Petticoat Junction

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Petticoat Junction
Petticoat Junction title screen.jpg
Created by Paul Henning
Ruth Henning
Starring Bea Benaderet
Edgar Buchanan
Linda Kaye Henning
Jeannine Riley
Pat Woodell
Gunilla Hutton
Lori Saunders
Meredith MacRae
Smiley Burnette
Jimmy Hawkins
Rufe Davis
Frank Cady
Mike Minor
Elna Danelle Hubbell
June Lockhart
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 222 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Jay Sommers
Charles Stewart
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Wayfilms, Inc.
The CBS Television Network
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (1971-1995)
Paramount Domestic Television (1995-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format monaural
Original release September 24, 1963 (1963-09-24) – April 4, 1970 (1970-04-04)
Related shows The Beverly Hillbillies
Green Acres

Petticoat Junction is an American situation comedy produced by Wayfilms (a joint venture of Filmways Television and Pen-Ten Productions) that originally aired on CBS from September 1963 to April 1970.[1] The series is one of three interrelated shows about rural characters created by Paul Henning. Petticoat Junction was created upon the success of Henning's previous rural/urban-themed sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971). The success of Petticoat Junction led to a spin-off, Green Acres (1965–1971).

The setting for the series is the Shady Rest Hotel, which is run by Kate Bradley, her Uncle Joe, and her three daughters Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo. The hotel is located outside the farming town of Hooterville (later the location of Green Acres). The hotel is situated on a branch line of the C. & F.W. Railroad, about halfway between the towns of Pixley and Hooterville, each approximately 25 miles (40 km) away. The series pilot introduced the feminist element where the youngest daughter, Betty Jo, was skilled at driving the train.[2] As a train engineer was traditionally a man's job, executives from the train company's corporate headquarters were shocked when they learned of this.[3]

Regarding the show's title, Petticoat Junction, the location of the hotel is an unscheduled train stop on an unconnected branch line, not a junction (where two or more lines meet).[4] The opening titles of the series feature a display of the three daughters' petticoats or frilled underskirts hanging on the side of the railway's water tower[5] where the three originally teenage girls are bathing in the nude, or skinny-dipping.[6][7] The show has a double entendre in the program's opening theme. During the theme song's line, "Lotsa curves, you bet, and even more when you get to the junction: Petticoat Junction," the program has shots of the train on a curving track, the girls' petticoats, and the three naked girls seen from shoulders up in the water tower.[8]


The idea for Petticoat Junction came from Paul Henning's wife. She used to tell him stories of her childhood adventures when she was visiting the Burris Hotel (once called the Rock Island Hotel[9]), owned by her family, in Eldon, Missouri. These stories became the basis of the show. Taking that idea, Henning believed that the show would make an ideal starring vehicle for veteran character actress Bea Benaderet. Since the 1930s, Benaderet had been playing second banana on radio and television to such personalities as Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, and George Burns and Gracie Allen. She also had been an uncredited voice actress for many Warner Brothers cartoons. Just prior to being cast as the lead in Petticoat Junction, Benaderet played the semi-regular character "Cousin Pearl" Bodine on the first season of The Beverly Hillbillies, and also provided the voice of Betty Rubble on the ABC-TV animated sitcom The Flintstones. Henning felt that Benaderet had more than paid her dues and had earned the right to headline her own series.

Show history[edit]

During pre-production, proposed titles were Ozark Widow, Dern Tootin' and Whistle Stop.[10] Set just outside the rural town of Hooterville, the show followed the goings-on at The Shady Rest Hotel, of which Kate Bradley (Benaderet) was the proprietor. Her lazy Uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan), who was the great-uncle to Kate's three daughters, helped her in the day-to-day running of the business while she served as a mediator in the various minor crises that befell her beautiful daughters Betty Jo (redhead), Bobbie Jo (brunette), and Billie Jo (blonde). The actresses portraying Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo changed over the years, whereas Betty Jo was portrayed by Linda Kaye, the daughter of Paul Henning, for the entire run.

