No. of seasons 7
First episode date 24 September 1963
Networks CBS, FOX
Country of origin United States
Camera setup Single-camera
Spin-off Green Acres
|Created by Paul Henning
Starring Bea Benaderet Edgar Buchanan Linda Kaye Henning Jeannine Riley Pat Woodell Gunilla Hutton Lori Saunders Meredith MacRae Smiley Burnette Jimmy Hawkins Rufe Davis Frank Cady Mike Minor Elna Danelle Hubbell June Lockhart Jonathan Daly Higgins
Executive producer(s) Jay Sommers Charles Stewart
Cast Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders, Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Meredith MacRae
Petticoat junction cannonball christmas
Petticoat Junction is an American situation comedy that originally aired on CBS from September 1963 to April 1970. The series takes place at the Shady Rest Hotel, which is run by Kate Bradley, her Uncle Joe Carson, and her three daughters Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo Bradley. The series is one of three interrelated shows about rural characters produced by Paul Henning. Petticoat Junction was created upon the success of Henning's previous rural/urban-themed sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971). The success of Petticoat Junction led to a spin-off, Green Acres (1965–1971). Petticoat Junction was produced by Wayfilms (a joint venture of Filmways Television and Pen-Ten Productions).
- Petticoat junction cannonball christmas
- Petticoat junction 1963 1970 opening and closing theme hq
- Show history
- Hooterville Cannonball
- Cast changes
- Changes in tone and characters
- Death of Bea Benaderet
- The final two seasons
- Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies crossovers
- Crossovers with Green Acres
- Theme song
- DVD releases
- Petticoat Junction Amusement Park
- Petticoat Junction Cafeteria and Shady Rest Hotel in Mabank Texas
Petticoat junction 1963 1970 opening and closing theme hq
The show follows the goings-on at the rural Shady Rest Hotel. Widow Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet) is the proprietor. Her lazy-but-lovable Uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan) helps her in the day-to-day running of the hotel while she serves as a mediator in the various minor crises that befall her three beautiful daughters: redhead Betty Jo (Linda Kaye Henning); brunette Bobbie Jo (first Pat Woodell, later Lori Saunders); and blonde Billie Jo (first Jeannine Riley, then Gunilla Hutton, and finally Meredith MacRae). Uncle Joe frequently comes up with half-baked get-rich-quick schemes and ill-conceived hotel promotions. Much of the show also focuses on the Hooterville Cannonball, an 1890s steam-driven train run more like a taxi service by engineer Charley Pratt (Smiley Burnette) and conductor Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis). It was not uncommon for the Cannonball to make an unscheduled stop for passengers to go fishing, or to pick fruit for Kate Bradley's apple butter and pies. The Hooterville spur line had been cut off from the rest of the railroad 20 years before the start of the show by the failure of a trestle. Charlie and Floyd are retired employees of the railroad receiving pensions. Many plots involve railroad executive Homer Bedloe's futile attempts to shut down and scrap the Hooterville Cannonball. Occasionally, youngest daughter Betty Jo can be found with her hand on the Cannonball's throttle, as running the train is one of her favorite pastimes. The series pilot introduced a feminist element whereby Betty Jo turned out to be skilled at driving the train: train engineer was traditionally a man's job; executives from the C. & F.W. Railroad's headquarters are shocked when they learn of this. Trips on the Cannonball usually include a stop in Hooterville at Drucker's Store, run by Sam Drucker (Frank Cady). Drucker's is the local hub, where menfolk come to play checkers and chat. Sam Drucker is the postmaster, and his telephone is a lifeline for the Bradleys, Uncle Joe, and others.
The Shady Rest Hotel is located at a water stop along an isolated branch line of the C. & F.W. Railroad, halfway between the rural farm community of Hooterville and the small town of Pixley, each about 25 miles (40 km) away. Kate Bradley says her grandfather built the hotel there because that was where the lumber fell off the train. The town of Pixley, at one end of the Cannonball's route, was named for Pixley, California. A number of location shots were filmed in the real Pixley. The exact location of Hooterville is never mentioned on Petticoat Junction or Green Acres. It is likely in the Ozark Mountains; one of the proposed titles for the show was Ozark Widow.
