One day into the new plan and already I’m out of whack. Oh well…
(The Second Part Of) The Other Christmas Show: “No Place Like Home”. Original Broadcast: December 26, 1962.
As we rejoin Jed and all his kin, we’re still in the Ozarks, and cousin Pearl’s still trying mightily to land herself an oil man. The current scheme is to convince Mr. Brewster that the town’s hotel is filled up.
Before that, however, we get cozy little piece of business where Jed reflects on the good ol’ cabin that his grandpappy built. Grandpa Clampett was a hearty old fella, the way Jed tells it. He built the cabin in the morning, then went into town, took a shine to a girl there, courted her, and carried her across the threshold before sundown. Then he turns to Granny and asks “Was that 18 and 97 or 18 and 98?” Granny, after thinking about it for a second: “18 and 98.” Jed: “That’s right. She was 18 and he was 98!” Pearl, once they’re alone again, warns Brewster that they’re just pulling his leg. Grandpa wasn’t a day over 90.
And if that little piece of whiskery vaudeville doesn’t hit a sweet spot somewhere inside of you, you’re going to have some rough sledding getting through the rest of 1960s sitcommery. Keep in mind that Andy Griffith is cut from slightly different cloth.
The second flank of the plan is to take Brewster into town for a movie at the theater where Pearl works. It’s a new one, too: BEN HUR…starring Francis X. Bushman. Well, ya gotta take these things in order. Whatever you do, don’t tell ‘em how The Phantom of the Opera ends.
Disrupting the “marry Brewster” campaign as best as he can is the wily Grandpa Winch, who carries a torch for the obviously uninterested Pearl. During an unexpected break in the proceedings, the old guy actually gets down on one knee and goes for broke.
“Be my blushing bride! Before your kinfolk, your neighbors, and Ben Hur I’m askin’ ya!”
There’s also a sweet little bit of business where Elly figures out that the reason her mountain critters won’t come near her while she’s in her mink coat. They’re afraid that she’s going to make them into a coat too, or a pair of fuzzy slippers. That one all comes together in the end, too...but not together enough that she goes vegan or something.
Our Holiday Lesson For Today: If you think the movies are packed with pre-show ads now, it was always so.
Whaddya mean “but it’s worse now”? Hey, a $12 popcorn doesn’t pay for that movie by itself!
Spot ‘Em: Grandpa Winch is played by the remarkable Paul Winchell, pioneering TV ventriloquist and cartoon voice artist. Don’t worry, we’ll be getting back to him soon enough.
Reminder That You Only Paid $5 For This Set: As it is in a few other PD collections, “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” has been replaced by generic bluegrass music. I seem to remember missing a clip from the (still-copyrighted) Ben Hur which was playing on the screen at some point, but I could be wrong.
But Don’t Take My Word For It: Youtube, all in one chunk, and just like my DVD, complete with replaced theme music.
Next: Jack Benny!