Much of the original focus of the show was on the Hooterville Cannonball, a steam-driven train (serviced by the above-mentioned water tower) run more like a taxi service by its engineer, Charley Pratt (Smiley Burnette), and its conductor, Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis). It was not uncommon for the Cannonball to make an unscheduled stop in order for passengers to go fishing or pick fruit for Kate Bradley's menu at the Shady Rest. Occasionally, Betty Jo Bradley could be found with her hand on the Cannonball's throttle, as running the train home from trips into town was one of her favorite pastimes. Those trips usually consisted of a stop at "Drucker's Store," run by Sam Drucker (Frank Cady). Drucker's Store is mentioned as a favorite of Hooterville farmers because he would give credit, while the Pixley stores wanted cash.

The town of Pixley, at one end of the Cannonball's route, was named for Pixley, California. A number of location shots were filmed in the real Pixley. This train was operated on the Sierra Railroad, based in Jamestown, California. The steam locomotive used was the 4-6-0 (ten-wheeler) Sierra No. 3, which has the distinction of appearing in more movies than any other locomotive. Its first sound film appearance was in 1929 with Gary Cooper in The Virginian, and it since has appeared in many other western films, such as Back to the Future Part III. It was used in some episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Iron Horse. A full-size "prop" locomotive used for scenes in the locomotive cab was furnished by the Hoyt Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The prop locomotive was displayed for many years in the Hoyt Hotel after the series ended. Today, the Sierra No. 3 locomotive is still operational and can be found at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

The girls' canine companion was called simply "Dog" or "Boy". Different names were suggested when he first arrived, but no one ever decided on a name, so he was never actually named. He was portrayed by "Higgins", who later went on to even greater fame as Benji. He appeared in 149 episodes out of the series' 222.

The Season 3 cast of Petticoat Junction in 1966. Sitting on table: Higgins the dog. Front row (L-R): Lori Saunders (Bobbie Jo), Bea Benaderet (Kate) and Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Joe). Back row (L-R): Frank Cady (Sam Drucker), Gunilla Hutton (Billie Jo), Linda Kaye (Betty Jo), Rufe Davis (Floyd Smoot) and Smiley Burnette (Charley Pratt)

Homer Bedloe, played by character actor Charles Lane,[11] was vice president of the C. & F.W. Railroad. Bedloe was a mean-spirited railroad executive who visited the Shady Rest Hotel periodically attempting to find justification for ending the train service of the Hooterville Cannonball, but never succeeding. In the series pilot, it was established that the branch line had become separated from the main part of the railroad several years earlier, but that nobody had ever bothered to do anything about it, so the crew just kept operating the Cannonball on the remaining section of track. Lane became a semi-regular on the show and from 1963-1969, he appeared in twenty-four episodes of the series. In the first three seasons, actor Roy Roberts made ten appearances as Bedloe's superior, Norman P. Curtis, the president of the C. & F.W. Railroad. At the beginning of the series, Curtis, like Bedloe, was trying to get rid of the Cannonball, but by the third installment, "The President Who Came To Dinner", Curtis visits Hooterville and the Shady Rest and is gradually won over by the hospitality and kindness provided by Kate and her daughters. In a few episodes there is also an indication of a possible romantic interest between Curtis and Kate.

In 1964, the character of Selma Plout was introduced in the series to serve as a female nemesis for Kate Bradley. As played by actress Virginia Sale, the role came off as rather harsh and severe. For the 1965-1966 season, Sale was replaced by veteran character actress and comedienne Elvia Allman and her interpretation brought more humor into the character of Selma. (During the first two seasons of Petticoat Junction, Allman had already been featured on the program in other roles). Also that year, actress Susan Walther was cast as Selma's daughter Henrietta, who was to serve as a smug and haughty rival for the Bradley girls. In the fall of 1966, Walther was replaced by actress Lynette Winter (best known as Larue Wilson, the best friend of Sally Field on the ABC-TV sitcom Gidget). With Winter essaying the role, Henrietta Plout became more buffoonish but likeable. Both Allman and Winter remained on the show as occasional featured players until its cancellation in 1970. Mike Minor first appeared on the series as Selma Plout's son Dan in the third season episode "Mother Of The Bride" that aired December 15, 1964. After that installment, the character of Dan Plout disappeared and was never to be seen or heard from again.

Two years later, in the fall of 1966, Mike Minor rejoined the series as handsome crop duster Steve Elliott, whom Uncle Joe at first suspected was a "Rooshin" spy. Steve was originally the love interest of eldest daughter Billie Jo, but later dated and married Betty Jo. This evolved from the real-life romance between Kaye and Minor. After Steve and Betty Jo married, they set up house in a cottage near the tracks between Hooterville and Pixley. Their baby, Kathy Jo (named after matriarch Kate and "played" by Elna Danelle Hubbell), was born in season five. The couple moved back to the Shady Rest Hotel in the seventh and final season.

