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The life and career of Paul Henning are receiving new interest with the publication of a new memoir about the creator of the Beverly Hillbillies.
The book - The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy - shares Henning’s life working in early Kansas City radio, writing for celebrities and creating the widely popular television shows Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres.
The book was written by Ruth Henning, his talented wife, who shares stories about Henning who was a shy but talented man who she describes as "the writer nobody knows."
The manuscript, completed in 1994 was never published but later was found in the Jackson County Historical Society archives among the papers of local historian and journalist Sue Gentry and a friend of the Hennings.
The hard cover book is 278 pages including eight pages of photographs. Copies are available online through Jackson County Historical Society and also Amazon.com. The book is also available on the square in downtown Independence at Wild About Harry Store, 104 W. Maple, and Scandinavia Place Store, 209 N. Main Street.
The book's publication has prompted several feature stories about Henning and his early life and Missouri connections. Notable pieces include:
The new book also inspired a tribute to Henning's familiar song "The Ballad of Jed Clampett."
Video provided by http://www.creativecenterofamerica.com. Special thanks to behind-these scenes talent:
video genius Steve Scearcy, Brent Schondlemeyer, Robin Blakely, and the background vocalists from Wild About Harry.
Sure you know the words. Sing a long!
"It’s very funny when 4 suit-wearing business men get stuck in traffic, become inspired by a book cover, start singing the theme song to one of TV’s most popular sitcoms, and inadvertently inspire other drivers in the traffic jam to join in.
"It’s funnier when you know exactly who these non-assuming carpooling guys are—between them, they serve millions of the greater Kansas City area’s readers and TV viewers as the award-winning directors of three nationally acclaimed library systems and the host/executive producer of the area’s most popular prime-time community affairs show. The driver is Nick Haines from KCPT, riding shotgun is Crosby Kemper III, Director of the Kansas City Public Library. In the back seat are Steven V. Potter, Director of the Mid-Continent Public Library and Sean Casserley, director of Johnson County Library.
"Oh! And the other drivers…expect a close-up with Eileen Weir, the mayor of the City of Independence…and a cameo from Linda Henning, the classic TV sitcom star whose father came from Independence, MO and created the Beverly Hillbillies and even wrote the song they are all singing—The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”
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