Petticoat Junction

Petticoat Junction

1963 - United States

This hugely popular sitcom was almost (but not quite) a spin-off from The Beverly Hillbillies. Both came from the imagination of executive producer Paul Henning and it was Petticoat Junction that finally made a star (and deservedly so) of Bea Benadaret, who had first come to the public's attention as George Burns and Gracie Allen's next door neighbour, Blanche - and who had been heard for years as the voice of Betty Rubble in The Flintstonesand appeared in The Beverly Hillbillies as Jethro's mother, Pearl Bodine. 

The small farming community of Hooterville provided the setting for widower Kate Bradley (Benadaret), owner of a small hotel called The Shady Rest. Helping her to run the hotel were her three beautiful daughters, Billie Jo, Bobby Jo and Betty Jo, as well as the girls uncle (not surprisingly called Joe), who assumed the mantle of hotel manager. In addition to running the hotel and keeping a wary eye on the romantic lives of her daughters, Kate was often at loggerheads with Homer Bedloe, vice-president of a railway company that was committed to closing down the steam-driven branch of the line that ran through Hooterville thereby scrapping its lone engine (The Cannonball) and firing its two engineers, Charlie Pratt and Fred Smoot. 

There was eventually a spin-off series to Petticoat Junction called Green Acres, which was set just a few miles 'down the road' and as a result of this characters would pop up from time to time in each-others series. The comedy began to suffer though when Benadaret missed a number of episodes due to ill health, which sadly led to her death before the start of the sixth series. Although June Lockhart stepped in as a mature female doctor in 1968 there was a notable loss of the old chemistry that had made the series work in the first place, and the show was finally laid to rest in 1970.

Published on January 18th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Amos n Andy

Amos N' Andy had the distinction of being one of the longest running (since 1929) and most popular US radio shows of all time before it came to TV screens in June of 1951. It also aired in the UK on the BBC between 1954 and 1957, making it the first US sitcom shown on British television.

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Benson TV series

This spin-off of the Susan Harris-created farce Soap sent the Tate family's insolent African-American butler Benson to the mansion of Jessica Tate's bumbling cousin, Governor James Gatling. In other words, Benson went from one dysfunctional family to another.

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Alice US TV Series

Based quite loosely on the 1974 Oscar-winning film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, this situation comedy centered on Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin), a widowed mother with a 12-year-old son who leave their New Jersey home to start a new life in Phoenix, Arizona.

Also tagged Us Sitcom

The Dick Emery Show

BBC televisions longest running sketch-show, running as it did from 1963 until 1981, was one that introduced some of the mediums most memorable and enduring comedic characters, skilfully brought to life by an undisputed master of his craft.

Also released in 1963

Arrest and Trial

Courtroom drama in two parts - the first shows the police investigation and consequential arrest, while the second shows the suspects trial.

Also released in 1963

A Builder by Trade

Pamela Gems' first play for ITV is about two sisters, May Vine (Vanda Godsell), Louie Robbins and the man who becomes their lodger.

Also released in 1963

Burkes Law

Millionaire police officer heads LAPD's murder squad to solve high profile cases.

Also released in 1963

Bewitched

A witch marries a 'mortal' in 1960s America - and her family do not approve!

Also tagged Us Sitcom

Citizen 63

One of the most significant TV shows of 1963, this five part John Boorman documentary, made by BBC West filmed five individuals as they confronted and conformed to the problems and pressures of everyday life in Britain in 1963.

Also released in 1963