The Beverly Hillbillies

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For the 1993 film, see The Beverly Hillbillies (film).
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies.jpg
Created by Paul Henning
Opening theme "The Ballad of Jed Clampett"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 274 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Al Simon
  • Martin Ransohoff
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network CBS
Picture format
Audio format monaural
Original release September 26, 1962 (1962-09-26) – March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23)
Related shows
Beverly Hillbillies Episode 18: Jed Saves The Drysdales Marriage

The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom originally broadcast on CBS for nine seasons from September 26, 1962 to March 23, 1971. The series stars Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr. as a poor backwoods family who move to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. The show was produced by Filmways and was created by writer Paul Henning. It was followed by two other Henning-inspired country-cousin series on CBS: Petticoat Junction, and its spin-off Green Acres, which reversed the rags-to-riches model of The Beverly Hillbillies.

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.[1] It accumulated seven Emmy nominations during its run. The series remains in syndication on MeTV, and its ongoing popularity spawned a 1993 film remake by 20th Century Fox.[2]

In 1997, the episode "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" was ranked No. 62 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[3]


The Beverly Hillbillies is the first in the "fish out of water" genre of television shows. The series starts as Jed Clampett, an impoverished mountaineer, is living alongside an oil-contaminated swamp with his daughter and mother-in-law. A surveyor for the OK Oil Company realizes the size of the oil field, and the company pays him a fortune for the right to drill on his land. Patriarch Jed's cousin Pearl prods him to move to California after being told his modest property could yield $25 million. His family moves into a mansion in the wealthy Beverly Hills, California, next door to his banker Milburn Drysdale. They bring a moral, unsophisticated, and minimalistic lifestyle to the swank, sometimes self-obsessed and superficial community. Double entendres and cultural misconceptions are the core of the sitcom's humor. Plots often involve the outlandish efforts Drysdale makes to keep the Clampetts in Beverly Hills and their money in his bank. The family's periodic attempts to return to the mountains are often prompted by Granny's perceiving a slight from one of the "city folk."

Granny frequently mentions that she was born and raised around Limestone, Tennessee, near Greensville, but the state from which the Clampetts move to California is never revealed. Various, sometimes conflicting, clues can be found in certain episodes. In season 5, episode 17, it is claimed that they come from the town of "Bug Tussle" in an unspecified state.


  • Buddy Ebsen as J. D. "Jed" Clampett, the widowed patriarch
  • Irene Ryan as Daisy May ("Granny") Moses, Jed's mother-in-law
  • Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett, Jed's tomboy daughter
  • Max Baer, Jr. as Jethro Bodine, the brawny, half-witted son of Jed's cousin Pearl
  • Raymond Bailey as Milburn Drysdale, Jed's greedy, unscrupulous banker
  • Nancy Kulp as "Miss" Jane Hathaway, Drysdale's scholarly, "plain Jane" secretary
  • Harriet E. MacGibbon as Margaret Drysdale, Mr. Drysdale's ostentatious wife
  • Bea Benaderet as Jed's cousin Pearl (season 1)


Season Episodes Originally aired[4]
First aired Last aired
1 36 September 26, 1962 (1962-09-26) May 29, 1963 (1963-05-29)
2 36 September 25, 1963 (1963-09-25) June 10, 1964 (1964-06-10)
3 34 September 23, 1964 (1964-09-23) June 16, 1965 (1965-06-16)
4 32 September 15, 1965 (1965-09-15) May 18, 1966 (1966-05-18)
5 30 September 14, 1966 (1966-09-14) April 19, 1967 (1967-04-19)
6 30 September 6, 1967 (1967-09-06) April 3, 1968 (1968-04-03)
7 26 September 25, 1968 (1968-09-25) March 26, 1969 (1969-03-26)
8 26 September 24, 1969 (1969-09-24) March 18, 1970 (1970-03-18)
9 24 September 15, 1970 (1970-09-15) March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23)


J.D. "Jed" Clampett[edit]

Although he had received little formal education, Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) has a good deal of common sense. Jed is the son of Luke Clampett and his wife, and has a sister called Myrtle. A principal character of the show, Jed is 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, "Welllllll, doggies!"[5] Jed was one of the three characters to appear in all 274 episodes of the series.


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 finds 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. 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 which was filmed at Penshurst Place.[6]

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 by a sundial and the weather by 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". She even set Jethro straight on the subject of slavery: "We fought a war to make the Yankees stop that foolishness!" 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 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 is from Limestone, Tennessee. Likewise in a Flatt and Scruggs guest episode, her favorite song is "My little Girl of Tennessee".

Granny's full name, Daisy Moses, is 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[edit]

Elly May (Donna Douglas in all 274 episodes), the only child of Jed and Rose Ellen Clampett, 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 United States Navy 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. On one of the family's visits back to the hills, a miller bought a cake baked by Elly May at a fair because he needed a new grindstone for his flour mill.