Cast changes[edit]

In 1967, the show suffered its first loss when Smiley Burnette, as engineer Charley Pratt, died of leukemia. Rufe Davis (as Floyd Smoot) took over both jobs as engineer and conductor for a while and then was replaced the following year by Wendell Gibbs, played by Byron Foulger. During the show's last season (1969–1970), Foulger became too ill to continue, not appearing in any last season episodes, and Davis returned as Floyd Smoot for two episodes, one of them being "Last Train To Pixley." Coincidentally, Foulger died on the day the final episode of Petticoat Junction aired: April 4, 1970.

Bea Benaderet, who played main character Kate, died in 1968; June Lockhart then joined the show as Dr. Janet Craig, a mother figure to the girls, from 1968 until the show's end in 1970.

Betty Jo (the redhead) was portrayed by Paul Henning's daughter, Linda Kaye Henning (billed as Linda Kaye for the first five seasons) for the entire run. However, the actresses portraying her sisters changed over the years.

Billie Jo (the blonde) was originally going to be played by Sharon Tate; while a cast photo was taken with Sharon Tate, she never appeared in the show; explanations varying from CBS decided not to use her when 'scantily clad' photos emerged, to her agents talked her into turning down the role to focus on films. Billie Jo was played for the first two years (1963–1965) by Jeannine Riley, who left to pursue a movie career; in season three (1965–1966) she was replaced by Gunilla Hutton (not present for eleven episodes) and for the rest of the show's run (1966–1970) the role of Billie Jo was played by Meredith MacRae.

Bobbie Jo (the brunette) was played in the first two years (1963–1965, but absent some episodes) by Pat Woodell, who left the series to start a singing career; in Pat Woodell's periods of absence, Bobbie Jo was partially played by a double - who did not show her face - in two episodes. For the remaining seasons (1965–1970), Bobbie Jo was played by Lori Saunders. Woodell and Saunders resembled each other physically, but the character of Bobbie Jo was gradually revamped after the cast change, going from shy bookworm to humorous scatterbrain.

Four of the six actresses who portrayed the Bradley girls were born the same year, in 1944: Gunilla Hutton (5/15), Meredith MacRae (5/30), Pat Woodell (7/12, sometimes shown as 7/15) and Linda Henning (9/16).

The only cast members who were in all seasons were Edgar Buchanan, Linda Kaye Henning and Frank Cady; Buchanan was the only one to appear in every episode, with Henning appearing in all but one. Edgar Buchanan portrayed the uncle of Bea Benaderet's character, Kate. Buchanan was only 3 years older than Benaderet in real life.

Changes in tone[edit]

For the first three seasons, Petticoat Junction focused mostly on broad humor and slapstick comedy. These types of episodes proved to be very popular during the show's first three seasons, season one (ranked at #4), season two (ranked at #15), and season three (ranked at #21), all finished in the top twenty. There was much physical comedy and other types of wild humor that was characteristic of the series, much like its sister show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and its own later spin-off show Green Acres. There were many crossover appearances in season three alone between the casts of both shows. The Douglases (Lisa and Oliver) make frequent appearances on Petticoat Junction, and likewise Kate, Joe, Charley and Floyd, and even Betty Jo and Bobbie Jo show up on Green Acres. Fred Ziffel's wife was named Ruth or Ruthie in one episode, but was later renamed Doris. Barbara Pepper played both Ruth and Doris Ziffel.

But as the series progressed, beginning in season four with the addition of Mike Minor as Steve Elliot and Meredith MacRae as the third Billie Jo, the show took on an entirely different feel. Although singing had been in a small handful of the earlier episodes, most notably "The Ladybugs" and a few other episodes in which Bobbie Jo, then played by Pat Woodell, did a brief solo, musical numbers and singing became prominent from season four onward, and slapstick comedy took a back seat. Many numbers featured the girls singing as a trio, Billie Jo solo, Steve solo, or Steve and Betty Jo as a duet. There were sometimes as many as two or three songs per episode, and physical comedy was less emphasized. The show from this point on often switched gears going back and forth between domestic comedy (often focusing on the heartfelt romance between the newly married Steve and Betty Jo) with a lot of singing, and less intense slapstick comedy. The most notable exceptions in the later years from season six "Steve's New Job" and "The Great Race" and "The Tenant" and "Goodbye Mr. Chimp" from season seven had the feel of the earlier seasons with all out slapstick, nutty comedy, that was mostly absent during this later period.

