hobbyDB

Paul Henning

Writer

Paul William Henning was a television producer and writer. Most famous for the successful TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, he was crucial in the development of several "rural" comedies for CBS.

He was born and grew up on a farm in Independence, Missouri. While working in a drugstore as a teenager, he met future President Harry S. Truman, who advised him to become a lawyer. Although he did attend the Kansas City School of Law, his ambition was to be a singer on the radio. When the local radio station KMBZ (AM) (KMBC at the time) had no money for writers to create the "filler" between songs, he became a writer as well as a singer.

More

Paul William Henning was a television producer and writer. Most famous for the successful TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, he was crucial in the development of several "rural" comedies for CBS.

He was born and grew up on a farm in Independence, Missouri. While working in a drugstore as a teenager, he met future President Harry S. Truman, who advised him to become a lawyer. Although he did attend the Kansas City School of Law, his ambition was to be a singer on the radio. When the local radio station KMBZ (AM) (KMBC at the time) had no money for writers to create the "filler" between songs, he became a writer as well as a singer.

Writing proved the more lucrative of the two and he abandoned singing, eventually writing for such series as Fibber McGee & Molly and the The Burns & Allen Show, and later such television series as The Dennis Day Show, The Real McCoys, and The Andy Griffith Show. Henning was also the creator, writer and producer of The Bob Cummings Show, where he first met many of the actors who were subsequently to appear in his later series. Another series produced by Henning was The Ray Bolger Show. He also wrote or co-wrote such feature films as Lover Come Back (1961), for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) but lost to William Inge and also wrote for Bedtime Story (film) (1964).

In 1962, Henning created The Beverly Hillbillies, a sitcom based on his past experiences while camping in the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri. He also wrote the music and lyrics for the popular theme song, The Ballad of Jed Clampett.

The Beverly Hillbillies was one of the highest-rated series of all time, even becoming a feature film about three decades later. Henning also had a hand in developing Green Acres and created Petticoat Junction, which had a starring role for his daughter, Linda Kaye Henning (billed as "Linda Kaye", portraying Betty Jo Bradley). The latter two shows were set in the small town of Hooterville and Petticoat had, particularly its later seasons, frequent crossovers with Hillbillies. All three programs were popular, but changing times led their parent network, CBS to look down on the so-called "ruralcoms" and move in a more "adult", sophisticated direction with series such as All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Thus in 1971, The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres were canceled as a result of the rural purge, joining Petticoat Junction (which ended the year before) in syndicated reruns.

Less