Rural sitcoms of the 1960s

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The Beverly Hillbillies started this whole thing, and it is brilliant, particularly the first three black & white seasons (1962-1965). It goes on to 1971, which was too long.

Green Acres is rightly acclaimed as a surrealist masterpiece. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor are perfect in their roles, yet they're just the top tier of the talented cast of this show.

Many say Petticoat Junction is the weak sister of the three; some don't think it's funny at all. I beg to differ, as I think this is an unusually warm, relatable show, and LOL clever at times. The three girls are less differentiated by character after the first two seasons - notably the brunette Bobbie Joe becomes less brainy and more of a ditz - but the humor is still classic up to when Meridith MacRae takes over as the blonde Billie Joe.

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 04:55 (three months ago) link

Do you like The Andy Griffith Show? Almost part of the furnishins down where I live, on various cable and antenna channels all the time: so ambient it's hard to critique, distinguish, enjoy one episode, bit, aspect in particular, although some of the characters are still something else, and actors are always on point (some also turn up on Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone eps from the same era, seeming equally at home on all three). Don Knotts might well be the best, and was good on The Ernie Kovacs Show before this one.

dow, Friday, 22 April 2022 05:46 (three months ago) link

Oh yeah, and PJ's Uncle Joe, Edgar Buchanan, a good con man in "Coyote Moon," a Season 5 ep of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, another local cable evergreen.

dow, Friday, 22 April 2022 05:53 (three months ago) link

don knotts era andy griffith was one of the greatest shows ever, really on a different level than the other “rural” shows (most of which i do enjoy). i can’t really bear to watch the later episodes.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 22 April 2022 06:02 (three months ago) link

Yeah I was gonna say the same. If I see Andy Griffith and it’s a b&w episode I know that’s the Don Knotts era and thus probably a good one. At that time it was likely one of the two best sitcoms on US TV along with ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 12:23 (three months ago) link

Remember thinking about all this whilst listening to the Buck Owens installments of Cocaine & Rhinestones when Tyler Mahan Coe discussed the Rural Purge and how Hee Haw ended up in First Run Syndication or whatever it’s called.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 13:41 (three months ago) link

Lassie too.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 13:43 (three months ago) link

Green Acres was probably my favorite of these, both because it was so wacky and because of the Odd Couple energy of Oliver and Lisa. Beverly Hillbillies I liked fine but didn’t like any overdependence on Mr. Drysdale or Phil Silvers and his shenanigans. The Petticoat Jungle theme maybe was even better than “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” although the Green Acres theme is good too, they are all keepers. I definitively liked some casts better than others on PJ although at this remove can’t remember which, probably depended on which sister I had a proto-crush on.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 13:52 (three months ago) link

This thread (+ Gilligan's Island) = the shows I would watch when I stayed home sick from school.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Friday, 22 April 2022 15:10 (three months ago) link

Reminds me I started this strange Gilligan-related thread once.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 15:19 (three months ago) link

Loved Green Acres--I think I picked up on the surrealism by the time I was a teenager. Watched The Beverly Hillbillies as a kid, doubt I'd get much out of it now. (Could be wrong.) Never liked Petticoat Junction. Used to watch Hee Haw, too--probably a lot of great musical performances I didn't properly appreciate.

clemenza, Friday, 22 April 2022 15:36 (three months ago) link

I used to do a media thing comparing two sitcoms--a current one and something from the '60 or '70s--prefaced by a slide show with clips. Grade 6s just didn't get Green Acres at all.

clemenza, Friday, 22 April 2022 15:38 (three months ago) link

Years ago somebody did a pretty good write-up in the VIllage Voice on the trilogy, god knows where it can be found now.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 15:43 (three months ago) link

green acres and petticoat were the ones for me - they were on back to back, before i went to school, and i watched them almost every day. when petticoat junction would come on, my mom would peek her head around the corner and we'd both whisper "Petticoat!" and laugh

Karl Malone, Friday, 22 April 2022 15:46 (three months ago) link

I read somewhere else that the male lead of the radio series was Gale Gordon.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 15:49 (three months ago) link

And here is Henning again, commenting on the purge:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDVjy2Jx8Kg

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 15:51 (three months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FFgxJsjqkg

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 22 April 2022 16:03 (three months ago) link

Still remember being pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Drucker/Frank Cady in Rear Window when it was first re-released. Not sure what else he did although I just read that he was also on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 16:08 (three months ago) link

Frank Cady also has a small but memorable role in The Bad Seed.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Friday, 22 April 2022 16:44 (three months ago) link

...which I now see is mentioned in that link.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Friday, 22 April 2022 16:46 (three months ago) link

Waiting for Josefa to come back and mention his H 5-0 appearance.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 17:00 (three months ago) link

I had to look up which episode that is. "Mother's Little Helper" from 1974, in which Anthony Zerbe plays a deranged right wing law-and-order vigilante. Nasty episode, but a good one.

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 17:08 (three months ago) link

Thanks.

Trying to remember who alternated with June Lockhart on PJ.

