Strictly speaking, there are but four basic plotlines during the first season of Petticoat Junction. The first concerns the efforts by widow Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet) to make a financial go of the Shady Rest, the quaint traveler's hotel she owns in the Illinois town of Hooterville. The second involves the romantic travails of Kate's three extremely attractive daughters, Betty Jo (Linda Kaye) , Billie Jo (Jeannine Riley), and Bobbie Jo (Patricia Woodell). The third is devoted to the limitless get-rich-quick schemes hatched by Kate's lazy uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan), in lieu of seeking out anything resembling gainful employment. And the fourth is manifested in the tireless and fruitless crusade by Homer Bedloe (Charles Lane), scheming troubleshooter for the C.F.&W. Railroad line, to shut down and scrap the Hooterville Cannonball, the line's sole surviving steam locomotive -- thereby throwing venerable engineers Charley Pratt (Smiley Burnette) and Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis) out of work.
Worth noting this season are the various actors cast as the boyfriends of the Bradley girls, including Ken Osmond of Leave It to Beaver fame in one of his rare non-Eddie Haskell roles; and Jack Bannon, the son of series regular Bea Benaderet and later a regular on Lou Grant. In other casting notes, Elvia Allman, who in subsequent seasons played Kate Bradley's obnoxious social rival Sema Plout, appears in a different role in the episode "A Night at the Hooterville Hilton"; Dennis Hopper, five years removed from Easy Rider, plays a bearded itinerant poet in "Bobbie Jo and the Beatnik"; future Batman leading man Adam West is seen as doctor in "Hooterville vs. Hollywood"; Steve Franken, fresh from his stint as the insufferable Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on Dobie Gillis, is equally insufferable as the son of Homer Bedloe in "Bedloe & Son"; and another Dobie Gillis alumnae, Sheila James (aka Zelda Gillis), joins the three Bradley sisters to form a female version of the Beatles in "The Ladybugs." (No, her character name isn't "Bingo"!) The final episode of the season introduces Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper as Mr. and Mrs. Ziffel, who would be firmly established as the "parents" of porcine superstar Arnold the Pig on the Petticoat Junction spinoff Green Acres. Ranking fourth in the 1963-1964 Nielsen ratings, the first season of Petticoat Junction was filmed in black-and-white -- and as such, has been removed from the series' all-color syndicated package. ~ Hal Erickson
Cast & Crew
Bea Benaderet - Kate Bradley
Edgar Buchanan - Joseph P. `Uncle Joe' Carson
Linda Kaye - Betty Jo Bradley
Pat Woodell - Bobbie Jo Bradley
Lori Saunders - Bobbie Jo Bradley