I would watch Petticoat Junction at my grandmother’s and loved seeing Kate Bradley’s three daughters Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo…
The show was created by Paul Henning who also created The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. All three shows were in the same universe so to speak. They all crossed over into each other’s shows. Petticoat Junction took place in Hooterville, the same location as Green Acres. The show ran 7 seasons from 1963 to 1970.
The series takes place at the Shady Rest Hotel, which is run by Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet) and the three daughters. The Hotel is usually empty and barely staying open. The only way to the Hotel is the train called the Cannonball ran by engineer Charley Pratt (Smiley Burnette) and fireman/railway conductor Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis). Uncle Joe played by the great character actor Edgar Buchanan was more a hindrance than a help. Joe would come up with get rich quick schemes that would cost the Kate money and time.
They did have a dog…name “The Dog” played by Higgins…better known as the original Benji. Sam Drucker played by Frank Cady was a cast member in this show and in Green Acres. Out of the three shows, this one was probably the weakest but I still enjoyed it…and I still watch it.
The show lasted 7 seasons. Bea Benaderet died of lung cancer on October 13, 1968, during the 6th season. Her position in the show…but, not her character was replaced by June Lockhart as the matriarch of the Hotel. She played Dr. Janet Craig, a medical professional who rents a room at the Shady Rest Hotel…and gives the three sisters advice.
The ever-changing sisters…
The first two seasons the sisters were played by – Billy Jo – Jeannine Riley, Bobbie Jo – Pat Woodell, and Betty Jo – Linda Kaye Henning
In the third season, Jeannine Riley and Pat Woodell left the show. They were replaced with Gunilla Hutton and Lori Saunders (my favorite)… and of course, Higgins played “The Dog”
In the 4th season, Gunilla Hutton left the show and was replaced with Meredith MacRae. This would remain the lineup until the end.
Petticoat Junction was a good family show with laughs. Who wouldn’t want to stay at the Shady Rest Hotel and travel to Hooterville and Pixley on the Cannonball? Seeing Betty Jo, Billy Jo, and Bobbie Jo would not be a chore either.