Television producer and writer Paul Henning created some of the most memorable sitcoms in history. Sandwiched between The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres was Petticoat Junction, which starred his daughter, Linda Kaye. In hindsight, Petticoat may not resonate with younger generations quite like Hillbillies and Green Acres, which was actually its spin-off, but the series is no less beloved by those who grew up with it in the 1960s.
The rural comedy about a train stop hotel between Hooterville and Pixley delighted with its talented cast — right down to the masterful dog. (More on him later.) Let's discuss just how interesting this cheerful series truly was.
1. Bea Benaderet was the original voice of Betty Rubble
As Kate, the proprietor of the Shady Rest Hotel, veteran actress Benaderet finally got her chance to lead a cast. She had a couple near misses, as she was nearly cast as Ethyl on I Love Lucy and Granny on Beverly Hillbillies. Her voice, however, had been a star. Benaderet worked on several radio programs, such those by Jack Benny and Mel Blanc. She got to play the prehistoric wife of the latter on the early seasons of The Flintstones, when she became the perfect voice of Betty Rubble from 1960–64. Accept no substitutes.
2. The same train appeared in 'Back to the Future III'
Seemingly everything on Petticoat Junction was a star, down to the vehicles and animals. The locomotive that served as the Hooterville Cannonball on the show was a storied Hollywood choo-choo. The Sierra No. 3 got its start early in westerns, chugging along Gary Cooper in The Virginian, High Noon and many more. The machine worked into the 1990s, even getting a time-traveling makeover in Back to the Future III.
3. Higgins, the dog, is perhaps the most famous actor on the show
Does that adorable face look familiar? Posing here with the Petticoat women, Higgins was only honing his chops for greater success. While only known as "Dog" on the sitcom, he become a household name late in life as the titular hero of Benji. Yes, he's Benji! The mutt was close pals with Edgar Buchanan, who acted with him on Petticoat, Green Acres and Benji.
4. Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo and Betty Jo formed a fictional band called The Ladybugs and actually played Ed Sullivan
In 1964, Beatlemania knew no borders. The Bradley daughters catch a case of Mop Top Fever and form their own band, a tribute of sorts called The Ladybugs. Ed Sullivan was so enamored with the idea, he had the fake act play for real on his television show. They covered "I Saw Her Standing There"—well, "I saw Him Standing There." The group also released a 45 single, "Sooner or Later."
5. Frank Cady is the only actor to the play the same character on three television shows at the same time
Some knew him as Doc Williams on Ozzie and Harriet, but Cady truly put in overtime in the 1960s. His character Sam Drucker crossed over to the Petticoat spin-off Green Acres as well as Hillbillies, and by the end of the decade he was appearing on all three simultaneously. Not even Higgins can claim that.
6. Working titles for the series included 'Ozark Widow' and 'Dern Tootin''
It is never stated where exactly the Shady Rest Hotel is. Hooterville is a fake location, while Pixley is tiny town in California. A good guess is Missouri, as one of the original titles of the series was Ozark Widow, not to mention the fact that Paul Henning's wife would entertain him with tales of her grandfather's hotel in Missouri. Other working titles included Dern Tootin' and Whistle Stop. Petticoat Junction was the better option — even if it is not technically a junction.