The Beverly Hillbillies came on the air in the 1960s, at a time when there was a lot going on in America that people needed distracting from. The Beverly Hillbillies provided just the distraction that people needed with it’s homespun, apolitical entertainment, and it became a big hit! Though there was nothing but good vibes to be found on the program, some may be surprised to learn that there was actually some tension going on behind the scenes. Namely, there was some political tension between stars Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp. Join Facts Verse as we explore the Beverly Hillbillies cast mates that secretly hated each other.
There Was Political Tension on The Beverly Hillbillies
Fans of The Beverly Hillbillies that were living in Pennsylvania during the mid-1980s were in store for a couple of surprises. For one thing, one of the former stars of the hit program decided to try her had at becoming one of the state’s congresswomen. For another thing, another former star of the program came out of the woodwork to stop her. The star that was trying to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman was Nancy Kulp. The star that came out of the woodwork to stopper her was Buddy Ebsen.
Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp had their fair share of differences, even before the mid-1980s. By the time that Nancy Kulp decided to try her hand at becoming a Pennsylvania congresswoman, The Beverly Hillbillies had been over and done with for over a decade. The show was still popular via reruns, but new episodes hadn’t been produced in many years. Some may think that that the tension between Buddy and Nancy didn’t start until the mid-1980s, but they actually argued a lot during production of the show. It seems that Buddy Ebsen coming out of the woodwork to put an end to Nancy Kulp’s dream of being a Pennsylvania congresswoman was a long time coming.
On The Beverly Hillbillies, Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp played characters that came from wildly different backgrounds. Of course, Buddy played the patriarch of the Clampett family, which the show revolved around. As the story goes, the Clampetts are a lower class family that strike oil and become millionaires, moving to Beverly Hills. In Beverly Hills, Nancy Kulp played the accountant that was in charge of keeping track of the Clampett’s fortune.
Buddy and Nancy Were Always Arguing About Politics
Buddy and Nancy didn’t bicker too much on the screen, but they were known to bicker profusely when the cameras weren’t rolling. Though Nancy’s bid to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman was still many years away, she was just as outspoken politically during her time on The Beverly Hillbillies as she would be during her later political race. Buddy was also someone that was always outspoken about his political beliefs, even though he never officially ventured into the world of politics like his costar.
Buddy Ebsen was a very conservative Republican, whereas costar Nancy Kulp was an exceptionally liberal Democrat. As one might imagine, the two often had issues to argue about. While their on-set arguments were generally said to have started out as cordial, they typically devolved into shouting matches. The rest of the cast and crew of The Beverly Hillbillies became incredibly used to Buddy and Nancy’s political bickering over the course of the nine years that the show was in production. The series was a gigantic hit for the CBS network, and it did well in ratings during it’s entire run.
One might imagine that Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp never had to bicker again after The Beverly Hillbillies came to an end. However, this all changed in the mid-1980s. When it was announced that Nancy Kulp was going to attempt to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman after numerous decades of working as an actress, Buddy had something to say about it. At the time that Nancy was running, she was up against a Republican congressman that was defending his throne. This congressman’s name was E.G. Shuster, who’s still around today at the age of 90. Nancy had her work cut out for her as a Democratic underdog going up against a beloved Republican giant. The fact that Ronald Reagan was popular in the area only made the battle that much harder.
Nancy Never Became a Pennsylvania Congresswoman
If Nancy Kulp had won the election, she would’ve put an end to a 12-year reign that the Republican Party had held over the state of Pennsylvania. Sadly, the former actress ended up failing in her mission. There were numerous reasons why Nancy didn’t end up winning the fight, including the aforementioned fact that Pennsylvania was simply too conservative at the time to appreciate her politics. However, Buddy Ebsen also played an unlikely role in his former costars failure, and it reignited the performers’ old feud.
