Petticoat Junction was a CBS network sitcom created by Paul Henning that premiered on September 24, 1963.
The show's cast throughout the series' run consisted of Bea Benaderet, Edgar Buchanan, Linda Kaye Henning, Jeannine Riley, Pat Woodell, Gunilla Hutton, Lori Sanders, Meredith MacRae, Smiley Burnette, Jimmy Hawkins, Rufe Davis, Frank Cady, Mike Minor, Elna Danelle Hubbell, June Lockhart and Jonathan Daly Higgins.
In the 5th season, ratings began to fall after CBS moved the show from Tuesday nights to Saturday nights. By the 6th season, it failed to make the ratings top 30.
On April 4, 1970, "Petticoat Junction" was cancelled after 7 seasons and 222 episodes with repeats of those different seasons through September 12, 1970.
"Petticoat Junction" follows the goings-on at the rural Shady Rest Hotel.
Widow Kate Bradley (Bea Benaderet) is the proprietor. Her lazy-but-lovable Uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan) helps her in the day-to-day running of the hotel while she serves as a mediator in the various minor crises that befall her three beautiful daughters: redhead Betty Jo (Linda Kaye Henning); brunette Bobbie Jo (first Pat Woodell, later Lori Saunders); and blonde Billie Jo (first Jeannine Riley, then Gunilla Hutton, and finally Meredith MacRae). Uncle Joe frequently comes up with half-baked get-rich-quick schemes and ill-conceived hotel promotions.
Much of the show also focuses on the Hooterville Cannonball, an 1890s steam-driven train run more like a taxi service by engineer Charley Pratt (Smiley Burnette) and conductor Floyd Smoot (Rufe Davis).
It's not uncommon for the Cannonball to make an unscheduled stop in order for passengers to go fishing, or to pick fruit for Kate Bradley's apple butter and pies. The Hooterville spur line had been cut off from the rest of the railroad twenty years before the start of the show by the failure of a trestle. Charlie and Floyd are retired employees of the railroad receiving pensions.
Many plots involve railroad executive Homer Bedloe's futile attempts to shut down and scrap the Hooterville Cannonball. Occasionally, youngest daughter Betty Jo can be found with her hand on the Cannonball's throttle, as running the train is one of her favorite pastimes.
The series pilot introduced a feminist element whereby Betty Jo turned out to be skilled at driving the train: train engineer was traditionally a man's job; executives from the C. & F.W. Railroad's headquarters are shocked when they learn of this.
The trips on the Cannonball usually include a stop in Hooterville at Drucker's Store, run by Sam Drucker (Frank Cady). Drucker's is the local hub, where menfolk come to play checkers and chat. Sam Drucker is the postmaster, and his telephone is a lifeline for the Bradleys, Uncle Joe, and others.
- Bea Benaderet as Kate Bradley [seasons 1-5]
- Edgar Buchanan as Joseph P. "Uncle Joe" Carson
- Jeannine Riley as Willimena Josephine "Billie Jo" Bradley #1 [seasons 1-2]
- Gunilla Hutton as Willimena Josephine "Billie Jo" Bradley #2 [season 3]
- Meredith MacRae as Willimena Josephine "Billie Jo" Bradley #3 [seasons 4-7]
- Pat Woodell as Roberta Josephine "Bobbie Jo" Bradley #1 [seasons 1-2]
- Lori Saunders as Roberta Josephine "Bobbie Jo" Bradley #2 [seasons 3-7]
- Linda Kaye Henning as Elizabeth Josephine "Betty Jo" Bradley (Elliott)
- Frank Cady as Sam Drucker
- Smiley Burnette as Charley Pratt [seasons 1-4]
- Rufe Davis as Floyd Smoot [seasons 1-5]
- Mike Minor as Steve Elliott [seasons 1-4]
- June Lockhart as Dr. Janet Craig [seasons 6-7]