When Max Baer Jr. signed up for his role of Jethro Bodine on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” the last thing he imagined was becoming a recording artist. The man can’t sing. And there’s no shame in that. But one can see how being forced to sing on an album would not be Baer’s favorite memory from the time he spent on the show.
From 1962 to 1971, Max Baer Jr. played Jethro Bodine on the classic comedy series. The show became wildly popular almost immediately after it hit TV screens. Despite being critically panned, audiences couldn’t get enough of the Clampetts. And what do you do when your show is massively successful? You capitalize on it, of course.
In an interview with The Five Count radio show, Max Baer. Jr. was asked about how he remembered his experience working on “The Beverly Hillbillies” album.
“Terrible. Because I’m not a singer, nor a dance,” Baer said.” And they just had us do it because, at the time, it was a popular show. And it was another means of generating revenue. So they just had us do it. Irene could sing. Buddy could sing I think. I know he was a great tap dancer. And Donna I guess could sing a little bit. But I was no singer at all.”
One of the songs titled “Vittles” can be heard below. It’s primarily performed by Irene Ryan, who played Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” But you can hear the rest of the cast join in. And though it’s hard to discern, Baer’s voice doesn’t seem all that bad.
‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Star was not ‘Qualified’ to Sing
As the last surviving member of “The Beverly Hillbillies” cast, Max Baer Jr. has to carry the burden of this album alone. And while he spoke highly of his late co-stars’ talent, he wasn’t particularly easy on himself.
“Good gosh, I was terrible. I couldn’t pat my head and roll my hand on my stomach at all. I mean I was not- it was hard for me to clap on time,” Baer continued, laughing. “It was not was I was qualified to do.”
Tough to be a singer without rhythm, that’s for sure. And while he was hard on himself in terms of his musical ability, Max Baer Jr. failed to realize one thing. The interviewer himself pointed out the fact that the album has a charm to it. The fans could care less how good Baer was at singing. They just liked having their favorite characters on vinyl.