Achord’s Southern Heirs Auction Company was filled Saturday with people hoping to pick up a piece of TV history.
On the auction block were items from the estate of Donna Douglas, a Pride native who played Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Though the auction floor was filled mostly with knicknacks from the two Zachary houses Douglas owned, a few items had connections to her TV character. She portrayed the daughter of Jed Clampett, who moved Elly May, her Granny and cousin Jethro Bodine from the Ozarks to California after striking oil on his land.
Even after hitting it rich and going to Beverly Hills, the clan held onto their hillbilly ways, striking a chord with millions of amused television viewers.
Between 250 and 300 items were up for sale Saturday. But only one — a black mink coat that several women stopped to try on and pose for photos in — actually appeared on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Just like Elly May Clampett, Douglas had a rags-to-riches story, having left the farm she grew up on near Pride as a young woman looking for acting work, eventually landing her seemingly meant-to-be role on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” People at the sale remembered both the character and actress as friendly and admirable.
After Douglas moved back to the area nine years ago, she became involved in the community, often appearing as a guest speaker at local churches.
Douglas’ kind nature paralleled the good-humored backwoods characters on the show she starred in, drawing in viewers like Elizabeth Depaula-Worthy, who watched it as a child. The hillbilly Clampetts thought the doorbell of their new mansion was music that mysteriously played from inside the walls, and Elly May initially preferred Beverly Hills’ “critters” to its men, who she was willing to “rassle” if they made a wrong move.
“She was so ... naive, and it was hard to believe that somebody could be that naive, but sometimes she reminded me of me,” Depaula-Worthy, of Hammond, said with a laugh as she tried on a wide-brimmed pink hat.
“Anything with pink on it” probably belonged to Douglas, auctioneer David Bowman told bidders asking about details of items.
In her later years, Douglas usually was seen wearing pink and, from the looks of the auction lot, apparently had quite a few pink household furnishings and objects, like a set of chairs with pink cushions and a pair of tall pink flamingo statues.
Prices of some items quickly rose to hundreds and thousands of dollars during bidding.
Many people at Southern Heirs on Saturday were auction regulars, like Ann Fletcher, who always reserves a seat in the front row. Prospective bidders have to call weeks in advance to get a seat at an auction selling hot items, like those from the estate of a celebrity, she said.
Darrel Jacob, another seasoned auction-goer, brought along a photo of himself with Douglas taken in Baton Rouge at a dog show just a few months before her death in 2015.
Douglas was an animal lover and “used to make all of the dog shows,” Jacob said.