DVD Review: The Beverly Hillbillies (The Official Fifth Season)

Jed Clampett and his family had a bit of a shock when they got rich over night from the bubbling crude and moved from a poverty level shack to a mansion in Beverly Hills. But viewers of The Beverly Hillbillies were in for a shock of their own when they tuned into the start of the fifth season during the Fall of 1966 and witnessed their favorite show in color. After fighting it for years, CBS finally agreed to let their shows film and be broadcasted in hues. Someone must have finally realized that black and white wasn’t going to be the standard. While a few shows making the transition lost their feel (The Fugitive and The Andy Griffith Show), The Beverly Hillbillies added a new level to the series. The show was so colorful during its early seasons, it wasn’t that much a jump for the eyes to see Elly Mae was a blond. The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season is a colorful time of hospitality.

“The Party Line” opens the show with Granny returning from a visit to Pearl’s place back East. She brings plenty of gifts, but the biggest thing is a telephone like the one Pearl uses. She wants to install a party line so like Pearl, she can sit by the phone and quietly listen to her neighbor’s conversation. Naturally nobody in Los Angeles uses that service anymore so Mr Drysdale must find a solution to keep his largest clients happy. “Jethro Takes Love Lessons” brings back the dreamy Dash Rip Rock (Larry Pennell) to double date with his Clampett pals. “The Badger Game” and “The Badger Returns” has grifters arrive with hopes of blackmailing their ways into Jed’s riches. But little do they know it’s hard to dig up dirt on these people of the soil. “The Gorilla” has Elly Mae wanting to add a big ape to her menagerie since he could do the chores that Jethro wants to skip. What they don’t know is Mr. Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) has hired them a special Gorilla. “The Gloria Swanson Story” really stars Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard). The iconic actress is moving East and needs to sell off her mansion and a bunch of furniture she no longer needs. The Clampetts fear she is really broke and they decide to help out their favorite actress – even if she doesn’t truly need it.

“Foggy Mountain Soap” brings back Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, the theme song stars. They are in Los Angeles to work on a soap commercial and the makers decide the Clampetts ought to be a part of it. Little do they know that hiring Jethro to direct is an extremely bad move. “The Christmas Present” gives the show a color holiday special that features the family eager to get Mrs. Drysdale a special gift. But how can they get money for it? “The Flying Saucer” is a Rose Bowl parade stunt gone bad when Granny gets her hands on the UFO. “The Indians Are Coming” is a bit of a border war with the tribe. “The Matador” gets Jethro in the mood to bullfight so he can wear the jacket. It’s a precursor to The Brady Bunch‘s Johnny Bravo episode. “Elly Comes Out” is not that kinda episode. “Super Hawg” has Granny freak out when she meets her first hippo. “Delovely and Scruggs” has Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs drop by with Lester’s new wife. She wants to get into the film business and Jethro wants to be the answer with his connections at Mammoth Studios. “The Little Monster” has Mr. Drysdale’s kid nephew wanting to cheat the Clampetts out of expensive arts. Finally “The Dahlia Feud” has Granny and Mrs. Drysdale in a floral battle.

While other shows had issues maintain tone when color entered their world, The Beverly Hillbillies kept things still strange. Things don’t get serious and the characters don’t lose their edge. The stories still revolve around Mr. Drysdale’s greed, the Clampetts misunderstanding the hip world and grifters thinking they can get easy cash. This is still a show you can lay back on the sofa and binge watch – like munching down entire back of pork rinds.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are stunning in both detail and color. I’ve never seen the show look this good. Normally I don’t like watching the color episodes on MeTV since the broadcast masters are fuzzy and faded. You’ll get more out of this view as if you’re seeing the episodes for the first time. The audio is Mono Dolby Digital. The levels will let you feel the Gorilla sounds. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

CBS presents The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official Fifth Season. Starring: Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, Raymond Bailey, Max Baer Jr. & Nancy Kulp. Boxset Contents: 30 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: October 2, 2018.

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