Courtesy: Paramount/CBS/CBS Home Entertainment
The 1960s is one of the greatest eras of the television industry. It was during this great age that American audiences were treated to what has since become some of the most memorable television series of all time over just three networks. ABC had Bewitched, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Batman. NBC had Star Trek, Bonanza and Get Smart. CBS meanwhile was the real powerhouse, turning out The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies and so many other major hit series. Thanks to a partnership between Paramount and CBS Home Video, many of those classic series have recently been released and re-issued on DVD and Blu-ray, either in part or in whole in recent years. Nearly 40 years after the series was canceled as part of what has since become known as “the rural purge,” fans of The Beverly Hillbillies finally started getting proper, official releases of that award-winning series with the release of the series’ second season. Almost five months after its release, Season Three got its first-ever official release. Seasons Four and One would follow in 2014 and 16 respectively, and now on Oct. 2, Season Five finally will make its DVD debut thanks to that partnership between CBS and Paramount. The fifth season of The Beverly Hillbillies is another enjoyable offering for audiences. That is due in part to the work of the series’ writers. This will be discussed shortly. The work of the series’ cast is just as notable as that of the show’s writers, and will be discussed a little bit later. The set’s average price rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own way to the set’s presentation, as will be pointed out here. All things considered, they make The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season another welcome addition to the home library of any of this classic series’ fans.
The first-ever release of The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season is a welcome addition to the home library of any of the classic series’ fans. That is even with the release being a bare-bones set lacking any bonus features. Even with that lack, it still proves a success overall. That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers, as is evidenced throughout the season’s 30-episode run. Right from the season’s outset, audiences get a nonstop laugh riot as Jethro tries to install a party line for Granny, so that she can be nosy. It’s obvious in watching this episode, that it played a distinct influence in so many telephone jokes used in another of series creator Paul Henning’s series, Green Acres. What makes this episode so entertaining is that it is still just as relevant today as it was way back in its debut on Sept. 14, 1966. Every neighborhood, whether rich or not, has that one person who is a busybody and thinks that he or she just has to be all up in everybody’s business except for their own. The result offers plenty of laughs. The season’s Christmas episode, “The Christmas Present” is another wonderful example of why the writers’ work is still deserving of kudos to this day. The Clampetts turn Christmas on its ear this time as they end up selling Mrs. Drysdale’s clothes; clothes that she was going to donate. Of course, the Clampetts don’t know that she was going to donate the clothes. Their whole purpose is to use the money to buy a present for her, so obviously, the comedy of errors (of sorts) that happens as a result offers its own share of laughs. “Super Hawg,” which comes late in the season’s run, is yet another fun, original offering from the series’ writers this season. This time out, the Clampetts discover a hippo for the first time and mistake it for a giant pig. Of course, it just so happens that it’s in the Drysdales’ back yard because they are using it for another of Mr. Drysdale’s many schemes. On a side note, one can’t help but think many of the same people who wrote for The Beverly Hillbillies must have written for Bewitched considering that Darrin’s boss, Larry Tate always had some scheme up his sleeve, and was very much like Mr. Drysdale in terms of his personality. Getting back on track, the episodes noted here are just a few examples of what makes this season’s writing so enjoyable. Even among the seemingly endless stream of stories centered on Granny trying to marry off Ellie May, Jethro trying to get a girl, and Jed having to play peacemaker in it all, there is still some originality this time. One could cite the laugh riot episodes, “The Flying Saucer,” (which played on the B-movies of the time, and was also very similar to a certain episode of another hit CBS show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) “Jed in Politics” and “Granny Retires” as three more examples of that continued originality. When all of the episodes noted here are coupled with the rest of the season’s episodes, it becomes clear why the writers behind The Beverly Hillbillies deserve their own share of credit in this season. Of course their work is only some of the work that deserves praise. The cast’s work on screen deserves its own share of credit, too.
The cast’s work on camera, even despite some of the recurring story lines, shows why the series continued to be a leader on television even five seasons in. Case in point here is Buddy Ebsen’s handling of Jed in ‘The Indians Are Coming.’ This episode, which came about halfway through Season Five, is one that clearly was so politically incorrect that there’s no way it would ever be on television today. The episode sees Granny concerned that Native Americans want to take over the Clampett’s land back in the Ozarks, when in reality the issue is just a minor land dispute. Jed, always having to play peace keeper, has to try to convince Granny that there is nothing to be concerned about. His straight-man persona, set against Granny’s manic, close-minded character, makes for one of those classic odd-couple performances that makes classic television in general so beloved. As the episode progresses, Mr. Drysdale, in his own uneducated mindset, dresses up as a Native American Chief to greet the two Native Americans who have come to Beverly Hills to discuss the land boundary issue. Raymond Bailey (Vertigo, Tarantula, Picnic) does a spectacular job here displaying how close-minded and uneducated Americans of European descent were about Native Americans and their culture. Sadly, many Americans are still somewhat uneducated and close-minded about Native Americans to this day. To that end, Drysdale’s presence in this moment is another of those moments that is just as relevant today as it was in its original presentation.
A little earlier in the season’s run, a marketing scheme from Mr. Drysdale in “The Flying Saucer” leads to another outstanding performance from the series’ cast. This time, Drysdale has hired a group of height-challenged (is that the correct term to use?) Italians to pose as aliens for yet another of his marketing schemes to promote his band. Of course, being that the scheme is under wraps, Granny and Jethro (Irene Ryan – The Woman on the Beach, Petticoat Junction, Will You Stop! and Max Baer, Jr. – Macon County Line, The Wild McCullochs, Ode To Billy Joe) believe that the trio really is from another world. Baer’s reaction, taking his suitcase out to the front of the Clampett mansion, waiting to be “picked up” is another of those classic moments because he really believes that other aliens are on the way to Earth. Ryan’s take on Daisy/Grandma is equally entertaining as she is rather scared. Again, there is that contrast of personalities. The juxtaposition of Jethro and Granny’s reactions ensures audiences’ engagement, and again shows the continued talent of the series’ cast, give seasons into the show’s run. It’s just one more example of the cast’s talent this season. “Jed in Politics” is yet another example of that continued talent, as is “The Soup Contest” and “The Dahlia Feud.” Between all of these noted episodes and those not noted here, it is clear from the season’s premiere to its finale, that the cast offers audiences just as much to appreciate as the show’s writers. When the two elements are coupled, they form a solid foundation for The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season. When one takes into consideration this season’s average price point, it proves to be money well-spent.
Using prices from Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Amazon, the set’s average price point comes to $21.48. The most affordable price seems (at the time of this posting) to be from Amazon, at $20.59. Considering that the set is a bare-bones presentation that lacks any bonus features, one might think that even $21.48 is a little expensive. But taking into consideration the enjoyment that all 30 episodes offer audiences, that lack of bonus material can actually be overlooked. What’s more, the very fact that audiences are presented with 30 episodes (instead of the current standard of 12-13 episodes presented in today’s shows), that leads to nearly 12 hours of enjoyment for audiences of all ages. That enjoyment will lead audiences to agree that even without any bonus material to compliment the episodes, that noted average price of almost $22 is in fact actually quite affordable and worth paying in the end. Keeping all of this in mind, that affordable price point, set alongside the entertaining writing and acting, makes The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season another enjoyable addition to the home library of any of this classic series’ fans. More information on this and other titles from CBS Home Entertainment is available online now at:
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