Paul Henning, producer of 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' found major success in rural comedies

With 'The Beverly Hillbillies', 'Petticoat Junction' and 'Green Acres' under his belt, Paul Henning was the king of rural comedies.

In the '60s to early-'70s, many popular shows were centered around everyday families living in rural areas. The stories of rural living were told by many; however, Paul Henning is one of the most successful producers of the genre because he lived that lifestyle.

He grew up on a farm in Independence, Missouri, in 1911. As a teenager, he worked at a drugstore and met Harry S. Truman, before he was president, who told the young native he should become a lawyer.

Henning took the advice and even attended Kansas City School of Law, but his true passion was to be a singer on the radio. He got a job at a local station where he created filler songs that started his writing journey.

In 1939, he married Ruth Barth, and the two went on to have three children that the producer often used as inspiration for characters. Henning based the character "Elly May Camplett" on his daughter, Linda Kaye Henning.

With writing becoming more popular, he decided to focus on this craft and leave behind his singing dreams. In no time, Henning started writing for many series and screenplays, and he co-produced Lover Come Back in 1961, which got him an Oscar nomination for Best Writing: Original Screenplay.

His wife often shared stories about her family, and they visited her grandparents at the small hotel they owned. This eventually became the concept for Petticoat Junction.

His family had so many personal rural living experiences, he needed an entire series to showcase them. In 1962, it happened. 

Henning created the CBS series, The Beverly Hillbillies; a sitcom focused on his experiences camping in the Ozarks. He held the sitcom close to his heart, co-writing 200 of the 274 episodes. This includes every episode of seasons one, two, three, eight and nine.

He also wrote the theme song for the show. Its popularity multiplied, becoming one of the highest-rated shows of all time. CBS gave Henning another half-hour time slot because of the success, which the producer used to introduce Petticoat Junction.

As expected, that series was also successful and starred one of his children. In 1965, Green Acres debuted with Henning as the casting director and executive producer.

Fans would often see crossovers of the shows, as Petticoat Junction and Green Acres were in the same fictional Hooterville universe.

Although the ratings were still high, CBS wanted to look forward and leave rural comedies behind due to "changing times." In 1970, Petticoat Junction ended with The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres following a year later.

Paul Henning found the best way to use life experiences to find significant success in rural comedies.

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60 Comments

murgatroid45 14 months ago
A BH PJ crossover episode did not take place until after the passing of Bea Benadaret. If they tried it earlier, how would they have explained Kate and Pearl?
Mani 14 months ago
Be funny in 1970 when they got rid of the real comedies they were thinking they were trying to get more hip TV shows. Unfortunately they read the demographics wrong. Most of these shows that we placed Petticoat Junction and Beverly Hillbillies did not get the demographics or the audience they were looking for. We Boomers turned our backs on these more modern shows because they were totally unrealistic. The only show that really made any emeralds with Boomers was Mod Squad.
ncadams27 20 months ago
Henning originally cast Buddy Ebsen and Bea Benadaret (as Pearl) as the two leads in the initial concept - it was reported this way in TV Guide. Then Irene Ryan showed up in full Granny mode and Henning couldn’t turn her away. He had the two female leads in some episodes of Season 1, but it didn’t work well. He promised Bea her show and planned to spin-off the Pearl character in a show called Ozark Widow but later switched to the hotel theme and it became Petticoat Junction in Hooterville.
lynngdance 20 months ago
Alright! Technical Difficulties Fixed! Here’s the proper congratulations! 😄
lynngdance lynngdance 20 months ago








