Frank Cady was the connecting link between three Paul Henning series
You may recognize Frank Cady from Petticoat Junction, The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres, for playing the same role across all three!
If Frank Cady looks familiar to you, that's because he probably is. Cady acted in three successful TV series, played the same character in each and did it all at the same time. In other words, Cady was everywhere in the 1960s.
Cady played the role of Sam Drucker in Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies. These three Paul Henning hits were all rated among the top 25 TV series at one point in time, and all three have gone down in history for being great television.
Cady was the link between the trio of shows. He was a general-store owner and newspaper editor in Hooterville, a big shot in Petticoat Junction and a growing power in The Beverly Hillbillies.
He had great success in the role of Drucker, even without being the star of all three shows.
According to a 1969 interview with Leader-Telegram, Cady began his career as a freelance actor. He worked the first two seasons of Petticoat Junction before gaining momentum.
At the time of this interview, Cady had appeared in over 240 episodes in three shows, during a six year span.
"If you hang around long enough to show these people what you can do, you have a chance in this business," Cady said. "I've never had more fun in my life than playing this character. He's closer to me than any role I've ever played."
Despite playing the same character across three series, Cady said each role felt different to him.
"I don't think the fact that I'm in three shows confuses the viewers," Cady said. "In Green Acres I'm one of the idiots that live at the crossroad. But in Petticoat Junction, Drucker is a solid citizen. Based on that, Drucker is a genius on The Beverly Hillbillies."
In a 1968 interview with The Daily Herald, Henning said memorable characters are the most important aspect of any successful TV show.
And he would know based on all his success.
"You can hate someone in a movie and enjoy it, but you don't want to see him again next week - or ever," Cady said. "In television you need characters you'll like and want to see every week for years."