When “The Beverly Hillbillies” series began its popular television run in the early 1960s, it appeared on television screens in black and white. However, as the seasons went on, the powers that be behind the show decided it was time to switch to color.
According to Paul Henning, the show’s creator and producer, the switch did not go as smoothly as he had hoped. Henning shared details about the switch during a 1997 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 93.
The factor that made the switch from black and white to color for “The Beverly Hillbillies” came about because fans learned the address of the real-life mansion that was the fictional home of the Clampet clan.
“That was a result – I’m almost tempted to say, paparazzi. We decided – we asked that no one reveal the real location of the mansion,” Henning recalled. “And, it was, you know everyone went along with us. And then, I think it was – I hope I’m not saying the wrong thing – I think it was TV Guide who said the actual ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ is located at and gave the address.”
Once the address was available, fans of “The Beverly Hillbillies” began to flock to the mansion. It was a private residence and this caused a lot of stress for its inhabitants.
“Well from that day on, these wonderful people who had given us permission to film there were besieged by people just driving up to the house, knocking on the door, and said, ‘Where are the Beverly Hillbillies?'” Henning said.
Visits By Fans of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Led Mansion’s Owner to Stop Filming There
The frequent visits by fans led the mansion’s owner to stop the show from filming there.
“So, the lady – Mrs. Kirkeby – her husband had just been killed in an airplane crash and she said, ‘I hate to do this, but we can no longer have this location known because people are driving us crazy,'” Paul Henning said. “Tourists, you know, just drive up and annoy them. So we said, ‘Perfectly understandable and we will use whatever stock footage we have. And, we will no longer film at the mansion.'”
Losing the mansion as a filming location came at a terrible time for “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
“It was a great blow because we were just ready to go to color and we were preparing to go up to the mansion and reshoot all of our stock stocks with color,” Henning said. “And, that was a great blow. But, we certainly couldn’t blame Mrs. Kirkeby. She was kind to let us film there in the first place.”
After losing the mansion location, the crew behind “The Beverly Hillbillies” had to come up with a solution.
“We faked it,” Henning said of filming new footage in color. “We shot around various locations and used different places. But, it was a blow – a real mortal blow.”
You can watch Paul Henning talk about the behind-the-scenes details of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and the show’s switch to color below.