Moses, allegedly an 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 is a Moses. Granny appears in all 274 episodes.
Elly May Clampett:
Elly May (Donna Douglas), Jed's only child, is a mountain beauty with the body of a pinup girl and the soul of a tomboy. She can throw a fastball as well as "rassle" most men to a fall, and she can be as tender with her friends, animals, and family as she is tough with anyone she rassles. 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 is squired about by eager young Hollywood actors with stage names like "Dash Riprock" and "Bolt Upright." Other boyfriends for Elly include Sonny Drysdale, Beau Short, accountant Fred Penrod, beatnik Sheldon Epps, and Mark Templeton, a frogman.
Elly's most notable weakness, oft mentioned when she is being "courted," is her lack of kitchen skills. Family members cringe when, for plot reasons, Elly takes over the kitchen. Rock-like donuts and cookies, for example, are 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 Elly May takes a job as a secretary at the Commerce Bank after Jed and Granny persuade her that it would be a good way to "meet a husband."
In the 1981 TV movie of The Beverly Hillbillies, Elly May is head of a zoo. Elly May appears in all 274 episodes.
In addition to the family dog, Duke (an old bloodhound), 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, but other animals (from typical dogs and cats to less-traditional house pets, such as deer, opossums, bobcats, bears, goats, raccoons, and kangaroos) were also occasionally featured.
Jethro (Max Baer, Jr.) is the son of Jed's cousin, Pearl Bodine (though he addresses Jed as his uncle). He drove the Clampett family to their new home in California and stayed on with them to further his education. The whole family boasts of Jethro's "sixth-grade education" but nevertheless feels he is a bit of an idiot. Jethro is simply naive in the first season of the show but becomes incredibly ignorant and pompous as the series progresses. He often shows off his cyphering abilities with multiplication and "go-zin-ta's," as in "five gozinta five one times, five gozinta ten two times," etc. The tallest student in his class in the town of Oxford (so named because "that's where the oxen used to ford the creek") because of his age, he is often impressing others that he graduated "top of his class at Oxford." In Beverly Hills, he decides to go to college. He manages to enroll late in the semester at a local secretarial school due to his financial backing and earns his diploma by the end of the day because he did not understand what was going on in class and was too disruptive. This was an ironic in-joke - in real life, Max Baer, Jr., has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Santa Clara University (he also minored in philosophy).
Many stories in the series involve Jethro's endless career search, which include such diverse vocations as a millwright, a brain surgeon, street car conductor, double-naught spy, Hollywood producer (a studio flunky remarks Jethro has the right qualifications for being a producer--a sixth-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 is to obtain as many pretty girls as humanly possible. Of all the Clampett clan, he is the one who makes the most change from 'country bumpkin' to 'city boy.' Another running gag is that Jethro is known as the "six-foot stomach" for his ability to eat: in one episode, he eats a jetliner's entire supply of steaks; in another, Jethro tries 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. At one time Jed mentions Jethro was the only baby he knew born with a full set of teeth "just like a beaver". Jethro appears in 272 episodes; he is not in the third- or second-to-last episodes, 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.
Milburn (Raymond Bailey), Margaret (Harriet E. MacGibbon), and Sonny (Louis Nye): 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 boasts of a heritage that traces back to the Mayflower, but Milburn's concerns are strictly monetary. When suffering an anxiety attack, Milburn sniffs a stack of money and is quickly revived. In the interest of keeping the Clampetts' account at all costs, Mr. Drysdale is prone to appease them, and says that anything they do is unquestionably right. He often forces others, especially his secretary, to placate the Clampetts by granting their unorthodox requests.
Although wife Margaret, a blue-blooded Bostonian, has obvious disdain for the "peasant" and "dreadful" hillbillies, she tacitly agrees to tolerate them (rather than Milburn lose their ever growing account--which is $96,000,000 in 1969, equal to $617,379,310 today). Margaret loathes all four "vagabonds," but her most heated rivalry is with Granny, with whom she occasionally has some "scraps." Raymond Bailey appears in 247 episodes. Harriet E. 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 has gambled away most of their money. Mrs. Drysdale's son--and Milburn's stepson--is Sonny (played by Louis Nye), who is introduced as a thirty-five year-old collegian who doesn't believe in working up a sweat and is an insufferable mama's boy. Finding Elly May a lovely, naive Pollyanna, he courts her until she literally tosses him. Although the character is fondly remembered by fans, Sonny only appears in four episodes, three in 1962 and a final appearance in 1966.
Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp), 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's greed. When she was annoyed with him, as was often the case, especially when one of Drysdale's schemes went too far, she would usually and forcefully say "Chief!". Jane was genuinely fond of the family (to the Clampetts, she was considered family; even Granny, the one most dead-set against living in California, liked her very much); 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 Virginia "Ginny" 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. Nancy Kulp appears in 246 episodes. In 1999, TV Guide ranked Jane Hathaway #38 on its "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list.
Jed's cousin Pearl Bodine, portrayed by Bea Benaderet, is Jethro's widowed mother. In the last season, Granny mentions that Pearl's husband, Fred Bodine, drowned in a fishing accident when Jethro was just a baby (although, in an earlier episode, Jethro shared some memories of his father with a psychiatrist). Pearl is a generally well-meaning mother to Jethro. She was also 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). The character 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 the 1967 episode "Greetings From The President". In the episodes "The Clampetts Get Psychoanalyzed" and "The Psychiatrist Gets Clampetted" Herbert Rudley plays the psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Twombley. In the episodes Pearl is enamored with Dr. Twombley; Benaderet's real life husband was named Eugene Twombley. The role of Pearl was first offered to Shirley Collie.
