While all of the Clampetts come out of their mansion to wave the viewer off, only Granny Clampett makes a show of it. Rather it’s in color or black and white, the eldest of the clan makes her goodbye felt. Granny dodges the various “Beverly Hillbillies” credits so her face appears on camera. At one point she ducks underneath them waving, and at another, she positions her face in between the words on screen.
The end credits perfectly capture Granny’s character and actor Irene Ryan’s performance. Granny was always the kookier and wackier of the “Beverly Hillbillies” clan. In many ways, her performance made the show what it ended up being.
“It is really Americana,” Ryan told the El Paso Times. “It is tradition, it is us. The show is very simple, very clean, and I think American audiences are getting pretty sick of the other. People love this hokey comedy.”
Irene Ryan Joins ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’
Of course, Ryan’s role on the show wasn’t set in stone. Originally, Bea Benaderet wanted the role. She was good friends with creator Paul Henning, but he felt Benaderet didn’t match the look he envisioned for Granny. Henning and Ryan were also well acquainted as well, and she ended up auditioning for the role.
The only problem was both the show’s casting director and Henning felt that Ryan was too young for the part. Ryan had to fight for the role and prove that she could properly portray the character.
“Look, Paul, do I have to go home and get my grey wig and shawl to convince you?” she argued. “If you get anybody older to play the role, she won’t be able to stand the pace. I know what those 7-to-7 schedules are like. We’re working 12 to 14 hours a day, shooting three days out of the week. We start in July and end up about the first of May. There are 36 episodes per season.”
Henning eventually agreed with that reasoning and agreed to test Ryan while wearing a wig and fixed up to look like Granny. Her performance landed her a role on the sitcom, and the rest was history.