The Beverly Hillbillies
|The Beverly Hillbillies|
|Created by||Paul Henning|
|Opening theme||"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" played by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, sung by Jerry Scoggins|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||274 (106 in black-and-white, 168 in color) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 26, 1962 –|
March 23, 1971
|Followed by||Return of the Beverly Hillbillies|
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American television sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from 1962 to 1971. It had an ensemble cast featuring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer Jr. as the Clampetts, a poor, backwoods family from the hills of the Ozarks, who move to posh Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. The show was produced by Filmways and was created by 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, country-to-city model of The Beverly Hillbillies.
The Beverly Hillbillies ranked among the top 20 most-watched programs on television for eight of its nine seasons, twice ranking as the number-one series of the year, with 16 episodes that still remain among the 100 most-watched television episodes in American history. It accumulated seven Emmy nominations during its run. It remains in syndicated reruns, and its ongoing popularity spawned a 1993 film adaptation by 20th Century Fox.
The series starts with Jed Clampett, an impoverished and widowed hillbilly living alongside an oil-rich swamp with his daughter and mother-in-law, discovering oil while shooting at a rabbit. 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 Bodine prods him to move to California after being told his modest property could yield $25 million (equivalent to $211 million in 2019), and pressures him into taking her son Jethro along. The family moves into a mansion in wealthy Beverly Hills, California, next door to Jed's banker, Milburn Drysdale, and his wife, Margaret, who has zero tolerance for hillbillies.
The Clampetts bring a moral, unsophisticated, and minimalistic lifestyle to the swanky, sometimes self-obsessed and superficial community. Double entendres and cultural misconceptions are the core of the sitcom's humor. Plots often involve Drysdale's outlandish efforts to keep the Clampetts' money in his bank, and his wife's efforts to rid the neighborhood of "those hillbillies". 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".
J. D. "Jed" Clampett
Although he has little formal education and is completely naive about the world outside the area where he lives, Jed Clampett (portrayed by Buddy Ebsen) has a good deal of common sense. In the 11th episode, he is revealed as the widower of Granny's daughter, Rose Ellen, though Buddy Ebsen is only 6 years younger than Irene Ryan. He is the son of Luke Clampett and his wife, and has a sister called Myrtle. Jed is a good-natured man and the head of the family. The huge oil pool in the swamp he owned was the beginning of his rags-to-riches journey to Beverly Hills. He is usually the straight man to Granny and Jethro's antics. His catchphrase is, "Welllllll, doggie!" Jed was one of the three characters to appear in all 274 episodes of the series.
Daisy May Moses (portrayed by Irene Ryan in all 274 episodes), called "Granny" by all, is Jed's mother-in-law, so is often called "Granny Clampett" in spite of her last name. She has an abrasive personality and is quick to anger, but is often overruled by Jed. She is a devout Confederate and fancies herself a Baptist Christian ("dunked, not sprinkled") with forgiveness in her heart. A self-styled "M.D." ("mountain doctor"), Granny uses her "white lightning" brew as a form of anesthesia when commencing painful treatments such as leech bleeding and using pliers for teeth-pulling.
Paul Henning discarded the idea of making Granny Jed's mother, which would have changed the show's dynamics, making Granny the matriarch and Jed her subordinate.
Elly May Clampett
Elly May (portrayed by Donna Douglas in all 274 episodes), the only child of Jed and Rose Ellen Clampett, is a mountain beauty with the body of a pin-up girl and the soul of a tomboy. She can throw a fastball and "wrassle" most men to a fall, and she can be as tender with her friends, animals, and family as she is tough with anyone she wrassles. She says once that animals can be better companions than people, but as she grows older, she allows that, "fellas kin be more fun than critters." In addition to the family dog, Duke (an old Bloodhound), a number of pets live on the Clampett estate thanks to animal-lover Elly. In the 1981 TV movie, Elly May is the head of a zoo.
Elly is a terrible cook. Family members cringe whenever, for plot reasons, Elly takes over the kitchen.
