‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Unearthed Article Will Hit Fans with Wave of Nostalgia

by Suzanne Halliburton

Wee doggie! Let’s check the headlines from this day in 1962 when the Beverly Hillbillies were tickling the nation’s fancy.

RetroNewsNow discovered such an article with the headline “Beverly Hillbillies Takes Top Spot in New Television Ratings.”

It was stunning news. The story quoted the Nielsen ratings, saying they “reveal that a comedy show, unblushingly loaded with corny humor and preposterous situations … is now the most popular television program in the nation.”

Check out the tweet with the screen shot of the story from the Associated Press.

Beverly Hillbillies Led a Top 10 Stacked with Comedies

The story noted that The Beverly Hillbillies wasn’t the lone comedy in the top 10 most favorite shows. The Lucy Show, which was Lucille Ball’s first TV comedy without ex-husband Desi Arnaz, was second. Other top comedies included The Red Skelton Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

The premise of The Beverly Hillbillies definitely was novel one. A poor family from the Ozarks strikes it rich in Missouri. You know the story. Jed was “shooting at some food and up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.” Jed moved his daughter, Elly May, mother-in-law, Granny, and nephew, Jethro Bodine to a mansion in Beverly Hills. And the series featured so many fish-out-of-water stories from 1962 to 1971. Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane’s crush on Jethro also made the show so much fun.

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Halloween Episode Put Show at No. 1

The show premiered on Sept. 26, 1962. Writers called the pilot “The Clampetts Strike Oil.” Cousin Pearl convinced Jed to move the family to California, after an oil company rep signed them up to some lucrative mineral rights. Jed thinks Beverly Hills will be like the Ozarks. “We’ll be among our own kind of people,” he says.

The Beverly Hillbillies and the Halloween episode put the show at No. 1 in the ratings. Granny believes no one is friendly in Beverly Hills, so Jed suggests they go visit some of their neighbors. They decide to do so on Halloween. When they show up in their hillbilly clothes, the snooty people in Beverly Hills think the Clampetts are dressed for trick or treat. Plus, there’s an appearance by Jethrine.

Speaking of holidays and The Beverly Hillbillies, you can check out some Thanksgiving episodes this month. The MeTV network is showing special holiday episodes of some classic TV shows through the end of the year. There are back-to-back episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies set for Nov. 20. The plots are predictable. In one, Elly May claims a turkey as one of her beloved critters and won’t let Granny serve it for Thanksgiving.

The Beverly Hillbillies finished its first season as the top-ranked show in the country. It was the same for season two. It spent seasons three through eight among the nation’s top 20.