August 3, 2004

The Jethro Blues

In the panoply of aging TV stars who refuse to let go of the characters they played in the 1960’s, Adam West is surely king. Some of you may have seen the cable commercial where he’s hawking public internet terminals, and as he looks over the list of 21st century technology the kiosk carries, he bitterly mutters, “I never had half that stuff in my old belt.” And although Adam West is king, he does have many subjects. The line of succession travels far and wide, and it passes by the doorstop of Max Baer, Jr.

Max Baer, Jr., may not be a household name like Adam West, but that’s only because he mostly sticks by the name of Jethro Bodine. Max played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies for several years, and he had the foresight to do what a lot of fleeting TV stars didn’t, then or now: he invested his paychecks instead of spending them. Which turned out to be a smart move, because after the show ran its course Max couldn’t get a job to save his life. After directing a couple of movies that were quickly forgotten, he retired from show biz and instead started looking for ways to make his nest egg grow even more. That eventually led to him buying the merchandising rights to the Beverly Hillbillies, and stretching that franchise as thin as it could go.

A longtime part of his Hillbillies quest has been building a casino based on the show. He tried to make it happen in Reno, but it fell apart. Now he’s trying to bring it to Carson City, by buying an old Wal*Mart building and promising to transform it into “Jethro’s Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino.” I have a whole part of my site devoted to the project, which has yet to break ground.

The reason he hasn’t broken ground yet (or one of them at least) is that when he bought the Wal*Mart building, he became a tenant in a larger shopping center that includes a JCPenney and a few small stores. The shopping center has a set of covenants and restrictions that prohibit entertainment ventures like bowling alleys and theaters. The owners of the mall (Glenbrook Co.) claim that casinos are also prohibited, and they won’t allow Jethro to build. Jethro claims the rules don’t apply to him, since he never signed or agreed to them. Glenbrook claims the restrictions are part of the property, and he agreed to them by buying the building. They went back and forth on this, and eventually went to court over it. The fate of the Beverly Hillbillies Casino rested in the balance.

Yesterday the judge’s ruling came down in favor of the shopping center owners. The restrictions do apply to Jethro, and he is not allowed to build a casino on the property without Glenbrook’s permission, which they insist they will never give. Jethro vows that he won’t give up the fight.

“My plans for a casino have not changed based on the judge’s ruling. I have no other plans, and I don’t want any other plans. I do not intend to sell it. I don’t owe anything on it. It’s all mine. The only people who are hurting are Carson City (people) because of this, because I can wait in perpetuity.”

How long will the standoff last? Will Carson City be graced with Granny’s Shotgun Wedding Chapel and Ellie May’s Buns, or will we have an empty Wal*Mart building forever? Stay tuned!

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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  1. Mama Schrantz says:

    Actually, I think the empty Wal-Mart building gives Carson City more dignity than a 200 ft. flaming oil derrick. Maybe he should just go down to Las Vegas. They like things like that down there.

    Posted August 3, 2004 @ 3:40 pm

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