Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Doug Davis & The Solid Citizens 'When The Lilies Bloom'
Continuing my revamped and updated list of all-time favorite television shows we come to a series that has dropped out of the top three. It has even dropped out of the top five. And it’s one of the shows that shaped my young mind that became an older, twisted mind.
Sixth on my list…
‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ still manages to produce tears of laughter and irritate me within the same episode. The comedy comes from the fish-out-of-water mold, but the cutesy animal scenes with Ellie Mae Clampett drive me up a wall. It was completely unnecessary and over-the-top drivel. The only thing I despise more is when Lester Flatt’s “wife” Gladys comes for a visit and sings. Sure, Ellie and Gladys are stacked in all the right places, but a lot of their scenes were merely filler. I’m guessing that Joi Lansing (Gladys) had records to sell and maybe that’s why she’s married up with a talented rube like Lester Flatt, but it’s wasted space.
Before the term “jumped the shark” existed, there was a small fellow named Shorty Kellems. And Shorty’s appearance is when ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ jumped the shark. You know, just for the record.
The family went back home and visited Silver Dollar City. Shorty ran the hotel and he had an eye for pretty maidens. Blah, blah, blah… That’s when the show turned to sucksville.
Again, CBS wanted edgier and more urban series. ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ suffered with shows about ecology, women’s liberation, and racial equality. It was horrible and it was time to put down ol’ Duke and the rest of the Hillbillies.
The real comedy centered on half-wit cousin Jethro Bodean. The time Jethro invents a musical instrument to become a folk singing star. Jethro fights the war of the roses in England at Uncle Jed’s castle. Jethro becomes Robin Hood of Griffith Park and turns hippies on to “smoking crawdads”. The double-naught spy. The wild one. Jethro becomes a beatnik. Jethro becomes an International Playboy. And so on and so on.
But my favorite is when Jethro gets a stack of comics featuring the Moon Maidens.
He believed what he read in the comic book and uses his family’s money to purchase a rocket. He thinks that the moon is made of cheese and populated by gorgeous Moon Maidens. So in Jethro’s mind, he’ll be dining on cheese with no other male challengers on the Moon.
He loads up the rocket with Granny’s moonshine, straps on a parachute, and a knapsack with his lunch consisting of a whole roasted chicken. Ellie graciously ignites the rocket and Jethro goes shooting across the sky for the core cast members to see in different settings apart from each other.
Everyone gathers around the family’s television set to see the Coast Guard rescue the mysterious man that shot across the southern California skies on a rocket from the Pacific Ocean. Once Jethro is pulled inside the helicopter, someone shoves a microphone in his face and he says… “HEY! Where are all the Moon Maidens?”
You see, he originally planned to splash down in the Sea of Tranquility. So in Jethro’s mind, he was on the moon.
Jethro asking about the Moon Maidens kills me every time.
But Granny has some great episodes too. As a matter of fact, “Granny And The Giant Jack Rabbit” is still the all-time ratings winner for a half-hour show. In this day and age of multiple networks and platforms, that record will stand for maybe ever.
And ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ is still on a television, tablet, computer screen, or smart phone right this second somewhere in the world. In some respects, it has stood the test of time. But I believe that the shelf life of the series will eventually expire when people in the late 1970’s die off. Some of the technological advances have made a lot of this series obsolete.
For example… Jethro puts a car phone on the old truck. The computer dating episode along with all special appearances of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Pat Boone.
There are a few episodes that slipped into the public domain, but I really do need to acquire whatever I can of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ on DVD. Why this series isn’t streaming is beyond me.
Why ANY old series isn’t streaming puzzles me.
And there you have it. A series that seemed to be forever locked in my top three has fallen down the charts.
I’m good with that.