Jethrine is Pearl's king-sized daughter, Jethro's twin (and is also played by Baer, though voiced by Linda Kaye Henning). Jethrine 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. Jethrine is upset to leave the hills as it means separation from her "sweetie", traveling salesman Jazzbo Depew. Late in the season it was explained in an episode that Jethrine had returned home to marry Depew, although the wedding was never seen in the series (nor was Jethrine ever seen again, although she was occasionally referenced). Jethro and Jethrine 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 using a double. Jethrine appears in the 1993 movie version.
Dash, played by Larry Pennell, is a handsome Hollywood actor employed by Jed's movie studio. Elly May and he meet while she is working as an extra at the studio. When Dash sees the beautiful Elly in her bathing suit, he is smitten with her. The two have an on-and-off relationship. In one episode, Mr. Drysdale forces 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 quite enamored with Dash because of his his playboy persona. Riprock was a send-up of the blatantly fake screen names employed by a number of movie actors 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, mainly between 1965-69.
Lowell Redlings Farquhar
Lowell is the elderly father of Mrs. Drysdale; Granny considers him 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 (who play themselves in seven episodes, 1963-68) are longtime friends of the Clampetts "back home" (Kimberling City, Missouri) 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 Scoggins to Flatt and Scruggs' instrumental). Actress Joi Lansing played Flatt's wife, Gladys, in five episodes, 1963-68.
Brewster (played by Frank Wilcox), is the President and CEO of the OK Oil Company, headquartered in Tulsa, who purchases the oil rights to the gusher on the Clampett home back in the hills. The Clampetts are quite fond of him, and his wife occasionally visits them in California. John Brewster appears in 14 episodes, 1962-1966.
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. Tate was later murdered by Charles Manson's "family" just before the start of the eighth season.
Sam (played by Frank Cady) owns the general store in Hooterville. Granny is constantly under the impression Sam wants to marry her, but Sam has no intention of doing so. He appears in 10 episodes between 1968 and 1970. Cady also starred as Sam Drucker in Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. Cady reprised the role of Sam Drucker for the 1990 Green Acres reunion movie Return to Green Acres.
Helen (played by Danielle Mardi) is a beautiful British secretary at the Commerce Bank. Helen takes over Jane Hathaway's job as Mr. Drysdale's secretary after Ms. Hathaway resigned. Helen appears in 17 episodes between 1969 and 1971. She is one of the ringleaders of the protest group the secretaries of the Commerce Bank create: GRUN (Girls Resist Unfair Neglect). She, along with many other secretaries, as well as Elly and Granny, live with Ms. Hathaway for a short time in her apartment.
Shorty (played by Shug Fisher) is Jed's longtime buddy from back home, with whom Jed reunites 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, and returned again briefly during 1970-71.
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, Elverna's daughter or Elly May. For reasons not really explained, Elverna also moves into the Clampett Beverly Hills mansion during the same period Shorty does; both of them, however, are gone from the estate for the final 1970-71 season, presumably having returned home. Elverna Bradshaw appears in 13 episodes, 1963-1970.
Matthew and Mark Templeton
The Templetons are two brothers, both played by actor Roger Torrey, who originally auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the part of Jethro. 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 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 played out for nine episodes and was abruptly dropped, although advance publicity for the show indicated Elly May and Mark would be marrying during the season; however, the show was cancelled at the end of that season as part of the CBS Rural Purge.
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 died 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 Bug Tussle, 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.
1993 television special:
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 fourth 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. Nancy Kulp had died in 1991 and was little referred to beyond the multitude of film clips that dotted the special. 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 is still televised daily around the world in syndication. In the United States, the show is broadcast on MeTV and was previously on Nick at Nite, The Hallmark Channel, TV Land and WGN America. A limited number of episodes from the earlier portions of the series run have turned up in the public domain and as such are seen occasionally on many smaller networks.
The show is distributed by CBS Television Distribution, the syndication arm of CBS Television Studios and the CBS network. It was previously distributed by CBS Films, Viacom Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television, and CBS Paramount Domestic Television (all through corporate changes involving TV distribution rights to the early CBS library). 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.
Fifty-five episodes of the series are in the public domain, (all 36 season-one episodes and 19 season-two episodes), because Orion Television, successor to Filmways, neglected to renew their copyrights. As a result, these episodes have been 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 theme music has been replaced by generic music due to copyright issues.
Before his death, Paul Henning, whose estate now holds the original film elements to the public domain episodes, authorized MPI Home Video to 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. Volume 1 has, among its bonus features, the alternate, unaired 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.
With the exception of the public domain episodes, the copyrights to the series were renewed by Orion Television. However, any new compilation of Hillbillies material will be copyrighted by either MPI Media Group or CBS, depending on the content of the material used.
For many years, 20th Century Fox, through a joint venture with CBS called CBS/Fox Video, 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. Both seasons are available to be purchased together from major online retailers. On October 1, 2013, season four was released on DVD as a Walmart exclusive. It will be released as a full retail release on April 15, 2014.
The Beverly Hillbillies (Ultimate Collection)
September 27, 2005
The Beverly Hillbillies (Ultimate Collection Volume 2)
February 28, 2006
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Second Season)
October 7, 2008
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Third Season)
February 17, 2009
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Fourth Season)
April 15, 2014
In 1993, a movie version of The Beverly Hillbillies was released starring Jim Varney as Jed Clampett and featuring Buddy Ebsen in a cameo as Barnaby Jones, the lead character in his long-running post-Hillbillies television series.