‘Beverly Hillbillies’: Which Character Did Linda Carlson Play in Movie?

by Joe Rutland

Sometimes, movies have been made of classic TV series. Such was the case with Beverly Hillbillies. Which character did Linda Carlson play?

Let’s check it out.

In the 1993 movie version of the CBS sitcom, Carlson played Aunt Pearl. Other movie cast members included Jim Varney, Diedrich Bader, Erika Eleniak, Cloris Leachman, Dabney Coleman, and Lily Tomlin. Varney played the Jed Clampett role, made famous by Buddy Ebsen.

If you have watched the TV series before, then you’ve seen actress Bea Benadaret play Aunt Pearl Bodine. She was the mother of Jethro Bodine, played on TV by Max Baer Jr.

Carlson appeared in other movies and programs like Honey, I Blew Up The Kid; The Pickle; Murder One; and Roadside Assistance. Also, Newhart, Kojak, and WKRP in Cincinnati.

Sadly, she died from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2021. Carlson was 76.

Outsiders, we mentioned Bea Benadaret. Some of you may remember her best from playing hotel manager Kate Bradley on Petticoat Junction. She took that role after not getting the Granny role on Beverly Hillbillies, which went to Irene Ryan. Benadaret had known show creator Paul Henning since the 1940s.

Benadaret died on Oct. 13, 1968, from lung cancer and pneumonia. She was 62 years old.

‘Beverly Hillbillies’ TV Pilot Is Available To See On YouTube with A Few Interesting Notes

Before Beverly Hillbillies started its long, successful run on CBS, the show had a pilot episode done.

It had been out of the public view for years. But that’s all changed now as it is up for fans to see on YouTube.

For starters, we’ve all seen the opening that has the voiceover of The Beverly Hillbillies in the opening credits.

The pilot, though, had The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills as its title.

Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Max Baer Jr. all appeared. Others included Raymond Bailey, Nancy Kulp, and, yes, Benadaret.

Also, we’ve all heard “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” sung in those opening credits. Jerry Scoggins sings it and Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs perform the tune.

That did not appear in the pilot at all. Yet it provided TV viewers of the day another way to escape other things that they saw in the news.

Beverly Hillbillies happened to be a regular Top 20 show in the Nielsen ratings. In fact, 16 of its episodes sit among the 100 most-watched shows in TV history. It ran for nine seasons and left the network in 1971. Not too long after the show’s run ended, Paul Henning also saw his other shows Petticoat Junction and Green Acres canceled.

The reason those shows left CBS was that the network wanted to move away from the so-called “urban shows.”