I love surprises and I love learning things about my adopted state Missouri. So imagine my delight when I learned about Missouri’s connection to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” the 1960s hit national television show.
The surprise comes from the publication of a new book about the writer of the television series. The book is “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy.”
If you’re too young to remember, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was a rural comedy that ran for eight seasons until 1971 and was the No. 1 television show in its first two seasons, according to this Dec. 4, 2010, article on the CCHeadliner.com website.
The Missouri Connection
The writer of the show Paul Henning was an Independence, Missouri native and his wife Ruth Henning wrote a book about their life in Hollywood. The manuscript was completed in the 1990s, but went unpublished until 2017. A book launch was held in September 2017 in Independence to mark the book’s publication.
A review in the January 2018 issue of the Missouri Historical Review calls the biography a lighthearted chronical of Paul Henning’s career path from “midwestern radio programs to Hollywood television producer and screenwriter.”
The book, “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy,” is available at the Columbia Public Library. It is, of course, also available electronically at amazon.com, where it has gotten 4 1/2 stars.
In the television comedy, the main characters, the Clampetts, hailed from the Missouri Ozarks, near Silver Dollar City. Some of the shows were filmed at Silver Dollar City and the shows often featured references to Branson and the area.
The Hennings were smitten with the Ozarks area and bought and donated 1,534 acres to the state of Missouri and it is now the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area west of Branson.
Missouri never fails to surprise me and I hope you like this kind of surprise as much as I do.