Lost Manuscript Pays Tribute to TV Legend

Shy Genius Finally in the Spotlight

Jackson County Historical Society found an unpublished manuscript in its archives about TV icon Paul Henning, written by his wife Ruth. Now, in an innovative publishing project, JCHS and the Mid-Continent Public Library have published a delightful memoir.

AND the whole thing is causing quite a stir….just the way his wife always dreamed it could be.



Below are some of the headlines!


An unpublished bio of TV Legend Paul Henning, written by his wife has been unearthed! The book, titled The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy, will at last be published. Watch the Beverly Hillbillies on MeTV!

READ! Ruth's Dream

Ruth Henning had a story to tell more than a generation ago, and this month that story makes to the public, thanks to the Mid-Continent Public Library and the Jackson County Historical Society.

CLICK! Paul's Story

Critics hated it. Viewers didn’t. It was the No. 1 rated show, according to the Nielsen ratings, in 1962-63 and 1963-64 and stayed in the top 12 for the next five years.

READ! Paul's Journey to Hollywood

Fans of the "The Beverly Hillbillies" will now get a behind-the-scenes look at the show and its creator, Paul Henning,The couple's journey from the Midwest to Hollywood.

LISTEN! KCUR radio guest Linda Henning

Sitcom star Linda Henning played Betty Jo Bradley in PETTICOAT JUNCTION. Linda is the daughter of Paul Henning. She is the spokesperson for her late mother's warm memoir about her family.

CLICK FOR DETAILS! Henning Tribute

It's a book launch. The event is FREE. Come enjoy the good company and hear stories about Paul and Ruth Henning. We also plan a "group sing" of theme song Henning wrote for the Beverly Hillbillies "The Ballad of Jed Clampbett" to celebrate the occasion.

Today’s Fans Love Paul Henning Classics
Fans Love Paul Henning

Classic Television

In television’s heyday, critics often panned the silly sitcoms of the 1960s but every decade new fans are still tuning in…especially to the shows created and produced by Paul Henning, the Missouri native who perfected the art of the rural comedy.

Why do viewers, generation-after-generation, still watch these iconic television shows? 

Ernestine Sclafani Bayless, who is married to sports commentator Skip Bayless, may be classic TV’s biggest fan. She says, “I work for the largest PR agency in the world, I am a vice president in consumer media, I know every episode of Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies…and I wanted to be Linda Henning in Petticoat Junction. Why do we still watch? Folks want to escape into another place when watching TV. Just for a half hour, not everything needs to be true stories, crime, or those awful reality TV shows. Classic sitcoms have lasted 50-something years, viewers still watch them on Me TV and TV Land, and generation after generation will continue to tune in. These shows have passed the test of time because they have good solid writing, simple story lines, and superb acting–all to make people laugh.”

CLICK HERE: Read the Top Five Reasons that Today’s Fans Love Yesterday’s Shows.

Fans across the country share their love for the shows and reveal five reasons folks still love classic TV.

City Hall Proclaims Recognition Day

CITY HALL Salutes Paul and Ruth Henning!

Steven V. Potter, Director of Mid-Continent Public Library accepts the city-wide proclamation with Jackson County Historical Society‘s Caitlin Eckard to honor TV legend Paul Henning.

The Independence, Missouri proclamation signed by Mayor Eileen N. Weir, reads: 

WHEREAS, Paul Henning was born in Independence in 1911 and grew up in the community and graduated from William Chrisman High School; and
WHEREAS, Henning enjoyed an early career in Kansas City radio and was a pioneer in television; and
WHEREAS, Henning went on to become the writer and producer of widely popular television shows “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Green Acres”, and “Petticoat Junction”; and
WHEREAS, Henning drew up many of his early experiences in Missouri and his fondness of the Ozarks as material for the television shows; and
WHEREAS, Henning’s “untold story” as the creator of rural television comedy is finally told in a new memoir “The First Beverly Hillbilly” written by his wife Ruth in 1994; and
WHEREAS, this memoir is being published as a cooperative project of the Jackson County Historical Society (where the manuscript was found) and the Mid-Continent Public Library’s Woodneath Press; and
WHEREAS, this project would not have been possible without the assistance of the Henning children — Linda, Carol, and Tony along with their cousin, Independence resident, Mary Childers; and
WHEREAS, this project celebrates and brings new interest in the life and accomplishments of Paul Henning; and
WHEREAS, September 26th of this year marks the 55th Anniversary of the debut of Paul Henning’s signature accomplishment, “The Beverly Hillbillies”.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Eileen N. Weir, Mayor of the City of Independence, Missouri, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby proclaim September 26, 2017 as
Paul and Ruth Henning Recognition Day:
“Y’all come back now y’hear?”
in the City of Independence and encourages all citizens to recognize Henning’s accomplishments and cultural achievements as an American cultural icon in hopes that his story and be retold and shared with others.

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