The Shady Rest is an old-fashioned hotel, accessible only by train, where guests share bathing facilities and eat together with the family at a large dining-room table. Kate Bradley cooks sumptuous meals on a wood-burning stove, and her specialty is chicken 'n' dumplings. Meals were prepared for the show by property master Vince Vecchio. In a 1966 interview, Bea Benaderet said, "I suspect that Vince is better at cooking things like mother used to than anybody's mother ever was."
Regarding the show's title, Petticoat Junction, the hotel is located at a water stop, not a junction (where two or more railroad lines meet). The train stop is nicknamed "petticoat junction" because the Bradley sisters often go skinny-dipping in the railway's water tower and leave their petticoats hanging over its side. The opening titles of the series show their petticoats hanging on the tower while they are swimming.
The idea for Petticoat Junction came from Paul Henning's wife, Ruth. Paul Henning said, "The Shady Rest was based on a real hotel in Eldon, Missouri, run by my wife's grandmother... that's where the hotel and the train and the whole setting came from, from Ruth's reminiscences of visiting her grandma." Ruth Henning told him stories of her childhood adventures at the Burris Hotel, which was owned by her grandparents in Eldon. Once called the Rock Island Hotel, the Burris was located next to the Rock Island Line railroad tracks. Ruth Henning's mother, Alice (Burris) Barth, also told her many stories about the hotel and about growing up in the small town of Eldon. The stories of Ruth and her mother, Alice, became the basis of the show.
Linda Kaye Henning said that her father, "wrote the series for Bea Benaderet." Paul Henning thought the show would make an ideal starring vehicle for the veteran character actress. Since the 1930s, Benaderet had played second banana roles on radio and television to such personalities as Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, and George Burns and Gracie Allen. She was an uncredited voice actress for many Warner Bros. cartoons, and provided the voice of Betty Rubble on The Flintstones. She also played the semiregular character Cousin Pearl Bodine on season one of The Beverly Hillbillies. Henning felt that Benaderet had more than paid her dues and had earned the right to headline her own series.
During preproduction, proposed titles for the show were Ozark Widow, Dern Tootin' , and Whistle Stop.
Motion shots of the Hooterville Cannonball were filmed on the Sierra Railroad, based in Jamestown, California. The steam locomotive used was the 4-6-0 (ten-wheeler) Sierra No. 3, which has the distinction of appearing in more movies than any other locomotive. Its first sound film appearance was in 1929 with Gary Cooper in The Virginian, and it has since appeared in many other Westerns, including a prominent role in the climactic ending of Back to the Future Part III. It was also used in such television shows as Little House on the Prairie and The Iron Horse. Today, the Sierra No. 3 locomotive is still operational and can be found at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.
A full-sized locomotive replica was used for studio scenes in and around the locomotive cab. The prop locomotive was provided by the Hoyt Hotel in Portland, Oregon. It was displayed in the lobby of the hotel as part of the décor of its Barbary Coast Lounge, hence the screen credit at the end of each episode "Train furnished by Barbary Coast, Hoyt Hotel, Portland, Oregon".
In 1967, the show suffered its first loss when Smiley Burnette (engineer Charley Pratt) died of leukemia. Rufe Davis (Floyd Smoot) took over both jobs as engineer and conductor and then was replaced the following season by Wendell Gibbs, played by Byron Foulger. During the show's last season (1969–70), Foulger became too ill to continue and did not appear in any episodes. Davis returned as Floyd Smoot for two episodes, one of them being "Last Train To Pixley". Coincidentally, Foulger died on the same day that the final episode of Petticoat Junction aired: April 4, 1970.
Bea Benaderet, who played the main character Kate Bradley, died in 1968; June Lockhart then joined the show as Dr. Janet Craig, a mother figure to the girls, from 1968 until the show's end in 1970.
