Buddy Ebsen once said neither he nor Irene Ryan ''ran the set'' of The Beverly Hillbillies

Jed and Granny had the power in the Clampett household, but Ebsen and Ryan were just ecstatic to be there.

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Jed Clampett was once a poor mountaineer who could barely keep his family fed before becoming a millionaire and relocating to Beverly Hills. He was the main character of The Beverly Hillbillies, but there was another character who was more vocal and had more authority in the Clampett household than him: Granny.

The roles played by Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan turned the rural comedy into a classic. Although critics felt everything from the plot to the clothing was degrading, it was still a massive hit among viewers, skyrocketing the stardom of Ebsen and Ryan.

Both actors were versatile and talented, but the show made them even more loved. Between the two, who "ran the set" of The Beverly Hillbilles? According to Buddy Ebsen, it was neither.

During an interview with The Columbia Record in 1969, television writer Ray Benson asked the actor that question. The writer also asked Ebsen if he knew Ryan's real age.

The article said, "Who runs the set, you or 'Granny'? Does age come before beauty, or vice-versa? How much adlibbing do the four of you do? How old is Irene Ryan?"

That's a lot of questions to answer at once, but Ebsen did a perfect job with his response. "The director runs it...and Henning. He's there... he runs it. Irene and I are just delighted to be working. We take orders from those two. They are in charge. We do no adlibbing... none whatsoever. We respect our writers," he said.

Have there ever been script changes? Yes, but Paul Henning always gave the "OK" before they happened. Ebsen added, "He dreams it up, and we have no reason to doubt his judgment. Irene's age? I never had the guts to ask her."

There's a popular saying that "you never ask a woman her age," that's probably why Ebsen chose not to. It's always refreshing to hear when prominent actors in classic shows never overstepped their boundaries and tried to force their creative ideas on the producer.

Jed and Granny had the power in the Clampett household, but Ebsen and Ryan were just ecstatic to be there.

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12 Comments

kszczepaniak 11 months ago
I am logged in but when I click on the stories above I get a message that I need to log in. Please check the links MeTV.
cperrynaples 11 months ago
Buddy Ebsen was quite a character and he never suffered fools! I remember when Stuttering John asked him "Did Elly May give you wood?" He didn't understand the question, but when the term was explained to him, the interview was OVER!
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Mark MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
Yes. See my correction to his initial post above.
MrsPhilHarris Mark 11 months ago
Thanks for clarification. Interesting.
Dario MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
YUP!!!!! 😁😁😁😁😁
cperrynaples Mark 11 months ago
Right on everything! Forgot Garver was Stern's West Coast guy! Stern really tore into Garner when he died! He once said Garner should be more concerned about bodily functions at his age! Obviously I cleaned that up for this board!
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