Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Beverly Hillbillies: His Royal Highness (1967)

American Comedy

The Beverly Hillbillies: “His Royal Highness,“ which aired on March 8, 1967. This was S5E25 or the 163rd episode of 274 episodes that were produced. The show was created by Paul Henning.

The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom that aired on CBS-TV from September 26, 1962 to March 23, 1971—for nine seasons. The comedy show focuses on the Clampetts—Jed (Buddy Ebsen), Granny (Irene Ryan), Jethro (Max Baer Jr) and Elly Mae (Donna Douglas)—a poor family from the Ozarks (Missouri) who move to Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land.

While living in a big mansion, they, “the hillbillies,” continue to act as they did before “striking it rich,” which confuses the well-heeled folks of Beverly Hills. They, led by their banker neighbor, Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Thomas Bailey), try their darnedest to encourage the hillbillies to conform to the “big-city” values they hold so dear. These efforts, made with such a purpose, always end up in failure; the comedy speaks about the incongruity of values.

Without failure, such makes the show funny, and week after week, without being preachy, there is a recurring message: how the pretensions of wealth are deflated or burst by the simple common folk, the Clampetts. This family from the Ozarks, although by the standards of their neighbors are eccentric, are not only unpretentious but also earnest, wise and dignified. They are comfortable in their skins, and because they are, become a foil (or is it a boil?) to those who are not.

This is all presented as good-natured humor, holding up remarkably well 50 years later. I can still recall the words to the theme song, composed by Paul Henning and sung by Jerry Scoggins with the banjo accompaniment of bluegrass musicians Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed/A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed/And then one day he was shootin’ at some food/And up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude.