Is Carson to sophisticated for Clampetts? |

Is Carson to sophisticated for Clampetts?

Barry Smith

The question of the hour is whether Carson City is too darn sophisticated for a Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing the old Wal-Mart building is on the east side of Carson Street. Because the answer would be obvious if it were on the west side.

Over on the east side, where I live, we’re looking forward to Granny and Ellie Mae and the rest of the Clampett clan moving in.

In fact, I think Max Baer Jr. may have started a ’60s sitcom theme that could well spread like wildfire.

I’m envisioning a Green Acres casino with a 40-foot Arnold the pig, a Petticoat Junction hotel with pretty girls peaking out from the top of the water tower (hopefully somewhere near the Virginia & Truckee Railroad terminus), and maybe even a Hee Haw concert hall with hay bales for seats.

Let the rest of the world have Hooters. We’ll have Hooterville.

I know, I know. The folks on the west side were kind of hoping for the Bellagio. Art masterpieces. Giorgio Armani. Italian fountains.

So we’re going to get an oil derrick. Drysdale’s Fancy Eatins. A ce-ment pond.

Personally, I think there’s room for everybody. I know that half the town likes to think the other half doesn’t exist, but what the heck? People who wouldn’t be caught dead in a hillbilly casino probably should avoid scheduling family ceremonies in Granny’s Shotgun Wedding Chapel.

On the other hand, people who like to sip their wine through a straw straight from the box probably would have been disappointed if, say, Nordstrom had decided that South Carson City was primed for luxury shopping. They were kind of hoping for Big Lots.

Generalization disclaimer: Before you start harrumphing around the house, please be advised I realize there are beautiful neighborhoods, historic homes and fine casinos on the east side of Carson Street. Just as there are some places on the west side that would have made the Clampetts comfortable — before that crude came bubbling up.

My point is that it takes all kinds. And, yes, we have all kinds right here in Carson City.

If you still think Carson City’s too sophisticated, then remember the whole premise of the TV show.

These were hillbillies moving to the most upscale place they could think of. Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin’ pools. Movie stars.

The rubes among the sophisticates. The lame brains among the wise guys. The poor white trash hanging out with the rich white snobs.

The same premise backed Eddy Murphy in “Beverly Hills Cop.” It served Nick Nolte in “Down & Out in Beverly Hills.”

If it’s funny to put hillbillies, black cops and homeless people up against the hoighty-toity, then I don’t think we should be looking down our noses at tourists.

Isn’t the implication of Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in Carson City that there’s some irony in the whole situation? Maybe not. But just in case, I think we should grab it before Incline Village has any ideas.

On the television show, Jethro and Granny and Jed and Ellie Mae were funny because they were hicks removed from the sticks. But I think if you go back and watch a few episodes — which I haven’t done in 20 years or so — you’ll find the real buffoons were people like Drysdale the banker.

While it was funny on one level to see the hillbillies exposed to modern conveniences like telephones and refrigerators, the real attraction of the show was how these bumpkins were able to outsmart the shallow, greedy, high-society morons around them.

And the high and mighty always had a newfound respect — in fact, tended to fall down on their hands and knees to grovel at the Clampetts’ feet — when they found out the new neighbors who held their pants up with rope actually had more money in the bank than they did.

Meanwhile, the Clampett clan went around proving they weren’t likely to change who they were just because they had more money than they could count.

Well, except Jethro, that is. I seem to remember an episode or two where Jethro got his comeuppance when trying to become a swinging Beverly Hills bachelor.

I’d like to cast the people of Carson City in the role of Miss Hathaway, secretary to Mr. Drydale. Square, upstanding, skeptical, efficient and able to see the humor in the clash of cultures while figuring out the best way to make everything come out to a happy ending.

Oh, but Miss Hathaway had a crush on Jethro, didn’t she? Well, perhaps we can do without that part.

One more thing: I do have a problem with the 200-foot oil derrick, especially if it’s going to shoot flames into the sky.

I’m not really seeing it. When the Clampetts moved to Beverly Hills, they didn’t take the oil derrick with them. It was back home pumping out money, wasn’t it?

That’s the part Nevada understands best. No need to put it so prominently out front.