This is the thirty-sixth in a series of examinations of legends about television and the people involved in TV and whether they are true or false. This week, learn whether Sesame Street and, of all shows, 227, have a strange connection! Plus, discover the hilariously commercialistic original theme song of the Beverly Hillbillies! Finally, marvel at the sight of Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble plugging cigarettes!
Click here to view an archive of the previous TV urban legends.
TV LEGEND: 227 used the same set as Sesame Street!
Alaina Reed Hall (who sadly passed away in 2009 from breast cancer) was a regular cast member on the 1980s sitcom 227. She had first come to national prominence as a cast member on the PBS children’s series Sesame Street (she actually did both shows for a few years before finally leaving Sesame Street).
So that, there, is a notable connection between the two shows. But there is a rumor that there was a much more amusing coincidence – that 227 used the same set as Sesame Street!!
Here is the front steps of the apartment building where 227, a show about a group of people who all lived in, well, apartment #227…
Now, on Sesame Street…
Here is the apartment building where Oscar the Grouch’s garbage cans are…
They’re supposedly the same set.
Of course, though, one show shot in New York (Sesame Street) and one was shot in California (227), so…not so much.
It is kind of cool to imagine 227 taking place on Sesame Street, though!
TV LEGEND: The Beverley Hillbillies’ original theme song included two alternate verses (each one about their sponsor)!
It was quite typical in the early days of television (heck, well into the 1960s, even) for the sponsor of a television program to be mentioned at the beginning of the show and even for the characters on the show to incorporate the sponsor into the opening of the show. However, it typically was a sort of tacked on part to the credits, sort of like how PBS has all of the sponsors of their shows directly preceding their programs.
To wit, after the theme song of Gilligan’s Island, you’d have Bob Denver walking on the beach and then they’d tell you the sponsor of the show. Shows would also do commercials featuring their characters at the end of show.
Beverley Hillbillies, though, did one better than most other show – they worked their sponsors into their famous theme song (and please note that I am not saying that Beverly Hillbillies was the ONLY show to do this – it is only especially notable here because the theme song is so famous)!
Obviously, in season one the song was not yet famous, but I am sure everyone involved knew that it was catchy. So after the well-known early parts, they had a verse at the end incorporating one of their sponsors!
“So come along and visit with the Clampett family as they take you to their mansion in the hills of Beverly. And when they do you’ll run into a friend of theirs you’ve met – that good old friend with filtered flames, Winston Cigarette. Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should!”
“Now come along and visit with the Clampett family as they learn the simple pleasures of the hills of Beverly. That includes the products of your sponsor of the week – the cereals of Kellogg’s, Kellogg’s of Battle Creek. K E double LL O double good – Kelloggs best to you!”
TV LEGEND: The Flintstones did commercials for Winston Cigarettes.
Like I said above, this integrated form of commercials within TV shows was the norm in the early days of television. However, it rarely got more surreal than with the Flinstones, the prime time animated program that began airing in 1960.
You see, one of their sponsors the first two seasons was ALSO Winston Cigarettes, just like the Beverly Hillbillies.
So at the end of the show, they’d do commercials for the cigarettes. It is quite surreal seeing Fred and Barney sneak off to avoid yard work…
only for Barney to pull out a pack of Winston’s…
and the pair start puffing away…
Here, Wilma even gets into the act!
In Season 3, Welch’s became the primary sponsor and things got a lot more normal.
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org