Ode to Elly May

Beverly Hillbillies cast

In a pop culture landscape littered with genies , witches and talking horses, when it came to improbable concepts the Beverly Hillbillies was a stand out for 9 seasons starting in 1962. And Donna Douglas was a standout in the series.

Elly May was an eyeful!

No one sauntered around a ceement pond like Elly May Clampett.

With her swelling breasts and skintight, decidedly un-designer jeans, Donna Douglas a.k.a. Elly May fueled a generation of pre pubescent baby boomer boys fantasies.

When a voluptuous Elly May uncharacteristically donned a pricey Balenciaga gown at the prodding of spinsterish Miss Hathaway we watched with delight as she comes into site at the top of the stairs smiling, teetering down the winding steps on spiked heels as the camera lovingly lavishes attention on her hour-glass figure slowly panning from head to toe.

The admiring spell is broken moments later when her cousin Jethro snorts loudly “Always knew you was just a sissy, Elly May!” stopping Elly in her tracks.

Elly May Clampett and Jethro Bodine

Elly May Clampett could wrassle any man including cousin Jethro Bodine

“I can whup you any day o’ the week Jethro Bodine!” she shouts  as she trips down the stairs and starts pounding on her dim-witted cousin

Later when a polite young man tries to kiss her hand she spins him flat on his back, exclaiming that “he was fixin to bite me.”

She was totally oblivious to her charms,  and that was part of her appeal.

elly mae clampett

Donna Douglas who played Elly May for 9 seasons on CBS passed away last week , leaving us with one less TV icon.


Unlike the adult eroticism of a Playmate centerfold her utter naiveté made her a luscious but non threatening sexual object.There was never a hint of lasciviousness in this pig-tail-sportin’ critter-lovin’ buxom beauty.

And unlike the stealth required of a 1960’s youngin’ in sneaking a glimpse of a Playboy bunny, the curvaceous Clampett was displayed right there on our 17 inch RCA TV’s in our own wood-paneled suburban dens.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett holding a gun

Ya Can’t Get a Gal With a Gun ! Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett

Elly also appealed to girls who didn’t want to conform to society expectations. You see according to her father Jed, she wasn’t like other girls.

Because the Clampetts were strangers in Californy, and “getting powerful homesick,” Mr. Drysdale ( in the hopes of keeping their oil soaked millions in his Beverly Hills Bank) was always trying to introduce Elly May to “get meetin’ other gals like herself.”

“But Elly ain’t like other girls” explained Paw. “They dress up all fancy. You know she hates sissy things.” Says Jed “I reckon that’s the wrong way for her to be,” Jed admitted sadly, “and its my fault for tryin to go against nature.”

High class folks were always trying to get her to “fit in.” But as Jed pointed out “They don’t cotton to gals who wrassle or slide down banisters or climb trees.”

Shucks, I reckin’  Elly may have spoke to lots of girls too.

R.I.P. Elly May


Copyright (©) 2014 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved




  1. randy

    sad, just sad….one by one the icons from my childhood are disappearing….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. It was a lot of fun. The other female that occupied a young’uns attention was Tina Louise as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Monère Wanner Image Consultancy

    Thank you for reminding me of another woman who stayed true to herself, despite the pressures to conform.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sdaven5191

    It’s been a sudden and star-laden loss we’ve been subjected to in the last few weeks, from the lovely and talented Ms Douglas to the beautiful but impatient with the studio system and its unconventional ways Luise Rainer, and several others. It seems lately a daily event we are finding more and more of the stars of our youth are leaving us. Makes one feel their own sense of mortality that much keener to see those we have spent our lives admiring and immortalizing on both large screen and small leave us, especially at the beginning of the New Year, when we try hard to hope for happier things. Just the sight of our idols in the media in which they captured our hearts brings back many more memories of times and places we thought were long forgotten. Watching Elly May Clampett transform from lovely and critter-lovin’, tree-climbing, jeans-wearing, cousin-whomping, tomboyish farm girl into beautifully coiffured, bejeweled, evening gown encased starlet was enough sometimes to make like-minded young women hope it would be possible for them to be able to span that broad arena of activities themselves someday.
    My mother walked into my teenager’s bedroom one weekend afternoon, to find on my floor a softball, wooden bat and leather fielding glove lying next to a pair of sparkling silver high heeled pumps sitting underneath the carefully hung formal evening ofgown I had worn the night before to a Military Ball, and found that ample evidence to show I was working hard at making that broad range of possibilities work for me too!
    Not long after, my husband yet to be, as yet unknown to me, walked out of his barracks building and down the sidewalk on a sunny Saturday afternoon to find an attractive young lady dressed in well fitting jeans and flowered blouse, crouched down on the sidewalk with one hand inside a carburetor, helping an eager young airman mechanic repair it. His hand was just that much too large to fit down inside it to hold the pieces in place, but mine was not. Never being shy about either mechanical things, or getting my hands dirty, I offered my own, and the job was quickly done. To make a very long story more compact, I was introduced to the new airman who had only arrived the week prior from his technical training as a heavy equipment mechanic in Illinois, and through a series of events, some I discovered later being contrived on his part to get to know me better, we became inseparable friends, then engaged eight months later, followed by a wedding in a park azalea garden nine months following, and 38 years later, here we are! And he admitted later on that the thing that most attracted him, besides my smile, wavy brown hair and blue eyes, was my talent and delight in being able to take on any role I chose, whether it was batting or fielding softballs, car repair, or dressing up for any event that came my way. Later on that would include motherhood three years after marrying, college student (Deans List, Magna Cum Laud and Phi Theta Kappa) and certified surgical technologist, and now grandmother!
    Being treated to the wide range of possibilities our lives could include was a definite blessing from growing up in the late 60’s to mid 70’s. Watching Elly May Clampett assume so many roles in one character certainly didn’t hurt my chances at all! The limitations displayed by others only served as an object lesson to me as examples of what not to do!

    Liked by 1 person

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