“Come and listen to my story about a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin’ at some food and up from the ground comes a bubblin’ crude. Oil that is… Black Gold…
Who doesn’t remember the Clampetts, those lovable Beverly Hillbillies? The show has been revived in a film, rap songs, and a Weird Al parody of Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing. Terms like cement pond have lingered in our pop culture. The song was a genuine Billboard hit at the time and is still instantly recognizable some 40 plus years after the show aired.
Jed Clampett (Ebsen) was that “poor mountaineer. He was a kindhearted elder gentleman with back hills sensibilities. He wasn’t used to having all that money, and it never really meant anything to him. He just wanted to care for his extended family. He was easy prey to swindlers and con men because he always took other folks at their word. He particularly trusted Mr. Drysdale (Bailey) who was his banker and next door neighbor. Drysdale didn’t particularly like the Clampetts and hated having them as neighbors, but he did like having Jed’s millions in his bank, so he acted friendly and did everything he could to “civilize” the family. He was aided in his schemes by his bank assistant Jane Hathaway (Culp). She was a skinny little thing who often acted as a intermediary between Drysdale and thr Clampetts. Her heart was most often in the right place and she was infatuated with Jed’s nephew Jethro (Baer, Jr.). Jethro was all brawn and very little brains with an endless appetite. He was always falling for one scheme after another, fancying himself the street-wise city folk. Elly Mae (
The Beverly Hillbillies began in the Fall of 1962 and became an instant sensation. It was the number one show before anyone knew it. It would last until 1971. Once the show was off the prime time schedule it lived long afterward in syndication. Like many shows from its day, it began in black and white, making the transition to color later. Once the show hit syndication, the stations were more interested in bringing color to their schedules, so these early shows were often left out of some packages. That means many of you have never seen how the story began. This is your golden opportunity. The series begins with Jed’s discovery of oil and their move to
Each episode of The Beverly Hillbillies is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. The series was shot in black and white. The transfer is actually a pretty good effort. There’s still plenty of dirt and scratches however. We’re talking an almost 50 year old sit-com, so the greatest care wasn’t taken with these masters. The quality does appear to improve with later episodes, and I have hope for coming seasons.
The Dolby Digital Mono track delivers exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. The dialog is clear, and that’s all you’re going to get out of this minimalist presentation.
Original Sponsor Intro and Endings: This was a nice touch. You have the option of watching each episode with or without these historical gems. If you decide to watch them, you’ll hear an extra verse of the theme song in the intro talking about the show’s sponsor, often Corn Flakes. At the end of each episode and additional short scene was played out with the characters extolling the virtues of said product.
Irene Ryan Screen-test As Granny: This thing is just over a minute. We see Ryan doing a scene from the pilot with Ebsen as a test for the character. You then get, for comparison, the pilot scene as it was aired.
Clip From “The Stars Address Is CBS” 1963 Fall Preview Show: I can still remember the days when each network did a Friday night preview show for its fall schedule. There was even one for the Saturday morning cartoons. Now schedules are so spread out it doesn’t make any sense. In this 2 minute clip, the Clampetts talk about the CBS Fall line-up on Wednesday.
CBS Network Promo: This 45 second bit looks to be aimed at advertisers showing the upcoming Beverly Hillbillies off.
Paul Henning Interview – 1969: Henning created the show and is talking to an interviewer here about his past shows and even violence on television in 1969. It’s not very informative and only worth the historical context.
Even if you’ve never actually seen an episode of this show, you know the characters and you know the general idea. In 1962 the series wasn’t near as refined as it would eventually become. Production values were obviously lower. The characters were pretty much unknown except for Ebsen. This was never a show about production. It was a character driven romp. Certainly, today there would be cries of stereotyping and it might not have a chance, but there is a charm to this old show that hasn’t been seen on sit-coms since then. Long before Foxworthy or Jim Varney, who would later on play Jed in the film, this was redneck humor. It wasn’t vicious or pointed. In fact, the show makes just as much fun of the “city folk” as it does the hillbillies. Look beyond the political correctness and just enjoy some simple humor for a change. Civilization won’t crumble. Season 2 has just been announced, and you can be sure I’ll be here to tell you about it. So, “y’all come back now, ya hear?”