Also the focus began to shift from the Cannonball and the Railroad, and began to focus more than ever on the Bradley sisters, and their everyday lives. The changes in tone coincided with the changes in cast members, most notably the character of Billie Jo, who as previously played by Jeannine Riley and Gunilla Hutton, was mostly a boy crazy ditz, or a stereotypical dumb blonde character. With Billie Jo now being played by Meredith MacRae, she was now portrayed as a strong single independent young lady with an aspiration for a singing career, which she later accomplishes. In addition, the character of Bobbie Jo, as originally played by Pat Woodell, was a book-smart girl (nicknamed "the walking encyclopedia"), in contrast to Lori Saunders's later portrayal, which was more of a bubble head used for comic relief. The stories also began to focus mostly on Steve and Betty Jo who were slowly, but surely, becoming the central characters. Kate Bradley's appearance also changed from the black and white episodes to the color installments. In the first two years of the seasons, Kate's wardrobe and hair style depicted her as a dowdy country farm woman. Beginning with the third year (in color), her clothing and coiffure were much more flattering and appealing.

Sickness kept Bea Benaderet away for the last portion of the sitcom's fifth season as she recuperated from lung cancer. She missed two episodes (ep. 159, 160), was back for one (ep. 161), then missed eight more. Storylines had Kate on a trip, as everyone's hopes were that the actress would recover. Paul Henning brought in Rosemary DeCamp as Kate's sister Helen and Shirley Mitchell as Kate's cousin Mae, as a temporary replacement motherly figure. These actresses appeared mainly in the episodes during Kate's absence. In March, 1968, it was announced that Benaderet's treatment was successful and she returned to Petticoat Junction for the fifth season finale, "Kate's Homecoming" (ep. 170). In that episode which aired on Saturday, March 30, 1968, it was quite evident that Benaderet had lost a considerable amount of weight and appeared slightly weak.

Nonetheless, plans for the sixth season immediately got underway. For the 1968-1969 season, it was decided that Betty Jo would have a baby. Benaderet appeared in the first three installments of the new season (ep. 171, 172, and 173) when it was discovered that her cancer had returned. In the third episode, "Only A Husband", Benaderet's final physical appearance on the show featured her in only one brief scene with Mike Minor (Steve) where she has a few lines of dialogue and exits. Benaderet was absent for the following installment, "By The Book", which was supposed to air as the fourth episode of the sixth season. When it became obvious to Paul Henning that Benaderet would not recover, Henning decided that the fourth episode instead would be Betty Jo giving birth to Kathy Jo so Benaderet's character could be included. In that installment, Bea provided only her voice. She's heard at the beginning when Betty Jo and Steve read the letter Kate has sent them and when Wendell answers the phone at "Drucker's Store" (she's on the other end). Bea's stand-in (actress Edna Laird) then plays Kate "full back" to the camera, with Bea again providing only her voice. She's heard when Kate is on the hand car helping Wendell and at the end when Kate is at Betty Jo's bedside. That episode, "The Valley Has A Baby" also included Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor guest starring as Oliver and Lisa Douglas from Green Acres and aired just 13 days after Benaderet's death (October 13, 1968). In addition, to compensate for Benaderet's physical absence, three very short flashbacks from season five episodes were used in that installment - "You Know I Can't Hear You When The Thunder Is Clapping " (ep. 144 - where Betty Jo reveals to Kate that she and Steve are in love); "A Cottage For Two - (ep. 146 - where Kate discovers her daughter has found her and Steve's dream house which turns out to be an old shack; and "With This Gown I Thee Wed" (ep. 149 - where Steve and Betty Jo get married.). The episode, "By The Book" was finally aired out of sequence as the last show of the season on March 29, 1969. In that installment, Benaderet still received on-screen credit.

