Series: The Beverly Hillbillies

"Y'all come back now, y'hear?"
Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed
And then one day he was shootin' at some food
And up through the ground came a bubblin' crude
Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea.
Well, the first thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire
The kinfolk said, "Jed, move away from there!"
They said, "Californy is the place you oughta be!"
So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly...
Hills, that is. Swimming pools. Movie stars.

A 1960s Sitcom produced by Filmways about a family of Ozark-mountain folks who, when oil prospectors discover oil in their swamp, become fantastically rich and move to a mansion in Beverly Hills, where a greedy banker tries desperately to keep their money in his bank, which means keeping them happy in the foreign environment of Beverly Hills, while simultaneously keeping the city's residents from driving the Clampetts away. A great cast is aided by deceptively smart writing from creator Paul Henning, in a show which, contrary to popular perception, actually had great respect for the mountain people whom it portrayed. (Paul Henning was from Missouri and knew such simple yet honorable and proud people in his youth.) Incredibly successful, the show was eventually a victim of the so-called "Rural Purge" that eliminated shows from CBS' schedule that had a "country" or southern flavor. The series was canceled despite high ratings because they were the wrong ratings. It lasted from September, 1962 to March, 1971. A total of 274 episodes in nine seasons aired.

The earlier seasons, in black and white, subvert the dumb hick stereotype to good comic effect by portraying the patriarch, Jed Clampettnote  (played in a typically low-key performance by Buddy Ebsen) as being obviously a lot smarter than city-dwellers assumed, always getting the better of conmen. Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey chews the scenery gleefully in most of his scenes) was actually a friend of the Clampetts, whom he genuinely liked, and did not attempt to swindle them besides his greedy persona. With the exception of Jethro, the Clampetts were never portrayed as stupid, only unfamiliar with their Beverly Hills environment.

The Film of the Series was made in 1993 to mixed reviews. It focuses on the attempt of new characters Woodrow Tyler (Rob Schneider) and Laura Jackson (Lea Thompson) to con the Clampetts out of their money. The film was directed by Penelope Spheeris, previously known for such films as Hollywood Vice Squad(1986) and Wayne's World (1992). It performed decently at the box office, earning a little less than $58 million in the worldwide market. 44 of these million came from the United States market, where it was the 32nd most successful film of its year.

The cast consisted of:

  • Jedediah D. "Jed" Clampett - The apparent head of the family. A good natured man with some common sense. But also an expert marksman. Played in the series by Buddy Ebsen and in the film by Jim Varney.
  • Daisy Mae "Granny" Moses - The mother-in-law of Jed. A shotgun-wielding old woman with a nostalgia for the Confederate States of America. Played in the series by Irene Ryan and in the film by Cloris Leachman.
  • Elly May Clampett - The only daughter of Jed. A beautiful tomboy with Lethal Chef skills. Played in the series by Donna Douglas and in the film by Erika Eleniak.
  • Jethro Bodine - A nephew/young cousin of Jed. Described as naive, ignorant, and pompous. Stays in the city to seek better education and job offers. Can't seem to settle down in any job. Played by Max Baer, Jr. in the series, by Ray Young in the 1981 Return of the Beverly Hillbillies Made-for-TV Movie, and by Diedrich Bader in the film.
  • Milburn Drysdale - The next-door-neighbor, confidant and banker of the Clampetts. He is greedy little man, willing to put a lot of effort to keep the Clampett account for his bank. Played in the series by Raymond Bailey and in the film by Dabney Coleman.
  • Margaret Drysdale - Milburn's wife. A haughty member of one of Boston's oldest families, she frequently acts like a blue-blood, forgetting her father had lost his fortune. Often at odds with Granny. Written out during the last two seasons. Played in the series by Harriet MacGibbon and in the film by Penny Fuller.
  • Sonny Drysdale - Son of Margaret and stepson of Milburn. A thirty-something college student, infatuated with Elly. A minor but memorable character, he appeared in less than ten episodes between 1962 and 1966 but reportedly received more than his share of the fan mail. Played by Louis Nye.
    • Morgan Drysdale - The son of Milburn and Margaret as seen in the 1993 movie. Drysdale Jr. is now seen as an average high school student/Butt Monkey with slackerish tendencies, also infatuated with Elly. Played by Kevin Connolly.
  • Jane Hathaway . The ever-efficient, ever-uptight secretary of Drysdale and closest friend to the Clampetts. Treated as a member of the family, infatuated with Jethro. Played in the series by Nancy Kulp and in the film by Lily Tomlin.
  • Pearl Bodine. Cousin to Jed, mother to Jethro. A relatively late addition of the first season, subject to her own Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs song, "Pearl, Pearl, Pearl." The character was popular with audiences but had to be dropped when the actress was cast as the lead in another Henning series, Petticoat Junction. Played in the series by Bea Benaderet and in the film by Linda Carlson.
  • Jethrine Bodine. Jethro's twin sister. Moved in with the Clampetts in the first season, but soon left to return to her sweetheart Jazzbo Depew. The character was portrayed by Max Baer, Jr. dressed in drag in the series, with the voice provided by Linda Kaye, and in the film by Diedrich Bader in drag.

