With their bold move from the boondocks to Beverly Hills, the Clampetts quickly became a big hit with American families in the TV sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies.
Viewers fell in love with Jed, Granny, Elly May, and Jethro, watching them make their way through hilarious situations in every single episode. The breakthrough show rewarded audiences with some southern charm and a ton of comic relief.
Although the show is well-known and adored by several generations, there are still a few facts that not every fan knows. There were behind-the-scenes relationship issues, late-career struggles, and even some financial shockers that happened within the program’s nine seasons that will definitely surprise even the most avid viewer.
Scroll through the little-known facts below, and if you think we missed anything about the famous rural family, let us know in the comments!
Thumbnail Sources: Wikimedia Commons 1, 2
1. Critics Hated The Show
Although audiences loved The Beverly Hillbillies, critics didn’t seem to share the same feelings. The New York Times called it “strained and unfunny.”
The show was criticized often for its humor, but viewers couldn’t get enough of it — and that was really all that mattered, anyway!
2. Filming In The Mansion Was Very Cheap
The creator of the show, Paul Henning, only paid $500 to film in the beautiful mansion shown on TV. Now, that’s a steal.
3. The Show Was Originally Set In New York
The show wasn’t always supposed to take place in Beverly Hills. When Paul first thought of the idea for his sitcom, his mind went straight to New York for the proposed location. It eventually changed to the Beverly Hills setting we all know and love.
Imagine how different the show would have been if they had followed through with the Big Apple!
4. Buddy Ebsen And Nancy Kulp Never Got Along
There was a bit of a feud going on in Beverly Hills. Nancy, who played Miss Jane Hathaway (Mr. Drysdale’s secretary), never seemed to get along with Buddy, the man playing Jed Clampett. Their behind-the-scenes arguments were mostly surrounded politics, with Nancy and Buddy on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Their relationship issues carried on past the show. When Nancy ran for office at 62 years old, Buddy bashed her in a radio interview and supposedly caused her to lose the election — something for which she never forgave him.
5. There Was A Strange Age Gap
Actor Louis Nye, who played Sonny Drysdale, was actually only 8 years younger than actress Harriet MacGibbon, who played his mother.
6. Jethro’s Sister Was Voiced By Paul's Daughter
It’s no secret that Max Baer Jr. played both Jethro and his twin sister Jethrine. What you may not know is that creator Paul’s daughter, Linda, provided Jethrine with her female voice.
7. Buddy Wouldn’t Let His Character Be “Gullible And Naive”
Buddy didn’t want Jed to come across as stupid in any way. He asked that Jed be portrayed as “much more savvy than he seemed.” Because of this, Jethro received all of the “dumb” lines in the series.
8. The Clampetts Would Be Very Rich Today
The Clampett Family struck oil and moved to Beverly Hills with $25 million. Today, that would be around $195 million. What’s even more shocking is that the rural family ended the series with $100 million. That’s over $538 million in today’s money!
9. Max's Acting Career Was Ruined
Max had a tough time acting after The Beverly Hillbillies ended for good. He was continually typecast because of his well-known portrayal of Jethro. To turn things around, he moved behind the camera to directing and producing feature films.
10. They Have Their Own Cookbooks
You can still cook up some old-fashioned vittles that would make Granny proud! Creating cookbooks was a smart and useful merchandising move for the show because it allowed fans to connect and create at the same time.
11. There Was Almost A Hillbillies Casino
Max had plans to open a Beverly Hillbillies–themed casino, but it never worked out. It was going to be called Jethro’s Mansion and Casino.
12. The Show Wasn’t Cancelled Because Of Ratings
The program was actually doing really well when executives decided to cancel it. The show ended mostly because of a saturation of “rural” programs running on CBS at the time. Although it was sad to let go of the beloved show, it’s nice to remember that it ended on a high note.