‘Petticoat Junction’ Star Lori Saunders Revealed Why the Show Was So Popular

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Petticoat Junction is a classic TV show that provided good-natured humor and remains popular in reruns to this day. Still, some people might wonder why the show, with its rather rural tone and jokes, was so popular. One of its stars is offering up her thoughts on why the activities around The Shady Rest Hotel still bring smiles to people’s faces.

“There wasn’t any violence, swearing, and nothing risqué,” Lori Saunders, who starred as Bobbie Jo, says to Closer Weekly in an interview. “It was a healthy show you could watch with your children.” Saunders would play Bobbie Jo for most of the show’s run. She took over for Pat Woodell in 1965. Linda Kaye Henning, Gunilla Hutton, and Meredith MacRae also played Bradley daughters on the show.

Lori Saunders Recalls Helping Bea Benaderet Get Through ‘Petticoat Junction’ Scene

For a majority of time, Bea Benaderet played Kate Bradley, the matriarch of the family, on Petticoat Junction. Henning, though, would remember the “toughest day” on the show’s set. “The toughest day was when they had a letter written from Kate to Betty Jo,” Henning said. “They had recorded Bea reading it, and I just tried not to burst out into tears during the scene.” Benaderet died from lung cancer in 1968, sending the show off to find a replacement. No one could really take her spot but producers brought June Lockhart on the show to fill that spot.

“She had a tough time of it, but she was always a professional,” Saunders said about Benaderet’s fatal illness on Petticoat Junction to Fox News. “Toward the end, we were shooting a scene and her hand was shaking. I put my hand over hers and we finished the scene that way.”

Actor Frank Cady Credits Bald Head For Helping Him Have Success

Can you really talk about this show or anything associated with Hooterville without Sam Drucker? I mean, the guy was making appearances left and right in this show, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies. Frank Cady, who played Drucker, said his acting success was due, in part, to being bald.

“I’m not that handsome type, the collar-ad kind,” Cady said. “The dome has helped. I know I’m the character type.” Cady shared in a 1970 interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer that he started losing his hair when he was only 24. Petticoat Junction was just one other show that kept Cady busy. He had this to say about playing Drucker. “I’ve never had more fun in my life than playing this character,” he said. “He’s closer to me than any other roles I ever played.” The show and others related to Hooterville are in the land of reruns these days.