Wile E. Kinbote (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 17:14 (three months ago) link

June Lockhart essentially filled the absence of Bea Benaderet after Benaderet died (in 1968)

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 17:19 (three months ago) link

Right. Who was also on Grandby's Green Acres with Gale Gordon.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 17:26 (three months ago) link

Feel like I could write a pretty good undergrad paper on Green Acres regarding gender roles and class politics

brimstead, Friday, 22 April 2022 18:41 (three months ago) link

Do it! Link it!
Let's not forget that Pat Buttram, AKA Green Acres' fateful circuit-riding peddler (which was a real thing, town, country, and even city' one of Saul Bellow's characters did it in Chicago, showing his regular customers, retired, well-to-do immigrants, the latest watches, etc.), also shone in two v. memorable 1964 Alfred Hitchcock Hour eps: "The Jar," adapted from a Ray Bradbury story, but with a cavalcade of character actors---incl. Jocelyn Brando, Marlon's big sister, I think the older lady who had played Ma Joad, Geoge Goober Lindsay, pretty sure Mr. Ziffel--- director-stirred to a dizzying swirl of camp, though it's not bad of its kind, everybody's a total pro, come what may.
And! "Lonely Place," in which cheap-ass/insensitive/furtive yet wide-eyed, "Who, meee?" farmer Pat hires psycho Bruce Dern and won't let him go 'til crops are in, despite lonely wife Teresa Wright's increasing distress.
(Also the TV-repair shop guy from Griffith Show was on Hitchcock a bunch of times.)

dow, Friday, 22 April 2022 20:19 (three months ago) link

Ohh yeah--here's cast of "The Jar," from the second half of Season 2, which was in 1964 "Lonely Place" was first half of Season 3, also '64):
Pat Buttram — cast: Charlie Hill
Collin Wilcox Paxton — cast: Thedy Sue Hill (as Collin Wilcox)
William Marshall — cast: Jahdoo
Jane Darwell — cast: Granny Carnation
Carl Benton Reid — cast: Gramps Medknowe
James Best — cast: Tom Carmody (also on Griffith and Twilight Zone several times)
George Lindsey — cast: Juke Marmer
Jocelyn Brando — cast: Emma Jane
Slim Pickens — cast: Clem Carter
Alice Backes — cast: Mrs. Tridden
Sammy Reese — cast: Milt Marshall (as Sam Reese)
Marlene De Lamater — cast: Eva Ann (as Marlene DeLamater)
Billy Barty — cast: The Barker

dow, Friday, 22 April 2022 20:30 (three months ago) link

Thanks. Oliver arguing with Mr. Haney was one of the all-time classic bits that never got old to me. Thank my favorite or at least the most bizarre example was the one about the "pore key."

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 20:33 (three months ago) link

Hmm. Seasons 1 and 2 can be watched for free on Tubi, but that one is Season 6 and must be purchased or watched on dodgy Dailymotion etc.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 20:42 (three months ago) link

I’ve noticed a little anomaly in the one season of Petticoat Junction in which Swedish actress Gunilla Hutton takes over the role of Billie Joe. She appears in a few episodes at the start and then just vanishes for about one-third of the season, during which time the series becomes effectively a two-girl show. There’s no in-show explanation for her disappearance (unless I missed it). Wonder what that was about.

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 20:56 (three months ago) link

Google sez hepatitis.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:11 (three months ago) link

Huh, didn’t expect that

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 21:16 (three months ago) link

What was your hypothesis?

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:23 (three months ago) link

Frank Cady also makes a small appearance in Wilder's Ace In The Hole.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:42 (three months ago) link

Seems like he was in a ton of television shows too but don't recall seeing those.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:43 (three months ago) link

Also: The Petticoat Jungle = Best Andre Leon Talley memoir.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:44 (three months ago) link

How does Operation Petticoat fit in?

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 21:45 (three months ago) link

I never got around to formulating a theory about the mysterious disappearance of Gunilla Hutton. I guess I’m getting lazy.

Josefa, Friday, 22 April 2022 22:10 (three months ago) link

I remember when they only showed Floyd the Barber sitting down, and only in profile. Must've had a stroke or something

Andy the Grasshopper, Friday, 22 April 2022 22:22 (three months ago) link

Which is my cue to post this for the umpteenth time:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OlYeufpLcI

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 April 2022 23:28 (three months ago) link

When these sitcoms were new and I was a child I watched them all, some more devotedly than others, but all with sufficient frequency to say I knew them well. I can still sing the theme songs to Andy Griffith Show, Beverley Hillbillies, Green Acres, and ofc Gilligan's Island, but not Petticoat Junction (it must have been a pretty rotten theme song for me to forget it so completely). Here's how I rate them: I just don't care any more.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 23 April 2022 03:33 (three months ago) link

Green Acres is just one weird a$$ show. They did not have a wall on the bedroom and the phone was up on top of a pole. The pig could pretty much go anywhere it wanted and sometimes would be a part of the plot of the episode.

