The Real McCoys

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Not to be confused with The Real McCoy (TV series).
For other uses, see The Real McCoy (disambiguation).
The Real McCoys
The Real McCoys Intro.jpg
Title card
Also known as The McCoys (in the 1962-1963 season)
Created by Irving Pincus
Directed by Hy Averback
Richard Crenna
Sidney Miller
David Alexander
Starring Walter Brennan
Richard Crenna
Kathleen Nolan
Michael Winkelman
Lydia Reed
Tony Martinez
Madge Blake
Andy Clyde
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 224
Production
Executive producer(s) Danny Thomas
Producer(s) Irving Pincus
Norman Pincus
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Brennan-Westgate
Marterto Productions
Distributor SFM Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1957-62)
CBS (1962-63)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run October 3, 1957 (1957-10-03)  – June 23, 1963 (1963-06-23)

The Real McCoys is an American situation comedy co-produced by Danny Thomas's "Marterto Productions" in association with Walter Brennan and Irving Pincus's "Westgate" company. The series aired for six seasons altogether, the first five on the ABC-TV network from 1957 through 1962 and in its final year, 1962-63, on CBS.

The series, set in the San Fernando Valley of California, was filmed in Hollywood at Desilu studios.

Synopsis[edit]

Walter Brennan as Amos McCoy.
Kathy Nolan and Richard Crenna as Kate and Luke McCoy.

The Real McCoys revolves around the lives of a mountain family who originally hailed from fictional Smokey Corners, West Virginia. The McCoys moved to California and became dirt farmers. The family consisted of Grandpa Amos McCoy (Walter Brennan); his grandson Luke (Richard Crenna), Luke's new bride Kate (Kathy Nolan), Luke's teenage sister Hassie (Lydia Reed), and his 11-year-old brother, Little Luke (Michael Winkelman). The double-naming of the brothers was explained in the first episode by the elder Luke: Because their parents were so excited over the birth of the younger boy, "they forgot all about me!" Only Crenna was in every episode.

The McCoys' farm had previously been owned by an uncle, Ben McCoy, who died. The former West Virginians joined the Grange farm association and acquired a Mexican farm hand named Pepino Garcia, played by the Puerto Rican-born Tony Martinez. In the episode which aired on January 8, 1962, Pepino becomes an American citizen and takes the surname name "McCoy". The McMichaels, a brother and sister combination played by Andy Clyde and Madge Blake in twenty-nine and twenty-one episodes, respectively, lived on the hill not far from the McCoys. Amos McCoy and George MacMichael, both rather devious individuals, would sometimes quarrel, particularly over their games of checkers. Kate was friendly with Flora McMichael, George's sister, and became involved with life in the community. Though still in her twenties, Kate served as a mother figure for Luke's younger siblings, Hassie and Little Luke, and one episode shows her bewilderment in trying to entice the children to take responsibility for their school studies. Many episodes have a moral theme consistent with the conservative views of Walter Brennan, such as two 1957 segments entitled "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" with Joseph Kearns, later of Dennis the Menace, and "Gambling Is a Sin," in which Amos allows a casino to advertise on McCoy property before the ethics of the matter is brought to his attention.[1] Other such episodes are "Go Fight City Hall", "The Taxman Cometh," "You Can't Always Be a Hero", "You Never Get Too Old," "Where There's a Will", "Beware a Smart Woman", "Money in the Bank", "How to Win Friends," "You're As Young As You Feel", "Honesty Is the Best Policy", and "Never a Lender Be".[2]

One of the most remembered episodes, "The New Well" (October 30, 1958), pits science v. folklore when Grandpa's divining rod proves superior to the paid recommendation of a geologist, played by Joe Flynn, in locating a new water source on the farm.[3] In the 1958 episode "It Pays to Be Poor", John Dehner plays Roger Brewster, a hard-edged New York City businessman determined to buy the McCoy farm to turn it into a motel, but spurred by his kindly wife, he soon develops an unexpected taste for the basic values of rural living.[4]

In "Little Luke's Education" (February 6, 1958), Amos confronts bigotry among the local children against hillbilly peoples such as the McCoys. In "Grampa's Private War" (February 12, 1959), Amos gets so carried away with patriotic fervor that he claims to have fought under Theodore Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War, but Walter Brennan was four years old when that war was fought in 1898. Then Amos is invited to speak at a Veterans Day ceremony.[2]

Jon Lormer was cast seven times on The Real McCoys in 1959 and 1960, six as the character Sam Watkins. Joan Blondell appeared three times near the end of the series as Aunt Win. Marjorie Bennett was cast three times as Amanda Comstock. Pat Buttram and Howard McNear also appeared three times; they were subsequently cast as Eustace Haney on CBS's Green Acres and as Floyd the Barber on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show. Olin Howland and Willard Waterman appeared five times each as Charley Perkins and Mac Maginnis, respectively.[2]

Early in the run of the series, Charles Lane, who often appeared in a character role on I Love Lucy, was cast twice as Harry Poulson, a fast-talking egg salesman; Hassie McCoy has an interest in Harry's son. In 1963, Jack Oakie appeared three times in the role of Uncle Rightly. Dick Elliott was cast twice as Doc Thornton, and Lurene Tuttle appeared twice as Gladys Purvis, the widowed mother of series character Kate McCoy, with Jay Novello in one of those appearances as Gladys' intended second husband, a retired photographer from Fresno, California.[2]

