Stream On: From the ridiculous to the sublime, part 1, with ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’

By on March 9, 2023

Before Dick Wolf and his “Law & Order” TV franchise, there was Paul Henning. In 1962 he created The Beverly Hillbillies, an outlandish sitcom about a hillbilly family that discovered oil on their land, became millionaires and moved into a mansion in Beverly Hills. It was as broad as a barn door—and as funny as a barrel of critters, becoming one of the most popular shows on TV. In 1963 he created its wholesome spinoff, Petticoat Junction, placed in the same fictional universe with, in 1965, Green Acres (about which I wrote in 2022), a sophisticated exercise in surrealism that reversed the fish-out-of-water premise of The Beverly Hillbillies.


/Amazon /Streaming /Trailer /⭐4.7/5 /1962-1971 /TVG

Gilbert Seldes wrote, in the December 15, 1962 of 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?”

In spite of scathing reviews from the professional self-appointed arbiters of taste on TV, 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.

Combining burlesque, farce, hyperbole, misunderstandings and satire, delivered with plenty of irony, The Beverly Hillbillies is a show that’s deceptive in its apparent stupidity—it’s much smarter than it looks, and the cumulative effect of a few episodes (watched in private if you’re insecure about your own public image) is that of a tonic for whatever ails you.

Written mostly by Paul Henning with occasional help, The Beverly Hillbillies is slicker than lard on a crystal doorknob, and the acting too is up to snuff. Buddy Ebsen (The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, etc.) played hillbilly patriarch Jed Clampett with a straight face as an ignorant but sturdy mountaineer dealing with his new life in posh Beverly Hills. Vaudeville and radio veteran Irene Ryan played his mother-in-law, Granny, as feisty as Jed was wise. (Here’s “Irene Noblette” with then-husband Tim Ryan in The Wacky Family in 1936.) Donna Douglas played Elly May Clampett, Jed’s beautiful but innocent daughter, and Max Baer Jr. completed the Clampett clan as her cousin, scatter-brained but ox-strong Jethro Bodine. (Donna Douglas’ beauty was a major plot point in “Eye of the Beholder,” The Twilight Zone, episode 6, season 2.)

Hard-working character actor Raymond Bailey (Burns and Allen, Dobie Gillis) played Milburn Drysdale, the miserly banker who convinced the Clampett clan to buy the mansion next to his so he could keep an eye on them and their money, and Nancy Kulp (I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone) was his loyal but harried executive secretary, Jane Hathaway. As Drysdale worked to contain the Clampetts’ nuttier tendencies, Jane worked as hard to rein in Drysdale, who could give the Clampetts a run for their money in nuttiness.

Two great features of the show, which apply also to Petticoat Junction, are the myriad animals from baby owls to bears (trained by Frank Inn, about whom I’ll soon write) and the excellent music. The Beverly Hillbillies theme song, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” by Paul Henning, was played by Flatt and Scruggs, and the music director, who oversaw the great incidental music, was Curt Massey.

In the second episode, as the Clampetts settle into their new home in Beverly Hills, they have to adjust to things such as refrigerators, ovens and the “cement pond” (their swimming pool). Jethro encounters a flamingo that he thinks is a chicken (which causes Jed to suspect he has been sneaking drinks of moonshine). Meanwhile, Miss Hathaway mistakes the Clampetts for domestic help, and every situation is milked for maximum laughs.

The first three seasons are in black and white. When I was a teenager I thought the show stupid; the adults around me loved it, and as with age I gained experience if not wisdom, I now see their point.

Next week: Petticoat Junction.

(Pete Hummers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking Amazon.com and affiliate sites. This adds nothing to Amazon’s prices.)

Click here for more Stream On: What to watch on TV columns by Pete Hummers.



Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

One tap mobile

+17866351003,,82390692985# US (Miami)

+13126266799,,82390692985# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

  • +1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 470 250 9358 US (Atlanta)
  • +1 646 518 9805 US (New York)
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  • +1 213 338 8477 US (Los Angeles)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

Find your local number: https://barnhillcontracting.zoom.us/u/kbYOel03V

Join by SIP

Join by H.323

  • (US West)
  • (US East)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985



Comments are closed.