Billie Jo was originally to be played by Sharon Tate. Though a cast photo was taken with Tate, she never appeared in the show. Possible explanations for Tate's replacement include the emergence of racy photos of Tate and that her agents simply convinced her to pass up the role to focus on films. Billie Jo was played for the first two seasons (1963–65) by Jeannine Riley, who left to pursue a movie career. In the third season (1965–66), Riley was replaced by Gunilla Hutton (not present for 11 episodes), and for the rest of the show's run, Billie Jo was played by Meredith MacRae.
Bobbie Jo was played in the first two seasons (1963–65) by Pat Woodell, who left the series to start a singing career. In some scenes in a few episodes, when Pat Woodell was unavailable, Bobbie Jo was only shown from behind, with a double standing in. For the remaining seasons, the character was played by Lori Saunders. Woodell and Saunders resembled each other physically, but the character of Bobbie Jo was gradually revamped after the cast change, going from a shy bookworm to a humorous scatterbrain. The book Glamour, Gidgets, and the Girl Next Door by Herbie J. Pilato attributes this change in character to actress Lori Saunders having "a different flair for comedy than Pat [Woodell]." After Saunders took over the role, she at times gave her lines "a slightly daffy delivery." The show writers picked up on this and gradually changed the character of Bobbie Jo from Paul Henning's original conception of a brainy introvert into "a high-spirited, delightfully ditzy extrovert."
Changes in tone and characters
For the first three seasons, Petticoat Junction centered on homespun humor and the village's backward mindset. Beginning in season four, however, the show gradually took on a different feel. Stories began to focus more on the Bradley sisters, specifically on the romance of Steve and Betty Jo, who became key characters. The show became more of a domestic comedy. Musical numbers and singing became prominent. Songs featured the Bradley sisters singing as a trio, Billie Jo solo, Steve solo, or Steve and Betty Jo as a duet. Sometimes, as many as two or three songs were in each episode. The additions of Mike Minor as Steve Elliott and Meredith MacRae as the third Billie Jo influenced this change, as they were both accomplished singers. The characters of Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo also changed. Billie Jo went from being a boy-crazy dumb blonde to a strong, independent young lady. Bobbie Jo went from being book-smart (nicknamed "the walking encyclopedia") to more of a bubble-head used for comic relief. Kate Bradley's appearance also changed. In the first two seasons, Kate's wardrobe and hair style depicted her as a dowdy country farm woman. Beginning with the third year (in color), her clothing and coiffure were much more flattering and appealing.
Death of Bea Benaderet
Sickness kept Bea Benaderet away for the last portion of season five as she recuperated from lung cancer. She missed two episodes (159, 160), came back for one (161), then missed eight more. Storylines had Kate on a trip, as everyone hoped that Benaderet would recover. Paul Henning brought in temporary replacement mother figures Rosemary DeCamp (as Kate's sister Helen) and Shirley Mitchell (as Kate's cousin Mae). In March 1968, it was announced that Benaderet's treatment was successful, and she returned for the season-five finale "Kate's Homecoming". In that episode, Benaderet evidently had lost a considerable amount of weight and appeared slightly weak. Nonetheless, plans for season six immediately got under way. It was decided that Betty Jo would have a baby. After Benaderet filmed the first three episodes of season six, her cancer was found to have returned. The third episode, "Only A Husband", was Benaderet's final physical appearance on the show, featuring a brief scene with Mike Minor.
Linda Kaye Henning recalled: "The last few shows we knew she was very ill. They recorded her voice, and there would be a stand-in." When it became obvious to Paul Henning that Benaderet would not recover, he decided that the fourth episode of season six would be the birth of Betty Jo's baby, so Benaderet's character could be included. In the episode "The Valley Has A Baby", Bea provided only her voice. She is heard when Betty Jo and Steve read the letter that Kate has sent them, and when Cannonball engineer Wendell Gibbs answers the phone at Drucker's Store. Bea's stand-in (actress Edna Laird) plays Kate with her back to the camera, with Bea providing only her voice, when Kate is on the hand car helping Wendell, and at the end of the episode when Kate is at Betty Jo's bedside. The episode also has three short flashbacks of Kate from season five: "You Know I Can't Hear You When The Thunder Is Clapping", where Betty Jo reveals to Kate that Steve and she are in love; "A Cottage For Two", where Betty Jo's dream house turns out to be an old shack; and "With This Gown I Thee Wed", where Steve and Betty Jo get married. The episode aired just 13 days after Benaderet's death on October 13, 1968. (Benaderet's husband, Eugene Twombly, died of a heart attack on the day of her funeral.)
