A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed
An' then one day he was shootin' at some food
An' up through the ground come a bubblin' crude
Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea.
Well, the first thing you know, ol' 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 an' they moved to Beverly...
Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools. Movie stars.
THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES!
A Sitcom, produced by Filmways and airing on CBS from 1962–71, about a rural Ozark-mountain family called the Clampetts, who, after oil is discovered 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 the Clampetts happy in the foreign environment of Beverly Hills while simultaneously keeping the city's other residents from driving the Clampetts away.
A great cast is aided by deceptively smart writing from creator Paul Henning, for a series which — contrary to latter-day perception — actually had great respect for the mountain people it portrayed. (Henning was from Missouri and knew such simple yet honorable and proud people in his youth.) In particular, the show's earlier black-and-white seasons subvert the "dumb" hick stereotype to good comic effect by depicting 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 con men. The rest of the Clampetts (with the exception of Jethro) were never portrayed as stupid either, only unfamiliar with their Beverly Hills environment. And in another subversion, the banker Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey chews the scenery gleefully in most of his scenes) was actually a friend to the Clampetts, whom he genuinely liked, and never attempted to swindle them despite his greedy persona.
Incredibly successful, spending its first two seasons as the #1 show on television and its first eight seasons in the Top 20, the show eventually fell victim to the so-called "Rural Purge" from CBS, which sought to improve its viewer demographics by eliminating shows from its schedule that were deemed to have too much of a "country" or southern flavor. In other words, the series was canceled despite high viewership because it had the wrong viewership. (Though considering that Irene Ryan ended up dying only two years after the show's cancellation, it would likely have ended on its own after that point anyway.) The series lasted from September 1962 to March 1971, with a total of 274 episodes over nine seasons. A reunion movie written by Henning, Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, aired in 1981.
The Film of the Series was made in 1993, to mixed reviews. Directed by Penelope Spheeris, previously known for such films as Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) and Wayne's World (1992), the film 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 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 a 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, who gave her performance a somewhat pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness reminiscent of Shelley Long's role in Cheers. Played in the film by Lily Tomlin.
- Pearl Bodine. Cousin to Jed, mother to Jethro. A relatively late addition of the first season, subject of 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:
- Alcohol Is Gasoline: In one early episode, Jed and Jethro want to go to town, only to discover their faithful truck is empty. Jed resorts to pouring Granny's homemade hooch into the tank. Not only does it work, but it's so potent that the truck literally shoots off like a rocket the second Jethro starts the engine.
- Animal Lover: Elly May Clampett loves animals so much that part of the Clampett mansion functions as a zoo of sorts, and much of the grounds are treated akin to a nature preserve.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: The appropriately titled episode "The Sheik" features a gaudily dressed Arab potentate who calls Jed "brother" because both of them make so much of their money from oil that it’s practically in their blood. He also tries to buy Jed's daughter to be one of his wives.
- Armor-Piercing Response: Jed occasionally delivers observations that contain more knowing bite than one might expect, revealing his abiding wisdom among the chaos.Pearl: That historical lady found out that your ancestors come here before the Mayflower.
Jed: But what's that got to do with me?
Pearl: That's the way society works, Jed. The earlier your kinfolk got here, the higher up that puts ya.
Jed: Then I reckon the highest society folks is the Indians.
- Artistic License – Biology: Jed and Mrs. Drysdale's dogs have been fancying each other for most of the film which culminates in their owners finding them under a table with a fresh litter of puppies that are already walking. Newborn pups are actually much smaller and most breeds don't even open their eyes until close to two weeks after being born, spending most of their first two weeks alive either sleeping or nursing from their mother and aren't able to walk until reaching one month old. Also, each puppy is either pure poodle or pure bloodhound instead of a mix of both breeds.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety:
- In the film, the Clampett's understanding of gun safety is vastly different from the rest of the world. While Jed is explaining how they procured their wealth to Jane Hathaway, he aims his gun at an imaginary rabbit in Ms. Hathaway's direction. Her understandably frightened exclamation of "Don't shoot!" is met with "Pardon, ma'am?" from a visibly confused Jed.
- Earlier in the film, the Clampetts have an ordinary gun pointed at them by an irate motorist after all four of them flip him off, thinking it means Hello. Thinking he's only showing them his gun, Jed responds with by saying "That's real nice, son! Here's what I carry!" before pointing his shotgun at them, making them flee.
