This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“Return of the Beverly Hillbillies”
Ten years after Jed Clampett divided up his oil fortune, sold off his gilded California mansion and moved back to the Ozark boondocks, “The Beverly Hillbillies” staged a partial reunion in 1981 in the made-for-TV movie “Return of the Beverly Hillbillies” (due out on DVD Tuesday).
During the show’s decade on network TV (1962-1971), the tale of struck-it-rich hillbilly Jed and his clan of country rustics transplanted to super-posh Beverly Hills morphed into a dependable, cornpone classic.
For the 1981 reunion show, Buddy Ebsen reprised his role as the sage old Jed and was joined by Donna Douglas as critter-lovin’ daughter Elly Mae and Nancy Kulp as prim, efficient bank assistant Mrs. Hathaway. Absent were the lovable, vinegary Irene Ryan as Granny and Raymond Bailey as the uptight banker Mr. Drysdale, who had both passed away, and Max Baer Jr., who declined to revisit the role of dim, clodhopper Clampett scion Jethro.
The story takes place after Granny’s death, when Jed has returned to live in his backwoods cabin, while Elly Mae has opened a zoo for her beloved critters and Jethro (now played by Ray Young) has become a Hollywood movie producer.
Mrs. Hathaway has taken a job with the U.S. government and with her new boss (played by Werner Klemperer (of “Hogan’s Heroes”) launches a project to solve the nation’s energy crisis with the help of the Clampetts and Granny’s secret formula for white lightning. Imogene Coca guest starred as Granny’s irascible Maw, the keeper of the old family tonic formula.
“Return of the Beverly Hillbillies” is not rated and runs 100 minutes. It’s being released by MPI Home Video.
- Dennis King