The town of Hooterville was founded in 1868 by Horace Hooter. Hooterville county had a population of 3,000 citizens (supposedly as of 1963), including such residents as Newt Kiley, who farmed over 80 acres (320,000 m²); Ben Miller, the apple farmer; Mr. Haney (first name disputed, Eustace or Charlton), the county con man; Hank Kimball, the idiotic county agent; Sam Drucker, the only shopkeeper in Hooterville; Sarah Hotchkiss Trendell, the telephone operator; The Monroe Brothers, Alf and Ralph. Despite Ralph's name and status as a brother, Ralph, played by Mary Grace Canfield, is a woman. Alf is played by Sid Melton. Seemingly, only Oliver questions the bizarre contradiction; Fred Ziffel, a pig farm owner; Doris "Ruthie" Ziffel, Fred's loud and nosey wife (the couple also owned an intelligent pig named Arnold); Charley Pratt and Floyd Smoot, the engineer and conductor, respectively, of the local train, the Hooterville Cannonball; and Eb Dawson, the handyman for the Douglas family. Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight was the only song that the Hooterville Volunteer Fire Department Marching Band could play—at half speed and somewhat off-key. In Green Acres, it was noted the population of Hooterville (the city) is around 40 people and falling. However, in Petticoat Junction and in Green Acres, Hooterville appears to be a somewhat larger town able to support a high school and several other institutions, and according to Billie Jo Bradley, Hooterville has a population of 335, but in the episode "A House Divided" Hooterville is said to have 250 residents after welcoming their two newest residents which made them eligible for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors, and in the Green Acres episode "The Youth Center", the population is said to be only 48. Because of this, the exact population is very inconsistent, although it's possible that the town's population is constantly fluctuating or that the valley may also accidentally count the residents of both Pixley and Crabwell Corners.
Petticoat Junction (1963–70) was set in the Shady Rest Hotel, which was located 25 miles (40 km) down the tracks (and apparently the sole business in the area aside from Drucker's). The Shady Rest Hotel was run by widowed Kate Bradley (played by Bea Benaderet) and her lazy, overweight uncle "Uncle Joe" Carson (Edgar Buchanan). Kate had three daughters, "boy crazy" Billie Jo (Jeannine Riley-1963-65), (Gunilla Hutton-1965-66), (Meredith MacRae-1967-70), "book worm" Bobbie Jo (Pat Woodell-1963-65), (Lori Saunders-1965-70), and "tomboy" Betty Jo (Linda Henning-1963-70). In addition to his storekeeping duties, Drucker was also the town's postmaster and publisher of the local weekly newspaper, the Hooterville World Guardian. Drucker also operated a bank, which seemed to consist largely of a cash box located under the counter in his store.
In the song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, singer Gil Scott-Heron refers to "Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville Junction," the last presumably a deliberate corruption of Petticoat Junction; the song foretells those series' cancellations in the rural purge, stating that the shows "will no longer be so damned relevant."
Green Acres (1965–71) was about a wealthy New York City couple, lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) and his diamond-clad wife, Lisa (Eva Gabor), who give up their Park Avenue penthouse for a run-down farm, "The Old Haney Place". Hooterville in Green Acres was a much more wacky, surreal place than the one in Petticoat Junction, though the shows shared characters, as the humor in Green Acres was often far broader. In the shows' later years, the major overlap between the two was Sam Drucker and his combination general store, post office, and newspaper office. In this series, the town was said to be named after Horace Hooter. According to Green Acres, Hooterville is in "the kangaroo state". When Oliver visits the governor, the governor gives him a stuffed kangaroo as state memorabilia.
A running gag is that Hooterville is so remote that the only way to get there is by parachute; a plot hole shows however that Hooterville is connected on a railroad and has a nearby airport in Pixley. Likewise Hooterville is so backward that one episode shows the most "recent" election sign urging citizens to vote for Calvin Coolidge, while another has the Hooterville citizens still thinking the President is Herbert Hoover.
Hooterville was based on the Mid-Missouri town of Eldon, Missouri, where Paul Henning's wife Ruth grew up, although the exact location in the show was never stated. In numerous episodes, it was said that they were close to Chicago; in one Green Acres episode, Mr. Haney said Chicago was 300 miles (480 km) away. Another time it was said a nearby town was called Springfield, which is also the name of the capital city of Illinois, as well as a city in southwest Missouri. Hooterville may also have been in the Ozarks. One of the working titles for Petticoat Junction had been Ozark Widow (another had been Whistle Stop).
The cast of another CBS show, The Beverly Hillbillies, had some connection with the characters in Petticoat Junction, when Cousin Pearl contacted Granny to assist with Betty Jo Bradley's baby; the Clampetts themselves hailed from Bug Tussle, Arkansas. The name "Hooterville" is actually first used in episode No. 6 of The Beverly Hillbillies by supporting character Jasper "Jazzbo" Depew (Phil Gordon).
