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'Petticoat Junction: The Official Third Season'
(Edgar Buchanan, Linda Kaye, Bea Benaderet, Lori Saunders, Gunilla Hutton, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / 2013 / CBS Studios)

Overview: The small farming community of Hooterville provided the setting for this highly successful rural situation comedy, 'Petticoat Junction: The Official Third Season.'

DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Kate Bradley was the widowed owner of the only transient housing in town, the Shady Rest Hotel. Helping her run the hotel were her three beautiful daughters, Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo. Also assisting was the girls' lazy Uncle Joe, who had assumed the title of manager.

In addition to her involvement with the hotel, the romantic lives of her daughters, and her association with the townspeople, Kate was constantly at odds with Homer Bedlow, vice-president of the C.F. & W. Railroad. Homer was determined to close down the steam-driven branch of the railroad that ran through Hooterville, scrap its lone engine (the Cannonball), and put its two engineers (Charlie Pratt and Floyd Smoot) out of jobs.

In truth, for the first three seasons, 'Petticoat Junction' focused mostly on broad humor and slapstick comedy. These types of episodes proved to be very popular during the show's first three seasons, season one (ranked at #3), season two (ranked at #13), and season three (ranked at #20), all finished in the top twenty.

There was much physical comedy and other types of wild humor that was characteristic of the series, much like its sister show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and its own later spin-off show Green Acres. There were many crossover appearances in season three alone between the casts of both shows.

The Douglases (Lisa and Oliver) make frequent appearances on Petticoat Junction, and likewise Kate, Joe, Charley and Floyd, and even Betty Jo and Bobbie Jo show up on Green Acres.

Well, despite the fact that two newcomers are aboard as Kate's daughters, this is the last season where the show stays true to its origins: Billie-Joe is still the boy-crazy daughter; Bobbie-Jo is the studious one and Betty-Jo is still a tomboy. Steve Elliott (Mike Minor) has yet to arrive and the elder actors have not begun to expire. Gunilla Hutton plays Billie this season and does a fine job, but contracted hepatitis and missed a bunch of episodes so doesn't make as big of a splash as Lori Saunders who makes her debut as the second Bobbie.

Oh, and did you know that 'Petticoat Junction' was the only one of Henning's country trio not to be brought back for an updated reunion movie. The character of Sam Drucker, however, did appear in Return to Green Acres in 1990. These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.CBS.com





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