Saturday, May 5, 2012

15 Greatest TV Characters of the 1960s: Granny


Name: Daisy Mae "Granny" Moses

Portrayed by: Irene Ryan

TV series: The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-71)

Occupation: Matriarch of the Clampett household.

Residences:  Granny claimed to have been from Tennessee. However, prior to Jed finding oil while hunting, the Clampett Clan lived in Bug Tussle (which may have been in Arkansas or Missouri). Once the OK Oil Company made Jed a millionaire, the family moved to the mansion in Beverly Hills.

Family and Friends: Her deceased daughter was Rose Ellen. Jed Clampett is her son-in-law; Elly May is her granddaughter; Jethro is her grand-nephew and Jethrine is her grand-niece. Granny's friend Pearl Bodine is Jed's cousin and Jethro and Jethrine's mother. Got all that?

Famous Delectable Dishes and Potions: Possum & grits; pickled hog jowls (yum!); Granny's "roomatiz" medicine and spring tonic.


Talents:  Granny was noted for her vittles, predicting the weather, and her talents as a physician. She sometimes referred to herself as Dr. Granny, M.D.--the initials standing for "mountain doctor."

Classic quotes: (to Jethro) "And how do we do that, Mr. Sixth Grade Graduate?"


Classic episodes: "Jed Gets the Misery" (Jed feign illness so Granny can tend to "doctoring"); "The Giant Jackrabbit" (Granny thinks an escaped kangaroo is a super-sized jackrabbit); "The Possum Day Parade" (Granny campaigns against Mrs. Drysdale for the Possum Queen title).

15 comments:

  1. I love this series - and Granny in particular. I loved how she made sure Jethro knew his "guzzintas" and especially how she adored Glorie Swanson. Well, gotta take a dip into the cee-ment pond! Thanks for remembering Granny. I am hoping Arnold Ziffle makes an appearance soon.....

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    1. FlickChick, I thought Granny and Jethro had great rapport. Some of the show's funniest scenes were between them. As for Arnold...we may need to add a special 16th TV character of the sixties....

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  2. Now, who can resist picked hog jowls? I ask you.

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    1. And possum and grits! You know, Irene Ryan "authored" a Granny cookbook during the show's run. Years later, Max Baer (Jethro) had a hand in publishing another Granny cookbook.

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  3. Funny stuff Rick! I was a regular viewer of The Beverly Hillbillies once it hit syndication.

    Granny's back and forth with Elly Mae and Jane was the best.
    Page

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    1. Jane Hathaway was a great character, too. It was hard to pick just one from THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, but we decided Granny was the most enduring.

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  4. Now you're talking!

    Irene Ryan was nothing less than a treasure as Granny Clampett.

    It was said on the DVD commentary that the role was originally intended for Paul Henning favourite Bea Benaderet (Pearl), but when they watched Irene's audition Bea said "There's your Granny."

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    1. CW, I just read that recently. I can't imagine Ms. Benaderet as Granny--Irene Ryan just owned the role.

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  5. Rick, "The Beverly Hillbillies" must be the ultimate guilty TV pleasure. In its day it was often cited as a prime example of the "Great Wasteland" of television, yet it was still the #1 show for years. Granny is definitely the standout character. I saw her recently in a pair of Jean Renoir films made in Hollywood in the 40s. In one ("Diary of a Chambermaid") she played a naive, girlish maid. In the other ("Woman on the Beach") she played a rather well-groomed housewife and mother. What a kick to see her playing two characters so different from each other, and from Granny, but with that scrawny build and distinctive voice of hers so recognizable!

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    1. A common misperception is that CBS cancelled THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, GREEN ACRES, and PETTICOAT JUNCTION become it felt its programming had become too rural. That may have factored into the decision, but--more significantly--these shows had suffered quick rating declines. A Top 12 TV series for its first seven years, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES had fallen out of the Top 30 by the 1970-71 season.

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  6. Gosh, what nostalgia your TV characters series is bringing back to me! Who could forget the indomitable Granny, matriarch of the Clampett Clan? Irene Ryan's career went back a looooong way, but she'll always be remembered for this show. Thanks!

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    1. As a kid, I remember being shocked when I saw a much young Irene Ryan in a movie. After THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, she starred in PIPPIN on Broadway. Sadly, she died shortly thereafter from a brain tumor.

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  7. Granny was certainly unforgettable! I don't think I would want to be a guest at her dinner table, however. It was fun to see the first woman, and a wonderfully strong one, on the 15 great TV characters list. Well done, Rick!

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    1. Toto, Granny was supposed to a fine cook--but I think I'd also pass on a home-cooked dinner with the Clampetts. By the way, I forgot to mention that TCM host Robert Osborne appeared in the first episode of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES back in his acting days.

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  8. My mother grew up in the hill of Kentucky and had some of the most hillbilly-esque relatives known to man. Granny reminds me of many of the females in her family. She was the best thing about The Beverly Hillbillies.

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