John Wayne Was Paid for ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Appearance in Bourbon: Here’s Why

by Matthew Wilson

Though he was a blockbuster movie star, John Wayne didn’t charge millions of dollars to appear on “The Beverly Hillbillies” in 1967. A bottle of bourbon was enough to secure the legendary cowboy’s time.

Premiering in 1962, “The Beverly Hillbillies” was extremely popular for its time. Like “The Andy Griffith Show” and others, the show emerged during the transitional period of television between black and white and color. “The Beverly Hillbillies” aired for nine seasons, 106 episodes in black and white and 168 episodes in color.

The show revolved around Jed Clampett and his brood. After accidentally striking oil, the Clampetts become overnight millionaires and move to Hollywood. Their rural ways often clash with customs out in California for instance. Much of the show’s comedy revolved around a clash of ideologies between the Clampetts and others. The show also made quite the splash with audience members.

During its heyday, the show attracted a number of celebrities including one of Hollywood’s most famous cowboys. At this point, Wayne was in the later half of his industrious career. The actor had starred in films like “The Searchers” and “The Alamo” for instance.

John Wayne Appears on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies

Despite all of his fame and prestige, Wayne agreed to appear on the show for next to nothing. Wayne agreed to make a guest appearance on the show for a bottle of bourbon, which the producers were happy to oblige. Wayne appeared during Season Five, Episode 20 “The Indians Are Coming.”

During the episode, the Clampetts get in an argument and dispute with a local indigenous tribe. The matriarch Granny prays that John Wayne shows up to protect them from a perceived attack. But when John Wayne arrives at the estate later in the episode, Granny is less than impressed with the actor.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the only TV show that Wayne appeared in. He also had a memorable cameo in the beloved sitcom “I Love Lucy,” proving that the actor enjoyed having fun with his craft.

Meanwhile, “The Beverly Hillbillies” would run until 1971 when it was unceremoniously canceled. Though the sitcom was still popular, the network canceled the show, and others like it for being “rural” focused. The network wanted to attract a more upscale and elitist audience base. It wasn’t the only time a network made a blunder by canceling a show.