The Beverly Hillbillies was an American sitcom that aired on CBS on September 26th, 1962, and ran for nine seasons until it eventually ended on March 23rd, 1971. Audiences fell in love with the zany cast of characters and were perpetually amused by the clever writing and hilarious acting. This classic sitcom may have ended decades ago, but it remains incredibly popular among dedicated fans, and it has had a great impact on following television shows.
The show was created by Paul Henning, who came up with the clever idea of a rural family existing in an upper-class community while on visiting Civil War battle sites in the South. In its early stages, Henning at first imagined placing the Clampett family in New York, but after toying with the idea, he decided to place them in California. And so the Beverly Hillbillies were born! While Paul Henning helped create shows like Petticoat Junction and Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies was the crowning jewel of his career.
The show begins with the Clampett family, an impoverished family of hillbillies who live in the mountains. Character Joe Clampett discovers a swamp rich in oil while hunting one day, and a surveyor from an oil company offers them $25 million to drill on their land. Suddenly rich, the family moves to Beverly Hills, California. The rustic and unsophisticated lifestyle of the Clampetts clashes with the socialites of Beverly Hills, but they bring a homely set of morals that sometimes changes the upper-class people for the better.
The witty premise of the show drew in viewers of all economic backgrounds. While hillbillies have often been looked down upon by wealthier members of society, the show taught many people to appreciate the simpler things in life, as well as to not underestimate people just because they don’t have an impressive career or educational background.
Of course, while the show did offer some insightful morals, the chief reason audience members were so enraptured by The Beverly Hillbillies was the show’s fast-paced comedy. Viewers from all over the country loved to tune in to the latest crazy shenanigans of the Clampett family. While the show appeared light and silly to audience members, however, there was a lot going on behind the scenes.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at the surprising behind the scenes secrets of The Beverly Hillbillies. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to reveal one of the grisly secrets behind the show’s iconic mansion!
Critics Weren’t a Fan of the Show
Today, The Beverly Hillbillies is still legendary for its popularity. While many shows lose their luster over time, The Beverly Hillbillies remained a household favorite for its nine years on television. Audiences adored the show. However, the same couldn’t be said for critics, who often bashed the show for its low-brow humor. Most critics thought that the show wasn’t funny at all, and one even described it as being “painful to sit through.” Despite these claims, however, the show still earned seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
The only thing both fans and critics could agree on was the feature film, created thirty years after the show ended. While audiences weren’t as disgusted by the film as critics, they still didn’t like it nearly as much as the beloved series.
The Dark Secret Behind the Clampett’s Mansion
The iconic mansion owned by the Clampett family has a surprisingly dark history. The show’s producers were able to lease the mansion for a low price, but this was because somebody already lived there. The original owner of the mansion was named Arnold Kirkeby, who tragically died in a plane crash. His widow relented when asked if the mansion could be used for filming, likely because she needed a new source of income to maintain the property. She said that the studio could film there on the condition that the address would never be released to the public.
Unfortunately, dedicated fans were able to discern the mansion’s location anyway, and soon audience members took long trips just to get a glimpse of the famed manor.
The Impressive Career and Near-Retirement of Buddy Ebsen
Buddy Ebsen was one of the most important and iconic actors of The Beverly Hillbillies. Shockingly, however, he nearly didn’t accept the role Jed Clampett, because he planned on retiring. Even after the huge success of his appearance in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ebsen was experiencing some difficulties with contract disputes. However, he finally agreed to act in The Beverly Hillbillies, which effectively renewed his career. In fact, he continued to act until just a few years before his death in 2003, starring in popular films and television shows like Barnaby Jones.
A Bizarre Mistake
The Beverly Hillbillies may have been an American sitcom, but it was incredibly popular across the globe. The show was being broadcast in a host of European countries. However, in the days before the Internet, international communication often suffered from misinterpretation and the like. As a result, one Dutch television station mistakenly believed that the show was over in 1966, even though the show was at the peak of its popularity. The company NCRV didn’t even realize that the show continued to run until 1971. It wasn’t until 1973 that they realized their fatal mistake. The poor Dutch viewers missed out on six whole years of the beloved show! Thankfully, that sort of thing is far less likely to happen today.
Behind the Scenes Tensions
Audience members loved to watch the hilarious family shenanigans of the Clampetts. However, while the Clampetts appeared to be quite chummy with one another on screen, this wasn’t exactly the case behind the scenes. Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Kulp, who played Jed Clampett and Miss Jane Hathaway respectively, had a lot of bad blood. They had diametrically opposing viewpoints, and got into a lot of arguments as a result. While they tried to keep things professional for the sake of the show, things sometimes got out of hand.
Still, the two were able to act alongside one another and convince the nation that they were close family members right up until the very end of the show. While The Beverly Hillbillies had a fittingly happy ending, the same couldn’t be said for the mansion. Make sure you stick around until the very end, where we’ll reveal the tragic end of that famous mansion. And if you’re enjoying the video so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!
A Surprising Fashion Impact
You may be surprised to learn that The Beverly Hillbillies actually caused a new fashion sensation! After all, you wouldn’t usually imagine hillbillies to be trendsetters. However, celebrities, films, and popular TV shows have always been one of the main sources of new fashion crazes. In the 1960s, Levi’s jeans became the hottest new fashion all because of the character Elly May. Fans loved the way she rocked those cut-off jeans and soon had to go out and buy a pair for themselves, which certainly helped boost Levi’s sales.
Buddy Ebsen’s Dedication to His Character
Despite Buddy Ebsen’s original reluctance to join the show, he became incredibly dedicated to portraying his character. He wanted Jed Clampett to feel authentic to the viewers, so he began to play bluegrass music with a variety of instruments native to the Appalachian mountains. He became so good at it that he even released some of his music to the public, much to the delight of his fans.
How The Beverly Hillbillies Destroyed Max Baer Jr.’s Acting Career
Max Baer Jr. played the iconic role of Jethro Bodine, Jed Clampett’s not-so-bright nephew. The role brought him huge success while the show was still running. After The Beverly Hillbillies ended, however, Max Baer Jr. found that it actually hurt his career as an actor. Producers and directors simply couldn’t imagine him as anyone other than Jethro Bodine, and he was unable to be cast in new shows and films. As a result, he tragically retired from acting. Thankfully, though, he still had other talents outside of acting. After The Beverly Hillbillies, he took to working behind the scenes as a director, screenwriter, and producer.
There is a ton of legal procedure that goes into making a show. Copyrights and contracts are a huge deal, and have a massive impact on a show. Unfortunately, the channel that aired The Beverly Hillbillies, CBS, forgot to renew the show’s rights after a couple of seasons. This meant that The Beverly Hillbillies entered public domain, and now you can find all of those episodes all over the internet, as well as on DVDs and VHS. Since they’re in the public domain, CBS can’t control who reproduces or views the content, and as a result, doesn’t make much money off of those episodes.
The Tragic End of the Clampett’s Mansion
The Beverly Hillbillies had an amazing run of nine seasons, and while audience members were sad to see the show go, they still felt ultimately satisfied by its ending. The famous mansion where the Clampett family lived, however, did not have such a satisfying fate. Its price skyrocketed due to the popularity of the show, and sold for an incredibly high price after the show ended. However, the new owner decided to demolish the original mansion and build a new structure on the property.
The Beverly Hillbillies remains a classic favorite TV show to this day. Were you more surprised to learn about the tensions behind the scenes, or the legal slip-up that led some of the episodes to become part of the public domain? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!