Hee Haw host Roy Clark recalled his ''first onscreen kiss'' from Donna Douglas on The Beverly Hillbillies
His first day on set, Eddie Albert poked fun at Clark's wardrobe.
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Roy Clark called his casting as the Clampetts' Cousin Roy on The Beverly Hillbillies a "sort of natural thing." He said the creator of the show Paul Henning called his agent with Clark in mind the moment they wrote the character. Clark remembered Henning told his agent, "We’ve written some scripts, so we’d like to have Roy come in and do it."
This was back in 1968, more than a year before Hee Haw would premiere in 1969 and transform Roy Clark from a country singer who Jimmy Dean debuted on The Tonight Show when he guest-hosted in 1963, to a popular and charming country music and sketch comedy variety program host.
Hee Haw would keep Clark on TV for nearly three decades, enjoying regular airing in syndication beyond its initial run that ended in 1971, but as its host, Clark didn't really see himself as an actor. That's why he found the invitation to join The Beverly Hillbillies cast on their show as a recurring character a little daunting.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Clark said, "Although they were playing hillbilly parts, they were great actors, Irene Ryan and Buddy Ebsen, and I guess it was one of the first things that Donna Douglas did and one of the first meaningful things that Max Baer had done.” He didn't know if he could hold up in a scene with these seasoned actors.
But that didn't keep him from trying and in his first acting role on a TV show, Clark claimed in the interview, he even got his first onscreen kiss, saying, “Donna Douglas was my first TV kiss," then adding, "That ain’t bad!”
You can watch this magical moment for the Hee Haw host yourself in the video above, which also features the country crooner performing a sweet rendition of "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane." Before he strums his guitar, he tells Jed, Granny and Elly that it's a song he wrote just after they left their cabin behind, connecting the hit sitcom to the old long-sung bluegrass song.
Listen closely to the song, though, and you'll notice Clark has updated the lyrics on this faded tune, inserting Elly May's name, even. After he finishes the song, that's when Elly, in a show of family affection, pecks Roy Clark on the cheek.
In his long career, Clark took on a handful of acting roles, but it all started with these appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies, with a role Clark described as such: “I thought the character on the show was a combination of me from Hee Haw and what they wanted me to portray. There wasn’t much of a difference there.”
And although Clark cites Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan as stars he was in awe of, it was an encounter with Eddie Albert his first day on set that Clark remembered with the biggest laugh. Albert was filming Green Acres in the same studio, and Clark remembered running into him just as he left costuming. If you watch the clip above, you'll note that Clark wore a very loud plaid suit on the show with even louder bright yellow shoes. Clark said:
"The first day on the set … and I came out of wardrobe with this plaid suit. Oh, lord! And these yellow broke-in boots or shoes and a straw hat and I walked out going over to the set, and Eddie Albert was crossing in front of me. He looked up and said, ‘Your own personal wardrobe?’"
Albert's joke was still cracking Clark up all those years later in the interview, but Clark takes time to explain that above everything else in his nature, no matter what fame he gained, he was always a giant fan first, deeply impressed by the artists whose talents he admired. He ended his interview with a gush, echoing a billion other Eddie Albert fans who would probably react the exact same way when he said, "I thought that was great. Hey, that’s Eddie Albert, and he spoke to me! Spoke to me about my clothes, but he spoke to me!”