After over 40 years, episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies are still some of the highest rated programs in television history. Sixteen episodes of Hillbillies sit on the list of the 100 highest watched programs in television history. The series can be found in reruns but is largely forgotten by today’s audience. An unlikely member of the series’ original cast is working on reminding them.
Max Baer Jr., who played the ever-hungry Jethro on the series, found himself typecast after the 1962-71 sitcom ended and tried to distance himself from his dimwitted on-screen persona. He passed on the 1981 reunion movie but did take part in the 1993 “documentary” special. These days, Baer seems to have fully embraced his past and is using it to ensure his business future.
In 1991, Baer reportedly secured sublicensing rights to The Beverly Hillbillies from CBS. He currently sells a number of Hillbillies-inspired cooking sauces and over five dozen Hillbillies-themed slot machines were built and placed in 10 casinos in 1999.
But Baer’s ultimate goal seems to be building a Hillbillies-themed casino in his home state of Nevada. Those efforts were stymied first in Reno and then for several years in Carson City because of building code issues and other property owners. But now, Baer has sold the Carson City property and has set his eyes on Douglas County where he currently resides. He recently purchased 2.5 acres for $1.2 million and plans to purchase an additional 20 acres once he has acquired zoning variances.
Baer plans to build Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino — a huge resort featuring a 40,000 square foot gambling area (800 slot machines and 16 gambling tables), a showroom, theater complex, 240 hotel rooms, pools and more. If all goes according to plans you’ll be able to eat at Jethro’s All You Ken Et Buffet, dine on billiard tables at Drysdale’s Fancy Eatin’s for the Richuns, swim in a replica of the show’s cement pond, or even be married at gunpoint at Granny’s Shotgun Weddin’ Chapel.
If Baer has his way, the resort will give visitors a full Beverly Hillbillies experience — no doubt complete with a warm “y’all come back now, y’hear?” on the way out. I’m sure Uncle Jed would be proud. Stay tuned!