Experience the joys of a small town Christmas with Judge Cynthia Boris and The Beverly Hillbillies/Petticoat Junction Christmas Collection.
Jed: "This Beverly Hills snow ain't the kind that falls down from the
You're invited over for Christmas. The Clampetts are dying to show off their gifts! Granny's got a new fancy washing machine with rabbit ears! Jethro's ready for SCUBA diving in his new "rain suit," and Elly's got a chimp who knows how to sail a boat! If you're really nice, Granny will give you one of her special holiday gift packs with owl cakes and pickled gizzards. When you've had your fill, head on over to Hooterville and catch the Cannonball. It's all decorated up for the holidays and the Bradleys are on board singing Christmas carols.
It's a step back in time, a glimpse at a place where family and friends are more important than what's under the tree. So take your shoes off and set a spell, it's time for The Beverly Hillbillies/Petticoat Junction Christmas Collection.
Facts of the Case
In the mid-1960s, with westerns fading away into the sunset and cops shows still waiting for their heyday, TV viewers were tuning in to small town comedies with homespun humor. Three of the most popular sitcoms—Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, and Beverly Hillbillies—were all created by the same man, Paul Henning. The three oft-interwoven series were a welcome break from the stark realities of the Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights rioting, and our growing involvement in Vietnam. The humor came from simple things, such as mistaking a mink (the animal) for a mink (the coat), or Uncle Joe's predictable attempts to get out of doing anything even closely resembling work. By today's standards it's all pretty corny—but hey, isn't that what nostalgia is all about?
On this DVD you get:
• "Christmas At The Clampetts" (1963)—The Hillbillies are confused on Christmas when they find a snow-covered tree in their foyer surrounded by gifts, unaware they are part of banker Milburn Drysdale's strategy to keep them in Beverly Hills.
• "Cannonball Christmas" (1963)—Uncle Joe, Kate Bradley, and her daughters at the Shady Rest Hotel find their holiday disrupted when the Scrooge-like Homer Bedloe of the C&FW Railroad threatens to close-down the beloved Hooterville Cannonball.
As a special bonus, you also get an episode of Bob Cummings' show, Love That Bob, which features Bob as his own grandfather come to visit for the holidays.
When it comes to holiday gift giving, good things often coming in small packages. Good, but not great. This MPI DVD release is like a virtual Christmas card from the estate of Paul Henning. Lynda Kaye Henning, Paul's daughter (and Petticoat Junction cast member), introduces each of the episodes by giving a small overview and a bit of trivia about the show and her father. Her delight appears to be genuine, but that's about all you can say for her appearance. The DVD also features an extremely short clip of Lynda and Frank Cady (Sam Drucker of Petticoat Junction) offering their well wishes.
Sadly, the three episodes in this set don't represent the best of either TV show. None truly captures the Christmas spirit despite plenty of decorated trees and caroling. I find it odd that two shows so based around family and home could miss by such a mile when it came to holiday sentiment. But I suppose you have to give them credit for trying, since holiday episodes are so rare to begin with.
On the upside, the quality of the transfer (considering the age) is very good. The black & white shows have very little grain or scratching. I've heard people grumble about the quality of MPI DVDs, but I thought they looked and sounded great. It is, however, a cheaply made DVD. The navigation screens are amateurish, and there is nothing special about the packaging.
But, like Christmas morning, I have saved the best for last. The sole saving grace: The episodes come complete with their original sponsor tags and cast commercials. You'll see Uncle Joe and Kate hawking Ivory Soap, Jethro chowing down on Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and the best of the best, Jed and Granny discussing the merits of Winston Cigarettes! Even the end credits were left intact with the rotating sponsor product pictures in the lower left corner. For years, I've watched shows from this era in syndication and I always wondered why there was an empty corner in the end credits. Now I know why!
The Beverly Hillbillies/Petticoat Junction Christmas Collection is an amusing diversion of nostalgic holiday cheer. It doesn't represent the best of either TV series but it's a must have if you're collecting the box sets on either show (since apparently these episodes aren't included in the complete season sets). For those of you who collect old TV commercials (particularly cigarette commercials), this DVD is worth the price for just those few seconds of film. The commercials are incredibly crisp and extremely entertaining. Where else can you see your favorite TV character enjoying the fresh, clean taste of a Winston Cigarette (now in a crush proof box)?
On the charge of corny in the first degree, I find The Beverly Hillbillies/Petticoat Junction Christmas Collection guilty!
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Scales of Justice
• New Episode Introductions by Linda Kaye Henning
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