Max Baer, Jr. is the former actor best known as Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies–a popular TV show that ran from 1962 to 1971. Jethro–or Max–claims CBS is undermining his plan to create a ‘restaurant empire,’ and it’s all because of one rib joint in Des Moines, Iowa.
TMZ reports that Max Baer, Jr. previously made a deal with CBS that allowed him to develop a chain of Beverly Hillbillies themed restaurants, casinos and hotels. He claims he had the exclusive right to use the ‘Jethro’ character, as well as other themes from the show that featured a family of hillbillies who moved into a Beverly Hills mansion.
Who doesn’t remember Granny Clampett (played by the late Irene Ryan), Jed Clampett (played by the late Buddy Ebsen), and rest of the Beverly Hillbillies characters–most especially the antics that took place throughout their mansion and in their cement (pronounced see-ment) pool? Baby boomers would no doubt love to see such a chain of restaurants serving Granny’s famous possum stew.
Alas, CBS has thrown a wrench into Max Baer, Jr.’s plans to do just that. It seems they also cut another deal with the owners of Jethro’s–that aforementioned rib joint in Des Moines. They allegedly allowed the owner of that restaurant to use the ‘Jethro’ character. Baer says the character is ‘his and his alone’ to use.
Bruce Gerleman owns the Jethro’s chain of restaurants. He said during a recent interview that the company isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit, and that his loyal customers have nothing to worry about.
“We own the name, we own the trademark, it will always be Jethro’s BBQ in Des Moines, Iowa,” he said.
Under the agreement between Max Baer, Jr. Baer and CBS, the actor has spent up to $1 million in efforts to develop his business, according to the lawsuit. Baer also has paid royalties to CBS for merchandise, including revenue from themed slot machines at and even a brand of BBQ sauce.
— Yahoo (@Yahoo) December 11, 2014
A CBS spokeswoman told Philly.com that the network has made great efforts over the years to try to amicably resolve the issue with Baer and will continue to do so.
If you ask fans of The Beverly Hillbillies, all would no doubt say they’d love to see Jethro Bodine succeed in this business. His character on the show never succeeded at much of anything, aside from irritating his Granny and his Uncle Jed. Yes, Jethro deserves his time to shine.
Maybe a new Beverly Hillbillies theme song will be created about the present situation.
“Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Max…”
Do you think Max Baer, Jr. stands a chance against CBS in his lawsuit?