‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Legendary 1962 Pilot is Available to Watch for Free: Here’s How

by Joe Rutland

Outsiders around in 1962 were first introduced to “The Beverly Hillbillies” on CBS. If you missed the pilot episode, then you can see it now.

It’ll make you go “well, doggies” like Jed Clampett, played by Buddy Ebsen, would do.

Seriously, the Paul Henning-created show aired its pilot and would start a nine-season run. You can see that pilot episode now as it is up on YouTube.

There are some interesting differences from usual episodes. Like what? Well, you will hear a voice-over introducing the main storyline and some of the characters. It is the first time viewers saw Jed, Granny, Elly Mae, and Jethro on their screens as “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Had Different Name For Show In Initial Credits

The title pops up and reads, “The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills.” Irene Ryan played Granny, Donna Douglas was Elly Mae, and Max Baer Jr. as Jethro. Other main cast characters to appear included banker Milburn Drysdale, played by Raymond Bailey, and Jane Hathaway, played by Nancy Kulp. Oh, you will see Cousin Pearl Bodine, played by Bea Benadaret, on here, too.

It was the first time Jed’s house in the Ozarks appeared. Obviously, Jed went out to shoot at an animal only to strike oil and it gushed from the land. That would start the journey from there to California.

One thing that you will hear from regular episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies” is the guitar and banjo of legendary bluegrass musicians Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Nope, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” sung by Jerry Scoggins doesn’t show up at all.

How popular was this show? Outsiders, the show snagged the No. 1 spot in the Niesen ratings in its first two seasons. “The Beverly Hillbillies” was a perennial Top 20 show for eight of its nine seasons on CBS. Sixteen of its episodes reach the 100 most-watched shows in television history.

Henning rode the sitcom’s success into having two other shows, “Petticoat Junction” and Green Acres,” get spots on CBS. Both shows did not live up to the same level as “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Buddy Ebsen Had Signifiant Role In ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Until Illness Struck Him

Speaking of Buddy Ebsen, “The Beverly Hillbillies” main star was in “The Wizard of Oz.”

That’s right, Outsiders. He was one heck of a tap dancer, too. Ebsen was going to play “The Tin Man” alongside Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, and Ray Bolger.

But he became extremely allergic to the aluminum that makeup artists put on his face. Ebsen ended up under an oxygen tent and almost died.

Movie producers didn’t buy his story, so they bounced him and brought in Jack Haley to play “The Tin Man.”