Friday, August 01, 2014


The Ladybugs Cover The Beatles

Last night on MeTV, I watched Episode 27 from Season 1 of that second rural America hit from Paul Henning, Petticoat Junction. In the early 1960s, Henning hit it big with The Beverly Hillbillies, and CBS ordered another similar sitcom. Petticoat Junction is the story of a Widow named Kate Bradley raising three teenage girls named Billy Jo, Bobby Jo and Betty Jo, with the help of Uncle Joe Carson. They live at, and run, the Shady Rest hotel, in the small town of Hooterville. Season 1 of Petticoat Junction aired from September 1963 to June 1964. The girls began the season wearing dresses to their knees and buttoned up to their necks. But in Episode 27, there was a big change, which reflected the big change in entertainment that had just occurred in the USA - The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan for three weeks and took the country by storm!

Joe decides that the girls, plus their friend, should start a singing group to rival The Beatles. Kate thinks this is all an April Fools joke, come early. The show aired on March 24th 1964 and The Ladybugs had actually been on the real Ed Sullivan show the Sunday before this Tuesday night episode! Jeannine Riley, Pat Woodell and Linda Kaye Henning, daughter of creator Paul Henning, were joined by the sheriff's daughter, played by Sheila James who had played Zelda Gilroy on Dobie Gillis and was recently a California State Senator. The girls, who were playing teenagers but were all in their early 20s, were dressed in sweatshirt mini-dresses with Ladybug emblems on them. They wore tight semi-sheer black leggings or tights and black high heel shoes. They performed two songs. The first was an original called, I'll be your Ladybug if you'll be my Beatle. The second song is the one in the video below. The Ladybugs actually did a cover of the early Beatles hit song, I Saw Her Standing There! CBS must have had some pull and budget to be able to license a huge international hit to be covered on their show. Check out the fun, as the girls try to impress agent Col. Partridge and import a group of screaming boys for added excitement during their audition.

Additional Petticoat Junction trivia: Bea Benaderet, mother Kate Bradley in the series, also was the voice of Betty Rubble in the first 4 seasons of The Flintstones! Later in the series, the two older sisters were played by different actresses but creator Henning's daughter Linda played Betty Jo the entire time. She was cast in a romantic relationship with Mike Minor and later married him in real life and on the show. Mike was the son of My Three Sons producer, Don Fedderson! Paul Henning scored again with his third rural series, Green Acres. Shopkeeper Sam Drucker, played by Frank Cady, appeared in all three shows! Dennis Hopper and Adam West were both guest stars in season 1 of Petticoat Junction!

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