- Babies Ever After: In the film, a very minor subplot involves Jed's bloodhound fancying Mrs. Drysdale's French poodle who seem to feel the same way. Once Laura and Woodrow's scheme has been revealed and the two of them dealt with, the two dogs are found under a random table with a litter of puppies!
- Bad to the Last Drop: Elly May's coffee, a thick syrup that pours out as slowly as molasses.
- The Clampetts encounter beatniks (led by Alan Reed Jr as Sheldon Epps) in "Big Daddy, Jed," "Cool School Is Out," and "Clampett A-Go-Go." The second of these episodes sees Elly May, Jethro, and even Granny join in the underground coffeehouse fun, Daddy-o!
- In two later TV episodes, "Robin Hood of Griffith Park" and "Robin Hood and the Sheriff," Alan Reed Jr returns as Buddy, leading a merry band of hippies (the 60s version of beatniks) who encounter the Clampetts fresh off their trip to England. They all play Robin Hood in Los Angeles's Griffith Park, but find Granny's offer to smoke crawdads a little too out there.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Initially, Mr. Drysdale is presented as a responsible, intelligent banker. However, he soon turns into a moneygrubbing, often deceitful miser. Cue Miss Hathaway's rapid transformation from his trusted and respectful confidante to a long-suffering assistant.
- Belly Dancer: The Season Four episode "The Sheik" featured an Arab sheik who gave away dancing girls to Jed as a token of friendship. Turns out Jed doesn't want anything to do with the girls, leading to hi-jinks as Jethro tries to claim them all for himself.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Clampett family is made up of kind, simple, country folk. But people who try to con them learn the hard way that messing with them will bring you a load of hurt. Granny most often dispenses feisty retribution when it's required.
- Bigger Stick: In the movie, a man in a car pulls a pistol on the Clampetts after they cut him off. Thinking the guy's just showing off his piece, Jed pulls out his shotgun for comparison. The instigator quickly backs down.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In the film, Laura Jackson poses as a French tutor named "Laurette Voleur" in order to gain the Clampetts' trust, marry Jed, and steal his money. Granny doesn't buy the act for a second.
- Book on the Head: In "Pygmalion and Elly", Sonny Drysdale demonstrates book-balancing to Elly May. Jed and Jethro, spying from behind the "fancy courtin' parlor" curtains, think he's nuts. In the feature film, Laura has Elly practice sitting up straight by doing this.
- Brats with Slingshots: Elly May Clampett uses a slingshot as she doesn't care for shooting guns. In a memorable early episode, she mistakes a bra for a slingshot.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the movie, Elly May does this after learning about Laurette Voleur's desire to be Jed's wife. She looks right into the camera, says, "How 'bout it? Miss Laurette and my pa!", and shrugs.
- Casting Gag: 9 to 5 alumni Dabney Coleman and Lily Tomlin respectively play Milburn Drysdale and Jane Hathaway in The Film of the Series. And Dolly Parton even appears for good measure.
- Catchphrase: "Wellllll Doggies!," "JED! JED! JED!," "Pitiful, pitiful," "Y'all come back now, y'hear?"
- Caught in a Snare: In "The Cat Burglar", Elly May sets traps in case the title thief comes prowling around the Clampett Mansion. Jethro is ensnared in a net several times, until finally, at the end of the episode, Elly May catches the real cat burglar outside the front door.
- Character Exaggeration: Jethro is (remarkably enough) dumber in the 1993 film than he is in the series, to the point of suggesting mental deficiency.
- Characterization Marches On: Mr. Drysdale starts as a more pragmatic, down-to-earth man who genuinely likes the Clampett's company, not the money-obsessed nutjob of later seasons.
- Cheesy Moon: In "Jethro's Military Career", Jethro wants to blast off to the moon (by tying himself to a rocket!) so he can meet moon maidens and eat its green cheese.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Whatever happened to Cousin Pearl, Jethro's mother?
- Clip Show: In S01E28, "Jed Pays His Taxes," Granny is shown chasing an IRS agent off the property, confusing him for an alcohol tax collector ("revenooer"). The agent later visits Mr. Drysdale to find out why Mr. Clampett has millions in income but nothing before. Through flashbacks from the first episode, Drysdale explains how oil was found on his property and how Jed and the family moved to California.
