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What Do These Have in Common?-Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, the Flintstones
What do the following have in common?
- Kate Bradley, owner of the Shady Rest Hotel on "Petticoat Junction"
- Pearl Bodine, Jed Clampett's cousin and Jethro Bodine's mother on "The Beverly Hillbillies"
- Granny of the Looney Tunes who owned Tweety bird
- Betty Rubble of "The Flintstones"
For the Answer.....
Don't scroll down too quickly! You'll get to the answer soon enough. I want to tell you how I stumbled upon writing this hub.
A local oldies radio station incorporates trivia into its program. Usually, the trivia is music-related but sometimes, they feature a specific year and that allows them to include a bit of historical trivia, movie trivia and TV trivia.
This week, I heard the DJ mention that "The Flintstones" was the first prime-time cartoon aimed at adult audiences. I found that fascinating. So, I came home intent on learning more about "The Flintstones". I suddenly realized that even though I always loved Betty Rubble's giggle, I had never known who actually did her voice. I always assumed it was some 'unknown' actress.
Imagine my shock, when I discovered that not only did I recognize the actress from her photo, but I soon discovered she was actually the woman behind several of my beloved childhood favorites.
All of the characters listed above were played by American actress, Bea Benaderet. She was born in 1906 in New York City and raised in San Francisco, California.
She began her voice work as the voice of Granny for Warner Brothers in 1947. She was the sometimes ditzy, but assertive, owner of Tweety Bird. Later, June Foray would take her place. Sadly, Benaderet never received on-screen credit for her voice characterizations with Warner. The studio only listed Mel Blanc who had it specifically written into his contract.
She played on a 1940s radio series with the legendary Lucille Ball. Later, when Desi Arnaz was creating the "I Love Lucy" series, his first choice was Benaderet for the role of Ethel Mertz, but she already had a prior commitment and had to turn down the role. She did later make a guest appearance in 1952 on an episode of "I Love Lucy" as Miss Lewis, a love-starved spinsterly neighbor.
Benaderet was also being seriously considered for the role of Granny in "The Beverly Hillbillies". However, they felt she was a bit too buxom and womanly for the character since they had envisioned Granny being a frail little spitfire. Of course, we all know that Irene Ryan was eventually cast as Granny and played that type of character flawlessly.
They ended up casting Benaderet as Cousin Pearl Bodine. She was the widowed hillbilly mother of Jethro and Jethro's sister Jethrine and Jed Clampett's sister. She made numerous appearances as this character on "The Beverly Hillbillies".
Benaderet was then cast as Kate Bradley, owner of the Shady Rest Hotel in the TV series "Petticoat Junction" which debuted in late 1963. She was said to be Pearl Bodine's sister and her Bodine character then mysteriously disappeared from the "Beverly Hillbillies".
"Petticoat Junction" turned out to be a huge success. So, successful, that another spinoff was created called "Green Acres". Interestingly enough, Benaderet had done a radio version in 1950 called Granby's Green Acres. Eva Gabor would play the television version of her radio character, but Benaderet would occasionally appear on the show as Kate Bradley.
As if all of this wasn't enough to keep her busy, Benaderet also performed the voice of Betty Rubble on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "The Flintstones", which debuted in 1960 and ran until 1966. She had to resign from the cartoon series in 1964 due to her commitments with "Petticoat Junction", and Betty's voice was played by Gerry Johnson for the remainder of the series. "The Flintstones" was the first primetime cartoon geared towards adults and the first to be in ABC cartoon to be televised in full color in it's third season.
Benaderet became ill in 1967 and left "Petticoat Junction". They tried to place temporary characters in her spot in the hopes that her health would improve and she'd be back.
Rosemary DeCamp was brought in to play Aunt Helen and June Lockhart was brought in to play a female doctor who set up practice at the Shady Rest hotel.
Bea Benaderet died at age 62 on October 13, 1968 from lung cancer. She is buried next to her second husband who died just four days after her from a heart attack. They had met on The Jack Benny Program.
"Petticoat Junction" Trivia
Trivia for "Petticoat Junction" found at the IMDB website:
- The Cannonball train was actually only a plastic model with wheels only on one side they were moved as needed. It was originally built for the film A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950). It was a replica of a real train in Sonora, California. When live action shots of the train were needed the film crew went to Sonora.
