Petticoat Junction was the great TV writer Paul Henning's
second television situation comedy, following his all-time classic The Beverly Hillbillies
Petticoat Junction ran on the CBS television network in the USA from 1963 through 1970, and lives on in seemingly endless syndicated re-runs the world over. The sitcom's popularity peaked again in the mid 1990s when it was revived by the "classic TV" cable network, Nick at Nite.
The premise of the sitcom is semi-autobiographical, being inspired by Ruth Henning's (Paul's wife) grandparents, who owned and operated a little hotel in the hamlet of Eldon, Missouri. From this seed came the script, centred on The Shady Rest Hotel's proprietor Kate Bradley and her three daughters who'd take in city-slicker visitors, travelling salesmen, and so on.
A retrospectively charming aspect of the creation of the storyline is that even in the year 1963, the creators were introducing the program with the sentiment that "places like The Shady Rest Hotel in rustic Petticoat Junction are fast disappearing". Almost forty years later, many of us are fond of reflecting on the same sentiment!
The first two seasons of Petticoat Junction were filmed in black and white, while series' three through seven appeared in colour. It debuted in the 9pm slot, between The Red Skelton Hour and The Jack Benny Program, and was an instant hit.
Petticoat Junction Theme
Written by Paul Henning & Curt Massey
Sung by Curt Massey
Copyright 1963 Carolintone Music Co., Inc.
Come ride the little train that is rollin' down the track to the Junction,
Forget about your cares, it is time to relax at the Junction,
Lotsa curves, you bet'N even more when you get to the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
There's a little hotel called the Shady Rest at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
It is run by Kate, come and be her guest at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
And that's Uncle Joe, he's a-movin' kinda slow at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
When they hear the dinner bell from the Shady Rest Hotel at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
Folks will walk a country mile for that chicken country-style at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
But the dishes to observe are those pretty gals who serve at the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
Well, we'll soon be leavin' town
There's old Charley oilin' round
Can she make it up the hill
At least to Hooterville
The pressure's on the rise
Floyd is burning railroad ties
Everybody get inside
Doesn't cost a cent to ride
Come one and come all and we'll take that Cannonball to the Junction, (Petticoat Junction!)
Bea Benaderet - Kate Bradley (1963-1968)
Edgar Buchanan - Uncle Joe Carson
Smiley Burnette - Charlie Pratt (1963-1967)
Frank Cady - Sam Drucker
Rufe Davis - Floyd Smoot (1963-1968)
Linda Henning - Betty Jo Bradley Elliott
Elna Hubbell - Kathy Jo Elliott (1968-1970)
Gunilla Hutton - Billie Jo Bradley (1965-1966)
June Lockhart - Dr. Janet Craig (1968-1970)
Meredith MacRae - Billie Jo Bradley (1966-1970)
Mike Minor - Steve Elliott (1966-1970)
Jeannine Riley - Billie Jo Bradley (1963-1965)
Lori Saunders - Bobbie Jo Bradley (1965-1970)
Pat Woodell - Bobbie Jo Bradley (1963-1965)
Research sources include NBCi, TV Tome and the "Welcome to Hooterville" fan site.