- Comically Inept Healing: Granny brings her mountain doctorin' with her to Beverly Hills. She dislikes the drugstore because it has no drugs in it, saying "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 to ten days. Downplayed in the movie, where her expert doctorin' she done took the Hippocritter Oath to provide actually seems to have some kind of instant effect.
- The Con: The final season features a storyline where the Clampetts go to Washington and Jed is conned into buying the White House, the Capitol Building, and other landmarks (the character being played by Phil Silvers of Sgt. Bilko fame, no less). A different conman (played by Jesse White) tricks them into buying The Statue of Liberty and Central Park in the Season One episode "Jed Buys the Freeway." Neither case ultimately proves successful.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Granny can cook ordinary food just fine, as proven in the Thanksgiving and other episodes. But her hillbilly fare disgusts people outside the family (or outside the hills), preparing dishes like possum innards, gopher gravy, owl burgers, dandelion greens, goat tripe, and Snyder's Swamp Surprise (pronounced Soo-prize).
- 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.
- Deep South: The Clampetts hail from Tennessee. Early episodes claim somewhere near Oxford while later episodes claim Bugtussle. Granny is a loyal Confederate, so if the War Between the States comes up in conversation, she will insist the South won.
- Down L.A. Drain: In "Christmas at the Clampetts", the hillbillies receive a boat as a gift from Mr. Drysdale. Jed, having heard of the Los Angeles River, directs Jethro to take the family down to the "stream". The hillbillies are disappointed, to say the least.Elly May: “Well, there ain’t enough water down there to wet down a good-sized crawdad, is there Pa?”
Jed: "Pitiful, pitiful."
- Dreadful Musician: Cousin Pearl considers herself a talented piano player and opera star — but in reality, her singing is bad enough that the neighbors have been known 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, grows quite fond of the Clampett family and does her best to help them with things that they don't understand about the whole Beverly Hills lifestyle.
- Endangered Soufflé: In "Back to Californy", Granny and Cousin Pearl become embroiled in a fight while each cooking a meal in the mansion's kitchen. Pearl purposely destroys Granny's cake by slamming the oven door, then snidely tells Granny that her sweet potato pie is fall-proof. Granny takes out the pie and drops it on the floor!
- Ermine Cape Effect: Averted, then played straight in "His Royal Highness." The deposed king is at first dressed in an ordinary suit, much to Jethro's disappointment ("He doesn't look like the kings in my Big Blue Book of Fairy Tales"). Later, on Mr. Drysdale's suggestion, he dresses up in an ermine cape and crown to court Elly May. Elly May rejects him as she doesn't take kindly to him putting on airs.
- Expository Theme Tune: The song's lyrics describe how the Clampetts discovered oil and moved to Los Angeles. It's suffiently iconic that Flatt & Scruggs had a #1 hit on the Country Music charts with their version.
- Expospeak Gag: Miss Hathaway is prone to this in earlier seasons. In "Jed, Incorporated" she goes on a long soliliquey describing the tax benefits of Jed Clampett having a corporation. The Clampetts admit not knowing what she said. Mr. Drysdale pretends not to know either.
- Farmer's Daughter: Elly May. Jed Clampett, aside from hunting, used to grow greens and have a few chickens and livestock around his cabin.
- Feuding Families:
- The Season One episode "The Great Feud" has the Clampetts and Drysdales developing feud-style animosity, mostly thanks to conflict between Granny and Mrs. Drysdale.
- A later story arc, involving the Clampetts inheriting an English castle, has the family (mostly Granny and Jethro) getting into a feud with the owners of the castle next door. Jethro refers to it as "The war of the roses" because the feud began when he wrecked his neighbor's rose garden while riding through it.
- Jethro grows increasingly more stupid as the show progresses. He also becomes obsessed with pop culture and becoming a big star.
- Mr. Drysdale becomes more of a greedy banker stereotype.
- Freudian Couch: In "The Clampetts Get Psychoanalyzed," Mr. Drysdale's Freudian psychiatrist tries to psychoanalyze Jethro Bodine and Cousin Pearl. The psychiatrist is very faithful to Freudian methods, not only having a couch in his office but closing his curtains so as to conduct psychoanalysis in semidarkness.
