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Hi, everyone. I'm Roy. Petticoat Junction was already halfway through
its first season when I first got to view it. This would be February
1964 and I was nine going on ten. I was already hooked on The Beverly
Hillbillies and had grown fond of the rural sensibilities of that show.
My home town, Fresno California, was a lot like Hooterville in the '50s
After seeing my very first episode, which was Last Chance Farm, I knew that I wanted to continue watching the show. I can't really specify what it was about the first episode. I did develop a crush on the youngest daughter, Betty Jo, but that wouldn't happen for weeks. In the meantime I enjoyed watching Kate outwit Homer Bedloe and also looked forward to seeing what Uncle Joe's latest moneymaking scheme would be. Tuesday night (when it originally aired) actually broke up my school week. It was like getting an extra weekend because I enjoyed it so much.
I didn't get to see the pilot episode until the first season had gone to reruns. I remember that night my Mom's brother and his family had arrived from Alabama to visit all the California relatives, and poor Mom had to keep pulling me away from the TV telling me I could watch that anytime. But this was the pilot! I didn't know how to get that point across.
But I certainly concur with everyone who has commented favorably on the first two seasons. They were, for me also, the best. While my favorite Billie Jo was Meredith, who didn't come along until the fourth season, I always liked what Jeannine brought to the character during her time on the show, and Pat Woodell's portrayal of Bobbie Jo.
I was fortunate enough to meet four of the actresses (Linda Henning, Lori Saunders, Jeannine Riley and Gunilla Hutton) at the celebrities conventions held in Southern California. All were sweethearts, just like their characters. I also remember getting jazzed when I heard that TV Land was going to air the first two seasons. But that wound up not happening, and my understanding is that the demand wasn't strong enough. I realize PJ had, and has, something of an esoteric appeal, and isn't a show that's generically referred to the way its sibling shows, Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres, are. That said, though, I discovered six years ago through the miracle of the Internet that I wasn't the only viewer on the planet Earth who appreciated the show as much as I did. I've gotten to meet some other fans who have become some of my closest friends. I'm a regular poster at the Shady Rest Forum, where we have some great discussions and share memories of the series. Sadly, it hasn't aired in the United States since March, 2000, when TV Land pulled it off the air, and I sincerely wish that one of the networks, if not TV Land, would bring it back.
"Petticoat Junction" was a great, heart-felt show that would stand alongside "The Andy Griffith Show" in all-time popularity, if only some mucky-muck at Viacom (the distributor of the rerun package) hadn't, in the early 1970's, decided to exclude the first two seasons from their syndication package. Not only were those some of the funniest and most genuine episodes of the entire series, but eliminating them from public memory cut out nearly half of star Bea Benaderet's time on the show (she died of lung cancer shortly after the start of the 1968-69 season). If you ever get a chance to view the first two (black & white) seasons of this series, do so...you will see what I mean.
Petticoat Junction will always be revered as one of America's best television sitcoms, home-grown. The characters were so innocent. Who wouldn't fall in love with the Shady Rest Hotel and the Cannonball?
This is a mindless, entertaining series from the 1960's that baby
boomers such as myself grew up on. Petitcoat Junction is something of a
first cousin to The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. The series
portrays the goings on at the Shady Rest Hotel, which is located on the
outskirts of the little village of Hooterville. The hotel is run by the
widowed Kate Bradley and her three lovely young daughters, Billie Jo,
Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo...all without much assistance from their lazy
but protective Ol' Uncle Joe. Much of hotel life revolves around the
local steam train, the Cannonball, operated by Floyd and Charlie, who
make regular stops during their runs to Sam Drucker's little country
The two main stars wonderful, with Bea Benadaret playing the widow, Kate, and Edgar Buchanan Uncle Joe, who's mainly seen concocting get rich quick schemes while lazing about on the hotel's porch in his rocking chair. Yes, he's a-movin' kinda slow at the Junction. The three beautiful daughters are adequately cast, though with various actress changes mid way through the series.
The show gets its name from the three daughters at the Shady Rest. Naturally many of the plot lines revolve around the suitors of these lovely young ladies. Betty Jo, the youngest, is the one given the most character portrayal, initially something of a tomboy but eventually growing up to wed sweetheart Steve, the first Bradley sister to marry. Unlike some viewers, I don't recall her two sisters having very distinctive personalities, except for Billie Jo being starstruck. In my opinion, they mainly seem to look pretty, banter a bit with each other & their mom, and attract beaux. Assorted guests come & go from the Shady Rest, and it's all a leisurely, amusing tale of their various misadventures. All in all, it's a cute, fun, and harmless little series.
Hooterville, Petticoat Junction, Homer Bedloe, some of the names of
people and places in this memorable 1960s series.
Edgar Buchanan played Uncle Joe. To me, he was a reminder of the Kingfish in the old Amos 'N Andy series. Old, lazy and shiftless, Buchanan etched an unforgettable character who lived life the way it should be-a leisurely rural existence filled with scheming to improve his lot and to avoid a harder way of doing things.
Bea Benaderet was right on target as the mother of the 3 daughters operating out at the Shady Rest Hotel. What an appropriate name for a hotel out in the sticks.
Charles Lane, who died recently at age 102, was a scene stealer each time he was on. Yes, he was Homer Bedloe, always up to his neck to gain control of Shady Rest for the railroad.
A nostalgic tribute to rural life was depicted here.
