Once upon a time, there was an age of TV where hit shows where women in their 20s played high school students, and an entire episode could revolve around the burning crisis of whether the dog that followed one daughter home could stay. It is from this era that Petticoat Junction hails. This series about a widowed mother and her three daughters tending the Shady Rest Hotel ran for seven years, and begat both Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies, in that characters from all three series would interact with each other.
So our principle cast here consists of mother Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet), daughters Billie Jo (the flirt, played by Jeannine Riley), Bobbie Jo (the bookworm, played by Pat Woodell, who would leave after this season), and Betty Jo (the tomboy, played by Linda Kaye Henning, daughter of series creator Paul Henning). Throwing in his two bits is lazy Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchanan). Joining the cast this season is Higgins the dog, who would subsequently star as Benji, and thus eclipse his human co-stars.
Does the series hold up? For the deeply nostalgic, I suppose, and those who prefer their entertainment completely anodyne. It is very much of its era, and is hardly comedy gold.
Given that we’re dealing with broadcast television from 1964-5, the fact that the picture is as good as it is borders on the miraculous. There is some grain and speckling, but the print is generally in very good condition. The black-and-white tones are strong, and there is no bleaching.
The audio is showing its age a bit more, in that there is some distortion affecting the dialogue. It isn’t severe, though, and the mono track is otherwise getting the job done with minimal fuss. Essentially, the transfer is about as good as one could reasonably hope for.
Episode Introductions: Woodell and Kaye Henning introduce each episode, providing a nice bit of context, and over 36 episodes, that adds up to a considerable bit of material.
Interview with Pat Woodell and Linda Kaye Henning: (38:04) Quite a range of subjects are covered here, including tales of the junket tour for the second season, and how a petticoat wound up in space.
Photo Gallery: A 1-minute slide show.
This is sweet enough, but boy is it bland. Grandparents, put this on for your grandkids raised on The Simpsons and The Family Guy, and watch their eyes slowly light up with homicidal fury. You see what I did there? I used the phrase “homicidal fury” in a review of Petticoat Junction. Kidding aside, this is strictly for those with memories as old as they are fond.