- Friend to All Living Things: Elly May is phenomenally good with animals. She even got a bird and a cat to get along.
- Gargle Blaster: Granny's "rheumatizz medicine" (it's actually just moonshine) is so potent that only hill folk can drink it without gasping.
- 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).
- George Jetson Job Security: In the 1993 film, Mr. Drysdale briefly fires Miss Hathaway for falsely sending the Clampetts to jail, only to be rehired when Jed wants her to keep her employment. The same thing also happens in the second episode of the original series, "Getting Settled."
- Gonky Femme: Early episodes feature Jethrine, Jethro's Half Identical Twin. Giggly and girly, played by Max Baer Jr. in a dress but voiced by a female voiceover actor. The movie, where she's played (and voiced) by Diedrich Bader, hangs a lampshade on this.
- Half-Witted Hillbilly: The family fits the Country Bumpkin version of this trope. The entire premise of the show is that the Clampetts don't understand the posh comforts of the Beverly Hills lifestyle. In fact, one of the running gags is that the Clampetts see everything from a practical point of view encouraged from their early life of poverty, and so they have no comprehension of the intended purpose of luxury and/or recreational items.
- Hilarious Outtakes: The film ends with these, many of them using alternate lines not used in the final print. Notable is the scene where a purse somehow transfers from Lily Tomlin's arm to Cloris Leachman's without either of them noticing.
- Historical Character's Fictional Relative: In the film, at a wedding someone wonders "Do you think Cousin Bill got the invitation?" Cut to an exterior shot of the White House, and a voice wondering where he left the invite.
- Hypochondria: Mrs. Drysdale was originally portrayed as a hypochondriac, even turning her poodle Claude into one! However, this trait disappeared after the first couple seasons.
- Honest John's Dealership:
- In the first season episode "Jed Buys the Freeway", a conman, played by Jesse White, tries to sell Jed the freeway, Griffith Park and the Hollywood Bowl. The sale fails when Jed discovers the conman isn't a mountain man... he can't hold his moonshine.
- The Beverly Hillbillies run into "Honest John", whose real name is Shifty Shafer in the eighth and ninth seasons. Naturally he's played by Phil Silvers as an Expy of Sergeant Bilko. He conducts two Landmark Sales; one in New York and another in Washington, DC; the latter to have Jed buy land on behalf of the US government. Not only that, but he tries to sell Jed on a phony scheme to get rid of Los Angeles smog. However, the Clampetts are such nice people that Shifty ends up saying he can't accept the money.
- House Inspection: A "rich" socialite from back home comes to visit the Clampetts, with the Hidden Agenda of trying to marry Jed for his money. She gives the place the once over.Adeline: I just wanted to see where some of these things is from. I see most of 'em is from France and England.
Granny: That's good, isn't it?
Adeline: Not to me. All my stuff comes from much further away than that. It's made in Japan.
- 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.
- Impoverished Patrician: In "His Royal Highness," an impoverished ex-king schemes to marry Elly-May for her money. His entire "fortune" is in "Glotnys", which, according to Miss Hathaway's book of world currencies and exchange rates, are "absolutely worthless." In fact, on two occasions in the episode, they're even used as table napkins!
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Jed and Jethro practice for a skeet shooting competition by ricocheting bullets off a wall a hundred yards away to light matches. They do this because they don't have anywhere to do long range shots that will challenge them.
- In One Ear, Out The 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: Maybe the Ur-Example.
- Ivy League for Everyone: In spite of having no academic talent, Sonny Drysdale is a graduate of several Ivy League colleges (Dartmouth, Yale, and Harvard, to name a few).
- Jethro (via his total ignorance) is an insufferable idiot, believing he's far more talented and intelligent than he actually is.
- Mrs. Drysdale is irritatingly snobby and self-important, thinking her privileged upper-crust Boston upbringing makes her superior to others — especially the Clampetts. Occasionally, Mr. Drysdale will act class-superior to others, but never does so to the Clampetts given that they're by far his bank's biggest depositor.
- Kidnapping Bird of Prey: In the first episode, "The Clampetts Strike Oil," Granny thinks a giant bird is carrying off a man. It's really a helicopter lowering down a geologist.
