Just a reminder that 'The Beverly Hillbillies' has some of the highest rated episodes of all time
A kangaroo stole the show.
In this day and age, it's hard to imagine two thirds of the country sitting down to watch the same sitcom.
What was once an industry dominated by three networks has turned into a saturated market with cable networds, DVR, On Demand and streaming services. The way we consume television isn't the same, and we aren't all gathering to watch our favorite shows at the same time.
It's easy to forget there was a point in time when a majority of the country would tune into the same program. It happened when Lucy Ricardo gave birth to Little Ricky on I Love Lucy, and when Elvis Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
By the early 1960s, television was a way of life. It also marked the arrival of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Right off the bat, the show was an immense succes. It was the top-rated program during its first season, and is currently the only sitcom in history to claim that achievement.
By the time the first season wrapped in 1963, audiences were hooked on the Clampetts. In fact, for the first two years, the sitcom averaged 57 million viewers per week, or about 30 percent of the country.
January 8, 1964, marked the most-watched half hour broadcast in television history. That Wednesday evening, 65 percent of people with television sets were tuned into "The Giant Jackrabbit," when Granny mistakes a kangaroo for a — you guessed it — jackrabbit.
It couldn't have hurt that President Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union address, his first after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, preceeded the episode. But that doesn't explain what happened the following week.
The episode that aired on January 15, 1964, "The Girl from Home," also netted huge ratings, becoming the fourth most-watched episode of the decade.
These weren't some special episodes with cliffhangers or season finales. They were normal, run-of-the-mill episodes with tons of gags and laughs. It didn't matter that the critics loathed The Beverly Hillbillies. People showed up to watch week after week.
It's safe to say no family will come close to breaking the Clampett's record. After all, they struck ratings oil.