Benaderet was very popular with viewers. In fact, during her illness, her fan mail increased and she received many get-well cards from fans wishing her a speedy recovery. In the first five years of Petticoat Junction, she was indisputably the star of the program. As a result, the absence of her character, Kate Bradley, had to be handled very delicately. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was unheard of for a main character on a television show, especially a sitcom, to die. (The two exceptions to that rule were in the fall of 1956 when the character of Margaret Williams died off-camera at the beginning of the fourth season of The Danny Thomas Show because actress Jean Hagen decided to leave the series after three years; and in the fall of 1957, when actor George Cleveland died in the middle of the fourth season of Lassie, the episode "Transition" had Chandler's character of "Gramps" pass away as well.) In the fall of 1966, veteran film actress Ann Sheridan was enjoying a major comeback when her television sitcom, Pistols 'N Petticoats premiered on CBS. The show immediately became quite popular with viewers. However, shortly after the premiere, Sheridan was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When she died in January, 1967, she had completed 21 out of the 26 shows for that season. At first, CBS was undecided as to what to do about the program. Since Sheridan was the unifying center of attention on Pistols 'N Petticoats, her absence was keenly felt by audiences. Therefore, CBS canceled the series in the spring of 1967.

Similarly, Benaderet's death in late 1968 put Petticoat Junction in the same state of flux. However, the producers and the network decided to forge ahead and continue with the program and, as a result, it was quickly decided that in the next episode following the birth of Kathy Jo, "Granny The Baby Expert", Kate would be referred to as being "out of town." In that installment, Irene Ryan (The Beverly Hillbillies) guest-starred as Daisy Moses (mother-in-law of Jed Clampett)[12] who visits Hooterville to care for the new baby. Benaderet's name was removed from the opening credits and Edgar Buchanan from then on was billed as the star of the series. After that episode, Kate Bradley was not referred to again until the seventh season premiere "Make Room For Baby." The next episode "Wings" was a tribute to the then 40-year-old Oscar-winning Best Film of 1927-1928 and featured the two stars Richard Arlen and Charles "Buddy" Rogers as guests playing themselves. Choosing not to recast the Kate role, or to sign Rosemary DeCamp on full-time (she was also playing the mother of Marlo Thomas on That Girl), the producers introduced the new character of hotel resident Dr. Janet Craig, played by June Lockhart, in the following episode, "The Lady Doctor". At first, Uncle Joe and some of the Hooterville residents were suspicious and prejudiced about having a woman doctor in the valley, but Janet quickly won over Joe and had her practice promptly installed at The Shady Rest Hotel. She also served as a counsel of sorts for the girls. By mid-season, June Lockhart had graduated from featured billing at the end of each episode to co-star billing in the opening credits. The show's theme song lyrics were slightly altered to accommodate the change in cast.

Though still beloved by fans, the central premise of a country family was lost without a motherly figure. The long absence of Kate was only mentioned in passing during the final season's premiere episode: In episode 197 ("Make Room For Baby"), the Bradley sisters, and baby Kathy Jo, return from dipping in the water tower. Steve has paternal qualms about his daughter's safety, to which Billie Jo/Bobbie Jo reply wistfully, "Mom taught us to swim in that very same water tower." The decline in ratings, which began when the show moved to Saturday night, continued. During the show's last two seasons (1968–1970), the sitcom failed to make the Nielsen top thirty.

With the sitcom's future hanging in the balance, CBS considered cancelling Petticoat Junction in the spring of 1969. By this time, the show ranked in 35th place in the ratings, which was still acceptable, but considerably lower than its sister shows, both of which still placed in the top twenty. In the episode, "Tune In Next Year", which was to be the last show of the series, Janet Craig (Lockhart) receives an offer for a better job opportunity in another city and decides to accept it. Although it is a more lucrative position, she, along with the other residents of The Shady Rest, are saddened at her leaving. However, at the end of the episode, Janet changes her mind and decides to stay on as resident doctor of the hotel when Steve and Betty Jo announce that they are going to have another baby. At the last minute, CBS decided to renew the series for the 1969–1970 season. The main reason for the renewal was that it would give the series five full years of color episodes when it would go into syndication, which would be very profitable for the network. When it returned for its seventh and final year in September 1969, there were two major plotline changes. The first was that Steve, Betty Jo, and their daughter Kathy Jo, moved out of their cottage and became residents of The Shady Rest Hotel. The storyline involving "the new addition" to their family was dropped and never referred to again. Another change was the addition of bumbling, but well-meaning, game warden Orrin Pike (played by actor Jonathan Daly), who was brought into the series as a love interest for Bobbie Jo, much to the annoyance of Uncle Joe. In the spring of 1970 as a precursor to the infamous CBS "rural purge", when all the other country-themed shows were axed the following season, Petticoat Junction was canceled despite the fact that its ratings had somewhat improved. On September 12, 1970, the series officially ended its prime-time run on Saturdays at 9:30 P.M. and, one week later, was replaced by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies crossover[edit]