Thanks everyone for playing! 😄 (sorry about the technical difficulties and general chaos 😬)
LoveMETV22 lynngdance 20 months ago
Thank You lynn, for the quiz, always enjoy your artwork and visuals. Look forward to future quizzes.
Glad you were able to work out or fix the technical difficulties....and you were able to get everything cleaned up after dinner.
lynngdance LoveMETV22 20 months ago
Thank you! 😄 I’ll be sure to invite you next time! (And clean up from dinner too 😜)
lynngdance 20 months ago
Quiz time once again!
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KJExpress LoveMETV22 20 months ago
Thank you, LoveMETV22. 😁
KJExpress Pacificsun 20 months ago
Thanks, Pacificsun. 🌞
I was wayyyyy late coz I couldn’t find it 😢
I appreciate you clearing that up for me, thanks 😊
daDoctah 20 months ago
It's too bad other TV producers of the time didn't arrange for crossovers between their various series. Wouldn't you love to have seen the Bradys turn up on Gilligan's island? Or Patty and Cathy Lane confusing Dr Bellows in I Dream of Jeannie? Charlie's Angels on the Love Boat? Archie Bunker meets Fred Sanford? Rob, Sally and Buddy at Arnold's drive-in? And all of those Quinn Martin detectives teaming up to solve a giant, sweeping case as a team?
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daDoctah Michael 20 months ago
There was a "Diagnosis: Murder" episode with guest Mike Connors as Joe Mannix. In it, Mannix revisits a case he didn't get around to solving on his own show 24 years earlier (including the return of several guest stars of that earlier episode: Julie Adams, Beverly Garland and Pernell Roberts; Mannix's secretary Peggy is mentioned in dialogue but doesn't appear). Unfortunately, "Mannix" had gone off the air quite some time before this, so there was no reciprocal guest appearance by Dick Van Dyke.
Michael daDoctah 20 months ago
Diagnosis Murder had a couple of visits from other characters.
bagandwallyfan52 daDoctah 20 months ago
Chuck Cunningham 1 Gavan O 'Herlihy and Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts both VANISHED INTO Thin Air on Happy Days and on Green Acres
Newt Kiley (Kay Kuter) vanished
from Hooterville, Illinois and he was not on season 6 of Green Acres. Bag Zombroski (Neil J Schwartz) on Happy Days and
Moose Barry Greenberg and Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel and Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein
All vanished from Happy Days with no explanation.
Cpl Chuck Boyle Roy Stuart vanished and CPL Nick Cuccinelli Tommy Leonetti all vanished from Camp Henderson
On GOMER Pyle USMC with no explanation.
Ginger (Charlene Salerno) of The
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
the girlfriend of Wally Plumstead played by Skip Young also Vanished from season 14 of The
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde )on Bewitched and BAG (Neil J.
Schwartz) on Happy Days) and
Sgt Hacker (Allan Melvin) on
Gomer Pyle USMC were all
Excellent Practical Jolkers on their Sitcoms.
cperrynaples daDoctah 20 months ago
To be technical, Patty Duke & Jeannie had different producers! The only connection is that they were both created by Sidney Sheldon! TPDS was United Artists [now MGM] and IDOJ was Screen Gems [now Sony Entertainment]! Likewise, the only connection between TDVDS and Happy Days was Garry Marshall, and it was Carl Reiner who created DVD, Marshall was a writer he hired!
ELEANOR 20 months ago
When Donna Douglas wanted to become an actress, she just knew that she had to get rid of her accent so she spent lots of time, effort and money fruitlessly trying get rid of her cute Southern drawl. Then she went to an audition for TBH and to her surprise and amazement, the requirements of the audition were that she needed to speak with a Southern drawl and to milk a goat.
Andybandit 20 months ago
TBHB was a good show. The characters were funny.



justjeff 20 months ago
As usual, the MeTV spell check is turned off.. "Elly May Camplett"??? It's CLAMPETT you dim bulbs!
harlow1313 justjeff 20 months ago
Quit showin' off your 6th grade education.
327053 justjeff 20 months ago
😂😂😂
justjeff harlow1313 20 months ago
Awww... you're just jealous 'cause you repeated the third grade three times!
LoveMETV22 justjeff 20 months ago
It's probably not the teachers, maybe showing up late for class, not paying attention. Who knows?
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 20 months ago
Ok children, no fighting in class.
or

Catman justjeff 20 months ago
Kindergarten ... the worst two years of my life...
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