Mr. Drysdale's secretary accidentally distracted mourners at JFK's gravesite
''I was never so embarrassed in my life.''
There's something immediate about celebrity. No matter what we're doing, if a famous face goes past, chances are we'll stop what we're doing to gawk. Because, let's face it, most of us don't get to partake in all that glitzy, glamorous stuff. So, suddenly, we're in the presence of fame and notoriety. You bet we'll drop our jaws if someone from TV walks past. It's a weird out-of-body experience when the world of TV and film intersects with our world.
Now, Nancy Kulp has never been the most famous person in the world. But, for some time, her face was inescapable. The Beverly Hillbillies was popular enough (in a television landscape that was way less populated than it is now) that Kulp was very frequently recognized as Mr. Drysdale's secretary, Miss Jane Hathaway.
While the shininess of Hollywood feels lightyears away, it's important to take a moment now and again to remind ourselves that these are people, too. Even the stars of The Beverly Hillbillies have emotions, despite how omnipresent they seem while beaming into every living room in America.
"I can not go anywhere in this country without being recognized," Kulp told the Abilene, Texas Reporter-News in 1981. "I was at a filling station in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and they recognized me.
"They yell at me — 'Miss Jane, Miss Jane!' It's really remarkable how the memory of that show has stayed in the public's mind and memory."
Oshkosh wasn't the only place Kulp was recognized and certainly wasn't the most awe-inspiring.
"I went to John F. Kennedy's grave," she said. "And there was a tour group there, and suddenly they all stopped looking at the grave and began crowding around me. I felt terrible. I said to them, 'I don't want to talk to you now! [...] I was never so embarrassed in my life."