Picture, if you will, “The Beverly Hillbillies” star Donna Douglas appearing in 1962 alongside Carol Burnett in “The Twilight Zone.”
It actually did happen in the same year Douglas started playing Elly May Clampett on the CBS hit sitcom. But this role was far, far from anything resembling Elly May.
“Cavender Is Coming,” which aired during the third season of “The Twilight Zone,” features Douglas as a debutante. Burnett, though, has a featured role as Agnes Grep, whose struggling to make it in a big city. Who helps her? A guardian angel who is about as clumsy as Agnes. Harmon Cavender, played by veteran character actor Jesse White, has a chance to earn his wings by helping Agnes out.
“The Beverly Hillbillies” started its nine-season stretch on CBS in September 1962. This “Twilight Zone” episode aired in May 1962. It would be just a few months before Douglas started playing the role she would be known for throughout her life.
‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Played Her Role As A Kind Of Tomboy
Besides Douglas, other stars on the show included Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Max Baer Jr., Raymond Bailey, and Nancy Kulp. “The Beverly Hillbillies” was one of the shows on CBS that started out in black-and-white episodes, then moved to color episodes. That was nothing new for TV series at that time as color TVs became more prevalent for viewers to purchase.
If you recall, Elly May was quite a tomboy on the show. She loved playing with her animals or “critters” as Elly May would call them. Douglas herself was really an animal lover so that part of her character was a reflection of her real life.
Then there are the guys who try to date or impress her character on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” We can start out with Sonny Drysdale, hilariously played by comedian Louis Nye. Sonny was the son of Milburn Drysdale, the banker who oversaw the Clampetts’ money. He did many things to woo Elly May, but he didn’t get too far.
Obviously, we can’t skip over Dash Riprock, played by actor Larry Pennell. Dash is employed by Jed’s movie studio. He and Elly May hit it off a little bit. There’s a little bit of romance between both, but it is in an on-and-off type of way.
Douglas’ Character Almost Gets Married In Final Season Of Show
One more name for the Elly May romance table: Mark Templeton. Maybe not as well-remembered as those first two, but “The Beverly Hillbillies” writers had Mark, played by Roger Torrey, show up in the ninth season. Mark is a marine biologist and a frogman. In the eighth season, Matthew Templeton showed up.
Same actor, different character. Matthew and Mark were brothers in the storyline. The advance word is sent out by CBS before the ninth season that possibly Elly May and Mark were going to get married.
Well, that never happened. Why? CBS canceled the show in 1971. The network was getting rid of a lot of different shows. People termed it the “Rural Purge” from the network.
Douglas, who died on Jan. 1, 2015, at 82 years old, is married twice in real life. She had one child. “The Beverly Hillbillies” is one show that remains beloved for its humor and crazy situations.