Benaderet was very popular with viewers. In fact, her fan mail increased during her illness, and she received many get-well cards from fans. In the first five years of Petticoat Junction, she was indisputably the star of the program. As a result, the absence of her character, Kate Bradley, had to be handled very delicately. In the 1950s and '60s, it was almost unheard of for a main character on a television show, especially a sitcom, to die. The character of Margaret Williams died off-camera at the beginning of season four of The Danny Thomas Show, because actress Jean Hagen decided to leave the series. Actor George Cleveland died in the middle of season four of Lassie, and the episode "Transition" had his character "Gramps" pass away, as well. In the fall of 1966, veteran film actress Ann Sheridan was enjoying a major comeback when her Pistols 'n' Petticoats premiered on CBS. The show immediately became quite popular with viewers. However, Sheridan was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after the premiere. When she died in January 1967, she had completed 21 of the 26 shows for that season. At first, CBS was undecided as to what to do about the program. Since Sheridan was the unifying center of attention on Pistols 'n' Petticoats, her absence was keenly felt by audiences. Therefore, CBS canceled the series in the spring of 1967.
Similarly, Benaderet's death put Petticoat Junction in a state of flux. However, the producers and the network decided to continue the show, and Kate would be referred to as being "out of town." Benaderet's name was removed from the opening credits and Edgar Buchanan was from then on billed as the star of the series. Referring to the hotel, the lyrics of the show's opening song were changed from "It is run by Kate, come and be her guest" to "It is run by Joe, come and be his guest". Though Petticoat Junction was still beloved by fans, the central premise of a country family was lost without a motherly figure. The long absence of Kate was only mentioned once in passing during the final two seasons. In the season-seven premiere "Make Room For Baby", the Bradley sisters and baby Kathy Jo return from swimming in the water tower. Steve has paternal qualms about his daughter's safety, to which Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo wistfully reply: "Mom taught all of us to swim before we could walk. And in the same old water tower, too."
The final two seasons
Choosing not to recast the Kate Bradley role, or to sign Rosemary DeCamp on full-time (she was also playing the mother of Marlo Thomas on That Girl), the producers introduced the new character of Dr. Janet Craig, played by June Lockhart. Dr. Craig takes up a medical practice at the hotel and also serves as a counsel of sorts for the girls. The cast was described as "most welcoming" to Lockhart as the newcomer during a difficult time. Quickly, Lockhart graduated from featured billing at the end of each episode to co-star billing in the opening credits. The show's theme song lyrics were slightly altered to accommodate the change in cast.
A decline in Nielsen ratings had begun in season five, when CBS moved the show from Tuesday night to Saturday night. In season six, the show failed to make the ratings top 30. With the sitcom's future hanging in the balance, CBS considered cancelling the show in the spring of 1969. The season-six finale "Tune In Next Year" was meant to be the series finale. Dr. Janet Craig receives a good job offer in another city and decides to accept it. However, at the end of the episode, Dr. Craig decides to stay when Steve and Betty Jo announce that they are going to have another baby.
