Watch the original unaired pilot for The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)

Originally published at: Watch the original unaired pilot for The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) | Boing Boing


I’ve always maintained that The Beverly Hillbillies was a deceptively smart “dumb” comedy. Like Green Acres, its silliness was cleverly written.


Related article on the rural craze of 1960s TV.

I was actually more interested in the unaired “Gilligan’s Island” pilot, with a somewhat different cast and very different music. Gilligan's Island "Lost Pilot Episode" Intro - YouTube

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I’m partial to this version of the theme song. Not the original Stairway To Gilligan’s Island but Puddles make everything better. Saw him live right before covid, great show and great guy. Stayed after the show, took photos and signed autographs until everyone who wanted to meet him had a chance. Can’t wait for safe live shows again.


I swear I’ve seen this episode on TV.


The characters were cute and likable in some ways, but I hope we’re getting past the idea that rural people are stupid, and that ill-informed.

Even back then, is it really plausible that people Jed and Granny would’ve never even heard of a “million,” or a “millionaire”?


The actors are so locked in to their characters in the pilot episode it’s pretty amazing. Compared to other shows were watching the early episodes is sometimes a bizarre experience as the actors don’t quite “know” who they’re playing yet.

Granted they had pretty simplistic characters, but all the mannerisms are there, no speaks differently than they did the entire series, Ebsen even says “wellll doggies”

This pilot in particular is well-written, with kinds of jokes I don’t remember from the series (like Ellie May ‘popping’ the buttons on her shirt, granny saying how she feels awful when walking to the still in the cold but feels great walking back from it).

The ending reveal joke is pretty clever even by today’s standards, after setting up the notion that Mr. Drysdale is breaking the fourth wall, but it turns out he isn’t…something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before!


My family is from the deep rural south, “dirt farmers”; my mom didn’t have a toothbrush until she was about 12, and no indoor plumbing until she was well into high school in the 1950s. She and my dad got out of that poverty through education. I remember her telling me while we were watching reruns in the 1970s that a lot of rural people she knew were offended by TBH, but she found it funny – and not all that exaggerated. She’d then go on to tell me stories about people she knew growing up that could have been written into an episode of the show.


Yes, it usually is easy to find an example or two that supposedly confirms outdated, pernicious blanket stereotypes.

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Mom wasn’t blanket stereotyping or mean-spirited when she told those tales. She loved everyone. They were just funny one-off stories. Like the time Homer Luke ran a stop sign, and my grandfather called him on it, and Homer replied seriously, “Hit’s all right – I got insurance!”

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My family was very similar to xkot’s. The house my mom grew up in was taken by the river shortly after they moved to be closer to town. Her grandmother, who lived somewhat farther from the river (Mississippi) lived more or less like the Clampetts, well into the mid 70s. She kept a pistol in a coffee can by her couch, and there was another coffee can full of spit from “dip”; she supplemented the dip with snuff, so she had a yellow moustache from the nicotine stains. There was an outhouse.

Some of my dad’s relatives were fairly similar, outhouses and things like that. Other family members, on both sides of my family, had moved to town and had things like TV sets. The rural poor were heavily exploited in this region, which was mixed cotton country and small upland holdings. The upland people were the Well-Off, and my dad’s family was from that grouping. My mom’s side had been share-croppers.

It was very different for them. My grandpa, for example, once cut himself with a brush knife while trimming back blackberries that were getting too far into his okra plot. As they say “it laid him open.” He made furniture too, so he went into his shop and sewed his arm up with a curved upholstery needle. Another time, I was working with my father, putting a new roof on the minister’s house, and my dad dropped a crowbar on my head. He carried me to the truck and drove me to the bank where my mom worked (having taken the job there because the managers at the bank didn’t spend half the day grabbing the women’s tits and asses) so that he could ask my mom if I was bad enough off to go to the doctor, and if we had the money. I came to while the doctor was sewing my head up.

Kids in general, in my extended family, tended not to wear shoes in summer and things like that, to save money, plus it was just better, cooler, and the dirt felt nice, and you got used to things like thorns and upholstery tacks.

I am writing this now, and it sounds like the worse kind of bullshit lies. But it’s all true. And we liked The Beverly Hillbillies, and Andy Griffith, and the Dukes of Hazard, and Hee Haw. And the Klan. Good times.

Usually the ReBoings are flagged more quickly. . .

@tcg550 Maybe you saw it here?

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