‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Welcomed a Castaway from ‘Gilligan’s Island’ in Early Episode

by Joe Rutland
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Talk about pulling in the big names on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” One episode featured a future castaway from “Gilligan’s Island” on the show.

Jim Backus, who played Thurston Howell III on the CBS sitcom about seven stranded castaways, appears as Marty Van Ransohoff in “The Clampetts Entertain.”

According to IMDB, Jed [Buddy Ebsen] sets up a party for Granny [Irene Ryan]. It’s to help her get out of a bit of a fog she’s in at the time. Jed ends up inviting the Drysdales [Raymond Massey and Harriett MacGibbon] to the party. Trouble looms, though, for “The Beverly Hillbillies” landlord when Van Ransohoff [Backus], Drysdale’s boss, comes to town and wants to meet the family at dinner.

‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Episode Puts Drysdale On Hot Seat With His Boss At Dinner

Now Drysdale starts freaking out about possibly being sent to an Alaskan bank. He’s afraid Van Ransohoff will find out that Drysdale has been lying about the Clampett clan being sophisticated. “The Beverly Hillbillies” can be one wild show sometimes. Having someone like Backus, a veteran actor, and voiceover artist, on the show in this 1963 episode lends it some credibility.

In one segment of the episode, Van Ransohoff is sitting with Jane Hathaway [Nancy Kulp].

“Jane, this is marvelous, simply marvelous and what a surprise,” Van Ransohoff says. “Who’d think that a stuffy millionaire like [Jed] Clampett would come up with a hillbilly party. The man is a genius and those accents. They must have been practicing for weeks.”

Hathaway replies, “Longer than that.”

Backus, known as the voice of “Mr. Magoo,” would find more success when “Gilligan’s Island” premiered in 1964. Movie fans also know Backus from his role as James Dean’s father, Frank Stark, in “Rebel Without A Cause.” He died on July 3, 1989, at 76 years old from pneumonia after dealing with Parkinson’s disease.

Jed Clampett Actor’s Final Role Was On Cartoon Show

While we mention Backus portraying “Mr. Magoo” in his career, it just so happens that Jed Clampett actor Buddy Ebsen’s final role was in a cartoon show.

Ebsen provides his voice in “King of the Hill.” He can be heard playing Chet Elderson in the third-season show “A Fire-fighting We Will Go.” Elderson was a volunteer firefighter of the Arlen (Texas) Fire Department who died during the episode.

So for the episode, Hank, Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer become volunteer firemen. The firehouse, though, goes up in smoke. Elderson’s “Alamo Beer” sign shorted out and caused the firehouse to burn. Craziness ensues when the four guys cannot get their stories on the same page about how it happened.

The episode aired in 1999. “King of the Hill” was on for 13 seasons and features the voice of show creator Mike Judge as Hank Hill. Kathy Najimy provides the voice of his wife, Peggy.

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