At the last minute, CBS decided to renew the series for a seventh season. The main reason for the renewal was that it would give the series five full years of color episodes for syndication, which would be very profitable for the network. When the show returned for its seventh and final season in September 1969, two major plotline changes were made. The first is that Steve and Betty Jo, and their daughter Kathy Jo, move out of their cottage and into the Shady Rest Hotel. The storyline involving Betty Jo's new pregnancy was dropped and never referred to again. The second change is the addition of bumbling, but well-meaning, game warden Orrin Pike (played by actor Jonathan Daly), who becomes Bobbie Jo's boyfriend, much to the annoyance of Uncle Joe. In the spring of 1970, despite somewhat improving ratings, Petticoat Junction was cancelled as a precursor to the infamous CBS rural purge of the early 1970s, when all rural-themed shows were canceled. The series officially ended its primetime run on Saturday, September 12, 1970, at 9:30 pm, and was replaced one week later by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Petticoat Junction did not have a series finale. However, "Last Train to Pixley", the fourth-to-last episode to air, is in some ways like a series finale. In the episode, Hooterville Cannonball conductor Floyd Smoot decides to retire. The residents of the Shady Rest Hotel and Sam Drucker all take a ride on the Cannonball and recall (with flashbacks) such treasured memories as fishing from the train, a very pregnant Betty Jo driving the train when she is about to give birth, and the Christmas-time Cannonball decorated with lights. During the episode, Floyd sings the song "Steam, Cinders and Smoke". The song was written by Smiley Burnette, who played train engineer Charley Pratt until his death in 1967. It was released as a single in 1964 by Burnette and Rufe Davis (who played Floyd Smoot). At the end of the episode, Floyd decides not to retire when the people of Hooterville write him letters asking him to stay.
Petticoat Junction was the only one of Paul Henning's country trio not to return in an updated reunion movie. In the 1970s, Meredith MacRae and Linda Kaye Henning tried to produce "Hello Again Hooterville: A Thanksgiving Reunion", but the project never came to fruition. The game show Family Feud featured a Petticoat Junction cast reunion in 1983 when Frank Cady, Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders, Gunilla Hutton and Meredith MacRae competed against cast members from The Brady Bunch. A similar reunion occurred when the same group competed against the cast of Leave it to Beaver. And Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders, and Gunilla Hutton returned to the railway water tower for a MeTV promo for the show in 2015.
In 1990, the character of Sam Drucker appeared in Return to Green Acres, in what was Frank Cady's final acting role. In 1981, Linda Kaye Henning and Charles Lane both appeared in The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, but not as Betty Jo and Homer Bedloe. Henning played a secretary named "Linda" and Lane played "Chief".
Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies crossovers
Petticoat Junction is set in the same fictional universe as Green Acres. Both shows are set in Hooterville, and they share such characters as Sam Drucker, Newt Kiley, and Floyd Smoot. A number of core Green Acres characters, such as Fred and Doris Ziffel (originally named "Ruthie" after Paul Henning's wife, Ruth), Arnold the Pig, Newt Kiley, and Ben Miller, first appeared on season two of Petticoat Junction, which saw a number of scripts written by Green Acres creator Jay Sommers. Characters in all of Henning's creations often crossed over into one another's programs, especially during the first two seasons of Green Acres.
During Petticoat's run from 1963 to 1968 (up until Kate Bradley's last few appearances at the beginning of season six), and with the exception of Green Acres, not once was there ever a connection to The Beverly Hillbillies even though Bea Benaderet had played Cousin Pearl Bodine during the latter's first and sixth seasons. Despite this, in a 1968 episode of Petticoat (#175 'Granny, the Baby Expert'), Granny comes to Hooterville to tend to Betty Jo and Steve's baby. Prior to her visit, she reminds Jed that he is related to Kate through Pearl and then later when she arrives at the Shady Rest she mistakes Uncle Joe for Kate and says "They's right about you Kate, you and Cousin Pearl are lookalikes." The episode is also part two of a three-episode crossover with Hillbillies that begins on "Granny Goes to Hooterville" and concludes on "The Italian Cook".
Other crossover shows include one where the Clampetts, Milburn Drysdale, and Miss Jane spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1968 in Hooterville on The Beverly Hillbillies and a 1970 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies in which Mr. Drysdale thought that billionaire Howard Hughes lived in Hooterville. (The man turned out to be Howard Hewes who owned real estate in Hooterville, including the field Steve Elliott rented to maintain his crop plane.)
Crossovers with Green Acres
The following is a list of Petticoat Junction episodes featuring characters from Green Acres. Only those that debuted on Acres before Junction are counted.
Curt Massey sang the Petticoat Junction theme song. The song was composed by Massey and Paul Henning. Flatt and Scruggs recorded a version of the song "Petticoat Junction".
