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With 'The Beverly Hillbillies' slot machines, Jethro might strike pay dirt

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Jethro Bodine intends to prove he's no fool.

Max Baer Jr., who once played the burly, doltish character on the sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies," recently signed a deal with International Game Technology of Reno to produce hundreds of penny slot machines featuring the show that once drew millions of loyal viewers.

"It's so obvious it's not a gamble," Baer said in a recent interview at his Las Vegas home. "It fits in. It meshes with the characters and the show."

If Baer, 64, hits his jackpot in the casinos, he wants to strike gold in supermarkets with bakery goods, such as Elly May's buns, Granny's lye soap and perhaps Jethro's sausage.

Tapping into "The Beverly Hillbillies" has been a long time coming for Baer, who left the movie and TV business in 1979 and moved to Lake Tahoe, where he now has a second home.

He obtained certain licensing rights to "The Beverly Hillbillies" from CBS in 1991.

In 1999, IGT approached him about a deal to make the hillbilly slot machines and an agreement was reached.

Now 65 machines sit in 10 Station casinos around Las Vegas.

So far, the slot machines seem to be attracting new customers and probably a few people who grew up watching the show during the 1960s.

Dan Roy, Station's vice president for slot operations, said the machines are creating a buzz.

"They are doing good," Roy said. "We need a little time, but the early numbers indicate that they should be a success."

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