Why was "The Beverly Hillbillies" one of the most popular shows in the 1960s? Maybe it was because the basic premise of the show involved being a fish out of water, which is easy to relate to for most people. Or maybe it was because it made us laugh at societal values. The fact is, the Clampetts may not have been the smartest family, but they were certainly one of the sweetest. They clearly contrasted with the Drysdales, who were more educated, but greedy and short-sighted. The show even took a shot at our fashion sense, when a couple of Beverly Hills residents dress like the Clampetts in one episode because they think Elly is so trendy.
But the main reason this show was beloved is because it made us guffaw, giggle and be very amused for a half hour each week. From all the crazy critters that Elly May would bring home to the possum pie and vittles that Granny would cook up, the Clampetts gave us a whole new Hillbilly vocabulary. Like, well, shut my mouth! We’d be grinnin’ too, if we had the brains you got! So take this little 'ol quiz and then y'all come back now, y'hear?
This song provided the entire backstory for the series. It also spent weeks on the Billboard country singles charts and hit No. 1 in early 1963.
What's amazing is Donna Douglas played a 16- or 17-year-old teenager when she was actually in her thirties. Growing up, she won the titles of Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans in 1957.
On the show she had a crush on Jethro, but In real life she didn't get along with the actor who played Jethro's father. Their arguments were mostly about politics, with Nancy (Miss Hathaway) and Buddy (Jed) on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
The two towns that were mentioned were Bugtussle and Silver Dollar City, the latter of which is in the Missouri Ozarks, so most people think it's the Ozarks. However, it was never confirmed on the show.
She didn't look as fresh as a daisy. However, her yelling and jabbering would wake up anyone in the house!
One of the best things about the show is how they make fun of the unnecessary things that rich people have and think are important. If you were really rich you could have a real pond, instead of building a cement one on your property.
The Clampetts gave us a whole new way to look at a billiard table. Such juxtapositions were a large part of the show's humor. However Buddy Ebsen didn't want to be portrayed as being stupid, so he requested that Jed be portrayed as “much more savvy than he seemed."
The Clampetts' truck was a 1921 Oldsmobile Model 46. On occasion a dose of moonshine went into the fuel tank, which resulted in fast acceleration and top speed.
Although Elly called them critters, Granny called them “varmints.” When it came to Elly’s hippopotamus pet, Granny called it the biggest hog she'd ever seen.
What really made the truck complete was Granny sitting higher than everyone else in the rocking chair. Although in many of the scenes she sat in the back seat with her vittles when they went out a'visiting.
This brown-noser needs to keep the Clampetts happy, otherwise they might move their money to another bank. Also, Milburn Drysdale tries to keep them from spending their newfound wealth foolishly (as it needs to stay in the bank), while trying to "civilize" them.
Enough moonshine and you'll forget what ails you. Granny only used her moonshine for medicinal purposes, like for her rheumatism.
Although all of these are truly amazing accomplishments, the Clampetts are most proud of Jethro's sixth-grade education. Especially Jethro, since he figures he's twice as smart as everyone else because it took him twice as long to get through the sixth grade.
Yep, any one of these could be dinner at the Clampetts' house. Also, Granny was one of the best road-kill cooks ever. She was usually making grits and vittles in her scenes.
And let's not forget Herman the Turkey, Sidney the Kangaroo and many others. It was always a source of comedy to see what Elly May brought home. Plus some of these animals were very talented - like Cecil the Beetle, who could predict the weather.
Buddy Ebsen was a dancer and actor. He gained fame from theater and movies such as "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's," as well as from his television series, "Barnaby Jones."
Jethro or Max Baer, Jr. had double duty with this role. He played his twin sister, but he didn't do the voice. That was the work of Linda Henning, the daughter of the creator of the show.
The show took place in the Kirkeby Mansion, which cost $2 million dollars to construct in the 1930s (that's Great Depression money). Kirkeby rented out his home to the "Beverly Hillbillies" production for $500 per day.
Elly May's coffee was a standing joke. You might want to take a chair and sit a spell while she served it, as the syrupy coffee poured slowly, like molasses.
Duke is an old bloodhound that Jed bought when it was a puppy. In some of the early episodes, Jethro tried to teach Duke to fetch sticks, but to Jed it looked like Jethro was doing most of the retrieving.
Cynthia Fenwick is the name of the friend Elly May meets in school. In a satirical commentary on fashion, Cynthia and her mother dress like the Clampetts in one episode, because they think Elly is so trendy.
Whenever someone rings the doorbell, they have no idea where the sound is coming from, and they attempt to search for its source. Their search is always then interrupted by someone knocking on the door.
Jed mentioned in one episode that Jethro was the only baby he knew born with a full set of teeth, "just like a beaver." Max Baer, Jr. claimed he only auditioned for the role of Jethro for fun and that he never expected to get the part - maybe it was his full set of choppers that did it!
Milburn Drysdale, president of Commerce Bank, sniffed a stack of money to calm himself from anxiety attacks. He forced others, especially his secretary, to appease the Clampetts by granting their unorthodox requests so that they would leave Jed's money in his bank.
Actually, OK Oil Company was paying Jed for the rights to drill oil on his land. But that money is what brought them to Beverly Hills and all the fun they had shaking up the town.
The Foggy Mountain Boys were led by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, who were quite popular. However, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" was the duo's lone No. 1 hit.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when Granny wants to move back home, Mr. Drysdale does what is necessary to make them happy in Beverly Hills. Granny is elected Possum Queen, and Possum Day is a success.
Granny encounters a kangaroo and thinks she's found a giant jackrabbit, but no one will believe her. One of our favorite quotes from the episode is when Granny says, "Come back here you hairy little varmint! Get your paw-paw-pickin' paws off of my pickled paw paws!"
Jed Clampett inherited a castle in the English countryside. Jethro, feeling very regal, insists that everyone except Granny wear the royal raiments of Queen Elizabeth the First.
In the episode "The Indians Are Coming," representatives of the Crowfoot Indians come to Beverly Hills to discuss a boundary dispute at the Clampett oil field. Granny prepares for war, not realizing it's a verbal discussion.
This bank is the focus of an episode called "The Clampetts vs. Automation," when a longtime employee of the Commerce Bank is being forcibly retired to make way for a new computer system. A chance meeting with the Clampetts helps him deal with Mr. Drysdale.
This is why we shouldn't always listen to the critics, as they absolutely panned it. The public thought it was hilarious and the fans kept the show on the air for nine years.
If there's something good to note about this show, then it's true. Between the years 1962 and 1964, the show averaged 57 million viewers. "The Giant Jackrabbit" episode that aired in 1964 is the second-most-watched television episode of the entire decade.
Elly May loses a suitor to Miss Jane in a case of mistaken identity in the episode "Dash Riprock, You Cad." In it, Jed describes Elly May's figure to Granny as, "She got more curves than a goat path."
Jed and Granny are concerned the young 'uns aren't meeting anyone, so they decide to throw a wing ding. Miss Hathaway hires a rock band and they end up with a combo square dance and rockfest. Cory Wells of the Enemys was also with Three Dog Night.