Paul Henning partially based Petticoat Junction off of his own grandmother

"There is sentiment connected with the whistle of the railroad train."

CBS Television Distribution

The best sort of fiction is the kind with a bit of truth, and the kind starring Bea Benaderet. Fortunately for viewers everywhere, Petticoat Junction was lucky enough to have both qualities.

In an interview with The Post-Crescent, series creator Paul Henning explained that he based the series on his childhood in Missouri. Henning is responsible for the success of several rural country shows like Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies, all of which have roots in Henning's perspective.

Petticoat Junction revolves around a woman, Kate Bradley (Benaderet), raising her three daughters. Henning recalled his grandmother, who raised her daughters alone all the while running a hotel, just as Kate Bradley does.

These memories held a powerful resonance in Henning's memory, and he knew they would have a similar effect on viewers.

"A lot of people do come from small towns," Henning said. "There is sentiment connected with the whistle of the railroad train."

The train was also inspired by another childhood recollection of a train called The Bruar, which was used in Henning's town as transportation for cement workers.

While Henning's other shows like Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies keep love and family prevalent throughout the series, it's more of a common theme in Petticoat Junction, the rural lifestyle uniting not just the Bradley family, but the viewers as well.

"We don't aim for belly laughs as the Hillbillies do. Our humor is quieter, and the show is probably going to take longer to catch on, for the people to get to know us," said Bea Benaderet. "But what I love about it, is that we all work as a team. The chemistry among the entire cast on Hillbillies is the same way, and I think we've got it among the seven of us too."

Watch Petticoat Junction on MeTV!

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3 Comments

Runeshaper 9 days ago
Grandmas RULE! I miss my grandparents every day (-:
Crisco 10 days ago
Never a good sleep close to the railroad tracks.
MrsPhilHarris 10 days ago
I agree about a train whistle. When I was a kid I would hear the whistle at night. I still love the sound. 🚂
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