Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The "petticoats" of the title referred to the many women of the Shady Rest Hotel; in the opening sequence, it was implied that Kate Bradley's three daughters swam in a water tower, as their petticoats were placed over the side. The "junction" in the title refers to the fact it was situated on a train line in the country.
Set in the rural town of Hooterville, the show followed the goings-on at the Shady Rest Hotel, of which Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet) was the proprietor. Her lazy brother Joe (Edgar Buchanan) helped her in the day-to-day running of the business, while she served as a mediator in the various minor crises that befell her daughters: Betty Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Billie Jo.
The most unique "character" in the Petticoat Junction cast is the "Hooterville Cannonball", an abbreviated steam-driven train run more like a taxi service by its two engineers, Charley Pratt and Floyd Smoot. It is not uncommon for the men of the Cannonball to make an unscheduled stop in order to go fishing or pick fruit for Kate Bradley's menu at the Shady Rest Hotel. Occasionally, Betty Jo Bradley can be found with her hand on the Cannonball's throttle, as driving the train home from trips into town is one of her favorite pasttimes.
J. Homer Bedloe, played by actor Charles Lane, was vice president of the C&FW Railroad. Bedlow was a mean-spirited, yet somehow also gentle, railroad executive who visited the Shady Rest Hotel periodically attempting to find justification for ending the train service of the Hooterville Cannonball (and never succeeding).
In 1968, Bea Benaderet died of lung cancer, and in the story, Joe became the proprietor of the Shady Rest. A new role was created of an apprentice doctor in Hooterville, and June Lockhart joined the cast to serve as a replacement of sorts for Benaderet. The ratings began to fall and the show was canceled in 1970.
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