“The Beverly Hillbillies” took a humorous take on the classic rags-to-riches and fish-out-of-water stories by moving a family out of the country into the city — and not just any city, but super-posh Beverly Hills. The TV show originally ran for nine seasons — from 1962 to 1971 — during which time they produced an amazing 274 episodes.
The cast included Buddy Ebsen as J. D. “Jed” Clampett, Irene Ryan as Daisy May (“Granny”) Moses, Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett, Max Baer Jr. as Jethro Bodine, Raymond Bailey as banker Milburn Drysdale, and Nancy Kulp as bank secretary Miss Jane Hathaway.
The show’s showrunner, Paul Henning, went on to create two other well-known sitcoms: Petticoat Junction and Green Acres — and there were several crossover episodes that featured all three shows.
During its run, Hillbillies was ranked as the number one most-watched TV series of the year twice, and was even nominated for an Emmy award seven times.
The Beverly Hillbillies TV show debuts (1962)
“The Beverly Hillbillies,” starring Buddy Ebsen with Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas and Max Baer, which premieres Wednesday, September 26 over the CBS Television Network, stems directly from an affinity that producer Paul Banning has had for hillbillies for 25 years.
The new comedy series is a story of a mountain family who suddenly finds itself with $25 million after oil is found on its property, and then moves to Beverly Hills, Calif.
Henning, who created “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and is writing and producing it as well, fell in love with the ways and manners of the hillbilly folk when, as a Boy Scout back in Independence, Missouri, he spent his summers camping and hiking in the Ozark Maintains.
“I have wanted to write something about these lovable people ever since,” says Kenning, who left Missouri a quarter of a century ago to become one of the top comedy writers for radio, television and motion pictures.
He is convinced his fondness for hillbillies will strike a corresponding reaction in viewers.
“They are real people, and I think that audiences will laugh with our hillbillies — not at them.”
Henning’s stories of the experiences of the Clampett clan in Beverly Hills will point up the superficialities of our modern-day society. He strongly believes in the strength and innate dignity of his characters and his scripts will stress their honesty and simplicity. – The La Crosse Tribune (Wisconsin) – September 22, 1962
Opening credits/Beverly Hillbillies theme song video
Lyrics for “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song – Opening credits
“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”
Written by Paul Henning / Music by Flatt and Scruggs / Sung by Jerry Scoggins
Come and listen to my story about 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 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!”
Said, “Californy is the place you ought to be,”
So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly
Hills, that is. Swimmin’ pools, movie stars.
Bonus lyrics (not in the TV show intro)
Old Jed bought a mansion, lordy it was swank
Next door neighbor’s the president of the bank.
Lotta folks complaining but the banker found no fault
‘Cause all Jed’s millions, was a-sitting in the vault!
Redemption funds. Stocks and bonds.
Lyrics for “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song – Closing credits
Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin.
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin’ in.
You’re all invited back next week to this locality
To have a heapin’ helpin’ of their hospitality.
Hillbilly, that is. Set a spell. Take your shoes off.
Y’all come back now, y’hear?