John Wayne: How the Star ‘Saved the Day’ in one ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Episode

by Matthew Wilson

John Wayne may have starred in plenty of big-budget films during his day. But he also made occasional guest appearances on TV as well. Take “The Beverly Hillbillies” for example.

During one episode, Wayne came to save the day. Well, not exactly. The Duke actually arrived after the dispute had been handled. And he got a scolding from Granny for his trouble. Like many “Beverly Hillbillies” episodes, it plays like a comedy of errors. Granny misunderstood a simple land dispute and believed the Clampetts were going to be attacked.

The synopsis for the episode is as follows:

“[Granny] misinterprets a phone call from Cousin Pearl and believes Indians have attacked in Bug Tussle and have taken over Clampett land. In reality, there is a simple boundary dispute. And when Chief Running Wolf and Little Fox travel to Beverly Hills to settle the dispute with Jed, Granny prepares for an all-out Indian war and Mr. Drysdale goes to war to protect the Clampett fortune.”

Throughout the episode, Granny turned to western hero John Wayne for support. She constantly prayed that the Duke will show up to fight off her imagined attack. But Wayne didn’t come to her aid in settling the matter. In fact, the on-screen cowboy didn’t show up until the end of the episode after the matter had been resolved.

For his late arrival, he got an earful from Granny as a result. “Where was ya when I need ya, John?”

John Wayne on TV

John Wayne was in fact no stranger to television. In fact, the actor appeared on several TV shows and sitcoms during his day. He made a secret appearance on “Wagon Train” for instance. Wayne and actor Lucille Ball also made quite the pair when the Duke guest-starred on “I Love Lucy.”

Of course, in usual Lucy Ricardo fashion, Ball’s character ended up annoying Wayne to no end. During the episode, Lucy Ricardo steals and ends up wrecking cemented footprints of the Duke outside of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Lucy resorts to reaching out to Wayne to get new prints made in time for a movie opening. But throughout the episode, the “I Love Lucy” characters keep accidentally destroying the prints and needing new ones.

The episode proved that John Wayne also had a funny bone. The actor blended in well with the rest of the sitcom characters. He showed off his comedy chops, and the episode ended up being a classic.