Hooterville is a city that is at the hub of “Petticoat Junction” and “Green Acres.” Yet let’s look at the scoop about this made-for-TV town.
The city actually harkens back to executive producer Paul Henning’s wife Ruth. She grew up in Eldon, Mo., which is located in the middle of the “Show Me State.” Now the actual location of Hooterville is never stated in either one of those shows or on another Henning creation, “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
If you recall, “Petticoat Junction” was focused around the Shady Rest Hotel. Think of it as a modern-day bed-and-breakfast place. Kate Bradley, played by Bea Benadaret, and Uncle Joe Carson, played by Edgar Buchanan, oversaw the hotel.
When Benadaret died during the series, Henning ultimately hired “Lassie” and “Lost In Space” actress June Lockhart to take over Benadaret’s spot.
Shady Rest Hotel Important Place In Hooterville
The hotel, which was based on the Burris Hotel in Eldon, is also where Kate watches over her three daughters, Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo. Linda Henning, Paul Henning’s real-life daughter, played Betty Jo on the series.
Hooterville had Drucker’s General Store, run by Sam Drucker, played by Frank Cady. Drucker would appear in both “Petticoat Junction” and “Green Acres.” He also made an appearance here and there on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” so Cady was one busy actor.
It is where Oliver Wendell Douglas, the forlorn New York lawyer played by Eddie Albert on “Green Acres,” airs his grievances. You might remember Mr. Haney, played by Pat Buttram, always offering a “Good Day, Mr. Douglas” when he sees him. Haney was Hooterville’s local con artist, always trying to sell some artifact for way more than its worth.
Arnold Ziffel, the scene-stealing pig on “Green Acres,” remains one of the iconic characters remembered from this “rural” comedy.
Feel like singing along a little bit? Good. Enjoy “Green Acres” opening and closing theme music.
Farm Land, ‘Cannonball’ Play Roles In Small Town
Most of the land around Hooterville appears to be farmland where different crops are grown. That would make sense since a general store is an important asset to the area.
Let’s not forget the “Hooterville Cannonball,” which you can hear blow its whistle at the start of every “Petticoat Junction” episode.
Engineer Charley Pratt, played by Smiley Burnett, and conductor Floyd Smoot, played by Rufe Davis, keep the Cannonball running on time. It also provides the main transportation source for people either coming into or leaving town. The train, actually known as the Sierra No. 3, appears in a number of Western movies and even in “Back to the Future III.”
By the way, the dog that appears on “Petticoat Junction” would go on to superstardom in the 1970s. Yes, “Dog,” whose real name was Higgins, actually is “Benji” in the movie of the same name. So, when you watch the show’s closing credits, then yeah, that’s “Benji” running along the railroad tracks.
Conflicting Numbers Surround Town’s Population
How many people actually live in Hooterville? Estimates range between 28 and 250 if one goes by different information available from “Petticoat Junction” and “Green Acres.”
In winding down our look at Hooterville, it would be a disservice to not mention “Green Acres” resident city woman Lisa Douglas.
Eva Gabor, sister of Zsa Zsa Gabor, played up the part so good in the series. Actresses Marsha Hunt and Janet Blair were Henning’s first choices, but they didn’t get the part. Gabor used her Hungarian accent to mispronounce Hooterville (“Hootersville”) or electricity (“electrisicals”). The Douglases actually were one of the first TV couples to share a bed together.
Hooterville. The main city for two of the funniest, zaniest TV shows from the 1960s. People around the world know about it thanks to the miracle of syndication.
Here’s what you have been waiting for, too. Enjoy the opening and closing credits for “Petticoat Junction” as the old Cannonball makes its presence known.