‘Beverly Hillbillies’: Max Baer Jr. Reminisced on Golf, Said ‘Maverick’ Star James Garner Had ‘Terrible’ Swing

by Joe Rutland
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Playing golf is one way millions of people relax and have a little fun. Such is the case for “The Beverly Hillbillies” star Max Baer Jr.

Baer found golf to be something he and a close friend could do together. As a kid, Baer grew up in Sacramento, Calif., and lived near William Land Golf Course. The close friend of his turns out to be Al Geiberger. We’ll get to Geiberger shortly after letting Baer talk about his golf game.

“I was probably the best so-called ‘celebrity golfer’ back then,” he said in a 2017 interview with FORE Magazine. “James Garner (of “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files” fame) could score, but he had a terrible swing.”

‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Has A Lot Of Respect For Pro Golfers

Baer said he has a lot of respect for golfers “because I know how hard it is to play.” He spent time hitting balls back and forth with Geiberger, who would become the first golfer to post a 59 in a PGA-sanctioned tournament. That event was the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Memphis, Tenn., in 1977.

“If I was good enough to make it on the Tour I would have done it,” Baer said, “but I was half a shot worse than Alan (Geiberger) and that’s terrible. Nobody could have played Jethro as well as I did, but I was probably a good country club player at best.”

Jethro, of course, is Baer’s character Jethro Bodine from “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Getting work after the CBS sitcom went off the air proved to be quite hard for him. Why? Producers and people watching any type of show would simply see him as Jethro, not Max Baer Jr. as an actor.

It is something Baer, now 83 years old, had to overcome in order to prove himself in the world of show business. He did just that, though, in a huge way.

He wrote and produced 1974’s “Macon County Line,” which cost $110,000 to make. It earned $20-plus million at the box office. Baer followed that up by taking the classic song “Ode to Billy Joe,” making it into a movie and also taking $20-plus million in revenue.

That’s one way Baer Jr. learned to make it past those who only saw him as the charcter from a TV sitcom.

Baer Admits Behavior In Early Days Left Him Feeling Like An Idiot

One time, Baer Jr. called himself a “real idiot” because of how much he partied in the early 1960s.

Decades after his time on CBS’ hit show, Baer Jr. looks back with a clear mind on the show’s success.

Yet he admitted in a 1993 interview with “Entertainment Weekly” that he got high so often he barely remembered episodes. Baer Jr. said at the time of that interview he enjoys life a lot more compared to his time on the show.

“I was a real idiot in the early ’60s,” Baer Jr. said in his EW interview. “I used to get high, which is another reason I’m only really seeing these shows for the first time. Now I even like myself, and I laugh like everyone else.”

Baer Jr. maybe grew into finding one thing redeemable within his acting abilities. Millions of people who watch “The Beverly Hillbillies” still enjoy it around the world. Hopefully, he can see that his work brought happiness to many people.

Outsider.com