‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Creator Was Also the Man Behind ‘Petticoat Junction’

by Megan Molseed

The classic TV series, Petticoat Junction hit the airwaves in 1963 and quickly found massive success among TV viewers. This popular show was introduced to fans as a spin-off to the beloved original comedy series, The Beverly Hillbillies. Hillbillies, of course, is another iconic TV sitcom series that entertained viewers with a comical take on the rural characters of the day.

Petticoat Junction follows the comedic happenings of a family as they run the Shady Rest Hotel in Hooterville. The series was so successful, in fact, that it remained a popular prime-time show during its seven-season run from 1963 until 1970. And, there are certainly a lot of reasons for this success. However, one big reason no doubt ties into the fact that both The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction come from the same mind – series creator Paul Henning.

Henning’s Own Daughter, Linda, Found A Role On The Beverly Hillbillies Spin-Off Series

Even before the popular spinoff series of The Beverly Hillbillies, hit the airwaves, one of Petticoat Junction’s stars had a very close connection with the series. Linda Henning, who portrays Betty Jo Elliott on Petticoat Junction is the daughter of the successful series creator.

However, the actress has long insisted that her family connection to the comedy series had nothing to do with her role as one of the show’s core characters. In fact, the star has said that she had to go through the same process any actress would; with a variety of tryouts and screentests. If anyone received a type of special treatment in the series, Henning has said, it would be Bea Benaderet the woman who portrays Kate Bradley, the series matriarch. In fact, Henning says, the role was written by her father with Benaderet specifically in mind.

“He wrote the series for Bea Benaderet,” says Linda Henning per FOX News.

“He had worked with her for many years,” Henning continues. And, Henning says, it was actually Bea who suggested Henning try out for her famous Petticoat Junction role.

“Bea went with him to see me in a play I was doing at a neighborhood playhouse,” the actress explains. “She said, ‘Paul, why in the world won’t you let your daughter try out for Betty Jo?’”

The Petticoat Junction Set Was ‘One Of The Friendliest Around’

While discussing the popular Paul Henning-created series, Linda Henning recalls the friendliness of the popular Beverly Hillbillies spin-off series. The set, the actress says, was “one of the friendliest sets around,” she says. “We all got along.”

This genuine down-home friendliness was also reflected on camera by the Petticoat Junction cast. And it was a formula that turned the series into one of the most popular classics of all time.

“I tell you the people who watched it really identified with it because they lived those lives,” Henning explains.

“That was that they wanted to see,” the actress continues. “It meant a lot to them.”