After its cancellation, Filmways and Paul Henning's company sold the show to CBS. Its distribution has changed hands over the years due to corporate changes involving Viacom, which in 2006 split into two separate companies. Today, CBS Television Distribution handles syndication.
The color (1965–70) episodes were shown in syndication for many years after the show's cancellation. However, the rights to the black-and-white (1963–65) episodes were not resolved and they were not included in the syndication package until the Me-TV Network began broadcasting the black-and-white (1963–65) episodes on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. The airings of the black-and-white episodes airings were short lived, and, on Thursday, July 21, 2011, Me-TV started airing the color episodes once again. Me-TV began to air the first two black-and-white seasons of the show again on November 4, 2013. The show airs weekdays at 7:30 a.m. ET.
The color episodes have run constantly, with the show running on TV Land from 1996 to 2000. The show ran on the Retro Television Network from 2005 to 2008, and on Me-TV beginning in June 2012. The program has run on three different Canadian cable channels: Prime-TV from 2000 to 2002, Deja-Vu from 2005 to 2008, and on TV Land Canada from 2006 to 2010. The black-and-white episodes from Season One are now in the public domain, their copyrights having lapsed. As a result, there have been numerous discount DVD releases of these episodes, although with generic bluegrass-like theme music instead of the familiar opening and closing music, which is still under copyright.
The Paul Henning Estate holds the original film elements to the black-and-white episodes, and in 2005 allowed 20 black-and-white episodes from Season One to be officially released on DVD in an "ultimate collection" via MPI Home Video. This release features the first 20 episodes of the series, excluding the Christmas episode. "Cannonball Christmas" was released by MPI Home Video in a separate release together with the Christmas-themed episode from The Beverly Hillbillies on October 25, 2005. This 1963 episode was reshot in color with small variations and aired on December 20, 1966 as "The Santa Claus Special".
On December 16, 2008 CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released the Complete First Season on DVD, with new interviews with cast members, commercials from the original broadcasts, and the original opening and closing theme song. The Complete Second Season was released on July 7, 2009, concluding the black-and-white episodes of the series. (Beginning with the third season, the show switched to color for the remainder of the series.) It, too, contained the original theme song, as well as introductions and an interview from two cast members.
On October 1, 2013 season three was released on DVD as a Walmart exclusive. It received a full retail release on April 15, 2014.
The rights to the show are held by CBS Television Distribution.
Petticoat Junction Amusement Park
There was an amusement park in Panama City Beach, Florida named "Petticoat Junction Amusement Park", which opened in 1963 (the same year that the show first aired) and closed in 1984, 14 years after the show ended. According to author Tim Hollis, the park's owners (the Churchwell family), were friends with Edgar Buchanan. He talked to Paul Henning, who okayed the park being named. As would be expected, there was a steam railroad attraction at the park, the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge Petticoat Junction Railroad. Although the park is closed, the locomotives and train cars from its railroad attraction survived. They were bought at auction by the late Fred H. Hallmark in 1985 and are kept and preserved on his family's property at 9485 US-31; Kimberly, AL.
Petticoat Junction Cafeteria and Shady Rest Hotel in Mabank, Texas
In 1965 Claudia and J.T. "Peavine" Westmoreland bought an old train depot in Mabank, Texas and converted it into a restaurant. Since the restaurant was next to a working railroad line, the customers nicknamed it "Petticoat Junction", and the name was made official. Specialties at the Petticoat Junction Cafeteria included chicken fried steak and homemade coconut cream pies. The real-life Petticoat Junction was like the fictional show. In her memoirs, Claudia writes: "The train crew grew to be a part of the Petticoat Junction. They would stop and eat with us and we looked forward to the once a day run." In 1966, the Southern Pacific Railroad sent work crews to elevate the railroad track. Claudia set up makeshift bedrooms for the workers and called it the "Shady Rest Hotel". More permanent lodgings were soon added. Claudia's daughter Ann recalled: "Mother got people from the television show to send her photos of the Petticoat Junction set, the actors, just all kinds of things." The business was relocated one mile west in the 1970s and an RV park was added. The Petticoat Junction Cafeteria and Shady Rest Hotel lasted until 1996.