Elly Mae Clampett’s Day in Court
While I do recall actively despising The Beverly Hillbillies – baptized a Catholic, but born an intellectual snob - I don’t remember ever actually watching the show. But of course I must have.
How else would I know ‘bout a man named Jed, and how one day, out on a hunt, he came across some bubblin’ crude. After which he made his way, along with Granny, Jethro and Elly May, out to California. Where they had daily run-ins with Mr. Drysdale and Miss Hathaway over at the bank.
So, yes, I guess I set a spell in front of the old family TV often enough to take in a heapin’ helpin of their hospitality.
But, quite frankly, when The Beverly Hillbillies was first on, I believe I was in the throes of a torrid affair with Dr. Kildare. Something of a ménage a sept, as all of my friends were involved, as well. And then I was in high school studying. And then I was in college, when nobody had a TV and we wouldn’t have watched, anyway.
Still, I feel I must confess to having watched The Beverly Hillbillies on occasion, if only to keep the less refined members of the family company. But I draw that line at ever having enjoyed the show. Or laughed with it, as opposed to at it. I’ve got my snob cred to maintain here.
Anyway, although I wasn’t a fan, I was interested to come across a late December article on the Shreveport Times* web site about Elly May Clampett’s, or, rather Donna Douglas’, suit against Mattel and CBS over the use of her Ella May-ness as a Barbie doll.
It seems that CBS and Mattel went behind Elly May’s back to cook up something other than possum stew. They claimed they didn’t have to cut Elly May in on the action because CBS owns the Elly May character. Which seems pretty crappy and selfish on CBS’s part, that’s for sure.
Well, Donna Douglas said just a danged minute, and went after them.
They should have known better than to take on a purdy little lady armed with a sling shot. CBS and Mattel settled with her, out of court.
Whatever Donna Douglas got in the settlement, it’s hard not to believe that it’s not more than she would have gotten in royalties.
Come on! Who, other than one-of-everything-Barbie collectors, and die-hard fans of The Beverly Hillbillies, would want a dungaree and rope-belt wearing Barbie armed with a slingshot.
Barbie fans want glamor. Barbie fans want glitz. Barbie fans want sleek.
They may have a down-home outfit or two for Barbie, but mostly they want going out in ball gowns Barbie. Or interesting career Barbie, who, after spending the day pursuing her interesting career, puts on the sequined lounge-singer slinky dress and steps out to par-tay.
It’s hard to see Elly May Barbie’s feet in this picture, but is it possible that she’s even wearing sensible shoes? (Nah, probably not. I think all Barbie’s come with deformed, en pointe-ish feet.)
So, whatever Donna Douglas got out of the settlement, well-played Elly May. And you didn’t even have to holler in Cousin Jethro to back you up.
Not quite bubblin’ crude money, but, certainly, enough for a hot tub and new teeth (P.R.N.).
*Wonder what I was doing over on the Shreveport Times? I was, in fact, engaged in some ultra-brainy, anthropological online field work, researching the Dowden family, stars of the new reality series, Bayou Billionaires. Bayou Billionaires, should you not happen to share this particular intellectual interest and academic bent, is something of stay-at-home Beverly Hillbillies. The Dowdens don’t Model-T off to Californy, they stay put and spend their “mailbox money” on things like hot tubs and new teeth. From a multi-cultural perspective, absolutely riveting.