TVShowsOnDVD.com announces that CBS-Paramount will be releasing Petticoat Junction: The Official First Season to DVD this December 16th. If “official” means what I think it should mean—fans will be able to enjoy the first thirty-episodes of creator Paul Henning’s popular rural sitcom that premiered on CBS-TV September 24, 1963, and lasted until 1970 when the network began its famous “purge” of rural-oriented shows. (Although to be honest, it yukked on two seasons too long—they should have called it quits when star Bea Benaderet passed away.)
Actually, TVShows’ David Lambert explains that when CBS-Paramount means “official,” they’re referencing “the fact that the DVDs available so far are all public domain episodes, including those that MPI released in 2005 as Petticoat Junction: Ultimate Collection (plus a Christmas episode on a separate MPI release).” I have both of the MPI releases already, but I certainly won’t pass up the opportunity to get the full debut season…particularly when my current copies of same were obtained through slightly shady yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum means.
CBS asked Henning to create Junction only because they had an open spot on Tuesday nights for the 1963-64 season and knowing his track record with The Beverly Hillbillies, they figured he could come up with another winner…which he did; Junction was the highest-rated new show of the season, finishing #4 for the year. It’s a bit blander than Hillbillies, which despite its shortcomings had a sharp streak of social satire to hook audiences, but in revisiting Junction last year I discovered that it’s actually not that bad—and that the interplay between Benaderet and co-star Edgar Buchanan was truly something to watch. When I was a young couch spud, the syndication package contained only the color episodes of the series—so it’s nice to be able to experience Junction from the beginning. (And if that’s not enough to sell you—at least they’re not splitting the seasons…yet.) All aboard!