earlnash, Saturday, 23 April 2022 04:52 (three months ago) link

Wondering who was that one city slicker, that one guy, that one character, the railroad man.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 10:54 (three months ago) link

Charles Lane as Homer Bedloe. He was a Capra regular and did tons of tv as well.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:07 (three months ago) link

Rotten theme song? Forget it so completely? Its lyrics and chug-a-lug choo choo train rhythm are burned on the back of James Redd’s brane as permanently as the tattoo The Scientific People affixed to Gully Foyle’s face in The Stars My Destination.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:17 (three months ago) link

Come ride a little train
That’s a goin’ down the track
To the junction

There’s a little hotel
Called The Shady Rest
At the junction

Lots of curves
You bet
But even more
When you get
To the junction
(Petticoat
Junction)

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:21 (three months ago) link

Okay, I mixed the first and second verse a little but still

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:28 (three months ago) link

In the final iteration one of the sisters was played by Meredith MacRae, daughter of s Gordon and Sheila. Completely forgot about her, as well as her being on My Three Sons.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:32 (three months ago) link

Speaking of unforgettable theme songs, here’s a connection I was unaware of until just now:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_Saunders#Starring_roles

In 1973–74, Saunders played "Betsy" on the situation-comedy western Dusty's Trail. Created by Sherwood Schwartz and starring Bob Denver, the show was based on Gilligan's Island, but set in the wild west; her character "Betsy" was an ingénue drawn after Dawn Wells' character of "Mary Ann". Saunders quipped: "It was the same show, just no coconuts.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:49 (three months ago) link

Oh you mentioned Meredith MacRae in the OP I see, sorry.

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:55 (three months ago) link

Not quite as surreal as Green Acres itself but
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbfX4bi8Epo

Granny Takes a Tripos (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 12:02 (three months ago) link

The first Bobbie Joe was Pat Woodell, whose acting career took a suprising final turn when she appeared in a few lurid drive-in films, such as Jack Hill's The Big Doll House with Pam Grier, and The Roommates with Marki Bey (of Hal Ashby's The Landlord).

Josefa, Saturday, 23 April 2022 12:32 (three months ago) link

Interesting.

Earlier speedwatched the "Christmas in Hooterville" episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. Mind = blown.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 15:54 (three months ago) link

Starts out promisingly with Jethro opening his presents under the tree and talking to Jed on the phone.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 15:58 (three months ago) link

Then there's some business with Mr. Drysdale in bed with Ellie's bear.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 15:58 (three months ago) link

There's some stuff about Eb pitching woo with Elly Mae on a tiny hand-pumped two-person stand-up railcar and Grannie thinking Mr. Drysdale is about to propose to her.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:03 (three months ago) link

Frank Cady as usual seems to steal every scene he's in. Finally, time stops when Steve and Betty Jo walk in and Steve sings some kind of sub-Robert Goulet number.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:06 (three months ago) link

Steve and Betty Jo were married in real life for several years as well. She was the daughter of the show runner (although don't think they had that word back then), Paul Henning.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:07 (three months ago) link

Along with Lori Saunders, Jeannine Riley was also in Dusty's Trail, thereby making it a cross-pollination of Gilligan's Island, F Troop AND Petticoat Junction.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:14 (three months ago) link

In summary, at this point I feel like Green Acres is the only one I'd be willing to watch a random episode of from beginning to end, whereas with the other two there would have to be a lot of cherry-picking.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:16 (three months ago) link

Wish I could find the Hitchcock interview I thought I recalled with him talking about how much he liked Frank Cady.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:23 (three months ago) link

I’ve seen sources that mistakenly conflate Jeannine Riley with Jeannie C. Riley of “Harper Valley PTA” fame. Two different people.

Josefa, Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:33 (three months ago) link

Yes, have see something like that as well. Also, I need to type “Elly May” again a few times to remember how it is actually spelled.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:38 (three months ago) link

Yo, Aimless!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRhi8Tk9nNE

dow, Saturday, 23 April 2022 18:59 (three months ago) link

^still leaves me kinda indifferent

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 23 April 2022 19:10 (three months ago) link

xpost wikiTVT Records was launched in 1985 with the release of Television's Greatest Hits' first issue, the double LP compilation 65 TV Themes! From the 50's and The 60's. Creem's reviewer opined that the Talking Heads should cover the Petticoat Junction theme, and can still imagine Byrne playing and singing, all of them aboard that antsy, chuggin' momentum, down the track but not too fast, comin' to the Junction.

dow, Saturday, 23 April 2022 19:31 (three months ago) link

And yes, droppin' their Gs along the way.

dow, Saturday, 23 April 2022 19:32 (three months ago) link

Already can't remember if we discussed Frank Cady being in the Andy Griffith Show pilot playing the town drunk but maybe they wanted a more conventional portrayal.

H.R. MacGufnstuf (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 April 2022 23:56 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

Happy Birthday June Lockhart!

Also: Pat Buttram based Mr. Haney on an old acquaintance: Col. Tom Parker. #onethread


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