Sam Drucker, the grocer and postmaster, gives the Zip code for Hooterville as 40516½. 40516 is a Zip code for Lexington, Kentucky, a city 375 miles (604 km) from Chicago. Also, Lexington, Kentucky is exactly 55 miles (89 km) from Springfield, Kentucky which further agrees with the theory of Hooterville being a rural suburb of Lexington (see above correlation regarding a town called Springfield). The Simpsons, Guiding Light, Father Knows Best and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel Comics) have all made locales out of the ambiguity of the location of a town named Springfield. The name approximates Hooverville - a term used for shantytowns and camptowns that emerged during the Great Depression - but it is also the name of a bucolic town on railroad tracks in western Pennsylvania.. One episode has an investigator from the New York District Attorney at the Douglas farm trying to find an uncle of Lisa Douglas who was running from paying alimony, implying that "Green Acres" is in rural New York state outside of New York City. However, Hank Kimball indicated in the second season episode "The Vulgar Ring Story" that he was on his lunch break at 10:00 AM, to coincide with Washington's lunch break, and since the official U.S. government lunch hour was 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Green Acres would have to be in Central Time, coinciding with the Midwest.
Based on character comments in the third season of Green Acres, Hooterville is not in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Indiana. Each of these places is referred to by characters as being somewhere else.
The license plates used on vehicles in Green Acres are in the style of 1963-68 California plates, with the word "California" obscured. The radio announcer in the second season episode "An Old Fashioned Christmas" noted that the temperature in Pixley was 81 degrees, which would be consistent with the warm weather that California often has, at the same time that the temperature in Chicago was -2 degrees and in Schenectady was 1 degree. Further, "Greenacres" and "Pixley" are place names in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
According to the logic of the script, Hooterville may be fairly close to New York City, as characters such as Oliver Wendell Douglas, a former New York City lawyer, and his wife Lisa's mother make trips to and from New York on an occasional basis and appear to make a round trip in a day's time.
According to "Dave Stein's Official Petticoat Junction Site" (http://petticoat.topcities.com/page1.htm), the inspiration for Hooterville came from Paul Henning's wife, Ruth. As a child, Ruth traveled by train to her grandparents' hotel in Eldon, Missouri. Eldon, Missouri is right at 300 miles (483 km), as the crow files, from Chicago. Other than distance and a hotel near the railroad tracks, though, there is little resemblance between Hooterville and Eldon, Missouri.
Exteriors for the twin Hooterville series were shot by Filmways near Jamestown/Sonora, California, a decidedly rural area.
Towns and cities within 500 milesEdit
A larger town nearby, although not the county seat, was called "Pixley", and there is an ongoing rivalry between the two communities. Pixley was the closest town from Hooterville. According to the television series Green Acres, Pixley comically boasted several things that no small farm town in America would have. Among them were a very tiny international airport (Pixley International Airport) and a television station (KPIX, Channel 5 [call letters also for a television station in San Francisco, CA]). Other towns in the area were Crabwell Corners (about 5-8 miles (13 km) away), Stankwell Falls (distance never stated), Bugtussle (about 20-25 miles (40 km) away), Bleedswell (distance never stated), the unnamed county seat (about 75 miles (121 km) away), Springfield (distance never stated), Appleville (300 miles away), Chicago (300 miles away), and the unnamed state capital (500 miles away). Most of the above towns are also apparently near The Beverly Hillbillies "back home" town of Bugtussle. One place mentioned on Hillbillies as being near the above places is Silver Dollar City —apparently an in-joke.
In one episode of Green Acres, "How to Get from Hooterville to Pixley Without Moving", the Douglas's farmhouse is thought to be in Pixley and the barn in Hooterville. By the episode's end, we learn there was an error and the farmhouse is in Hooterville after all. The barn is in Pixley and much to Oliver's surprise the rest of his farm is in Crabwell Corners, so the three towns must be of large physical areas.
In one episode of Petticoat Junction, surveyors determined that the Shady Rest Hotel was built on top of the city boundary line between Hooterville and Pixley. This implied that the two towns were much closer together than originally thought.
The town of Eldon, Missouri (the town which Hooterville is based) was founded in 1882 and was supported schools and businesses for smaller surrounding communities.
The hotel in Hooterville was based on the Burris Hotel in Eldon.
In the popular television series Two and a Half Men, one of the episodes is named after this town, "It never rains in Hooterville". In one scene, Alan is talking to Charlie Harper about his disastrous camp night with his son Jake when it started raining. Charlie asked him where Jake is now and Alan tells him that he went with his friends to Hooterville and Charlie replies "It never rains in Hooterville".
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