Jethro (portrayed by Max Baer Jr. in 272 episodes) is the son of Jed's cousin, Pearl Bodine (though he addresses Jed as "Uncle Jed"). Pearl's mother and Jed's father were siblings. He drives the Clampett family to their new home in California and stays on with them to further his education. The others boast of Jethro's "sixth-grade education", but he is ignorant about nearly every aspect of modern California life. In one episode, he decides to go to college. He enrolls late in the semester at a local secretarial school and "earns" his diploma by the end of the day because he is so 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 story lines involve Jethro's endless career search. He once deliberated over becoming a brain surgeon or a fry cook. His other ambitions included being a millwright, street car conductor, "double-naught" spy, telephone lineman, soda jerk, chauffeur, USAF general, sculptor, restaurant owner (with Granny's cooking), psychiatrist, and once as a bookkeeper for Milburn Drysdale's bank; an agent for "cousin" Bessie and "Cousin Roy" (see below); 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; this in-joke gag as a movie producer was replayed in the 1981 movie). More often than not, his overall goal in these endeavors is to meet pretty girls. He only manages to gain (but is oblivious to) the affections of the plain Miss Jane Hathaway. Of all the Clampett clan, he is the most eager to embrace city life. A running gag is that Jethro is known as the "six-foot stomach" for his huge appetite; in one episode, he eats a jetliner's entire supply of steaks, and 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 for him. 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 Donna Douglas, Baer is the only surviving main cast member.
Mr. Drysdale (portrayed by Raymond Bailey in 247 episodes) is the Clampetts' banker, confidant, and next-door neighbor. He is obsessed with money, and to keep the Clampetts' $96,000,000 (in 1969; equivalent to $669,299,456 in 2019) in his Commerce Bank, Mr. Drysdale will do everything he can to cater to their every wish. He often forces others, especially his long-suffering secretary, to help fulfill their outlandish requests.
Jane Hathaway (portrayed by Nancy Kulp in 246 episodes), whom the Clampetts address as "Miss Jane", is Drysdale's loyal, highly educated, and efficient secretary. Though she reluctantly carries out his wishes, she is genuinely fond of the family and tries to shield them from her boss's greed. Miss Hathaway frequently has to "rescue" Drysdale from his schemes, receiving little or no thanks for her efforts. The Clampetts consider her family; even Granny, the one deadest-set against living in California, likes her very much. Jane harbors something of a crush on Jethro for most of the series' run. In 1999, TV Guide ranked Jane Hathaway number 38 on its list titled "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time".
- Milburn Drysdale's wife Margaret (portrayed by Harriet E. MacGibbon; 55 episodes in 1962–69) is a blue-blooded Bostonian who traces her family back to the Mayflower and has obvious disdain for the "peasant" and "dreadful" hillbillies, especially Granny, with whom she occasionally has "scraps".
- Sonny Drysdale (portrayed by Louis Nye) is Milburn's stepson introduced as a 35-year-old collegian who does not believe in working up a sweat and is a spoiled mama's boy. Once on a date, Sonny keeps Elly May out until after dark without proposing, running afoul of the old mountain courting code, and almost causing a feud. Elly May later (and literally) tosses him. Sonny only appears in four episodes, three in 1962 and a final appearance in 1966.
- Pearl Bodine (portrayed by Bea Benaderet; 22 episodes in season one) is Jed's widowed cousin. 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.[discuss] 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 psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Twombley, with whom Pearl is enamored; Benaderet's real-life husband was named Eugene Twombly. In season six, she makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Greetings from the President".
- Jethrine Bodine (portrayed by Max Baer, voiced by Linda Kaye Henning; 11 episodes in season one): Jethrine is Pearl's king-sized daughter and 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 (played by Phil Gordon in many episodes in the first series). Late in the season, an episode explained that Jethrine had returned home to marry Depew. Jethro and Jethrine rarely appeared in the same scene in any of the episodes, 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.
- Honest John Shafer (portrayed by Phil Silvers; six episodes 1969-1970) is a sleazy confidence man who targets the Clampetts with various outrageous schemes such as selling Washington, DC, to Jed. Although Honest John always succeeds in initially milking the Clampetts out of millions, his conscience always gets the better of him once he realizes that the Clampetts actually hold him in the highest esteem and treat him almost like family.
- Dash Riprock (portrayed by Larry Pennell; 10 episodes in seasons three-seven) 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. The two have an on-and-off relationship. 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 (portrayed by Charles Ruggles; three episodes in seasons four and five) is the elderly father of Mrs. Drysdale. Granny considers him a potential beau.
- Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (portrayed by themselves in seven episodes, 1963–68) are longtime friends of the Clampetts "back home" (Kimberling City, Missouri), who visit 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 (portrayed 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. The Clampetts are quite fond of him and his wife occasionally visits them in California.
- Janet Trego (portrayed by Sharon Tate; 15 episodes, 1963–65) is a beautiful secretary at the Commerce Bank.
- Sam Drucker (portrayed 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 such intention. 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 (portrayed by Danielle Mardi; 17 episodes in 1969–71) is a beautiful British secretary at the Commerce Bank. Helen takes over Miss Hathaway's job as Mr. Drysdale's secretary after Miss Hathaway resigns. 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 Miss Hathaway for a short time in her apartment.