Petticoat Junction was set in the same fictional universe as the rural television comedy Green Acres, also set in Hooterville. Both shows shared such characters as Sam Drucker, Newt Kiley, and Floyd Smoot. A number of core Green Acres characters, such as Fred and Doris Ziffel (Fred's wife was originally named Ruth)[13]), Arnold the Pig, Newt Kiley, and Ben Miller, first appeared on Petticoat Junction in the 1964–1965 season, which saw a number of scripts written by Green Acres creator Jay Sommers. Characters on all of Henning's creations sometimes "crossed over" into one another's programs, especially during the first two seasons of Green Acres.

During Petticoat's run from 1963 to 1968 (up until Kate Bradley's last few appearances at the beginning of season six), and with the exception of Green Acres, not once was there ever a connection to The Beverly Hillbillies even though Bea Benaderet had played Cousin Pearl Bodine during the latter's first and sixth seasons. Despite this, in a 1968 episode of Petticoat (#175 'Granny, the Baby Expert'), Granny comes to Hooterville to tend to Betty Jo and Steve's baby. Prior to her visit, she reminds Jed that he is related to Kate through Pearl and then later when she arrives at the Shady Rest she mistakes Uncle Joe for Kate and says 'They's right about you Kate, you and Cousin Pearl are lookalikes'.

Other crossover shows include one where the Clampetts, Milburn Drysdale, and Miss Jane spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1968 in Hooterville on The Beverly Hillbillies and a 1970 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies in which Mr. Drysdale thought that billionaire Howard Hughes lived in Hooterville (the man turned out to be Howard Hewes, who owned Hooterville real estate, including the field Steve Elliot rented to maintain his crop plane.). A list of episodes featuring characters from Green Acres can be seen on this page.

Petticoat Junction was the only one of Henning's country trio not to be brought back for an updated reunion movie. The character of Sam Drucker, however, did appear in Return to Green Acres in 1990.

Cast of characters[edit]

Character Actress/Actor Years # of Episodes
Kate Bradley Bea Benaderet 1963–1968 164
Uncle Joe Carson Edgar Buchanan 1963–1970 222
Betty Jo Bradley Linda Kaye 1963–1970 220
Bobbie Jo Bradley Pat Woodell 1963–1965 64
Lori Saunders 1965–1970 147
Billie Jo Bradley Jeannine Riley 1963–1965 72
Gunilla Hutton 1965–1966 23
Meredith MacRae 1966–1970 107
Steve Elliott Mike Minor 1966–1970 112
Dr. Janet Craig June Lockhart 1968–1970 45
Charles "Charley" Pompous Pratt Smiley Burnette 1963–1967 106
Floyd Smoot Rufe Davis 1963–1968; 1970 128
Sam Drucker Frank Cady 1963–1970 152
Homer Bedloe Charles Lane 1963–1968 24
Norman P. Curtis Roy Roberts 1963–1964
Fred Ziffel Hank Patterson 1963–1966 11
The Shady Rest Dog Higgins, the Dog 1964–1970 149
Newt Kiley Kay E. Kuter 1964–1969 17
Oliver Wendell Douglas Eddie Albert 1965–1968 12
Lisa Douglas Eva Gabor 1965–1969 9
Aunt Helen Rosemary DeCamp 1964–1968 7
Eb Dawson Tom Lester 1967–1968 6
Wendell Gibbs Byron Foulger 1968–1969 18
Orrin Pike Jonathan Daly 1969–1970 11
Cousin Mae Belle Jennings Shirley Mitchell 1967–1968 4
Miss Hammond Eve McVeagh 1963 3
Selma Plout Virginia Sale 1963–1965 6
Elvia Allman 1966-1970 17


Due to declining ratings on a weak Saturday night timeslot, CBS considered cancelling Petticoat Junction in the spring of 1969, when the series placed 35th in the Nielsen ratings. The series was renewed for a seventh season for the 1969–70 season. For its seventh season the series placed 34th out of 88 shows which, in the 1950s and early 1960s, would have easily guaranteed the show a renewal for another year. The series was, however, cancelled after seven seasons and 222 episodes as a predecessor to the "rural purge".