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 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.

In the 1981 TV movie of The Beverly Hillbillies, Elly May is head of a zoo.

Jethro Bodine[edit]

Jethro (Max Baer, Jr. in 272 episodes) 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 because of his age, he is often impressing others that he graduated "highest in his class at Oxford, 6 foot 2". 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, minoring in philosophy, from Santa Clara University.

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 an uncle who owns the studio, and the in-joke gag of Jethro as a movie producer was replayed in the 1981 movie), soda jerk, chauffeur, short-order cook, sculptor, restaurant owner (with Granny's cooking), 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. A running gag is that as usual Jethro fails catching girls – for example a girl he had known from the hills became a successful actress, yet when she tries to talk to Jethro he always hangs up on her.

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" the chimpanzee – with a fee of 10,000 bananas for Bessie and 1,000 bananas for Jethro. A running gag is that "Cousin Bessie" proves to be smarter than 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 does not appear in the third- or second-to-last episodes, but Baer remains billed in the title credits.

With the January 2015 death of co-star Donna Douglas, Baer is the only surviving cast member.[7]

The Drysdales[edit]

Milburn (Raymond Bailey in 247 episodes), Margaret (Harriet E. MacGibbon; 55 episodes in 1962–69), 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. Another time Miss Hathaway discovered that whenever Jed Clampett took money out of his pocket Drysdale's blood pressure would either go up or down depending on whether Jed was going to spend the money or not. Whenever Drysdale gets a taste of Granny's "Tennessee Tranquilzer" (moonshine), his face turns red. 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. A running gag is that Drysdale-as President of the Commerce bank of Beverly Hills-is in a feud with a rival bank President {of the Merchant Bank of Beverly Hills} as to whom will have custody of Jed Clampett's millions.

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 $619,470,054 today). Margaret loathes all four "vagabonds", but her most heated rivalry is with Granny, with whom she occasionally has some "scraps". 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. Sonny only appears in four episodes, three in 1962 and a final appearance in 1966.

Nancy Kulp (center) as The Beverly Hillbillies' Jane Hathaway

Jane Hathaway[edit]

Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp in 246 episodes), whom the Clampetts address as "Miss Jane", is Drysdale's loyal and efficient secretarial assistant. Though she always carries out his wishes, she is inherently decent and is frequently put off by her boss's greed. When she is annoyed with him, as is often the case, especially when one of Drysdale's schemes goes too far, she usually and forcefully says, "Chief!" Jane is genuinely fond of the family (to the Clampetts, she is considered family; even Granny, the one most dead-set against living in California, likes her very much); Jane actually harbors something of a crush on Jethro for most of the series' run. At first, she mistakes the Clampetts as servants until Drysdale told her who they really are (which almost costs 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. In 1999, TV Guide ranked Jane Hathaway No. 38 on its "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list.[8]


  • Pearl Bodine (portrayed by Bea Benaderet; 22 episodes in season 1) 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. She is the daughter of Amos Clampett, Jed's uncle.
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. 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 Twombly. The role of Pearl was first offered to Shirley Collie. In season six, she makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Greetings From The President".
  • Jethrine Bodine (played by Baer, but voiced by Linda Kaye Henning; 11 episodes in season 1): Jethrine is Pearl's king-sized daughter, Jethro's twin. Jethrine appears in the first season; 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 Jasper "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 also appears in the 1993 movie version.)
  • Dash Riprock (played by Larry Pennell; 10 episodes in seasons 3–7) 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 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.
  • Lowell Redlings Farquhar (played by Charles Ruggles; 3 episodes in seasons 4 & 5) is the elderly father of Mrs. Drysdale. Granny considers him a potential beau.
  • Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (as 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.)
  • John Brewster (played by Frank Wilcox; 14 episodes, 1962–1966), 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.
  • Janet Trego (played by Sharon Tate; 15 episodes, 1963–65) is a beautiful secretary at the Commerce Bank. (Tate was later murdered by Charles Manson's "family" just before the start of season 8.)
  • Sam Drucker (played by Frank Cady; 10 episodes in 1968–70) 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. 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 Thompson (played by Danielle Mardi; 17 episodes in 1969–71) 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. 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 Kellums (played by Shug Fisher; 17 episodes in seasons 8 & 9) 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 .
  • Elverna Bradshaw (played by Elvia Allman; 13 episodes, 1963–70) 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 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.
  • Matthew and Mark Templeton (brothers played by actor Roger Torrey, who had auditioned for the part of Jethro; 3 episodes in season 8 as Matthew; 9 in season 9 as Mark) Matthew is the preacherman Granny tags 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.
  • Cousin Roy (played by Roy Clark; 3 episodes in seasons 6 & 7) was the Clampetts' cousin who came from "The Hills" to Hollywood; who appeared in three episodes as an aspiring country singer. In furtherance of the running gag of Jethro Bodine's continuing failure to succeed, Jethro turned down the chance to be Cousin Roy's agent, who actually succeeded in Hollywood.

