… I learned from The Beverly Hillbillies.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
This clip may only play in youtube, if so, try this link
The idea for The Beverly Hillbillies came when the shows’ creator, Paul Henning, took a road trip through the South in 1959, visiting Civil War sites with his mother-in-law. That must have been quite a trip!
He thought it would be a great concept to take someone from the rural South in the Civil War era and plop them down in the middle of a modern, sophisticated community. He wanted to use New York (The Manhattan Hillbillies?) but due to cost considerations, the setting was changed to Beverly Hills.
The Beverley Hillbillies was, believe it or not, the No#1 ranked television program in 1962 and 1963. I was 6 in 1962. These were very formative years for me.
I’d gleaned all I could from Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room (where Miss Sally never, ever saw me in her magic mirror). She never saw me, no matter how close I got to the TV. She didn’t see me in spite of the fact that I was a Romper Room Do BEE and Debbie was one of the 10 most popular names for a girl from 1952-1962. It hurt my feeling each morning.
I moved on. I started first grade in 1963. Now I was informed about the world by watching evening television. We were limited to just a few hours a week, so I didn’t see The Beverly Hillbillies all the time but I learned a lot from the theme song.
I can still sing it, word-perfect. The youtube clip is of the great Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys performing it as they did for the show.
I realize this sitcom didn’t air on the History Channel (which of course didn’t exist in 1962) but I took my TV jingles very seriously.
These are a few of the life lessons I learned from The Beverly Hillbillies.
The bits about Texas and Oil and the Nouveau Riche have proved to be surprisingly inaccurate.
~Well for starters it’s pretty unusual to strike oil with a shot-gun
Jed was out huntin’ dinner, missed the rabbit and got rich thanks to OK Oil.
~ Suddenly having tons of money doesn’t change a thing
Well the first thing you know
Ol’ Jed’s a millionaire,
Kinfolk said “Jed move away from there”.
OK, their housing situation did improve but …
~ Their attire remained country chic
Said “California’s the place you outta be”.
So they loaded up the truck
~ About that truck
Although they were now millionaires and the truck was continually breaking down, they never traded up as is consistent with the nouveau riche… They drove the same 1929 Oldsmobile truck the entire 9 seasons.
~ Alternate fuel and medicinal moonshine
The truck was sometimes powered by an alternate fuel, moonshine. Granny ran a moonshine still by the Clampett family swimming pool ( the cement pond). Granny referred to her moonshine as 1. rheumatism medicine 2. an ingredient in her spring tonic 3. the Possum Ridge Paralyzer 4. the Tennessee Tranquilizer.
And they moved to Beverly.
~ Possums apparently are in plentiful supply in Beverly Hills since Granny continuously prepared possum stew
Hills that is, Swimming pools, movie stars.
~John Wayne made a cameo appearance in one episode and was paid with a bottle of whiskey – no kidding!
But I really need to go back to the beginning:
And up through the ground came a-bubblin’ crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
~Here’s where the grits get sticky: I didn’t learn anything about Texas
I made, what was a logical 6-year-old leap, based on the lyrics, that the oil that came bubblin’ up from the shot-gun shot was Texas oil, as in black gold, Texas tea.
No! Although the Clampett’s actual home state is never named, The Beverly Hillbillies Fan Club maintains that according to numerous references, the Clampetts were either from Missouri or Tennessee. This is a source of contention among fans.
Apparently nobody but me thought the Clampetts came from Texas! There’s never a single mention of Texas or any town in Texas, except of course, in the theme song, which was a part of each and every episode!
There have been 49 television programs set in a real or fictional Texas location.
I haven’t seen any of them (not even Dallas).
Without The Beverly Hillbillies I have no point of reference.
Well now it’s time to say
Goodby to Jed and all his kin,
They would like to thank
You folks for kindly droppin’ in.
You’re all invited back again to this locality
To have a heapin’ helpin’ of their hospitality.
Hillbilly that is, sit a spell, take your shoes off.
~ Tomorrow I may just write a little about real Texas tea, Eagle Ford style
Y’all come back now, y’hear?