Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Ten years after the cancellation of the cornpone comedy series The Beverly Hillbillies, the property was revived -- mercifully briefly -- in the form of a two-hour movie. Originally titled Solving the Energy Crisis, The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies found Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas and Nancy Kulp recreating their sitcom roles as millionaire hillbilly Jed Clampett (who'd moved back to the hills after dividing up his fortune amongst his loved ones), his daughter Elly May (now the owner of a small petting zoo), and bank secretary-turned-government functionary Jane Hathaway. Max Baer Jr. took a pass on the project, thus the role of Jed's nephew Jethro Bodine-now a "sophisticated Hollywood producer"-was played by Ray Young. And with Irene Ryan (Granny) and Raymond Bailey (Milburn Drysdale) having passed on, their replacements were Imogene Coca, and former Hogan's Heroes regular Werner Klemperer as government bureaucrat C. D. Medford, Jane Hathaway's new boss. Also on hand was bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs, who with his late partner Lester Flatt has composed and performed the original Beverly Hillbillies theme song "The Ballad of Jed Clampett"; Shug Fisher and Shad Heller, who'd appeared in several 1969 episodes of the original series; and two veterans from The Beverly Hillbillies' sister series Petticoat Junction, Linda Kaye Henning and Charles Lane. The plot, if anyone cares, finds the Clampetts joining forces with Miss Jane to solve the energy shortage, using Granny's "white lightning" as a fuel substitute. As the film draws to a close, it looks as if Miss Jane and her boss Mr. Medford are about to be hitched in a good ol' Ozark wedding. Originally telecast on October 6, 1981, Return of the Beverly Hillbillies was intended as the pilot for a full-scale revival of the earlier series, but this was not to be.
employment, energy, espionage, hillbilly, moonshine, national, secret-plan