Nielsen ratings/Broadcast history[edit]

Season Timeslot Rank Rating
1) 1963–1964 Tuesday nights at 9:00pm #4 33.3
2) 1964–1965 Tuesday nights at 9:30pm #15 26.1
3) 1965–1966 #21 23.8
4) 1966–1967 #23 20.9 (tie)
5) 1967–1968 Saturday nights at 9:30pm #29 20.0
6) 1968–1969 #35 N/A
7) 1969–1970 #34 N/A


After its cancellation, Filmways and Paul Henning's company sold the show to CBS. Its distribution has changed hands over the years due to corporate changes involving Viacom, which in 2006 split into two separate companies. Today CBS Television Distribution handles syndication.

The Technicolor (1965–70) episodes were shown in syndication for many years after the show's cancellation. However, the rights to the black-and-white (1963–65) episodes were not resolved and they were not included in the syndication package until recently when the Me-TV Network began broadcasting the black-and-white (1963–65) episodes on Tuesday July 12, 2011. On Thursday July 21, 2011 the black-and-white episode airings were short lived and Me-TV started airing the color episodes once again. Me-TV began airing the first two seasons of the show on November 4, 2013.

The color episodes have run constantly, with the show running on TV Land from 1996 to 2000. The show ran on the Retro TV network from 2005 to 2008, and as of June 2012 is being shown on Me-TV.[14] The program has run on three different Canadian cable channels: Prime-TV from 2000 to 2002, Deja-Vu from 2005 to 2008, and on TV Land Canada from 2006 to 2010. The black-and-white episodes from Season One are now in the public domain, their copyrights having lapsed. As a result, there have been numerous releases on discount DVDs of a group of these episodes (although with generic bluegrass-like theme music instead of the familiar opening and closing music, which is still under copyright).

DVD releases[edit]

The Paul Henning Estate holds the original film elements to the episodes in question, and in 2005 allowed 20 black-and-white episodes from Season One to be officially released on DVD in an "ultimate collection" via MPI Home Video. This release features the first 20 episodes of the series, excluding the Christmas episode. "Cannonball Christmas" was released by MPI Home Video in a separate release together with the Christmas-themed episode from The Beverly Hillbillies on October 25, 2005.[15][16] This 1963 episode was reshot in color with small variations and aired on December 20, 1966 as "The Santa Claus Special."[17]

On December 16, 2008, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released the Complete First Season on DVD, with new interviews with cast members, commercials from the original broadcasts, and the original opening and closing theme song. The Complete Second Season was released on July 7, 2009, concluding the black-and-white episodes of the series. (Beginning with the third season, the show switched to color for the remainder of the series.) It, too, contained the original theme song, as well as introductions and an interview from two cast members.

On October 1, 2013, season three was released on DVD as a Walmart exclusive.[18] It will be released as a full retail release on April 15, 2014.[19]

The rights to the show are held by CBS Television Distribution.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Petticoat Junction (Ultimate Collection) 20 August 30, 2005
Petticoat Junction (The Official First Season) 38 December 16, 2008
Petticoat Junction (The Official Second Season) 36 July 7, 2009
Petticoat Junction (Return to Hooterville) March 12, 2013
Petticoat Junction (The Official Third Season) 34 April 15, 2014

Episode list[edit]

Crossovers with Green Acres[edit]

The following is a list of Petticoat Junction episodes featuring characters from Green Acres. Only those that debuted on Acres before Junction are counted.

