Rare Facts About “The Beverly Hillbillies” Show

The story of the Clampetts is just too good to be forgotten. The poor family from the hills of the Ozark Mountains that makes a bold move and relocates to Beverly Hills after oil is found on their land is as classic as it gets, and its members, along with their oddities and individualities, will live on in our hearts and minds for decades. Between 1962 and 1971, The Beverly Hillbillies steadily gained viewership and momentum, making them one of the most-watched TV shows in history. And what went on behind-the-scenes became the stuff of legends.

The Tanking Reviews

Image Credit: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

Image Credit: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

It seemed like the audience liked the show just fine, but what posed a problem was the reviews of the professional critics. The media totally destroyed the show, calling it uninspiring and not funny, and this could only mean trouble for the producers. However, the rising popularity of The Beverly Hillbillies showed just how little critical reviews can matter if the show is relatable and unique. The seven Emmy nominations and the Golden Globe The Beverly Hillbillies received down the line proved the show was not bad as initially thought.

Cooking With The Hillbillies

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

One would not expect hillbillies to eat the same boring meals everyone else eats. No, the hillbillies do it differently. And in The Beverly Hillbillies, the culinary side of things was left to Granny. She was often preparing the mysterious meal of vittles, and even though no one knew just what that might have been, our best guess is something that most people would find quite unsavory. However, this didn’t stop Granny from becoming quite the culinary legend. There are even books on the market, attempting to bring everyone closer to the cooking art of Granny.

The Country Hit Theme Song

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

TV shows’ theme songs are important aspects of the whole production. And when done right, these theme songs can become downright hits in their own right. Luckily for The Beverly Hillbillies, that was the case. The show’s theme song- The Ballad Of Jed Clampett, was doing so good, that it even climbed up to #1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles. That’s quite an achievement, considering that the song was never really meant for radios in the first place. This helped the show’s popularity in a big way, and the whole country was humming to the rhythm of the Clampett Ballad.

The End Out Of Nowhere

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

When The Beverly Hillbillies got canceled in 1971, the public was puzzled. After all, the show was still doing incredibly well, and viewers couldn’t get enough of the hillbilly humor. Despite this, CBS executive Fred Silverman decided to scrap the show. The reason behind it stemmed from The Beverly Hillbillies’ own popularity. At the time, too many similar shows were popping up in the same genre, and so CBS opted for letting The Beverly Hillbillies, instead of letting them become just another little show among many.

The Age Gap That Didn’t Add Up

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Television is notoriously deceptive, and it can often have actors playing roles that are supposed to be decades younger or older. But sometimes, the age gaps became just a bit too odd. In The Beverly Hillbillies, actor Louis Nye, who played Sonny Drysdale, was eight years younger than the actress Harriet MacGibbon who played his own mother. It might seem extraordinary that the show pulled this off, and it must have certainly made for some strange relationships on set, but it just goes to show how TV doesn’t match reality in the least.

The Dubbing 

Image Credit: IMDb/The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)

Image Credit: IMDb/The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)

Perhaps you already knew Jethro and his twin sister Jethrine were played by the same actor- Max Baer Jr. That should really come as no surprise, as it was widely known from the beginning of the show. But did you ever wonder how come Jethrine had such a realistically feminine voice, despite being played by a man? It’s actually because she was dubbed, and by no other than Linda Kaye Henning, the daughter of Paul Henning, the creator of the show. This made for one confusing combo when it came to the character of Jethrine, but one came to expect pretty much everything from The Beverly Hillbillies.

Typecasting Ruins Careers

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Max Baer Jr. was the unfortunate victim of typecasting, and it ruined his career. Although he rose to fame during The Beverly Hillbillies, and the audiences loved him for his performance, his two roles in the show became too iconic for him to shake. Because of his portrayal of Jethro and Jethrine, he was unable to find other meaningful work in the TV or movie business after The Beverly Hillbillies show ended. Seeing things were not going so well for him in the acting department, Max turned to producing and directing instead.

The Feud

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

Image Credit: Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive

The characters of Jane Hathaway and Jed Clampett in the show, as played by Nancy Kulp and Buddy Ebsen were staples of The Beverly Hillbillies, appearing together in many episodes. However, if the choice was left to the actors themselves, things might have looked very different. In fact, Nancy and Buddy couldn't stand each other, and the whole production of the show felt their tension. However, their feud was not a frivolous one, but rather one of strong determination. Luckily for the audience, they were able to put their differences aside for filming.

Sharon Tate Of All People

Image Credit: Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection

Image Credit: Getty Images/Silver Screen Collection

Sharon Tate was possibly one of the TV show’s best-kept secrets. Hardly anyone knew that the actress appeared 15 times in The Beverly Hillbillies. Wondering how you come you never spotted her? The answer is simple. She was well disguised. Tate came up on the show playing Janet Trego, who had brown hair, and so Tate had to be given a radical style change. Next time you are rewatching the hillbillies, make sure you keep an eye out for the dark-haired version of Tate.

The Hillbilly Marketing Opportunity

Image credit: YouTube/slightlymentholated

Image credit: YouTube/slightlymentholated

Product placement has always been a big part of television. Even back in the 60s, companies were trying to make big money off of popular TV shows by having them showcase their products. For some reason, Kellogg’s thought it might be a great idea to partner with The Beverly Hillbillies, and offer them a sponsorship. And so the show became an avid promoter of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. If you eat this brand of cereal today, and you grew up watching The Beverly Hillbillies, then TV show marketing might have played a role. 

The Beverly Hillbillies were one of the original American Dream TV shows, and that is perhaps why they appealed to audiences so much. However, the non-stop humor and the many colorful characters on the HIllbillies made sure the show stayed in our minds long after it was so unfortunately canceled. If you are planning on rewatching this iconic TV show today, keep an eye out on the little things you might not have noticed before. You know much more about the behind-the-scenes now than ever. 

Sources: Rolling StoneAmazonBillboardImdbMetvBeverly Hillbillies FandomAP NewsDearly Departed ToursMr. BreakfastTV Series Finale

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