The Beverly Hillbillies provides examples of:

  • Bigger Stick: In the movie, one guy in a car pulls a pistol on the Clampetts after they cut him off. Jed pulls out his shotgun.
  • Brats with Slingshots
  • Casting Gag: Dabney Coleman plays Mr. Drysdale and Lily Tomlin plays Miss Hathaway in The Film of the Series. And Dolly Parton's even thrown in for good measure.
    • And see "You Look Familiar" below.
  • Catch Phrase: "Wellllll Doggies!", "JED! JED! JED!", "Y'all come back now, y'hear?"
  • Character Exaggeration: Jethro is considerably a lot dumber even to breech of appearing to have some form of learning disability (mentally deficient) in the 1993 film, and is also a Perpetual Smiler simpleton.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Whatever happened to Cousin Pearl, Jehtro's mother.
  • Christmas Cake: What the family's opinion was of Elly May.
  • Comically Inept Healing: Granny brings her mountain doctorin' with her to Beverly Hills. She dislikes the drugstore because it has no drugs in it, "they should call it a what-not shop." Her "rumatiz medicine" is just bootleg whiskey. She has an old mountain cure for the common cold which a drug conglomerate wants to buy until they find out it's just grain alcohol and the prescription is to drink it daily, get plenty of bed rest and additional fluids, and your cold will be "miraculously" cured in about a week.
  • Crossover: A 1968 Thanksgiving Episode sent the Clampetts to Hooterville, where they mingled with the characters from Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. All three rural-themed sitcoms were developed by Paul Henning.
  • Cute Bruiser: Elly May - and Granny.
  • Deep South
  • Dreadful Musician: Cousin Pearl considers herself a talented piano player and opera star, in reality her singing is bad enough for the neighbors to summon the police to make it stop.
  • Dumb Is Good: The Clampett family may not be the smartest, but they are one of the sweetest. Meanwhile, the Drysdales are smarter, and are possibly the greediest couple you will ever see.
    • The whole "smart people are mean" aspect of this trope is subverted with Jane Hathaway, who after a rocky start, grew quite fond of the Clampett family and did her best to help them with things that they didn't understand about the whole Beverly Hills lifestyle.
    • It could be more of a case that "smart people who abuse their intelligence are bad."
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Expy: Sort of with some characters. Jethro is vaguely a bit like Li'l Abner. Ellie Mae is similar to Daisy Mae Skragg (except she's Jethro's cousin rather than love interest) & Granny is very much like Mammy Yokum (and her name actually is Daisy Mae). YMMV of course.
  • Farmer's Daughter: Elly May.
  • Feuding Families: The season 1 episode "The Great Feud" has the Clampetts and Drysdales getting into this.
    • A later story arc, involving the Clampetts inheriting an English castle, has the family (mostly Granny and Jethro) getting into one of these with the owners of the castle next door.
  • The Film of the Series: Released in 1993.
  • Fish out of Water: The basic premise of the show.
  • Flanderization: Jethro becomes more obsessed with pop culture and becoming a big star, and Mr. Drysdale becomes more of a greedy banker stereotype.
  • Gargle Blaster: Granny's "rheumatizz medicine".
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The titular family has two males (Jed and Jethro) and two females (Granny and Elly). Additional regular characters include two males (Milburn and Sonny Drysdale) and two females (Margaret Drysdale and Jane Hathaway).
  • Gilligan Cut
  • Hollywood Dateless and Hollywood Homely: Poor Jane Hathaway.
  • Jerkass: Jethro. Also Mr. and Mrs. Drysdale.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: After Mr. Drysdale gets a hole blown through his hat by Granny, Jed makes it clear that if Granny had actually tried to shoot him, she wouldn't have missed.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Jethro. Assumes since he took twice as long to get through the sixth grade (12 years), that makes him twice as smart as everyone else.
  • In One Ear Outthe Other: One episode features Granny giving Jethro a physical before he joins the army. At one point she is using a candle to look into his ear then, still looking in the same ear, moves the candle to the other side of his head. She blows in the original ear, snuffing the candle out.
  • It Came from Beverly Hills
  • Ivy League for Everyone
  • "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music: Used in the 1993 film.
  • Landmark Sale: The final season featured a storyline where the Clampetts go to Washington and Jed is conned into the White House, the Capitol Building and other landmarks.