Season Three
  • Episode 2: "The Baffling Raffle" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 3: "The Dog Turns Playboy" – Oliver Wendell Douglas
  • Episode 4: "The Good Luck Ring" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 5: "Joe Carson, General Contractor" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 6: "Bobbie Jo's Sorority" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 7: "A Doctor in the House" – Oliver Wendell Douglas
  • Episode 8: "Hooterville-A-Go-Go" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 10: "Betty Jo Goes to New York" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 13: "Uncle Joe Plays Post Office" – Oliver Wendell Douglas
  • Episode 19: "Yogurt, Anyone?" – Oliver Wendell Douglas
  • Episode 21: "The County Fair" – Mr. Haney
  • Episode 29: "Kate Bradley, Peacemaker" – Oliver Wendell Douglas
  • Episode 32: "The Young Matchmakers" – Lisa Douglas
Season Four
  • Episode 1: "Young Love" – Eb Dawson
  • Episode 5: "The All-Night Party" – Eb Dawson
  • Episode 11: "The Runt Strikes Back" – Eb Dawson
  • Episode 13: "The Santa Claus Special" – Eb Dawson
  • Episode 26: "Author! Author!" – Eb Dawson
Season Five
  • Episode 3: "One Dozen Roses" – Eb Dawson
Season Six
  • Episode 4: "The Valley Has a Baby" – Oliver Wendell Douglas, Lisa Douglas
  • Episode 14: "The Ballad of the Everyday Housewife" – Lisa Douglas
Season Seven
  • Episode 3: "The Other Woman" – Mr. Haney
  • Episode 9: "A Most Momentous Occasion" – Mr. Haney

Theme Song[edit]

Curt Massey sang the Petticoat Junction theme song. The song was composed by Massey and Paul Henning. Flatt and Scruggs recorded a version of the song "Petticoat Junction."

Amusement Park[edit]

There was an amusement park in Panama City Beach, Florida named "Petticoat Junction Amusement Park," which opened in 1963 (the same year that the TV show first aired) and closed in 1984; 14 years after the TV show ended. As would be expected, there was a steam railroad attraction at the park, the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge[21] Petticoat Junction Railroad. Although the park is closed, the locomotives and train cars from its railroad attraction survived. They were bought at auction by the late Fred H. Hallmark in 1985 and are kept and preserved on his family's property in Warrior, Alabama.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ ""Petticoat Junction" (1963)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  2. ^ Spur Line To Shady Rest (DVD) (television). CBS Operations Inc. September 24, 1963. Event occurs at 7 minutes and 38 seconds. ISBN 1-4157-4459-9. 
  3. ^ "Dead Man's Curve scene" (from series pilot)
  4. ^ Spur Line To Shady Rest (DVD) (television). CBS Operations Inc. September 24, 1963. Event occurs at 2 minutes and 49 seconds. ISBN 1-4157-4459-9. 
  5. ^ Spur Line To Shady Rest (DVD) (television). CBS Operations Inc. September 24, 1963. Event occurs at 19 seconds. ISBN 1-4157-4459-9. 
  6. ^ Spur Line To Shady Rest (DVD) (television). CBS Operations Inc. September 24, 1963. Event occurs at 1 minute and 8 seconds. ISBN 1-4157-4459-9. 
  7. ^ "So Much for Old-Time Small-Town Values". The New York Times. 2005-10-23. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. ^ Spur Line To Shady Rest (DVD) (television). CBS Operations Inc. September 24, 1963. Event occurs at 18 seconds. ISBN 1-4157-4459-9. 
  9. ^ "Miller County Hotels". Miller County Museum & Historical Society. 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  10. ^ Weiner, Ed; Editors of TV Guide (1992). The TV Guide TV Book: 40 Years of the All-Time Greatest Television Facts, Fads, Hits, and History. New York: Harper Collins. p. 173. ISBN 0-06-096914-8. 
  11. ^ "Charles Lane (I) – filmography". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  12. ^ Irene Ryan#The Beverly Hillbillies
  13. ^ Episode 6 "Please Buy My Violets"
  14. ^ "Programs on Me-TV". Me-TV Network. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  15. ^ "Petticoat Junction and Beverly Hillbillies: Ultimate Christmas Collection, The". 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  16. ^ "Petticoat Junction: Cannonball Christmas". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  17. ^ "Pettitcoat Junction: The Santa Claus Special". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  18. ^ "Petticoat Junction DVD news: Release Date for Petticoat Junction - The Official 3rd Season". 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  19. ^ "Petticoat Junction DVD news: Announcement for Petticoat Junction - The Official 3rd Season". 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  20. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1989 - Grammy Award Winners 1989". 1989-02-22. Retrieved 2014-04-10. 
  21. ^ - Carbon Limestone Co. No. 9

External links[edit]