"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Girl of the Day - Petticoat Junction Edition

We remember our childhood, if happy, as mine was, through rose-colored glasses.   Sunny days, baked fields, the arc of a ball through the air, the salty taste of sweat, the cool of the air in the house when you came in from play.   Little things stand out, and often echo in the pet phrases we continue to use that only we understand, because the origins are so obscure.   For instance, I often say, "I'm wearing a cardboard belt!" when someone intimates that I make a good living.  It comes from the movie "The Producers" by Mel Brooks; in the movie it's a lament from Zero Mostel to his accountant about why he hadn't paid income taxes -- he simply didn't have a pot to piss in.

Another phrase that I use habitually, usually when I see someone hobbling or when I see a kid in baseball practice not moving quickly enough to suit me is "Hey, Uncle Joe, he's moving kinda slow."   That phrase, which is truly obscure, is from the theme song to a popular Sixties television show called "Petticoat Junction."

Anyway, about all I remember from the show is that it had a set of three young ladies on it who were very attractive, none of whom, at least as far as I recall, ever went on to stardom.   The show was set in a fictional small Southern town called "Hooterville," which, in retrospect, captures its appeal perfectly.   The girls' names on the show were "Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Bettie Jo."   Here's a shot from the set:

And here they are in a semi-famous shot from the opening credits, where the girls, or so it is implied, are skinny-dipping in the water-tank at the train station:

I have a sense that the girls changed over the years the show was on, 1963-1970, but it doesn't much matter.   The prettiest of the bunch was probably Meredith MacRae, who had a certain classic Sixties California blonde appeal:

Man, the crap you remember.   I'd probably work better if I could purge the memory banks every few years.  

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