- Shorty Kellums (portrayed by Shug Fisher; 17 episodes in seasons eight and nine) is Jed's longtime buddy from back home, with whom Jed reunites in 1969 when the Clampetts go back home for an extended period. 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 while.
- Elverna Bradshaw (portrayed by Elvia Allman; 13 episodes, 1963–70) is Granny's longtime rival back in the hills, a gossip second to none. Referenced as early as episode three, she makes a brief appearance in a 1963 episode when the Clampetts go back home to bring Pearl to California, but is not seen again until 1969, when the Clampetts return for an extended visit. However, both Granny and Jed refer to the character in several episodes throughout the series' run. Elverna and Granny rekindle their feud in a match to see who will be the first to marry, 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 not present for the final 1970–71 season.
- Matthew and Mark Templeton (portrayed by actor Roger Torrey, who had auditioned for the part of Jethro; three episodes in season eight as Matthew; nine in season nine as Mark) are brothers. Matthew is the preacher 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 and 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 marry during the season; however, the show was cancelled at the end of that season as part of the CBS Rural Purge.
- Cousin Roy (portrayed by Roy Clark; three episodes in seasons six and seven) is the Clampetts' cousin, who comes to Hollywood as an aspiring country singer. Jethro turns down the chance to be his agent, only to have Cousin Roy actually succeed. In a similar story line, singer Pat Boone guest-starred as himself; Jethro fails to be Boone's agent, too.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Rank||Rating||Tied with|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||36||September 26, 1962||May 29, 1963||1||36.0||N/A|
|2||36||September 25, 1963||June 10, 1964||1||39.1||N/A|
|3||34||September 23, 1964||June 9, 1965||12||25.6||N/A|
|4||32||September 15, 1965||May 18, 1966||7||25.9||Bewitched|
|5||30||September 14, 1966||April 19, 1967||7||23.4||Daktari|
|6||30||September 6, 1967||April 3, 1968||12||23.3||N/A|
|7||26||September 25, 1968||March 26, 1969||10||23.5||N/A|
|8||26||September 24, 1969||March 18, 1970||18||21.7||N/A|
|9||24||September 15, 1970||March 23, 1971||N/A||N/A||N/A|
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The show's theme song, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", was written by producer and writer Paul Henning and originally performed by bluegrass artists Foggy Mountain Boys, led by Lester Flatt and Earl 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 number 44 on Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and number one on the Billboard Hot Country chart (the lone country chart-topper for the duo).
Perry Botkin Jr., who composed the score for Murder by Contract, composed many songs for The Beverly Hillbillies, e.g., "Elly May’s Theme." Botkin's upbeat tune from Murder by Contract, played during scenes of sunny LA, signaled scenes at the Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills.
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".
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Season seven (1968–69) was packed with strategically placed, multiple-episode crossover stories in which the fictional worlds of all three Paul Henning series overlap. The Clampett family makes several trips to Hooterville (which was first mentioned in season one episode six when Jazzbo Depew attempts to sweet talk Jethrine Bodine), Sam Drucker visits Beverly Hills, and Granny does two guest appearances on Petticoat Junction. In season eight (1969–70), the Clampett family visits Hooterville one last time for a two-part episode.
- "Granny Goes to Hooterville" (season seven, episode six) - Granny leaves for Hooterville upon hearing distant cousin Betty Jo Bradley (Linda Henning) just had a baby. The only Petticoat Junction cast members in this episode are Sam Drucker (Frank Cady) and Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchanan), seen talking to Granny on the phone. (The story continues on the Petticoat Junction episode "Granny, the Baby Expert".) "The Italian Cook" (7:7) wraps up the three-episode Hooterville story arc featuring Betty Jo, her husband Steve Elliott (Mike Minor), and Sam Drucker.
- "The Thanksgiving Story" (7:10) - The Clampetts visit Hooterville and mingle with the Petticoat Junction cast. This includes a silent, split-second insert of Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor of Green Acres. Jethro pretends to be a Hollywood producer and tries to romance Billie Jo (Meredith MacRae) and Bobbie Jo (Lori Saunders) Bradley. This arc continues in the next episode, "The Courtship of Homer Noodleman" (7:11), with the Clampetts leaving for home following Eb Dawson's (from Green Acres) falling for Elly May.
- "The Week Before Christmas" (7:13) - The crossover aspect is limited to two scenes in Sam Drucker's general store with the Bradley sisters and Drucker talking to Granny over the phone. The same broadcast week, Petticoat Junction aired "A Cake from Granny" with shots of Granny and Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) in Beverly Hills baking a cake. "Christmas in Hooterville" (7:14) reunites the Clampett family with the Petticoat Junction cast. The follow-up episode, "Drysdale and Friend" (7:15), has appearances by Sam Drucker and Green Acres regular Fred Ziffel (Hank Patterson).
