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'The Real McCoys': The '50s Show That Helped Pave the Way for Rural TV Comedies

From the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Amos McCoy relocates his family to California in the classic sitcom created by Irving Pincus, The Real McCoys. Hailing from the fictional town of Smokey Corners, the McCoy family inherits a farm from a family member in California. Airing on ABC from 1957-1962 and on CBS for its final season, viewers loved watching Grampa lead the McCoy clan in their relocation adventures.

The family was led by Grandpa Amos McCoy played by Walter Brennan, his grandson Luke McCoy played by Richard Crenna, Luke's wife Kate McCoy played by Kathleen Nolan, Luke's sister Tallahassie "Hassie" played by Lydia Reed, and his younger brother "Little Luke" played by Michael Winkelman. And yes, they do address why two brothers have the same name on the show. After moving to their new farm, the McCoys also meet and hire Pepino Garcia, played by Tony Martinez, who had previously worked as the property's foreman under their Uncle Ben. The McMichael siblings, played by Andy Clyde and Madge Blake, are nearby neighbors who also appear throughout the series. George McMichael is a crotchety old man similar to Amos, so they have an entertaining dynamic on the show. 

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There are multiple episodes in the TV series that focus on the bigotry in their new home towards hillbillies, such as the McCoy family. But the majority of the episodes focus on a moral theme led by the family's elderly patriarch, Amos McCoy. Some of these episodes include "You Can't Cheat An Honest Man," "Gambling Is A Sin" which involves Amos understanding the ethics behind casinos when he lets one advertise on his property, "Go Fight City Hall," "The Taxman Cometh," "You Can't Always Be a Hero," "You Never Get Too Old," and more. There's even an episode where Amos gets a driver's license, which is undoubtedly as endearing as it is hilarious. 

The show was popular for so many years for numerous reasons. While there were plenty of laughs following the hillbilly family's fish out of water" experience in a new culture, it had plenty of heart as well. Amos McCoy and his morals ended up teaching many life lessons across the series. Though CBS ran reruns of the show under the name The McCoys, the sitcom will always be remembered as The Real McCoys, the West Virginia family who never gave up their southern roots even after moving across the country.

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'The Real McCoys': The '50s Show That Helped Pave the Way for Rural TV Comedies