When this show first premiered its biggest attraction were the three Bradley daughters. However, you really got to see a great comedy and the real stars were the late great Bea Benederet as Kate and the late and equally great Edgar Buchanan as Uncle Joe, who was always looking to get rich quick. The girls themselves were pretty well fleshed out characters themselves. Billie Jo was the ambitious star-struck one, Bobbie Jo was the somewhat dim bulb and Betty Jo was the tomboy. Betty Jo became the most evolved character as you saw her grow up from being a girl who was pretty much pre-occupied with sports into a beautiful young woman who eventually settled down and married the man of her dreams. Too bad Bea Benederet passed away. When that happened the wind seemed to go out of the show and within two years it was gone. Perhaps it was a precursor of things to come becuase within a year after it had gone off the air all the great rural television shows were virtually wiped out in the infamous purge of 1971.
One of the most underrated sitcoms in television history, "Petticoat Junction" is a fine example of character-driven comedy. Though it is overshadowed by the other rural comedies, "Andy Griffith," "The Beverly Hillbillies," and "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction" had a warmth that continued throughout its 7 year run. The episodes before Bea Benaderet's untimely death are perhaps the best, but "Petticoat Junction" remains one of television's undiscovered gems.
This show centered around a hotel known as the junction near a small
country town called Hooterville. It started very strong as veteran
folks Edgar Bucanan & Bea Benedaret (Uncle Joe & Kate Bradley) ran the
Then there were the 3 Bradley girls. Bobbie-Jo, Billie-Jo & Betty-Jo. I met a lot of kids from the era of this show named after these girls. They were wholesome American teen girls who were every boys dream.
Then there was the Cannonball, the train that served the Hooterville. It was one of the charms of the show with the engineers. One of the charming holiday shows of this involved having the Cannonball all decorated for Christmas.
When Bea, the actress died in real life, they tried to bring on June Lockhart as a replacement. That was OK, but the scripts seemed to lose their comic energy. It still ran until 1970 anyway. The show had its charm.
Petticoat Junction is just in the process of being rerun on a Canadian TV
network, and I must say they really don't make TV like that anymore. It's
actually my first time to watch this show (I was not around for original
airing in the 1960s yet), but I had been familiar with Green Acres
The only regret I have about this show is that a number of crucial characters had to be written out of the show (due to the actors' demise - Charley or Kate Bradley, for example), which left an empty void towards the end of that, otherwise, wonderful show.
In 1970 when CBS took "Petticoat Junction" off the air, it was for
purposes of deviating itself from the ossified reputation of a network
perpetuating rural comedies...CBS was on the verge of embarking on
sitcoms with social poignancy and ethnicity recognition!! (Shows like
"All in the Family") As a child, I always fondly remember "Petticoat
Junction" as a wholesome T.V. show....My identification with "Petticoat
Junction" was particularly positive because it resembled my mother's
family of three daughters, and, my mother was the youngest daughter who
got married first (Just like the T.V. Show!!). This culminating with
"My Three Sons" mirrored my personal family situation, as I was one of
three sons in my family!! The Shady Rest Hotel was a quaint resemblance
to my days up at my grandfather's summer home in Michigan...The
innocence more than anything, encompassed a fondness for the fortunate
unity that a happy family possesses!! I seem to remember one of the
last episodes of "Petticoat Junction" where Billie Jo was advocating
women's liberation!! This particular episode sort of explained why
"Petticoat Junction" was taken off the airwaves!! Ignoring the
tumultuousness of the 1960's totally, producers of "Petticoat Junction"
were sort of conveying the message that they had a very uncomfortable
disposition with social issues!!
As time has passed, it makes you realize that comedy back then was very innocent, and, the need for change simply accommodated the future....One of my favorite movies is "Sex.Lies, and Videotape" this film is the antithesis of the television show "Petticoat Junction"...Here is the catch though!! The movie "Sex,Lies and Videotape" could have taken place in Hooterville!! The actual depiction of small-town America is not a paralleled panacea right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Realistically assessing Hooterville, it would most likely be a town which would be subject to an abyss of dreadfully high unemployment, and, it would get bludgeoned by one recession after another. You would have a scenario whereby Wal-Mart would be putting Sam Drucker's store out of business. Also, the divorce rate would most likely be commensurate with the national average too!!
What I am saying is that, television needs to change with people!! The homey associations of family values pertinent to yesteryear, were indeed for the past!! Today's comedy is not just about sex, but also, they are about realistic proclivities which reflect the lifestyle patterns of today!! The illustration of human error is what a comedy is all about!! I loved "Petticoat Junction", I do not think I would want to watch it as a new television show today though!!...From the seventies there arose many television series which articulated the rage form of the American public.. Petticoat Junction's innocuous demeanor was an anachronism to this trend of agitation and ideological malcontent. Hence, the perception of moral infuriation, by the television audience, could not be quelled by hovering around the piano and singing! I feel it is imperative that television should mirror American's personal and social transitions! I liked "Petticoat Junction" back then because it reflected my happiness as a young boy with a loving family! A state of cop-aesthetic satisfaction is humorous in its own realization!! Realism and doubts, as depicted in television shows today, also have a comically identifiable twist to them....Shows like "Petticoat Junction" placated the ambitions of the perfect post World War II American family, and resonated themselves to a state of domestic idealism! Many shows today evoke a candid commentary which is very amenable to misery and social injustice! This appreciation in entertainment dichotomy makes me an utterly saturated recipient of the television industry!!
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