- "Sam Drucker's Visit" (7:23) - The final season seven crossover with Sam Drucker dropping in on the Clampetts in Beverly Hills. Drucker and Betty Jo share one scene set in his Hooterville General Store.
- In season eight, "Buzz Bodine, Boy General" (8:15) and "The Clampett-Hewes Empire" (8:16) comprise the last two-part crossover of the series. The Clampetts return to Petticoat Junction in a story featuring Steve Elliott, Betty Jo, Sam Drucker, and a rare Hooterville visit by Miss Hathaway and Mr. Drysdale (Raymond Bailey).
- During season nine, after the cancellation of Petticoat Junction, Lori Saunders appeared in three episodes playing a new recurring character, Elizabeth Gordon.
The Beverly Hillbillies received generally poor reviews from contemporary critics. The New York Times called the show "strained and unfunny"; Variety called it "painful to sit through". Film professor Janet Staiger writes that "the problem for these reviewers was that the show confronted the cultural elite's notions of quality entertainment." 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?"
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.
|1 (1962–63)||Wednesday at 9:00-9:30 PM||1||36.0|
|3 (1964–65)||Wednesday at 8:30-9:00 PM||12||25.6|
|4 (1965–66)||7||25.9||Tied with Bewitched|
|5 (1966–67)||23.4||Tied with Daktari and Bewitched|
|7 (1968–69)||Wednesday at 9:00-9:30 PM||10||23.5|
|8 (1969–70)||Wednesday at 8:30-9:00 PM||18||21.7|
|9 (1970–71)||Tuesday at 7:30-8:00 PM||Not in the Top 30|
Despite respectable ratings, the show was canceled 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, the two remaining series 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 cancelled everything with a tree - including Lassie."
1981 CBS film
In 1981, Return of the Beverly Hillbillies television film, written and produced by series creator 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 Bugtussle, 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 (the Sumner Spaulding-designed Chartwell 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 of America strike.
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 television film. 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 downplaying 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 television film, 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.
The Beverly Hillbillies is still televised daily around the world in syndication. In the United States, the show is broadcast currently on MeTV, and was previously on TBS Superstation, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Hallmark Channel, and Superstation WGN. 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 such as Retro TV and MyFamily TV.
MeTV Network airs The Beverly Hillbillies Saturday mornings at 6 A.M. Eastern Time.
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 1971–72. It aired at 11:00–11:30 am Eastern/10:00-10:30 am Central through September 3, 1971, then moved to 10:30–11:00 am Eastern/9:30–10:00 am Central for the last season on CBS Daytime.
Home media and legal status
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. The alternate version is also the version seen on Amazon Prime Video.
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 was released as a full retail release on April 15, 2014. On April 26, 2016, CBS/Paramount released the complete first season on DVD. The fifth season was released on October 2, 2018. The sixth and seventh seasons are expected to be released in August 2026.
|DVD title||No. of
|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 First Season)||36||April 26, 2016|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Second Season)||36||October 7, 2008|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Third Season)||34||February 17, 2009|
|Return of the Beverly Hillbillies (TV Movie)||—||March 12, 2013|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Fourth Season)||32||April 15, 2014|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Fifth Season)||30||October 2, 2018|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Sixth Season)||30||August 2026|
|The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Seventh Season)||26||August 2026|
Spin-offs and associated merchandise
A three-act stage play based on the pilot was written by David Rogers in 1968.
The Deadly Hillbillies, an interactive murder mystery, was written by John R. Logue using the core cast of characters as inspiration. This Gypsy Productions Murder Mystery Parody features characters such as Jed Clumpett, Daisy May Mostes, and Jane Hatchaway.
In 1993, a film 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.
Based on The Beverly Hillbillies movie, a PC computer adventure game for operating system MS-DOS was developed by Synergistic Software, Inc. and published in 1993 by Capstone Software.
- Nielsen Media Research (August 6, 2000). "Top 100 TV Shows of All Time". Variety (magazine). Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
- "Hollywood To Make Movie Of Old 'Beverly Hillbillies'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Beverly Hillbillies.|
- The Beverly Hillbillies at IMDb
- The Beverly Hillbillies at TV.com
- Watch full episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies on TVLand.com
- The Beverly Hillbillies at the Museum of Broadcast Communications
- Beverly Hillbillies Theme Bluegrass Lyrics (The Ballad of Jed Clampett)
- All 55 public domain episodes (Season 1 and part of 2) Archived August 9, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
- The Beverly Hillbillies at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television