Years before she portrayed the beloved Grandma Walton in “The Waltons,” actress Ellen Corby appeared in a classic episode of a very popular sitcom. That sitcom was none other than the 1960 hit show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
According to IMDb, that episode was titled “The Widow Poke Arrives.” It was the ninth episode of the show’s third season. Also, the original air date for this episode was Nov. 18, 1964. Corby played the character of Emma Poke in this episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
The plot was: “Johnny Poke’s mother arrives from the Ozarks and Granny’s matchmaking begins. Jed and Emma Poke come up with a plan to discourage her.”
Granny, of course, was played by Irene Ryan. The regular cast of “The Beverly Hillbilles” also joined in on the fun of this episode. This included Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett, Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett, and Max Baer Jr. as Jethro Bodine.
In addition to having a future star of “The Waltons” appear, this episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” also includes a parody version of the show’s theme song. Instead of the usual lyrics to “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” Ryan as Granny sings, “That little old matchmaker me.” This was also a reference to commercials for Gallo wine. In those commercials, the phrase “that little old winemaker, me” was used.
While playing matchmaker in “The Widow Poke Arrives,” Granny also teaches Jethro how to hunt in Beverly Hills. He bags two squirrels and two rabbits thanks to her words of wisdom.
In Addition to Acting in ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ Ellen Corby Appeared in Another Classic Sitcom
Her appearance on “The Beverly Hillbilies” was not the only time “The Waltons” actress Ellen Corby appeared in a classic sitcom. In the decade prior to her beginning her role as Grandma Walton, Corby acted in an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
This episode was “Barney First Car.” It aired during the sitcom’s third season in 1963. Corby’s character has a very interesting name. It is Myrt “Hubcaps” Lesh.
She has that nickname because the character sells stolen cars. Of course, Deputy Barney Fife comes across “Hubcaps” during his search for a car. He thinks she is giving him a great deal, but this is not so. Barney, played by Don Knotts, and Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, then decide to investigate.
Ellen Corby appeared in “The Waltons” from 1972 until 1981. Some of her other television appearances included roles in such shows as “Bonanza,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Addams Family,” “Get Smart,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Lassie,” and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
She also appeared in such classic films as Aldred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” – both with Jimmy Stewart. Another classic film Corby acted in was “Sabrina” with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. Corby passed away on April 14, 1999. She was 87 years old at the time of her death.