- Knighting: In "War of the Roses", Jethro gets knighted by Jane Hathaway masquerading as Elizabeth I. The honor is given as Jethro had vanquished Colonel Dumbarton of the neighboring castle. At the same ceremony, Granny is assured by "The Queen" that the stain on the family honor will be rectified, and that everyone in England will know that the Clampett Clan did not run out on the "War of the Roses". Jed Clampett also takes the opportunity to return the deed to Canada - having purchased the country from the Queen's minister a few episodes before. Believe it or not, this all Makes Sense In Context.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: In later seasons, Jethro becomes insufferably conceited and believes he's an expert on everything. This is by virtue of his sixth-grade education and his "giant brain." Some of his low-lights include his attempt at being a talent agent, his belief he can speak Japanese, his inept attempt to open his own restaurant, and any number of claims that he's a Hollywood playboy.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Granny made an appearance on Mister Ed. Actress Irene Ryan, dressed in "Granny" garb, and with Granny's accent, meets Wilbur Post while touring a wax museum. She offers to take Wilbur home and poultice his head, both typical Granny-type actions. In the credits, however, Irene Ryan is credited as "Irene Ryan" with no character after her name. (Considering both shows were Filmways productions and Granny appeared on Petticoat Junction several times without trouble, you'd think it wouldn't have been a problem to simply make it clear it was Granny.)
- Lethal Chef: Elly May Clampett's cooking is nigh inedible. Her biscuits and donuts are hard as a rock and just as heavy. One episode sees her make a meatloaf in the shape of a giant meatball. Said meatloaf bounces like a basketball.
- "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.
- The trope makes its appearance in the series. In the first couple seasons, Cousin Pearl, Jethro, and Jethrine Bodine are plainly said have originally lived in Oxford, Tennessee. This leads to a gag in the second episode, "Getting Settled," where Mr. Drysdale and Miss Hathaway believe that Jethro goes to school at the Oxford.
- Manchild: Jethro, although it's because of his unbridled enthusiasm for the family's new lavish lifestyle and his lack of education.Jethro: [in the movie] That's 'cause I graduated in the sixth grade, ma'am! Only took three years! [holds up four fingers]
- Missing Mom: Elly May's mother died some time before the start of the series.
- Mistaken for Servant: Happens to The Clampetts when they first move in to their Beverly Hills mansion.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: Mr. Drysdale.
- Ms. Fanservice: Decades later, and Elly May is still a mainstay on "sexiest TV stars ever" lists.
- Never Mess with Granny: Literally true, never ever mess with Granny. None of the Clampetts were wimps, but Granny was one of the toughest scrappers in the whole family. And you don't want her shooting at you, whether it's buckshot or rock-salt and bacon rind. Banker Milburn Drysdale found out the hard way in England while pretending to be a ghost. Lucky for him, it was the rock-salt and bacon rind ammo!
- 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 doing exactly this in an attempt to get out of getting conscripted as they cannot believe that anyone could be as stupid as Jethro seems to be.
- Office Golf: A favourite of Mr. Drysdale, who is often seen putting golf balls into a cup in his office.
- Old Dog: Jed Clampett's bloodhound, Duke. Duke was already an old-timer when the show began, so he was extremely old nine years later. One can only presumes Granny's Spring Tonic helped extend Duke's life.
- Personal Seals: In "Jed, Incorporated", a running gag has Miss Hathaway use her notary seal to "mistakenly crinkle" corporate documents (or, so saith the hillbillies).
- Poor Communication Kills: In the film, Jane first meets the Clampetts when they arrive at their mansion but, due to the way they are dressed, thinks they are prowlers. Instead of asking them to leave or for a form of identification, she immediately calls the police and only while they're in a police line up in front of her boss is their identity as the actual owners of the mansion given to them. Milburne, fearing a lawsuit, faints and upon coming to, immediately fires her. She gets rehired a few minutes later at Jed's insistance.
- Rags to Riches: Summarized in the Expository Theme Tune. Jed strikes oil on his property while hunting for game and becomes rich.
- 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.
- 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.
- Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies (1993), made in anticipation of the film version, was half-movie/half-special, mixing in clips and interviews with a totally new story that seemed to ignore the events of the previous TV movie. Max Baer Jr. returned to reprise the role of Jethro.
