Like his optimistic character, Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies, Max Baer Jr. is continuing to pursue his dream of opening a Hillbillies-themed hotel and casino.
As we first reported in May 2007, Baer secured sublicensing rights to The Beverly Hillbillies from CBS in 1991. 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 the late 1990s.
Baer’s bigger goal however has been to open a huge resort that’s themed around the classic sitcom. For many years, he’s had plans to build Jethro Bodine’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino -– a getaway 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, guests would 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. There’s also talk of a Hillbillies museum.
The former actor’s goals have been stymied though by land and zoning issues in Nevada. He ran into opposition in Reno and then for several years in Carson City. In 2007, he set his sights on north Douglas County (no relation to Mr. Douglas from Green Acres). Baer purchased 2.5 acres there for $1.2 million with plans to purchase 20 more acres. He’s now looking at other options due to the stalled construction of a neighboring retail complex.
Baer, 71, is looking at possibly buying a closed casino in Sparks and adapting the property to his plans. The Silver Club is one of six casinos that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Owned by Holder Hospitality, Tte resort closed in January and is currently for sale.
City officials in Sparks have met with Baer to discuss the possibility of opening his operation there. One issue that would need to be resolved would be Baer’s plans to erect a 200-foot oil derrick sign for the casino. The local municipal code, which currently only allows for a 50-foot sign, would need to be amended.
Ron Terrell, the controller for Holder, said that the casino’s gaming license is still active. He also speculated that purchasing the casino and putting it back in operation would likely cost less than $9 million. Terrell noted that the Sparks property is very spacious and would give Baer plenty of room for his plans.
Spokesman Don Smit told RGJ, “He (Baer) has not necessarily given up on Douglas County. But because of the (economic) climate, his age and his desire to get this thing built, he has to explore every available opportunity to see his dream come to fruition.”
What do you think? Would you be interested in going to a Beverly Hillbillies-themed resort?