When Buddy Ebsen got wind of the fact that his former costar was trying to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman, he knew that he had to do something. This came in spite of the fact that Buddy was a resident of California, and that he had very little skin in the political game. Buddy remembered his and Nancy’s political arguments from their time on The Beverly Hillbillies, and it’s likely that this inspired him to take action against her in her race to become a congresswoman. Despite not being a resident of Pennsylvania, Buddy offered his services to E.G. Shuster. Buddy filmed a handful of television commercials for the incumbent congressman, and also recorded a handful of ones for the radio. These advertisements could be seen and heard all over the state. When Nancy Kulp heard them, she was understandably devastated. She felt that it was incredibly petty of her former television costar, especially given the fact that he was not a resident of Pennsylvania.
Buddy Ebsen’s commercial for E.G. Shuster certainly didn’t help matters, but Nancy Kulp was already an unlikely candidate to beat the incumbent Republican congressman. According to polls from around the time, E.G. Shuster was nearly twice as popular with Pennsylvania voters than Nancy was. Because of this, it’s hard to say that Buddy Ebsen’s pettiness had much of a direct effect on his former costar. However, it certainly didn’t help with her morale! When Buddy started showing up on Pennsylvania airwaves decrying her, Nancy tried to get some of her celebrity friends on her side. However, she didn’t have much luck. Nancy couldn’t find anyone as popular as Buddy to make political ads for her, and she eventually lost the battle altogether.
There Were Numerous Reasons That Nancy Lost
Nancy Kulp ended up losing to E.G. Shuster, though she didn’t regret her attempts to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman. Besides Buddy’s political ads and the state’s general conservatism, other things that prevented Nancy from standing a chance against the incumbent Republican congressman include the fact that she was only able to fundraise a fraction of the money that he was. Industry was on E.G. Shuster’s side, and the ultra-liberal Nancy Kulp stood no chance against the reigning giant.
Nancy Kulp went on to pass away in 1991, not all that many years after her failed attempts to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman. By the time of her death, the actress claimed that she and Buddy Ebsen and put their differences aside. The actress seemed to hold no grudge against her former Beverly Hillbillies costar at the time of her passing. This is all well and good, but these words never came from Buddy himself before his own passing in 2003. Buddy kept his mouth shut about his relationship to the late Nancy Kulp, and he remained an outspoken Republican until his death.
Another surprising fact about Buddy and Nancy is that the two were both naval officers before becoming popular in the entertainment industry. Buddy probably would’ve liked to hold his combat experience over his liberal costar, but the fact that Nancy had the same experience made it so that he couldn’t. It probably enraged Buddy quite a bit that his female costar was such a match for him politically. If this is the case, then it makes since why the actor came out of the woodwork in the mid-1980s to hurt her political campaign.
Buddy Ebsen Postponed His Retirement for the Show
Before being cast on The Beverly Hillbillies, Buddy Ebsen was a veteran performer who was about ready to call it a day when it came to his acting career. The actor famously delayed his own retirement so that he could play the role of Jedd Clampett. He liked the concept of the show, but he felt that the character of Jedd needed to be written a little better if it was going to prevent him from retiring. Before joining the cast, Buddy made some changes to the character of Jedd that ended up making the whole show much more appealing.
According to legend, the issue that Buddy Ebsen took with the original concept for The Beverly Hillbillies was that the character of Jedd Clampett was too much of an idiot. Buddy felt that, even if the character was uneducated, he should have some level of streetwise savviness. These changes were made, and Buddy was happy to play the character over the course of the hit series’ nine seasons. In Buddy’s insistence that the blue-collar character of Jedd Clampett be portrayed in a more intelligent way, we can see some of the veteran performer’s political leanings. This certainly also helped the show appeal to the blue-collar audience.
Besides the political tension between Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp, there wasn’t much negativity on the set of The Beverly Hillbillies. However, it has been revealed in recent years that every time the character of Granny could be seen on the show smacking the character of Jethro, the smack was real. An actress named Irene Ryan, who was a well-tempered woman, played granny on the series. However, she couldn’t help herself when it came to smacking costar Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro. Max was the son of a professional boxer, and Irene loved walloping him.
Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp feuded over politics during their time on The Beverly Hillbillies, and this feud was reignited in an unlikely way during the mid-1980s. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that The Beverly Hillbillies’ Nancy Kulp tried to become a Pennsylvania congresswoman during the mid-1980s, and that former costar Buddy Ebsen stopped her? Comment down below!