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Throwback Thursday- Petticoat Junction

Back (Left to Right): Frank Cady (Sam Drucker), Gunilla Hutton (Billie Jo), 
Linda Kaye (Betty Jo), Rufe Davis (Floyd Smoot), Smiley Burnette (Charley Pratt)
Middle: Lori Saunders (Bobbie Jo), Bea Benaderet (Kate), Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Joe)
Front: Higgins (Dog)

I love old television shows- so much so that I have a few series on DVD.  My grandmother watched my brothers and I while my parents worked, and if the television was on, it was tuned to the original TVLand.  She would even record (on VHS) every episode of Petticoat Junction and Green Acres until we had them all.  TVLand also air vintage commercials (for products we still use today) along with the shows.

When we moved to Tallahassee, I discovered a new channel on the cable lineup- MeTV!  I was ecstatic when I found that Petticoat Junction was on at 6 or 6:30 in the morning, along with Family Affair and Dobie Gillis.  Now, with the help of the DVR I could record them all to watch at my leisure.  The first time I flipped on to Petticoat Junction, Scott remarked on the 'goofy little grin' on my face and conceded to not deleting ANY of them.  Then we moved outside of Tallahassee and don't have cable.  No more MeTV, just the first two or three seasons of Petticoat Junction on DVD.

Petticoat Junction Memorabilia available on eBay.  This is Linda Kay's original script,
signed by her and Lori Saunders. Starting bid of $149.  Link

A classic situation comedy, Petticoat Junction took place in the fictional Hooterville, America.  The Bradley sisters and Kate are kin to the Clampetts, of The Beverly Hillbillies.  The show focuses on Kate, her daughters, and the hi-jinks of their Uncle Joe Carson.  They run the only hotel on the rail line (run be Floyd Smoot and Charley Pratt, also regulars) between Hooterville proper and Pixely.  The show ran for 7 seasons, from 1962 to 1970, and had many casting changes throughout the years.  I think I still appreciate the show so much because it brings back happy childhood memories.  Because, I could watch this show as a child with no risk of hearing or seeing something I shouldn't.  Other than three teenage girls bathing in water tower. Also, I identified with Betty Jo Bradley, the spunky redhead who was the only girl on her high school's baseball team.  She was shortstop.  So was I.

Some random facts* about the show, because I'm full of random facts on random shows, I like to look up new random facts on random shows, and because if I say everything I want to say about the show, this will be the longest blog post ever.

  1. Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Joe) was the only character to appear in every episode.
  2. Bobbie Jo Bradley was originally played by Pat Woodell for the first two seasons, then by Lori Saunders.
  3. Billie Jo was played by Jeannine Riley for seasons one and two, then Gunilla Hutton (who was on Hee Haw as well), and finally Meredith MacRae.
  4. Linda Kaye (Betty Jo) was the creator's (Paul Henning) daughter.
  5. Bea Benaderet was the voice of Betty Rubble on The Fintstones.  She died in 1968 from lung cancer and was absent for most of that season (and maybe the one before- I'm drawing on memory).
  6. Smiley Burnette (Charley Pratt) and Byron Foulger (Wendell Gibbs) both died while the show was on air.  Burnette from Leukemia in 1967, and Foulger in 1970- the day the last episode aired.
  7. Dog, the Shady Rest Dog, was played by Higgins the dog, who was also Benji.  According to Wikipedia, he died at age 17, and Frank Inn, the show's animal trainer, had him cremated.  When Inn died in 2002, Higgins' ashes were buried with him.
  8. Benji was also Edgar Buchanan's last film.
  9. Mike Minor (Steve Elliot) and Linda Kaye met on set and were married for about 5 years.  Which is why Steve switcher-a-roo'd from Billie Jo to Betty Jo in the series.
  10. There are three versions of the theme song.  I know the words to two of them still to this day.  It would take some thinking to come up with the one between "it is run by Kate come and be her guest at the junction" and "and there's the lady MD she's as pretty as can be at the junction."
    Bradley Family Paper Dolls.  You can see in the top right that this was originally $.29.
    Current Bid on eBay is $2.00.
  11. Granny Clampett appeared in a couple crossover episodes from The Beverly Hillbillies.  In one, she told Kate that she and cousin Pearl were lookalikes.  In season one of The Beverly Hillbillies, Cousin Pearl was played by Bea Benaderet as well.
  12. Meredith MacRae died in 2000 of a brain tumor.
  13. The show was based on stories of Paul Henning's wife's childhood.
  14. 1500 girls were interviewed for the parts of the Bradley sisters.
  15. Sharon Tate was supposed to play the original role of Billie Jo.  A test film and a few publicity pictures made their rounds, but after she posed for some risque photos, she was cut before the first episode.
  16. The town of Pixley was named after Pixley, California, where a number of location shots were filmed.
  17. Betty Jo, the youngest Bradley sister, was actually the same age as one Bobbie Jo and two Billie Jo's.
  18. Green Acres was a spin-off of Petticoat Junction and many characters appear in both shows.
  19. The fictional Bradley sisters used to tour as a group after the show started having more of a musical focus rather than the slap-stick comedy it started out as.
*This probably bored the crap out of my brother, who used to have a Petticoat Junction website in the mid- late '90s.  Which is how I learned basic HTML at the tender age of 10.  You can have a basic look at it by visiting at the Internet Archive/ Wayback Machine and searching for look for dates around 1997 and 1998.  Unfortunately the links don't work.

Most of these tid-bits I already knew.  Others were found on Wikipedia and
Issue #2 of the Petticoat Junction comic book.  Starting bid of $14.50, or buy it now for $22.50.

1 comment:

  1. I remember watching this with you. I think I can still remember the theme song because of you. haha


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