Sunday, June 01, 2008

Kinfolk said “move away from there”

City folk have long enjoyed poking fun at their rural cousins, and yet it seems many in the cities and sprawling suburbs envy what they believe to be the simpler, more natural life of the folks they call hillbillies and country bumpkins.

The media has, for decades, helped to foster the stereotypical view the inhabitants of rural areas, especially mountain folk. Since the 1930s, Al Capp’s comic strip exploits of Li'l Abner, Daisy Mae, and all the folks of Dogpatch were a regular feature in newspapers across North America.

In 1960, CBS Television aired the first episode of the Andy Griffith Show. The setting for the show was the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Many believe that Mayberry was modeled after Mount Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s childhood home. Sheriff Andy Taylor, Deputy Barney Fife, Aunt Bea, and Opie were portrayed as small town Appalachian folks. The opening scene for the show is deeply ingrained in the minds of anyone of a certain age. Sheriff Andy and you Opie are walking back from a day of fishing at Myers Lake, accompanied by the now familiar whistling of Earle Hagen’s “The Fishin’ Hole”, which Hagen wrote for the show. Earl Hagen passed away last week, he had written music for many television shows throughout his life. No small town in Appalachia would be complete without a moonshiner and Mayberry had the Darling family, played by the bluegrass band The Dillards. The Dillards, and their music, were featured several times throughout the show’s history.

The Andy Griffith Show was hugely popular. The quaint tales of small town America captivated the country. Then in 1962, while shootin’ at some food, ol’ Jed Clampett struck it rich and kinfolk said “Jed, move away from there.” The Beverly Hillbillies were a surprise hit for the studios. Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie May were panned by the critics, but the show was one of the most popular shows on television. While plenty of fun was poked at the quirky family from the Ozarks, the real comedy was the satirical view of the contrived lifestyles of the wealthy inhabitants of those Beverly Hill mansions. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs provided the show’s theme music and made several guest appearances.

Back in the Clampett’s home region near Hooterville was Kate Bradley’s Shady Rest Hotel and Mr. Drucker’s store. The Shady Rest was located at Petticoat Junction. One would assume that Petticoat Juntion lies at the crossing of two rail lines, but only one was ever mentioned on the show. Lazy ol’ Uncle Joe was the caretaker at the Shady Rest, but I don’t recall ever seeing him actually do anything around the place.

Hooterville looked to me to be a fine place to live. Makes one wonder why the Clampetts moved away like they did. It was such a nice place that Oliver Wendell Douglas, a successful New York attorney, along with his wife Lisa, left the city life for the fresh air farm life in Hooterville.

By 1970, CBS Television purged its primetime lineup of all these rural-based shows for the hip new shows based on life in the big city. For all the fun poked at rural life, these shows remain popular in syndication.

I kinda miss those times when television was more rural, and entertaining.

Earle Hagen - The Fishin' Hole (Theme from the Andy Griffith Show.mp3)

Flatt and Scruggs - The Ballad of Jed Clampett.mp3

Curt Massey - Petticoat Junction.mp3

Green Acres Theme.mp3

The Dillards - Dooley.mp3


Anonymous Paul said...

In case anybody is wondering about the words to the Andy Griffith Show theme song, check out this version: Henry Kaiser – Fishin’ Hole

June 02, 2008 10:32 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

you know ... i've always enjoyed andy and the hillbillies (they poked fun at everyone pretty much universally), but green acres and petticoat junction seemed kind of a one way affair to me. and this is coming from an out-and-out city boy.

thanks also for the link, Paul. i enjoy my visits to your blog when i make it there ... old hank has been coming up a lot on the ipod, lately ... (i keep it set on random.)

June 04, 2008 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just sit right back and hear a tale
A tale of a big blue bus
With riders from everywhere
Whil Ed does entertain us...

Enjoyed the old show theme songs, enjoy the bus, and mourn the recent passings.

June 05, 2008 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks, Ed, for all of these. This is sacred music to us couch taters!

June 05, 2008 7:24 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Favorite Andy Griffith Show line(s):

Setting: at a mixer at Mrs. Wylie's house.

Andy: Well want to find someone and dance?
Barney: Nah, these women are dawgs.
Andy: Barney!!
Barney: Andy, if you flew a quail through this room, all these women would point!

Ed, there was a song the Dillards would play on a few episodes, I believe Andy once called it "Slimy River Bottom". It was also the final song played at the end of the Return to Mayberry movie when Barney gets married. It's bluegrass, has no vocals and I always liked it. Any idea of the tune I'm talking about? I've always liked it.

Hope you are well...Chris

June 07, 2008 1:18 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Chris, that one always makes me cry.
I believe the song you are thinking of, called “Slimy River Bottom” on the show is a song simply entitled “Doug’s Tune.” The Dillards played it at least twice on the show, as best I can remember.
The Dillards – Doug’s Tune.mp3

June 08, 2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

That's it!! Thanks Ed, made my day!

June 09, 2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger 田园树 said...

blue bus,go go go!!

June 11, 2008 1:13 AM  
Anonymous blackdogteatro said...

Hey Ed
What is it ? Why does everyone want to hear the same things for twenty five years until a new generation tips the scales ? I'm beginning to think that the general public is behind what makes the money bags turn over the same tune with a new face a new cover. It may be that one can't get enough of a good thing. Global expansion and goes on on my side of the planet en double vitesse. Don't know from where came the original which brings me around.

OLD BLUE BUS travels the original same road close to the heart of the matter - n'est-ce pas ? All these tunes especially the one that whistles goes back right up to an old vinyl of the Dillards lost in memorabilia somewhere, can't remember where.

The corridors of memory make the BLUE BUS smooth sailing...

all thoughts fly...k.

June 12, 2008 2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ed,
You still kickin'?
Haven't seen a post in a while. Hope all is well on the Bus!

June 23, 2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Skippy and all,
I have been meaning to get a post up this week, but real life has had me busy with other matters.

I have a whole bunch of great new music (and old, but new to me)to share with the riders on the bus. I'll try to get something posted by the weekend.

June 24, 2008 7:36 PM  

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