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The pilot and first few episodes are marginally more serious in nature, focusing on Jed finding a "Maw" for Elly.
- Rich Boredom: Overtakes Jed Clampett every so often. At times, he decides to take a job to help make himself feel more useful.
- Same-Sex Triplets: Elly 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.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: "The Ghost of Clampett Castle" had Mr. Drysdale try to scare Granny away from the Clampett's English castle and back to California. He imitates the "Ghost of Lady Clampett" in the attempt. It backfires when Granny goes after the ghost, shooting the "ghost" in the backside with rock salt and bacon rind. However, Mr. Drysdale disguised as a ghost (moaning from his injury!) manages to scare Jethro Bodine so much that the Clampetts leave for his sake.
- Shave And A Haircut: This snippet is frequently used as a stinger at scene's end on this show. It's frequently heard played by a banjo, occasionally replaced with a harmonica or guitar, closing out a short section of bluegrass-style "picking."
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Granny prefers a double-barrelled shotgun. Granny's even able to shoot skeet with it. She starts off using shells, but after the first season, her usual ammo is rock salt and bacon rind.
- Sitcom: One of the most popular of the 1960s, was No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings for its first two seasons.
- Smarter Than You Look: Although he doesn't have a lot of book learnin', Jed has a lot of natural cunning and perception, routinely outsmarting people who assume that he's dumb because of his rural upbringing.
- Southern Belle: Elly May. As a book on the 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."
- 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.
- Status Quo Is God: The only reason for the Clampetts, most of whom are otherwise quite intelligent, never coming to grips with even the basics of their new circumstances.
- Stepping Out to React: Milton Drysdale arranges for his wife to run against Granny Clampett for Opossum Queen, without her knowledge, of course. A reporter interviews Mrs. Drysdale, and gets quite a few juicy sound bites, which are edited into a broadcast that sounds like she's disparaging Granny. The Clampetts hear this doctored interview, including the zinger, "Why doesn't that stupid woman give up?" Granny is hopping mad, and Jed has to caution her not to vent in front of Jethro and Ellie May. Granny moves into the pantry, where she lets out an angry bear roar, then emerges slightly less furious, and toting a flintlock rifle. Jed wisely disarms her before she can use it.
- The Cameo: Gloria Swanson's infamous appearance as herself in an episode was fairly abnormal for this series. It ordinarily did not rely on stunt casting.
- Story Arc: A early sitcom example.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Jethro's sister Jethrine. Not surprising, given that they're twins.
- 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 that way.
- Walking Swimsuit Scene: Elly May Clampett, played by blonde bombshell Donna Douglas, is seen in a swimsuit with some frequency on the TV show. It's normally a Justified Trope as many scenes occur at the Clampett's opulent "cement pond" aka swimming pool. Notably, when the Beverly Hillbillies went to color in the fourth season, the very first scene is Elly May swimming in the pool!
- Wannabe Secret Agent: Inspired by movies and TV shows he has seen, Jethro decides to become a double-naught spy in such episodes as "Double Naught Jethro."
- Watering Down: Granny, a moonshiner, usually makes strong liquor, but she does this for the city folks who couldn't handle it at full strength.
- Westminster Chimes: The Clampetts have a doorbell that makes the classic Big Ben chiming sound. Naturally, whenever someone rings it, they have no idea where the sound is coming from and attempt to search for its source. Their search is always 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. (The Chimes themselves are replaced by a generic doorbell sound.)
- This lampshade was hung as early as the series, with the Clampetts eventually deciding that there is an unseen lookout that plays the music when someone approaches.
- What a Piece of Junk: Their car, which holds up surprisingly well over the years despite its junker status.
- Worthless Currency: In the episode "His Royal Highness", the deposed King Alexander of Sabalia had suitcases full of Glotny's - identified by Miss Hathaway's guide to world currencies as completely worthless.
- X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Jethro when he connects the telephone wire to the high-voltage electrical wire in "The Party Line".
- Well now it's time to say goodbye to Jed an' all his kin
An' they would like to thank you folks for kindly droppin' in
You're all invited back next week/again to this locality
To have a heapin' helpin' of their hospitality
Hillbilly, that is.
Sit a spell. Take your shoes off.
Y'all come back now, y'hear?
This has been a Filmways Preeee-sen-tay-shun!