Malcolm Cassell appeared several times as Hassie McCoy's boyfriend, Tommy. Edward Everett Horton played J. Luther Medwick, the grandfather of Hassie's other boyfriend, Jerry; Medwick and Amos soon clash. Verna Felton, a member of the December Bride cast, appeared once as Cousin Naomi Vesper. Jesse White, known as the Maytag repairman in the television commercial and subsequently a cast member of CBS's The Ann Sothern Show, portrayed a used car salesman named "San Fernando Harry" who clashes with Amos McCoy in "The New Car" (October 2, 1958). On June 1, 1961, Amos, Luke, and Kate return to West Virginia for the 100th birthday gathering of "Grandmother McCoy", played by Jane Darwell. In one episode, Lee Van Cleef played a sentry; in another Tom Skerritt appeared as a letter carrier.[2]

The episode "The Tycoon" (August 30, 1960) four years later coincidentally became the title of Brennan's next ABC sitcom, The Tycoon, with his co-star Van Williams.[2] Barbara Stanwyck made a cameo appearance in the 1959 episode, "The McCoys Go To Hollywood", which also features Dorothy Provine, and a glimpse of the Desilu Studios, where the series was filmed. Just before The Real McCoys ended its run on ABC, Nolan left the series in a contract dispute and was written out of the remaining scripts: her character of Kate apparently died. Hassie left home to attend college, and Little Luke joined the United States Army. She appeared only in the first episode of the final season - he never did. Amos McCoy did not appear in many episodes. Luke hence supposedly was a widower, and many of the stories revolved around Grandpa trying to find him a new wife. This nearly succeeded when Luke met Louise Howard, portrayed by Janet De Gore, a widow with a young son, Greg, played by Butch Patrick, later of CBS's, The Munsters.

Other guest stars[edit]

Other guest stars on the program, both older and younger actors, were Sherry Alberoni, Frank Albertson, Merry Anders, Herbert Anderson, Eleanor Audley, Parley Baer, Noah Beery, Jr., Whit Bissell, Beau Bridges, Kathie Browne, Claudia Bryar, Joyce Bulifant, Ellen Burstyn, Don Chastain, Harry Cheshire, Gage Clarke, Tris Coffin, Hans Conried, Elisha Cook, Jr., Lloyd Corrigan, Jerome Cowan, Richard Deacon, Sandy Descher, Anthony Eisley, Betty Garde, Gale Garnett, Connie Gilchrist, James Gleason, Gale Gordon, Alan Hale, Jr., Murray Hamilton, Bob Hastings, Jonathan Hole, Sterling Holloway, Clegg Hoyt, Henry Jones, Don Keefer, Robert Karnes, Peggy Knudsen, Nancy Kulp, Forrest Lewis, Tina Louise, Robert Middleton, Joanna Moore, Frank Nelson, William Newell, Barbara Nichols, Jeanette Nolan, J. Pat O'Malley, Michael Parks, Lee Patrick, Denver Pyle, Sue Randall, Stafford Repp, Addison Richards, Charles Ruggles, Irene Ryan, Harry Shannon, Joan Staley, Olan Soule, John Stephenson, K.T. Stevens, Leonard Stone, Lyle Talbot, Vaughn Taylor, Irene Tedrow, Torin Thatcher, Minerva Urecal, Norma Varden, Herb Vigran, Adam West, Grace Lee Whitney, Frank Wilcox, Estelle Winwood, Lana Wood, and Will Wright.[2]

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

Season Rank Rating
1957–58 30 26.6 (Tied with The Loretta Young Show and Zorro)
1958–59 8 30.1
1959–60 11 28.2
1960–61 5 27.7
1961–62 14 24.2
1962–63 Not in the Top 30

Cancellation[edit]

For its first three seasons, The Real McCoys, which followed The Donna Reed Show, was the lead-in program on the ABC Thursday lineup for The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, which aired from 1957–60. The Pat Boone series was succeeded in 1960 by Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons.

Although the series had ranked in the Top 10 the entire time it was on ABC, it fell into disfavor after being sold to CBS. It was cancelled in the summer of 1963. Factors in the cancellation were the changes in the series (especially the departure of the character Kate McCoy, played by Kathy Nolan), its new Sunday evening time slot opposite NBC's Bonanza, and CBS's concentration on another rural show, Buddy Ebsen's The Beverly Hillbillies, which had become the no. 1 entry on television.

Syndication[edit]

For several seasons beginning in 1962, the series aired weekday mornings on CBS under the title The McCoys. It was then syndicated. Its current distributor SFM Entertainment showed the series on weekday afternoons on the former The Nashville Network in the late 1990s into 2000. The show is currently shown at 6:00 and 6:30 pm Eastern time, Mondays through Fridays, on COZI TV. With the Daytime reruns, the opening theme was played in instrumental form.

The show has always been called The Real McCoys, except briefly in CBS morning reruns between 1962 and 1966. These latter episodes were used in the DVD releases and omitted the full-length pilot. The ending theme music on the DVDs is from the morning rerun version. The original end theme used the following lyrics: "Livin' as good folks should live, as happy as kids with toys/Week after week you're gonna be showed another human episode of Grandpappy Amos and the girls and the boys of the family known as The Real McCoys."

DVD releases[edit]

Infinity Entertainment released the first 4 seasons of The Real McCoys on DVD in Region 1 for the first time between 2007 - 2010. As of 2012, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.

On May 7, 2012, it was announced that Inception Media Group (IMG) had acquired the rights to the show. They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on July 24, 2012.[5] Season 2 was re-released on November 13, 2012.[6]

On June 4, 2012, IMG announced that it would be releasing a complete series set, featuring all 224 remastered episodes.[7] Release of this set is now delayed indefinitely.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Complete Season 1 39 July 24, 2012
Complete Season 2 39 November 13, 2012

References[edit]

External links[edit]