Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Performance-Enhancing Swig

"At my age, I gotta take my wins any way I can get 'em."

Granny (Irene Ryan)

One of the running gags in the Beverly Hillbillies was Granny's (Irene Ryan) longing for the people and things she left back in the hills. Even as a member of a wealthy family, she never could find her niche in Beverly Hills, probably because Beverly Hills was lodged firmly in the 20th century and Granny was still living in the 19th century.

One of her fondest desires in Beverly Hills, Calif., was to have a horse and buggy like she had in the hills. She could see herself riding around in it, perhaps encountering Mrs. Drysdale in a horse and buggy, and they could have races — just like the ones she had with her old nemesis in the hills, Elverna Bradshaw, the local busybody who beat Granny in buggy races for 30 years.

Anyway, Mr. Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) had purchased a $30,000 trotter — for those who are unfamiliar with equine lingo, a trotter is a horse bred for harness racing — for Granny's birthday, and Jed had purchased a buggy, not realizing that a trotter only pulls a certain kind of rig (a sulky — that is a stripped–down rig, nothing more than two wheels and a seat for the driver) for races — and does so at a trot.

Granny couldn't wait to get the buggy set up, and she took it out for a spin, forcing the trotter to break out of its trot. After a run around the neighborhood, she went by Drysdale's house and offered to take him to work. He declined so Granny yelled out for Mrs. Drysdale. Did she want a ride into town? Drysdale decided he did want a ride after all so he climbed into the buggy, and they were off — at a gallop.

Upon arrival at the bank, the terrified Drysdale was gripping the buggy so tightly his knuckles were turning white. His hands had to be pried off.

Granny decided that the only way she could get Mrs. Drysdale set up with a horse and buggy would be to give them to her herself so she went about picking a rig and a horse that she could be sure would not beat her the way Elverna Bradshaw had. She picked an old plow horse that she named Lightning. He'd been known as "Old Gluepot" at the stable.

Drysdale and Miss Jane (Nancy Kulp) pulled up in front of the mansion while Granny was talking to Lightning. Drysdale thought Granny's workouts had aged the trotter.

"Oh, no!" Drysdale exclaimed. "Look what they've done to Ladybelle!"

"Chief, that can't be Ladybelle," Miss Jane protested.

"You weren't on that buggy ride," Drysdale replied. "It aged me 20 years, and I didn't run."

When Drysdale went inside to see Jed (Buddy Ebsen), he was told about Granny's long–held desire to win a buggy race. Jed asked Mr. Drysdale if, as a personal favor, he would ask his wife to race Granny. He said no one would have any peace until this desire was satisfied. Drysdale said he would do that for Jed.

So Drysdale and his wife (Harriet MacGibbon) did some — pardon the pun — horse trading and came to an agreement. Mrs. Drysdale agreed to race Granny if her husband would see to it that the family left Beverly Hills. Drysdale's counter offer was that he would get the Clampetts to move if Mrs. Drysdale beat Granny in the race. He told his wife that she would be racing with a horse named Lightning.

Mrs. Drysdale agreed to her husband's terms, but, when the appointed time of the race came, Granny was nowhere to be found. Jed, Elly (Donna Douglas) and Jethro (Max Baer Jr.) found Granny hiding in a pantry closet — Jed had gotten wind of the setup and made sure Mrs. Drysdale got Ladybelle and Granny got Lightning. Granny was convinced that meant she couldn't win.

But Granny had one last trick up her sleeve. Using a straw, she gave Lightning a swig or two from a jug of her homemade moonshine, and he was off. Ladybelle had no chance against a horse hopped up on Granny's homemade hooch.

Granny won the race, and Mr. Drysdale was elated. The Clampetts didn't have to move. Their money could stay in his bank.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story would be. It certainly wouldn't be cheaters never win.