- They interviewed 1,500 women to play the the three Bradley hotties. At the suggestion of Benaderet one of the girls was the producer's daughter.
- The mix of cocker spaniel, poodle and schnauzer dog on the show may look familiar. Besides playing "Dog" on Petticoat Junction he also played "Benji" in 1974. His real name was Higgins the Dog.
- The movie is based on stories told to Paul Henning by his wife from experiences she had spending summers in Eldon, Missouri, at a small hotel located near the train station.
- Frank Cady (Sam Drucker) is the only actor ever to play the same recurring character on three sitcoms simultaneously.
- The marriage of Betty Jo and Steve coincided with the real life marriage of Linda Henning, who played Betty Jo, to Mike Minor, who played Steve.
"Beverly Hillbillies" Trivia
"The Beverly Hillbillies" trivia from the IMDB website:
- The 1971 cancellation of the series resulted from CBS' desire to erase its image as a "rural network." In the process, other rural shows (including "Green Acres" (1965) and "Petticoat Junction" (1963)) were canceled as well. The general feeling was that "CBS canceled every show with a tree in it".
- Jed Clampett was originally written as a rather dumb hick, but Buddy Ebsen would only agree to take the role if it was rewritten to make Jed smarter. The character of Jethro was written as someone to give all of the "dumb" Jed's lines to.
- The mansion in Beverly Hills where the Clampetts lived was actually the Kirkeby mansion in Bel Air.
- An agreement was made between Filmways Productions and Arnold Kirkeby to film the exterior of the Kirkeby mansion. The agreement stipulated that the grounds had to be cleaned up after filming, and the address of the Kirkeby mansion was never to be divulged to the public.
- Just before the fourth season got underway, Mrs. Kirkeby apparently broke the agreement her late husband had made with Filmways Productions, since the mansion's address was leaked and caused an endless stream of tourists to come to the mansion looking for Jed and Granny. Filmways was not allowed to film the mansion's exterior or film any long shots of the mansion grounds after that.
- The Clampett's truck was a 1921 Oldsmobile. It was loaned by Cousin Pearl when the family moved to California.
- The names of Ellie's two pet chimpanzees were Skipper and Bessie.
- It was reportedly Benaderet that suggested Irene Ryan for the role, who by all accounts came in and "blew everyone away" with a wonderful screen test, which still survives today and is included as an extra on the DVD set.
- Series creator Paul Henning got the idea for the show while on a trip through the South in 1959, visiting Civil War sites with his mother-in-law. He wondered what it would be like to take someone from the rural South in the Civil War era and put them down in the middle of a modern, sophisticated community. Originally it was to have been set in New York, but because of cost considerations the setting was changed to Beverly Hills.
- It rose to #1 in the ratings faster than any other show within the first three weeks since its debut, a feat still unmatched to this day, where it remained for two years. The following eight episodes that aired during the wake of President John F. Kennedy's assassination are the most watched half-hour shows ever.
As Betty Rubble
"The Flintstones" Trivia
Trivia for "The Flintstones" found on the IMDB website:
- "The Flintstones" was at one time the longest-running primetime cartoon. That record was broken and currently held by "The Simpsons" (1989).
- The four main characters (Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Barney and Betty Rubble) were based on the four main characters from "The Honeymooners" (1955).
- This series was responsible for a number of American TV firsts. It was the first animated series in which a lead character became pregnant. It was also the first American animated series to feature a "story arc" - namely the numerous episodes regarding Wilma's ongoing pregnancy, followed by Pebbles's birth, followed by numerous episodes featuring Fred adjusting to his role as a new father. Prior to this arc, episodes of The Flintstones were interchangeable stand-alone stories.
- Betty's maiden name was McBricken.
- It was the first animated show to show a couple sleeping in the same bed.
Tweety & Granny
As Granny with Tweety & Sylvester
More Related Sites!
- Beverly Hillbillies Quizzes and Beverly Hillbillies Trivia -- FunTrivia
Beverly Hillbillies trivia questions and quizzes.
- The Ultimate Flintstones Site - Flintstones Trivia
Take a Flintstones trivia test to see how much you know about the modern Stone-Age family!