The Beverly Hillbillies: Season 5, Episode 19

The Clampett Curse (18 Jan. 1967)

TV Episode  |  TV-G  |   |  Comedy, Family
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Jed and Granny decide to donate the burden of their millions to some college students and move back home.



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Title: The Clampett Curse (18 Jan 1967)

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Episode cast overview:
Toby Kaye ...
Bernadette Withers ...
Russ Grieve ...
Ranger Warkle
Sheila James Kuehl ...
Ginny Jennings (as Sheila James)


Feeling burdened by their wealth, Jed and Granny decide to donate all of their millions to a young woman seeking funds for a phony foundation for needy UCLA college students. Heading back home, the Clampetts run out of fuel before they get out of Los Angeles and decide to make the best out of the situation and to clear part of a park and take up sharecropping. Written by Jeff Hole

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Comedy | Family




Release Date:

18 January 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Good Premise Fizzles Out
4 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Clampett Curse" is money. Granny complains to Jed how spoiled their family is getting because of money. Jed, buried under a mound of paperwork from banker Drysdale, agrees that he was happier back in the hills. They decide to give all their money away, passing the curse along, to the first comer (we should be so cursed).

The first comer happens to be Ginny Jennings (Sheila James, who played Zelda in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"). A few seasons earlier Jennings, apparently a perpetual student, believed the Clampetts were living in squalor as Drysdale's chattel. Disabused of that notion by this time, she goes to the Clampetts for a handout (actually, for a phony charity she made up to cover her school expenses -- I had to get a job) and winds up with a check for sixty-eight million dollars (more or less).

The Clampetts start home but forget to keep enough money in their pockets for gas and expenses. Too proud to beg, Jed feels they are lucky when the truck conks out in a wooded area (a state park just outside L.A.) and he decides to cut down trees, build a cabin and start a new life right there.

Unfortunately, the set-up takes so long the resolution feels rushed and unreal.

This is a good premise for a two-part episode, perhaps as a season opener (or, if made these days, a cliff-hanger ending for a season). It's actually the nineteenth episode of the fifth season. The fifth season was a strange one. Although it may be when the series "jumped the shark" (when Granny thought Martians were living next door) this may be in retrospect. The 60s was the age of space exploration and Martians were everywhere -- they even had a television series starring one that had ended its run on CBS the year before ("My Favorite Martian").

The fifth season actually opened with a truly marvelous episode, "The Party Line" and also contained two of their better color shows ("The Clampett Cha-Cha" which also featured a "Dobie Gillis" alumnus, and "The Gloria Swanson Story"). In fact, the episode following "The Clampett Curse" was one of their best overall. Called "The Indians are Coming" it had a guest shot by John Wayne. Then again, the fifth season also contained those stupid episodes about the Clampetts with a gorilla.

After a two-year start as the number one show in the nation, the Hillbillies were still at a respectful no. 7 during the fifth season, and their the fifth season contained some classic episodes. Though they came back up for air at no. 10 in the seventh season, they never otherwise cracked the top ten. After season 5, they should have packed up and gone back to the hills while they were ahead.

This episode does have one wonderful moment, that shows an American mindset that was probably fading even then. Just before leaving in the truck, Jed and Jethro are doing last-minute jobs on the house because, as Jed said, they wanted to leave the house as they first found it. Way to go, Jed.

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