Theme music[edit]

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 is 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 No. 44 on Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and No. 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 features no country music beyond the bluegrass banjo theme song, although country star Roy Clark and the team of Flatt and Scruggs occasionally play on the program. Pop singer Pat Boone appears in one episode as himself, under the premise that he hails from the same area of the country as the Clampetts, although 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".


The Beverly Hillbillies received poor reviews from some contemporary critics. The New York Times called the show "strained and unfunny"; Variety called it "painful to sit through". [9] Film professor Janet Staiger writes that "the problem for these reviewers was that the show confronted the cultural elite's notions of quality entertainment." [10] The show did receive a somewhat favorable review from noted critic Gilbert Seldes in the December 15, 1962 TV Guide: "The whole notion on which The Beverly Hillbillies is founded is an encouragement to ignorance... But it is funny. What can I do?" [11] [12]

Regardless of the poor reviews, 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.

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Season Years Rank Rating class="unsortable" | Notes
1 1962–63 1 36.0
2 1963–64 39.1
3 1964–65 12 25.6
4 1965–66 7 25.9 Tied with Bewitched
5 1966–67 23.4 Tied with Daktari and Bewitched
6 1967–68 12 23.3
7 1968–69 10 23.5
8 1969–70 18 21.7
9 1970–71 Not in the Top 30



The Clampetts' truck was a 1921 Oldsmobile. This one, which was modified by George Barris, is on display at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. The original truck is at the College of the Ozarks.[14]

The ninth season during the 1970–71 television season placed 33rd out of 96 shows.[15] 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.[16] 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."[17]


1981 CBS movie[edit]

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.[18]

1993 special[edit]

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[edit]

The Beverly Hillbillies is still televised daily around the world in syndication. In the United States, the show is broadcast currently on MeTV, Retro TV, MyFamily TV, TV Land, and was previously on Nick at Nite, The Hallmark Channel, and WGN America.[19] 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.


A three-act stage play based on the pilot was written by David Rogers in 1968.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] It was released as a full retail release on April 15, 2014.[23]

DVD title No. of
Region 1
release date
The Beverly Hillbillies (Ultimate Collection) 26 September 27, 2005
The Beverly Hillbillies (Ultimate Collection Volume 2) 27 February 28, 2006
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Second Season) 36 October 7, 2008
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Third Season) 34 February 17, 2009
The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Fourth Season) 32 April 15, 2014

Feature film[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nielsen Media Research (August 6, 2000). "Top 100 TV Shows of All Time". Variety. Retrieved April 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Hollywood To Make Movie Of Old 'Beverly Hillbillies'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-06. 
  3. ^ Jim. "The 100 Greatest TV episodes of all time". Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies Episodes". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ "What Does Pa Say 'Bout 'Hillbillies'? : Movies: Buddy Ebsen has warm words for Jim Varney's rendition of the Clampett patriarch and for Penelope Spheeris' take on the old series.". latimes. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Beverly Hillbillies Article". 
  7. ^ "Max Baer Jr. On Donna Douglas: 'She Was Elly May Until The Day She Died' - RumorFix". RumorFix. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  8. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 191. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9. 
  9. ^ Staiger, Janet Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era ch. 2
  10. ^ Staiger, Janet Blockbuster TV: Must-See Sitcoms in the Network Era ch. 2
  11. ^ Roberts, Jerry The Complete History of American Film Criticism pp 52-53
  12. ^ Michael J. Hayde's BETTER LIVING THROUGH TELEVISION (website) June 11, 2006
  13. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (2007) Ballantine pp, 1683-85
  14. ^ "Ralph Foster Museum – Beverly Hillbillies Car, Point Lookout, Missouri". Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  15. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ Lewis, Matt (April 7, 2011). "Why Fox News let Glenn Beck go". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  17. ^ Ken Berry interview
  18. ^ 20 maart 2008. "Paul Henning – Archive Interview Part 8 of 8". YouTube. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  19. ^ "WGN America Fall 2011 Schedule; MeTV Network Celebrates Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday With 100 Episodes of Lucy Series - News Blog". Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  20. ^ The Beverly Hillbillies. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  21. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies DVD news: Announcement for The Beverly Hillbillies – The Official 3rd Season". Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  22. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies DVD news: Release Date for The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official 4th Season -". Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  23. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies DVD news: Announcement for The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official 4th Season -". Retrieved April 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]