    • That same conman (played by Sgt. Bilko, no less) tricked them into buying The Statue of Liberty and Central Park in an earlier episode.
  • London England Syndrome: In the film, Jethro is first mentioned when Elly May says he's coming from Oxford to visit them. The next scene shows him leaving Oxford, Arkansas.
  • Man Child: Jethro, although it's because of his unbridled enthusiasm for the family's new lavish lifestyle and his lack of education.
  • Mistaken for Servant: The Clampetts.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker
  • Ms. Fanservice: Elly Mae. As a book on TV series once put it: "Fans were willing to put up with the insipid plots to get a look at her in jeans that appeared to be painted on."
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: One episode revolved around Granny trying to catch a "giant jackrabbit," which is actually a kangaroo that has escaped from the neighbors' place.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Played straight with Jed Clampett in that he isn't as simple as his speech and general appearance implies. Also subverted in one episode where officials believe that Jethro must be obfuscating stupidity in an attempt to get out of been conscripted as they cannot believe that anyone could be as stupid as Jethro seems to be.
  • Rags to Riches
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Zsa Zsa Gabor guest stars in the movie in the police line-up scene for "A drive-by slapping." This is a reference to Gabor's real life arrest for slapping a police officer.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The Ballad of Jed Clampett recorded by legendary Bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs.
  • Reunion Show: The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies (1981), which reunited Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas (Elly May), and Nancy Kulp (Miss Hathaway) from the original show but cast a different actor as Jethro and replaced Granny with Imogene Coca as Granny's Maw.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The pilot and first few episodes were much more serious in nature and focused on Jed finding a "Maw" for a Elly.
  • Rich Boredom: Jed Clampett
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Ellie May mentioned having fought a set of triplets in The Film of the Series. While it was not specifically stated, it's implied the three of them are males.
  • Sitcom
  • Smarter Than You Look: Although he doesn't have a lot of book learnin', Jed has a lot of natural cunning and perception, and routinely outsmarts people who assume that he's dumb because of his rural upbringing.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Nanny both followed this show's lead in moving their main characters from what is considered to be a lower class setting to a higher class one.
  • Story Arc: A early sitcom example.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Jethro's sister Jethrine.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Unresolved for most of the series' run is the one-sided sexual tension that Jane feels for Jethro. Oddly enough, Jethro seemed aware of Jane's feelings when they first got to know each other, but this was completely forgotten by the next episode and remained forgotten.
  • Watering Down: Granny, a moonshiner, usually make strong liquor. But she usually waters it down for the city folks who couldn't handle it at full strength.
  • Westminster Chimes: They have a doorbell that makes this sound. Naturally, whenever someone rings the doorbell, they have no idea where the sound is coming from and attempt to search for its source. Their search is always then interrupted by someone knocking on the door.
    • Lampshaded in the movie, where the family eventually figures out that someone is at the door when they hear the chimes, but still have no idea that the doorbell ringing is caused by the person at the door.
    • This lampshade was hung as early as the series, with the theory eventually reached being that there is an unseen lookout that plays the music when someone approaches.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Their car.
  • X-Ray Sparks
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Buddy Ebsen appeared in a Remake Cameo in the 1993 movie ... as his OTHER TV role, Barnaby Jones.
    • Bea Benaderet went from playing Cousin Pearl to starring in Petticoat Junction (which sometimes crossed over with "Hillbillies").

Well now it's time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin
They would like to thank you folks for kindly dropping in
You're all invited back next week/again to this locality
For another heapin' helpin' of their hospitality
Hillbilly, that is.
Sit a spell. Take your shoes off.
Y'all come back now, y'hear?