DEAR JERRY: Years ago you provided some little-known details about the pre-Beverly Hills “Beverly Hillbillies”; facts regarding the theme song as well as the show in general.
Is my memory correct that there were occasional character and plot crossovers between this series and “Petticoat Junction”?
You indicate the Hillbillies theme is performed by Flatt & Scruggs. Is the Junction theme also by them?
Both shows seem to be set in roughly the same rural setting. Is that the case?
Do any of the TV characters represent real people?
Sherry Buckman, Fond du Lac, Wisc.
DEAR SHERRY: The crossovers are because Paul Henning is the creator-producer of both “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Petticoat Junction,” along with “Green Acres”; “The Bob Cummings Show”; “Startime”; and many others.
For example, in one “Beverly Hillbillies” episode, “Christmas in Hooterville,” aired December 25, 1968, the Clampetts spent Christmas at Petticoat Junction's Shady Rest Hotel.
In 1962, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs recorded the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV theme as a hit single, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” (Columbia 42606).
A little over a year later, Flatt & Scruggs waxed their version of “Petticoat Junction” (Columbia 42982), also a sizable hit for them.
However, the version played on the weekly sitcom is by Curt Massey, who co-wrote the song with Paul Henning. Massey also issued it on vinyl (Capitol 5135) in early '64.
As for the untold, scenes-behind-the-scenes story, read on:
DEAR JERRY: The Junction's Shady Rest depicts a real inn, the Shane Hotel, hidden deep in the Ozark Mountains since 1905. The Shane was run by a single family.
In the summer, the local kids really did swim in the tank that provided water for the locomotive, not totally unlike the three girls (Bobbie Jo; Betty Jo; Billie Jo) cooling in the tank during the show's opening moments.
The Shane could only be reached by train, in this case the M&NA (Missouri & Northern Arkansas), and that is true even today. There is no road to the hotel.
Getting on or off at the hotel back in 1905 required one to flag or signal the train, just as seen in “Petticoat Junction.” In the series, rather than the M&NA line, the name is changed to the fictitious CF&W, also known as the Hooterville Cannonball.
The town Hooterville is really Leslie, and Pixley is nearby Shirley, two real towns in northern Arkansas.
Come to Leslie (on Hwy 65) and see how closely the area matches “Pettitcoat Junction,” including Drucker's store. In Leslie, this store is named Dericksons.
Everyone in the area is excited about getting the Shane Hotel registered as a landmark, then opening up its real history. Visitors can't believe the size of it and where it is built. Even by modern standards, it is quite a feat, more so in 1905 with no roads in the Ozarks. Only the historic Cannonball Express could make the journey.
The Arkansas Ozarks peaked in the 1920s, and the train brought life to hidden sections of the Ozarks. Some say the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks are the same, but not so. The Arkansas Ozarks are 10 times as big and 10 times as rugged.
Granny Clampett is really Granny Henderson, who was born and raised on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. She actually met Paul Henning near there when Paul was camping in the Ozarks.
Many names and events from “The Beverly Hillbillies” are taken from real things very close to the Buffalo River. Among them are Cousin Pearl, who worked in Dogpatch; Granny's friend in Timbo; and the Bodgins from Botkinberg that feuded with Granny.
I am in touch with every historic society in all the towns the enchanted Cannonball ran through.
John Lorenz, Greenbrier, Ark.
IZ ZAT SO? Character actor Frank Cady is one of only three in the cast to remain with “Petticoat Junction” for its entire seven-year run.
Cady simultaneously appeared as Sam Drucker on “Petticoat Junction”; “Green Acres”; and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” No other actor has done that on three sitcoms at the same time, as the same character.