Featuring the stars of the television show.
Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan.
Special guests Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from 1962 to 1971, starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr.
The series is about a poor backwoods family transplanted to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. A Filmways production created by writer Paul Henning, it is the first in a genre of “fish out of water” themed television shows, and was followed by other Henning-inspired country-cousin series on CBS. In 1963, Henning introduced Petticoat Junction, and in 1965 he reversed the rags to riches model for Green Acres. The show paved the way for later culture-conflict programs such as McCloud, The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Doc. Panned by many entertainment critics of its time, it quickly became a huge ratings success for most of its nine-year run on CBS.
The Beverly Hillbillies ranked among the top twelve most watched series on television for seven of its nine seasons, twice ranking as the number one series of the year, with a number of episodes that remain among the most watched television episodes of all time.
The ongoing popularity of the series spawned a 1993 film remake by 20th Century Fox.
In 1997, the episode “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood” was ranked #62 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
The show’s theme song, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”, was written by producer and writer Paul Henning and originally performed by bluegrass artists Flatt and Scruggs. The song was sung by Jerry Scoggins (backed by Flatt and Scruggs) over the opening and end credits of each episode. Flatt and Scruggs subsequently cut their own version of the theme (with Flatt singing) for Columbia Records; released as a single, it reached #44 on Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart (the lone country chart-topper for the duo). Flatt and Scruggs also had another Billboard country top ten hit with the comic “Pearl, Pearl, Pearl”, an ode to the feminine charms of Miss Pearl Bodine who was featured in the episode “Jed Throws a Wingding,” the first of several Flatt and Scruggs appearances on the show.
The six main cast members participated on a 1963 Columbia soundtrack album which featured original song numbers in character. Additionally, Ebsen, Ryan, and Douglas each made a few solo recordings following the show’s success, including Ryan’s 1966 novelty single, “Granny’s Miniskirt.”
The series generally featured no country music beyond the bluegrass banjo theme song, although country star Roy Clark and the team of Flatt and Scruggs occasionally played on the program. Pop singer Pat Boone appeared on one episode as himself, with the premise that he hailed from the same area of the country as the Clampetts (Boone is, in fact, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, although he spent most of his childhood in Tennessee).